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Drop C#


uk_lefty

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Help please! I'm going to audition with a band who play in drop C#. I've currently got a few 4 strings set up in either standard or 1 step down and a 5 string in standard. I have fairly light strings on all my basses so I'm guessing to go drop C# on a 4 I'd need to get a thicker gauge... Any guidance appreciated! Ideally I want a really bright zingy tone, I want to use my Stingray in its full Tim Commerford for the sound I think would suit band. 

 

I also can't get my head around what this means for playing my 5er because I'm tired... I'd like to have my 5er as an option because its fretless and some of their songs could do with some melodic fretless. 

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We play 90 per cent in drop C# in my band...... thoughts:

 

4 string bass will be better mostly better than a 5 as I'd expect a lot of open low string based riffs, chord changes based around the C#.

 

Try different gauges but heavier gauges are not essential in my experience.  If you are looking for a bright zingy sounds some rattle and clank from low tensioned strings might be desirable.

The set up is more important that the string gauge to me.

 

For the 5'er fretless option, I'd use that in its standard tuning with a low B.

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3 hours ago, Kev said:

Experiment with different 4 string gauges, basically!  Standard super heavy sets with a 115 may be fine for you, I use a .120 for drop B but I prefer lighter strings.  Its all personal preference really.

Totally agree about the preference piece. 

I'm using 50-110 for D standard (DGCF) and that suits me fine. Feels like my usual 45-100 in E standard.  Were I to tune down another step to C#, they'd be workable but a little too floppy for me.  I'm using DR Lo- Riders.  Have you considered their DDT set? They're supposedly designed for lower tunings. 

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You could also think about using a double stop hipshot Xtender to drop to D or C on the E string. 

I use a single stop for a few tunes with a D. 
This does depend on though on dropping one string or down tuning the whole set. 

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1 hour ago, Bunion said:

You could also think about using a double stop hipshot Xtender to drop to D or C on the E string. 

I use a single stop for a few tunes with a D. 
This does depend on though on dropping one string or down tuning the whole set. 

Thanks, already got a D tuner on my Ray, but the other strings need to be down tuned too! 

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I usually go drop D on my Jazz with a .045"-.105" gauge set and beat the crap out of it.

 

 

I know drive and compression maek it easier, but still .I'd confidently use a .050"-.110" set for drop C# tunning.

Edited by andruca
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There's this assumption that drop-C# is all about the lowest string in the set (be it dropping from E or tuning up from a B); assuming that you're in standard tunings (C#/F#/B/E), you're going to have all sorts of tension issues either way.  My input here would be (as it's only an audition) buy a cheap five string set and stick the low strings on, tune to BEAD and play off the second fret; if nothing this will give you a bit of an extended range, much like a drop-D tuner on a regular bass tuned EADG or the following:

 

Assuming you get the gig, it might be useful to investigate custom string gauges to suit.  Assuming you're playing using a fairly lightish stock set of strings (so a 5-string set may be 40/60/80/100/120), it's safe to assume that tuning up or down five steps accounts for c.0.02" in string diameter - if you're looking at a tuning roughly halfway between a low B and an E, you might be able to get away with a balanced set of 50-110.  As mentioned here DR Strings DDTs or even a cheapie set of D'Addarios of the same gauge (£18) would do and you will probably get away without having to tweak truss rods or anything else..  It's all trial and error, as with regular strings you might need to try a few options until you hit paydirt.

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Firstly what exactly is "drop C#"?

 

On the guitar "drop D" is standard tuning with the low E string retuned down to D.

 

So do you mean:

1. Standard tuning with just the E string down to C#? (C# A D G)

2. All strings tuned down a tone and the E string down to C#? (C# G C F)

3. Everything tuned down 3 semi-tones? (C# F# B E)

 

Then what sort of a feel do you want for the strings? And what sort of sound are you after? A lot of the time with down-tuned bands that slack feel of loose strings is exactly what is needed to give the right sound. Other times you just want lower notes than standard tuning but still the standard feel to the strings. 

 

All these things will influence what is the right advice for the OP.

 

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42 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

Firstly what exactly is "drop C#"?

 

On the guitar "drop D" is standard tuning with the low E string retuned down to D.

 

So do you mean:

1. Standard tuning with just the E string down to C#? (C# A D G)

2. All strings tuned down a tone and the E string down to C#? (C# G C F)

3. Everything tuned down 3 semi-tones? (C# F# B E)

 

Then what sort of a feel do you want for the strings? And what sort of sound are you after? A lot of the time with down-tuned bands that slack feel of loose strings is exactly what is needed to give the right sound. Other times you just want lower notes than standard tuning but still the standard feel to the strings. 

 

All these things will influence what is the right advice for the OP.

 

Good points. I had assumed all strings tuned down relative to E going down to C# but will double check. 

 

The ideal sound I would want would be the typical bright ballsy Stingray tone I get already with nice fresh stainless steel strings, so I expect I would want similar tension to what I have presently tuned all strings down half a step. I want to play "normally" for me which is fast fingers and sometimes pick, not "thrashing" the bass as that's not me. 

 

Lots in this thread to think about, thank you all for the input! 

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44 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

Firstly what exactly is "drop C#"?

 

On the guitar "drop D" is standard tuning with the low E string retuned down to D.

 

So do you mean:

1. Standard tuning with just the E string down to C#? (C# A D G)

2. All strings tuned down a tone and the E string down to C#? (C# G C F)

3. Everything tuned down 3 semi-tones? (C# F# B E)

 

Then what sort of a feel do you want for the strings? And what sort of sound are you after? A lot of the time with down-tuned bands that slack feel of loose strings is exactly what is needed to give the right sound. Other times you just want lower notes than standard tuning but still the standard feel to the strings. 

 

All these things will influence what is the right advice for the OP.

 

Drop C# is Drop D but down a semitone, so C# G# C# F#

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