for which keys can i use each of these tunings?

Discussion in 'Education' started by samsome, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. samsome

    samsome Kapellmeister

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    for which keys can i use each of these tunings?

    thanks
     
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  3. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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    You can play in any key with any tuning.
     
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  4. Lenny Belardo

    Lenny Belardo Audiosexual

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    I'd stick with the first one. If you're unsure about the others, don't confuse yourself. I play bass about 20 minutes each year and I'd never think about alternate tunings since I have enough trouble with the standard tuning.
     
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  5. scrappy

    scrappy Platinum Record

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    if you wanna twat your bass over time, feel free to keep changing the tuning.
     
  6. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Rock Star

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    Firstly, I'd suggest that understanding why @Smoove Groove's answer is correct,
    is more important than using different tunings just for the sake of it.

    BUT, if you reword your question, it could be really interesting.
    I suggest asking this instead...

    "Do any of you bass players use any of these non standard tunings?
    And if you do then can you describe why - and what benefits there are?"


    You might get some great answers for that. (including the obvious one of "I just want to play notes below bottom E")

    If you asked the same question for 6 string guitar...

    One answer...one reason... (just one) is that some non-standard tunings are tuned to a chord,
    so that will let you play a chord with open strings (different sound) AND with a one finger barre anywhere on the fretboard.
    Slide guitar, especially, takes advantage of that.
    Once you can hold a chord down with just one finger, you have more fingers free to play embellishments (e.g., suspensions)
    Hence, a bunch of different techniques can emerge.

    It would be good to hear what benefits bass players can describe.
     
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  7. phumb-reh

    phumb-reh Producer

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    Well, assuming your bass is set up properly (e.g. intonation is correct and the string gauges are good) then the first three are safe to use.

    However, the first one wins as it's the standard tuning and unless you've a very good reason not to, then stick with this one. If you show up with a bass this is what everybody will assume, if you're not using it then it's you who has to accommodate.

    The second one, called 'Drop D' tuning, used to be fairly common in 90's alternative/nu-metal/whatever music, as it extends the range a bit lower and eases the playing of fifths and octaves and gives a bit harder sound. Not so common anymore as 5-string basses are readily and more cheaply available.

    Third one, I don't think it has a name but people usually refer it to just E-flat tuning or say 'just tune down half step'. Sometimes used in rock and early metal since it just sounds a bit heavier and it makes for a bit looser feel for playing since the strings are less tense.

    Fourth one is the same but the strings are tuned down a whole step, this is where it gets tricky, you'll need to set up your bass specifically for this if you plan on using this for more than one session, say. Needs a bit heavier gauge strings and the intonation will be slightly off. For permanent use the truss rod also probably needs adjusting. Not that common to my knowledge and again, with 5-string basses it's basically obsolete IMO.

    The fifth one I've not heard of or used so can't comment.

    The last one is basically the lowest 4 strings of a 5 string bass. Unless you really know what you're doing then do not do this. If you need this tuning it's easier just to get a 5 string.

    *edit:* typos and grammer
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  8. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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    It's all about asking the oracle the right question. In the right way.
    Which can be tricky and ongoing if one doesn't know what they don't know.
     
  9. The Freq

    The Freq Producer

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    Basically what Smoove Groove said is totally correct,
    I have some friends who play 9,10,11 and 12 string basses of varied tunings.
    The real answer is a good player can play in any key however they have tuned their bass and if the range exceeds the tuning, they will adapt accordingly. 4 is a drop tuning of 1 and 5 is the first 4 strings of a 5-string tuning so a majority of bassists will have no issues shifting on a 4-string to those tunings.

    If your name is Michael Manring all of those and several more (with hipshots) are commonplace and that is the real thing with altered tunings, familiarity and again, any key is fair game with a good player.
     
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