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 Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....

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EricHaven
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PostSubject: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:42 pm

So here I am, feeling really good about swapping my E string for a B, when Andy, Doug, and I embarked on recording some more of the Alien Probe tunes they wrote a while ago. It was at this point that I discovered that, not only do they write in low B, but also in low D.

Great. scratch

Now, you Guys have all heard me rant and rave about struggling to become comfortable with alternate tunings, however simple they might be. Now I'm realizing that I want to have access to that low D as well as that low B without having to do acrobatic stretches.

I'm now considering going to a sixer. I'd like to do a B-D-E-A-D-G tuning on it. Yes, this would mean a new learning curve for me, but I really want to access those low, open notes. Andy keeps threatening me with him wanting to build me one, and I might just take him up on that.

Anyone ever play with a six? Thoughts? Opinions?

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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:01 pm

Uh, I use a 6er, the neck takes a bit to get used to, other than that, its fine.

Can't say I'd ever use a tuning like that though.

I'd be trying to get a Hipshot drop key to work with your trem, to flick between B and D.
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:00 pm

keep in mind it won't feel like a normal bass, once you get past 5 they start to feel like something else Wink. try some out in a store, even though they feel different i'm sure you'll end out liking them Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:34 am

I have played my six string bass in both beadgc and eadgcf tuning. Personally i don't really care what tuning i play as long as the intervals between each string are equal. B-D-E-A-D-G seems like a hard tuning to me because the intervals are not equal. If you realy want a low b and d i'd tune a fiver bdfgisb or a sixer bdfgisbd you might get some trouble with string tension if you try to tune it like this but you have all the low you need and the b and d string you want!
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:41 am

Actually, the more I've been thinking about this, if I was trying do something like this, more to say, play in your style and situation, I would hit Andy for that build.

What I'd go for is a 6er, tuned BEADGC, or half step down, as you use, with the trem, a Hipshot D Tuner on the E, for low D(I'm sure a pro like Andy could get it to fall in line with the Trem) and the hottest pickup possible, right in the sweetspot, maybe a Nordie DC, or a Big Split/Single,(sadly a X2N wouldn't be wide enough). I'd probably also string it with a set of Thomastic Jazz Flats, both for the balanced tension(would react more like calibrated strings), giving more even dives between the strings, and superb tuning stability. They're also extra bright, for flatwounds, very brigh indeed, though you might miss the roundwound feel, and string noise, which helps with dirt, IMO.

The high C string would give you more range and room for tapping and solos.

Could even make it 33" scale, for a little more play in the trem...

Now, I mentioned one pickup, because, I would use a line selector/splitter to send your signal to both rigs, so both are getting that sweetspot tone(which I know you prefer for both channels), now I also know you said you feel that weakens the signal, but, I've thought of that too, after the split, drop a booster pedal(I know of one that gives a 32db boost, would work beautifully) in front of each line before it hits the amp, that'll get you more gain and volume on each rig than any X2N wired direct to the amp could dream of.


And I know you wouldn't dream of it, but oth an active pre like the Bartolini one, has an onboard booster, which gives even more power, or an EMG Afterburner onboard Gain Control would aslo work, if you wanted even more gain! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:46 pm

Great suggestions, Guys! Thanks! Wink

I have considered going the B-E-A-D-G-C route, but my hangups are about how a Hipshot detuner on the E would behave with the trem, gvien that we've heard horror stories about Hipshots unbalancing the other strings when used on a trem bass. But you're right Bill, Andy could probably get the thing to settle in properly. And you raise another good point Bill, in that if I ever found a set of actives that did exactly what I wanted them to do, I wouldn't be totally against the idea.

I guess my logic in doing a B-D-E-A-D-G tuning would be that I would have those low B and D notes without having to flip a Hipshot. And since I am already so accustomed to the E-A-D-G tuning, the four high strings would involve no learning curve. Adding a high C would again be something new to the mix for me. But again, as Jim pointed out, I realize that the scale relationship between the strings would be wonky having them tuned like this.

Some of our original songs are in B, and some are in D. And we have recently decided to do a cover project to bring in some extra cash, and to also get in more playing time together, and the vast majority of tunes we want to do are in E. So I'm thinking that it would be convenient to have a low B, D, and E all at the same time to make it easy to switch between songs.

When I first started working on the new tunes that are in low D, I tried tuning my B string up to a D, and it settled OK, but only just. But when I try to bring it up that extra step to an E, things start to get strange. A .135 is simply too big to tune to an E, at least on my bass, and the other strings all go flat with the increase in tension on my Kahler.

Why can't I ever settle on something simple? scratch

Screw it. Gonna go play the kazoo. Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:27 pm

Unless you're bent on relearning to play the bass, how about using one bass for E and D and building another bass for B? Imagine you're at a gig and you've got to play in all three tunings. Assuming that you don't have to switch tunings during a song, would you have time to re-tune from E to drop D in between songs? Or would that be too much of a hassle?
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:08 pm

Actually, I've considered that as well Martin. Andy usually keeps a small arsenal of guitars onstage with different tunings, and I'm wondering if that might not be the way to go myself.

Decisions, decisions.... scratch

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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:22 pm

EricHaven wrote:
Actually, I've considered that as well Martin. Andy usually keeps a small arsenal of guitars onstage with different tunings, and I'm wondering if that might not be the way to go myself.

Decisions, decisions.... scratch

That would probably be ideal...I hope you find a solution!

You mentioned you're going to join a cover band. Can you disclose any more information at this point in time? What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:00 pm

on a band audition one day, i was fiddeling around with an ibanez soundgear 700 series 7 string bass.

now ... a lot of you know how i feel about 5 stringers. Neutral

six ??? ... ... ... i hope you got a pick and call yourself a guitar player ... or ... you must be a great guitar player to need on that big! i've seen some six players who are really great bassists ... they use the whole instrument and really do some neat stuff. i just dont think a six would be for me.

seven ??? ... that was just downright cool. it took a few minutes to figure out the tuning (it had a stagger like a guitar and a drop tuning on the 2 top) and took about 45 minutes to get used to handeling this beast before i could actually play something. about an hour, i was jammin on a really interesting scale that i couldnt possibly pull off on a 4 string. thus ... the reason for having one.

it weighed a ton. i wouldnt see myself playing something like this exclusively. but ... if the need arises ... iddid be nice to have.

eric ... i never go to a gig (or practice) with only one bass. in our current set, i use the different resources that are available from the 2 main basses for different songs ... the high end drive from the p bass humbucker bridge with the kahler and the warm low end boom and bright slap attack i get from the washburn b-2. the other reason is when it gets to the point that i got another bass available to get thru the set ... i have really bad luck with strings breaking, some venues the real low end of the b-2 i cant hear it so i stick with the p, some nights the high output of the p spits out weird phonic tones or feedback so i use it for the divebomb songs and put it away.

everything is in the dadg tuning so another bass isnt necessary for this reason, but if we used a full step drop or an eadg, i'de have another bass set up for this. i know, i know ... players use alternate tunings, up and down, on a bass all the time but i have my basses' action set up for the specific tuning with a specific string and any tension changes are really noticable and annoying. i hate it when someone picks up my bass and re - tunes the top string to e (because they cant figure out a drop d tuning). sometimes it knocks the setup i had out a little bit. i dont walk in their house, open their fridge and help myself to a sandwitch ... so put my bass down. another bass set up for a different tuning would be benificial for this reason. maybe i'm just super particular ... but i'm just super particular.

hipshots ... see above as to why i dont like them. on a rock solid neck on the right bass iddid be cool (i liked a peavey cirrus with a hipshot cuz it was solid). but with a trem? next time someone here breaks a string on a kahlered bass, turn your tuner on and see what the tuning on the remaining strings went to with tension from one less string (sharp ... right?). now, this is a greater drop in tension than flippin to detune with a hipshot, but i'de bet a ham sandwidge that you'de flip it and have to retune the rest of the strings ... so you might as well just turn the key without the gizmo and drop the tune from an e to a d (and then retune the rest of them too). perhaps someone else would have different results, so you go ahead with that ... personally, i wouldnt even try.

the tuning you wanna try, bdeadg on the six string would be where i'de start for me eric. its not completely foreign from a drop d tuning and i think i'de pick it up pretty quick. that e would trip me up, but i'de eventually start finding some simple super low tonic chords there.

good luck!
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:32 pm

OK, I'll add my 2 sense, as I'm pretty sure I'm the only one here who uses a d-tuner with a trem'd bass. It does bring the other strings out of tune, but you guys are really exagerating how much of a difference it makes. Especially if you calibrate the d-tuner to drop the E string slightly sharp of D, which makes the others strings a little less out of tune. On a well set up bass, it should be close enough to in tune, especially for performing live. Imagine if you had someone tuning the bass by ear, who was only so-so at it, but not horrible. Thats how out of tune it is.

And Eric is planning on doing it with a 6er, where the tension difference will be spread out over even more strings, which should mean that each string goes even less out of tune.

Eric, if you want to the the 6er thing, then go for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:59 am

they make trems for 6-string basses ? affraid
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:45 am

the trem thing on a 6 string? I would probably use a 4-5stringer with a trem for those parts, and anything else that needs NO trem, use the 6 string...
if your using the 6 string for recording and you NEED a trem in your song...well too bad huh?..lol
the re-tuning thing on anything in my hands?...most certainly.
the guitarists who need to look at what the bassplayer is playing...lame Smile

remember ANYTHING they play can be played by the bassplayer using a5'er in BEADG -BUT if the open string sound is what they tell you to play, then yes a re-tune is a absolute.
the getting used to re-tuning....priceless and ageless ...

MM is right, if you buy one and USE IT, it is not that hard to remember what strings now produce what notes.
same as me trying to play with the E on top..I can't just "go for it" without a few minutes to re-orientate my brain.
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:53 am

good point about having the tension difference being less over the span of 5 other strings making the overall tuning go sharp that much less with a hipshot detune flip.

either way ... playing out of tune would drive me insane. the common pedestrian couldnt tell ... but i can. it seems to me that in this day and age, close enuff is good enuff, and its this slop that drives me to do things myself ... beating the norm isnt that difficult because as time goes by, the slop quotient keeps getting greater and greater. so keep up with that. i'll just focus on keeping my sh** tight.

and before you retort, think of your motives ... are you trying to sell me on the idea that i need a hipshot tuner? i'll tell you this. i'm a big boy and am perfectly capable of turning a tuning key. unless you are tropping to a d while plating in the middle of a song, i see no necessity for one of those doohickeys. cool little machine and nice to have ... but not necessary. anyway, in drop d, i can play anything thats in a standard eadg tuning no problem. if a player cant play this and relys on a device ... then i would recommend they focus more on practice than another doo-dad they can put on their bass.

and not like i'm some kinda master player. i just play in drop d. you guys who use all different kinds of tunings without batting an eye get my admiration.
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:45 am

I suddenly came up with a solution for the problem (although quite expensive). You could fit one of you basses with a roland divided pickup and buy a vb 99. With the vb 99 you can adjust your tuning through midi without needing to retune your bass. I've got a divided pickup at home wich i'm going to fit on my six string with trem, but i still have to save up for a while until i can afford the vb 99!
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:24 am

madmike wrote:
i just play in drop d. you guys who use all different kinds of tunings without batting an eye get my admiration.

so I should tune to ABCD? hahaha j/k

when ALL the strings are on the same cam, any tension difference will affect ALL the strings so all these "solutions" cant work.
and MM, I am like you if I hear the slightest out of tune voice,guitar,keys,bass whatever. I ignore it because it is very apparent to me but I just ignore it. Yep I hear out of tune stuff all the time, but nothing to do but block it out of my mind.

If the singer is off and I'm trying to harmonize, my brain is not capable of predicting his out of keyness, so most of the time I just have to stop singing or it does sound 2x as bad if I'm on and he isn't.

and JIM, your solution would cost more than 3 of my bases put together SmileSmile
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:14 pm

amimbari wrote:
and JIM, your solution would cost more than 3 of my bases put together SmileSmile

Yeah i know, i already said it wasn't cheap Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:47 pm

TK, to answer your question, they most certainly do make bass trems for sixers. From what information we've been able to gather here, they make bass trems for fours, fivers, sixers, eights, and even 12ers. Granted, some of thse are exceedingly rare, but they are out there. If you're interested in a sixer bass trem, Kahler makes them. I've had a few in my hands before, and they are monsterous bridges.

Martin, about our cover thing. It was something that Andy came up with as a suggestion to how we might make some more cash on the side, while giving us a chance to play out more to showcase our original material. After determining what the market around here will bear, as well as what our own wants/needs are, we have decided to gear it towards the classic metal that we love so much. Now, if it were up to Doug, we'd play nothing but the kind of metal that you love so much, Martin. Andy and I love it too, but there really isn't enough of a fan base around here to support it. So we're probably going to run with stuff like Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell, old Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, older Scorpions, Motorhead, Deep Purple, KISS, and we might even toss out a Raven tune as a nod to John.

From what we have all seen at club gigs around here, the hard rock cover bands start off a little light, then as the evening wears on, they get heavier. I've seen what appeared to be totally conservative types at the beginning of the night turn into total party animals by the end of it once the intensity levels started to increase. It's like, they're sitting there having an OK time, when all of a sudden Ace of Spades begins, and then they look at each other with wide-eyed expressions of "DUDE!!!! I haven't heard this in AGES!!!!" Next thing you know, they're up front with horns held high, and sweat pouring off of their heads.

We're not completely sure what tunes we'll play at this point. If I had my way, it would be Dio-era Sabbath, Uli Roth-era Scorpions, KISS from the first three albums, and anything else really dark, heavy, and obscure. But we also know which of the heavy tunes have the most appeal around here. So maybe we'll have to play Neon Knights instead of Sign of the Southern Cross. Or Ace of Spades instead of Capricorn. Or Rock and Roll All Night instead of Black Diamond. Yes, we want to set peoples hair on fire, but we also know that in order to do that, we have to be able to reach as many as we can. We are also open to playing some newer metal and hard rock. Andy told me that he would love to do stuff like Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Alice in Chains. We're getting together Thursday to work out two more new originals, and then again on Saturday to start constructing a setlist of covers.

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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:04 pm

EricHaven wrote:
TK, to answer your question, they most certainly do make bass trems for sixers. From what information we've been able to gather here, they make bass trems for fours, fivers, sixers, eights, and even 12ers. Granted, some of thse are exceedingly rare, but they are out there. If you're interested in a sixer bass trem, Kahler makes them. I've had a few in my hands before, and they monsterous bridges.

In own a six string bass with a kahler trem. I still have to make a picture and put it up here but right now it's in pieces agian for some more modifications Very Happy . I'll make a picture when i'm finnished and show you what she's like!
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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:01 pm

That would be cool, Jim! Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Four, fiver, or six....hmmm....   Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:16 pm

Jesus, just checked out one on wammiworld, looks like an absolute freaking beast, Twisted Evil get up some pics as soon as you can jim Very Happy
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