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Alternate tunings


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Anyone here use alternate tunings? DADG or CGDA? If so, how does it effect/change your playing? Obviously your usual finger patterns won't work. I'm wondering if it inspires? What gauge strings would one use for CGDA for example. I'm guessing that DADG would be require a different E necessarily for going down a step.


Any thoughts or experiences welcome.


I'm thinking on a 4 string.

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Alternate tunings have forced me to learn notes rather than merely patterns or fingering. It can help break someone out of a practice rut, IMO


I played DADG for over a year, same strings. IT was not a difficult transition because I was playing in a band and had to practice with them twice a week, so I had plenty of time to reinforce what I learned.


I strung my MIM J with a 0.125 B string to make that BEAD, and it's not difficult either, because I really didn't use the G string very often anyway. I'm trying to learn some walking patterns and fills where the lower B string comes into use from the root, rather than going to the higher string as you would when playing an EADG 4-string.


I didn't do anything to the nut or the neck, BTW, and everything seems to be OK so far.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet


Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.



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I drop my E to a D for one song with the band ("I'm a Man" by Spencer Davis Group which we play a step down from its original E). Never occurred to me to keep the tuning that way. May have to try it.
"Everyone wants to change the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves." Leo Tolstoy
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Back to original topic.


I've a got a Hipshot Bass extender key on my blue bass. It drops the E down to D and then brings it back in tune.


Once in a while I use it when songs are transposed off the bottom of the bass, or when we are playing something in D minor.


It doesn't take that long to figure out. If you learn fingerings for a certain song, you don't even have to think about what notes you are playing after that.


Changing the gauge of the E string to use it as a D string is not necessary.


Your other alternate tuning is cello tuning. There are handful of bassists out there who have done that: Red Mitchell being the most notable. You can actually buy the "Red Mitchell set" of bass strings for an upright bass.


That tuning can definitely be useful, but so much of what we play on our basses uses a lot of fourths that it will take a lot of practice to get used to it. I tried that tuning and went through a beginning cello book once and I'm staying with 4ths on my basses.


How about D A D A? play a funk slap tune in D and you can't play any wrong notes! Octaves are always straight across and if you get confused, just use the two middle strings.

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I used to have a bass with a Hipshot detuner; I kind of miss it. If I find a good deal on one in gold, I might put one on my Spector. I have on occassion dropped the E to D on other basses; it's not a big deal to "rethink" what note is where. As long as you've been playing, it shouldn't be an issue.


My recent project bass (Fernandes Tremor) is currently strung DADG. I'm considering making it DGCF just for the hcek of it, and to be different from my other basses.


In the last band, there were two songs that used a drop D. I tried playing them on the 5 string, and one worked ok. The other (Slither by Velvet Revolver) bounces off of an open low D so much that I really had to drop-tune to pull it off.

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band


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There are a few songs that I have to play drop D (DADG) and a couple that are drop Eb (EbADG). To paraphrase everyone else, the process of playing in alternate tuning is akin to transposing.


Sometimes these work better on a 5 in standard tuning, but like Dan says, sometimes the drop tuning is easier.


As far as tuning in 5ths, yes, sometimes it can take a minute to get your brain to change gears. If I haven't played mandolin in a while I have to remember it is "upside-down bass" tuning (GDAE) and flip all my guitar chord fingerings.

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