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Re: beginner questions

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Posted by Paul Harwood ( on July 27, 2002 at 23:37:46:

In Reply to: Re: beginner questions posted by Dave Rawlings on July 25, 2002 at 10:47:24:

Depending on the bass model, you can get away with tuning that low. But it would take a very light touch on the left hand, to not bend the fretted notes out of tune. It's a weird sound. It is very floppy, but it can be pulled off. I did gigs with simply tuning the bass down to B E A D. I had also, later, strung an Alembic long scale with a real B string and fully tuned to B E A D.
It worked fine. This Alenbic has a horse of a fingerboard, therefore a super strong neck. A poor man's 5 string.

: : Hello,

: : I'll be purchasing my first electric bass this weekend (Carvin LB20) and will start taking lessons next week, but I had a few questions on things I was just curious about.

: : What's the lowest you can tune a 4-string bass before the strings get too floppy? Would heavier gauge strings "fix" this floppiness? Or is the only way around this a bass with a scale length longer than 34-inches?

: : The thing is, I'm interested in trying out the B-E-A-D tuning. Is this even practical for a 34-inch bass? Would heavy guage strings be mandatory for this tuning?

: : Sincerely,
: : Luke

: Luke,
: First, congrats on your selection of a Carvin. I have an LB75F and an AC50F and they are killers.
: Second, going to B-E-A-D on a 34" scale won't get you too much gain in lower notes. You can down-tune the E to a D but anything lower will sound muddy and the strings won't be any better than loose spagetti. The reason most bass makers go to 35" (or longer) scales is the bring the B string closer to the correct length for the mass of the string and the tension required to tune it. A piano has different length strings for a reason; each pitch has a mass-length combination that makes each string have about the same tension. Otherwise the piano would warp in a heartbeat! That is the reasoning behind the fanned fret layout of the Dingwall basses. Each string has a seperate scale to better match the pitch. You're better off staying with E-A-D-G until you can move up to a 5'er.
: Dave

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