Tuning

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flip18436572
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Tuning

Post by flip18436572 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:16 am

I know this may sound basic, but I am going to ask it anyway.

How difficult should it be to tune from 440 down to 435 and back. Not too difficult right!!! Well here is the thing. I am playing a lot of bass with different groups, and then tuning seems to change between 440 which is standard tuning and 435 which is a half step down.

but my bass does not seem to like being a half step down and back up and back down and back up and back down. It usually stays in tune for a 3 hour straight set when I basically tuned to 440 for one band. But, I am helping out a few other bands and they all tune down to 435 for singing purposes. I struggled with it at 440 last night, but it was also a crap shoot being outside in the weather, and that was what I was blaming it on, but I also know that I have played these conditions before and never ever gone that far sharp in less than two songs. I see nothing wrong at the neck, or bridge, so I don't see that as an issue. I really don't want to put out $200 + on a new set of strings, but if that is what I need, I will head that way reluctantly.

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Re: Tuning

Post by JohnBP » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:04 pm

I doubt (and hope) that I'm not the only one who see's the obvious answer here. I was hoping someone else would respond. If you can't sing a song in the key of B, then move it to Bb, or A, or wherever. There's no need to retune. Instruments are built to sound best in standard tuning, if I'm wrong please correct me, so why retune? Bluegrassers are often critical of changing from the "traditional" key that a song was done in, but I'd never let that stop me.
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Re: Tuning

Post by flip18436572 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:11 pm

I am helping out other bands and they are tuned to 435 and I am not playing just bluegrass. Currently 95% of my playing or more is on the double bass, but playing roots/Americana/rock/country/blues and anything in between. They are setup for 435 and I am just trying to help out, but I don't get why my bass doesn't want to stay in tune at 435. I have been going back and forth with electrics for years in different bands and such. My other double bass didn't seem to have an issue at both, or at least not this bad that I remember.

Changing from G to F# is a big difference for guitar players, and another reason they all own capo's to change the key and still play the easier chords, rather than playing F#, B and C# they are tuned down and play G, C and D. I get why they do it, and I have multiple electric basses that are setup for 435 as most of the bands are playing at 435. If you play a certain song a need the D, DSUS4 and DSUS2 that play all within a measure, it is much easier than playing c#, C#SUS4 and C#SUS2.

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Re: Tuning

Post by JohnBP » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:50 pm

Guess I'm just 'old school.' I understand what you're saying but have never run across the concept. I have, and do, play with lots of bands in various genres and this has never been an issue. Maybe the fact that your basses aren't responding well is telling.
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Re: Tuning

Post by flip18436572 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:22 am

So all the bands you play in only play in 440 tuning? ever?

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Re: Tuning

Post by JohnBP » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:58 am

Always
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Re: Tuning

Post by flip18436572 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:26 am

JohnBP wrote:Always
I have played at 430, 435, 436, 440 because that is what other people want to play at, and I have no problem playing at different pitches. Not an issue at all. I have learned from others that do many different tuning, depending upon what they are doing. I love learning from others and trying to keep an open mind to change.

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Re: Tuning

Post by cathead77 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:30 pm

I have played music for over 50 years and I have never tuned to anything but 440 tuning.

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Re: Tuning

Post by bustamelon » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:39 am

Same here. Never once heard of anybody (at least in a band) tuning to anything other than 440. We have standards for a reason. If the singer can't go up or down a half step, or the guitar player can't modulate or even use a capo, then that's too bad for them.

In your case, what's stopping you from playing in C# instead of D? Before you answer, let me: 435Hz does not equal G#. A G# is 415.30 according to this: http://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html

Which begs the question -- what in the world could possibly be gained by making such a slight tuning adjustment, especially when it requires so much effort?

Frequent detuning and retuning, especially on a DB, is not going to be kind to your instrument or your strings. It's no surprise to me that it doesn't hold tune. It needs time to settle.
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Re: Tuning

Post by flip18436572 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:39 pm

I am so used to playing electric bass and easily switching from A to G# tuning if you prefer that naming convention. It was a norm to say 440 to 435 and it was considered a half step down. Yes, I understand it is 415, but the norm in the rock world that I played in was 435, and I have no idea why. Just what was said and I followed along with.

I think I will continue to stay at 440 for the Double Bass, and if I have to play down a half step, I will look at possibly bringing one of my electrics that I have available to me, or my acoustic/electric and it is an easy tune down and hold tune just fine.

I have been playing guitar/bass for about 40 years off and on. I wasn't trying to be difficult, but if you have never run into tuning other than 440, I am really amazed, because I have played rock/country/bluegrass/newgrass/americana/folk during my years and have tuned to A and to Ab or G#, depending upon your naming of that note. As a saxophone player it was G# and that was from age 9 through my senior year of high school, so I use G#. I don't know in the 70's if it was tuning to G# on purpose or bad quality of tuners we had back in the day. I have been to bluegrass festivals and I would get in a jam and notice that everyone was not tuned to 440, but much lower, I was always checking tuning when carrying that big bass around in the heat and humidity.

Sorry again, as I was not trying to cause an issue with not tuning to 440.

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