string set safe for drop D?

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Derek Wilkerson
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Joined: November 20th, 2010, 10:25 am

string set safe for drop D?

Post by Derek Wilkerson » August 1st, 2011, 4:13 pm

as a bass player ive always been frustrated with having to baby the lowest string in drop D, even with 105's, i wanna be able to play with a pick and have a really low action (its my preference to have a low action) even though i play mostly fingerstyle. and im also a big soloist when it comes to bass so i'd like a very light top. im going to be getting a custom set of strings soon. our band is switching to drop D for a guitar tuning and i would like to know if this string set would be safe on a 4 string bass in Drop D. yes i realize the nut would have to be filed to fit the new set. ive always noticed when i play 5 string basses at guitar shops the low B is relatively floppy so i was wondering if the tension would be ok, if a bit unbalanced..

25-G
55-D
80-A
125-D

Derek
bassist for the crux
Randall RB-125-115 120 watt 15" eminence spk.
Randall RBA 500
2X Acoustic B115's
Peavey T-40
Indiana P-bass

Derek Wilkerson
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Posts: 111
Joined: November 20th, 2010, 10:25 am

Re: string set safe for drop D?

Post by Derek Wilkerson » August 11th, 2011, 8:00 pm

im sorry if im being impatient but none of my questions are ever answered on this forum.. am i not being specific enough as to what im asking?
bassist for the crux
Randall RB-125-115 120 watt 15" eminence spk.
Randall RBA 500
2X Acoustic B115's
Peavey T-40
Indiana P-bass

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Alan Green
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Re: string set safe for drop D?

Post by Alan Green » August 11th, 2011, 10:31 pm

It's been a little quiet round here this year, I wouldn't take it personally.

As a rough guide -

The 5th fret of your bass' first string is written as Middle C. Middle C is 278 Hz - the guitar transposes down an octave making that note more or less 139 Hz (call it 140 Hz because I don't have a calculator on me right now.) That makes the 3rd string C on your bass a mere 70 Hz and putting a bass in Drop D means the open 4th string will be vibrating at little more than 35 Hz. You're approaching the level at which the human ear will stop hearing it as a continuous sound.

Yes, the string is going to flap a bit; heavier gauge strings will help as they increase the "mass per vibrating length" but it's not a perfect solution, you might also need to raise the action a little.

Mechanically, your bass should be fine in Drop D, just be prepared to accept that it's not guaranteed to sound as good as standard.
"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger
"I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk

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Derek Wilkerson
Full Member
Posts: 111
Joined: November 20th, 2010, 10:25 am

Re: string set safe for drop D?

Post by Derek Wilkerson » August 12th, 2011, 3:19 pm

the low B on a five string bass hovers around 30 hertz (i may be slightly off) and people seem to hear them just fine from what ive heard. Drop D sounds fine to me. i probably will just stick with 105's for now because of the cost of strings going up. i will have 2 basses so strings will def. be costly then..
bassist for the crux
Randall RB-125-115 120 watt 15" eminence spk.
Randall RBA 500
2X Acoustic B115's
Peavey T-40
Indiana P-bass

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