View Single Post
Old 2007-03-13, 06:04
JonR JonR is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 67
Originally Posted by sdr
Hey, My band tunes done 2.5 steps to B, and I have a 4 string at the moment at BEAD and that is alright, but I want to be able to utilise the extra string. Just wondering if anyone tunes down to with a 5 string to F#BEAD? Or have heard of bands that do this? Also does anyone use a bass octave pedal, Ive tried one out and it seems cool just for doing open string breakdown stuff and big single bass note accents. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks heaps
The lowest practical note you can get - on any instrument - is the A below the B of a 5-string bass. That (I guess) is the B you have yours tuned down to.
That A is the lowest note on a grand piano, and is generally considered the bottom of the total range of musical notes (pianos go both lower and higher than any other acoustic instrument). Its frequency is 27.5 Hz, or cycles per second. If you go lower than that, you start to not hear the sound as a smooth pitch, because the individual vibrations become audible. It sounds more like a fart than a musical note, IOW!

Having said that, I think some church organs go down lower. There is a theoretical bottom C at around 16 Hz (I think that's the note you get from a 32-foot organ pipe) - which suggests you could try going below that bottom A, to G or even F#.
And as I say, the nearer you get to 20Hz (the official low threshold of human hearing), the more the note will break up into its individual pulses - rather like a movie film breaks into individual frames if you slow it down. 20Hz is between Eb and E, an octave below the bottom E of a standard 4-string.
Synths, of course, can create super-low notes - and you've probaly heard the fat, but farty, results (Yeah, OK, fat and farty could be quite fun... )
Of course, on a bass guitar, you would need a pretty hefty string - or an extra long neck - to maintain the tension. Maybe a higher action too. And I don't know if the average bass amp speaker is voiced to allow for such low frequencies (that may not be an issue).
Certainly it would be difficult to make those low notes clearly audible - it's bad enough with the bottom few notes of a grand piano - so it's hard to understand the purpose of tuning down that much. There are physical/biological limits, that's the point - it's a law of diminishing returns.
Reply With Quote