Is there a reason for tuning down a half step?

I can understand that you might want to hit a lower note or make the sound more rumbly but bassists like Duff McKagen and Lemmy always seem to play in Eflat. Is there any reason for this? They rarely take advantage of the low E flat. I guess it’s for the tone?

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If it isn’t because they need that lower note, my next guess would be that they like the sound of the low E fretted as opposed to an open string. Just my guess though. There are some big Lemmy fans on here that can probably give you his exact reasoning for it.

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Could be string tension, could be vocal range (those are why Mike Ness does it - he tunes his guitars to Eb and capos off to play open chords in the song keys.)

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also it changes the fingering. I can recommend this thread : Alternate tuning

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Thanks chaps :slight_smile:

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Most all KISS songs are tuned down a half a step across bass and guitars. They have said it gives the notes a different tonal quality (which it does) on open strings, etc. Does it? No clue. But they are all zillionaires, so who’s to argue?

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You could have a point there - maybe it avoids the ringing sound of an open string?

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There’s a guy called “ The Happy Blues Man” has done an article on this very subject.
The reasons he gave were
1 : to fit in with the singer
2: to sound like your heroes?
3: to make the strings easier to bend
4: beef up your tone
5: to use heavier gauge strings

From my own experience with Motörhead songs I’ve found Lemmy will often play power chords using the first and third fret. So that could be a possibility?

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Yeah now you mention it they are easier to work with. I also find it easier to pick harder when the strings are looser.

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I’d guess this one.
It’s amazing how much a half step can do for vocal comfort.

If a band is tuning down to D, C#, C… lower… I think it’s more for the sound and the added heft and beef of low tuned riffs…
But when it’s just that half step, I always think singers.

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Without wishing to dig up long dead threads, I stumbled across Paul Del Bello’s latest video -

Paul suggests another reason for downtuning is to allow you to use higher-gauge strings, thus improving the tone…

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Most KISS songs are tuned down a step. They say it gives them a different tone on open string notes and the additional Eb of course, adding to their sound.

Tone and the notes you need I think are really the reasons.

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Mike Ness tunes his 6-stringers down a half step to get looser strings and then capos on the second fret to be tuned a half step up from normal.

Some people like odd tunings.

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To play SLAYER songs :wink:

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