Need help with transcribing song into different key for a 4 string

Hey folks have a song for worship this sunday originally in the key of Gb. Singer wants it in key of Eb. Had to drop D tune for original key, but now down another 2 steps (3 frets) I cant get it on a 4 string? What to do move everything up an octave??


I think I’m following you that tuning down would give you the low Eb in the original key (scale degree 6 of Gb major - that would be important in the song for sure).

In my opinion, everything can be moved up an octave for a 4 string player. I would have kept it there for the original key as well had I been playing.

If there is a particular line that has to be played in the lower octave, that’s the only way I could see tuning down would be necessary.

Having said all of that, tuning down for the key of Eb so that you can get scale degree 6 lower than the root means going all the way down to C or B. At that point you have to borrow a friend’s 5 string.

Best all around to learn to work with the 4 string in standard tuning on these I’d say, and - if there’s a particular riff or note that the song/band leader needs, tune as necessary. (Or buy that new 5 string!!)


ok that is what I was thinking, and I appreciate the reply. Never had to play a song an octave higher so don’t really know the problems that arise.


Sure thing - Usually there are no problems in moving things up an octave. The biggest difficulty would come:

  • if you’re learning from TABS and aren’t sure where the other options are for the same pitches / other octaves
  • if you’re trying to match the exact placement and pitch of a recording (where they may be detuned or are using 5/6 string basses

Lemme know if there are any other questions.