How To Tune A 5 String Bass To Drop C

How To Articles

Hey there fellow bass players! Today, I want to share with you my personal experience and tips on how to tune a 5-string bass to Drop C. As a bass player who loves exploring different tunings, Drop C has become one of my favorites. It adds a heavy and low-end punch to my playing, perfect for any metal or hard rock enthusiast.

Firstly, let’s talk about what Drop C tuning actually means. In Drop C, the strings are tuned to: C, G, C, F, and Bb. The low C string gives you that deep, rumbling sound that really brings out the heaviness in your playing. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the process of tuning your 5-string bass to Drop C.

Tuning the Low C String

The first step is to tune your low C string. To do this, I recommend using a good quality tuner. Start by plucking the string and adjusting the tuning peg until the tuner displays a C note. Make sure to do small adjustments to avoid going past the desired pitch. Once you have a solid C note, move on to the next step.

Tuning the Other Strings

With the low C string in tune, we can now move on to the rest of the strings. Here’s how to tune each string to its respective note:

  • G string: This is the second lowest string. Pluck it and adjust the tuning peg until you reach a G note. Use the tuner to guide you.
  • C string: The third string should already be in tune since it is an octave higher than the low C string. However, it’s always good to double-check and make slight adjustments if needed.
  • F string: Moving on to the fourth string, tune it down to an F note. Again, use your tuner as a reference to achieve the accurate pitch.
  • Bb string: Finally, tune the highest string to a Bb note. Take your time to get it just right, as this will complete our Drop C tuning.

Experiment and Adapt

Now that your 5-string bass is tuned to Drop C, it’s time to unleash your creativity and explore the possibilities this tuning opens up. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the new sound and experiment with different chord voicings, riffs, and basslines.

Remember, tuning is not an exact science, and personal preference plays a significant role. Feel free to make small adjustments to suit your playing style and preferences. The goal is to find a balance between tension, playability, and tone.


Tuning your 5-string bass to Drop C can take your playing to a whole new level. The deep, heavy sound of the low C string adds a powerful punch to your music, perfect for genres like metal and hard rock. So, grab your tuner, follow the steps I’ve shared, and get ready to experience the thunderous rumble of Drop C tuning.

Happy playing!