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String a bass B E A D ?

777

Member
Messages
810
My 12 y.o. son wants a low B string like a 5 string, but doesn't care for the wideness of a 5 string neck.

Can you string a 4 string like his Jazz bass B E A D?

Thanks
 

khromo231

Guest
Messages
457
I've done that several times. The cost is five half-tones at the top end, and who ever played those notes anyway?!?! Not me!

Most 4 strings have a 34" scale, which in my experience doesn't usually yield the most solid B string tone, but in many cases it works just fine. You won't know until you try it on his bass, and for the price of a set of strings it is worth the gamble. Buy a good set of strings for a regular 5 string, and use the G string for furniture repair, or sell it on ebay!

The nut slots might need to be slightly widened, but not always. The BEAD strings will probably have a little less tension than the EADG strings the bass normally sees, so you may need to relieve a little of the tension on the truss rod to prevent the neck from bowing backward. You'll probably need to touch up the intonation as well, but this will give you and your son an opportunity to do something together, and bond.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,494
I have a buddy who bought a Spector designed for this. I would be lost without the G string to play octaves with the A string, but if you don't it sure seems like a good way to get that low B going.
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,360
This is my permanent set up on my custom USA Schecter.

I used a fine ignition file to very gently widen the nut and then of course
you need to completely re-adjust the intonation and check the action.

A good neck should handle the change in tension, but keep an eye on the
neck and adjust as needed.

I did this for the exact same reason, the 5 strings are too wide for my
short fingers, but I wanted a low B bass.
 

777

Member
Messages
810
Thanks for the replies, guys. We've read thru these posts and are looking forward to give it a try.
 

jamhandy

Senior Member
Messages
385
I'm not a bass player, but that is the most sensible thing I have ever heard about playing bass.

Could put the 5-string guys out of business if the word ever caught on... LOL

shhhhhhhhhhhhhh

(In Elmer Fudd voice...)

"We wouldn't want to wupset duh wittle wascals, would we?"

LOL...


For years I have tuned my guitar down to:
1st - C
2nd - G
3rd - D#
4th - A#
5th - F
6th - C

It is the exact same intervals as E to E tuning (what most guitars are tuned to) but it is like dropping 4 full frets back... big as a house...

Gotta love them alternative tunings... and create your own sometimes... it gets really good when you can come up with an alternative tuning, other than standard or anything close to stabdard... then play solos in that tuning... weeee

Watch out, you bass players who like to watch guitar players hands while playing... hahaha

Typically, when bass guy try to watch my hands, they choke... haha... and end up suggesting I sing full-time and let the other guitar player carry all the guitar parts (so they can watch his hands, because he doesn't use alternative tunings... hahahahahahaha)
 

Bassist Ed

Member
Messages
1
I have been thinking about doing this for sometime now. I have always worked with folks who don't care much for five string bass, but being here in Nashville now I'm sure it will come up from time to time. I would try this on a Precision but not a Jazz.

Ed Adkins
 

ZappaFreakOut

Member
Messages
3
Interesting idea. I don't mind the thick neck of the 5 strings. However, I very rarely play any notes at all on the G string. I'd rather play the same notes higher up the neck on thicker strings, just for the timbre.


There are a few songs where I use that G, though. But I still think I'll dig up my old 4 string and give this a try.
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,360
You just need to be really careful widening the nut without allowing the file to deepen the nut and we're talking maybe 1/32 wider, just enough to allow the wider strings to
correctly rest in the nut.

You also need a really accurate tuner to re-set that low B intonation after you
get your action adjusted to where you like it.

This is all very simple, but you gotta makes these mods slowly and carefully.
 

freedom's door

Senior Member
Messages
11,776
I've done that several times. The cost is five half-tones at the top end, and who ever played those notes anyway?!?! Not me!

Most 4 strings have a 34" scale, which in my experience doesn't usually yield the most solid B string tone, but in many cases it works just fine. You won't know until you try it on his bass, and for the price of a set of strings it is worth the gamble. Buy a good set of strings for a regular 5 string, and use the G string for furniture repair, or sell it on ebay!

The nut slots might need to be slightly widened, but not always. The BEAD strings will probably have a little less tension than the EADG strings the bass normally sees, so you may need to relieve a little of the tension on the truss rod to prevent the neck from bowing backward. You'll probably need to touch up the intonation as well, but this will give you and your son an opportunity to do something together, and bond.
One of the best posts i've ever read on this forum.
 

GremlinAndy

Member
Messages
7
I have a bass tuned BEAD. It's actually very usable.
I dunno if you know but Ross Vallory, the bassist with Journey uses BEAD tuning.
It's a secret in plain view...
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,360
Try playing a passage on a 4 string with mostly E and A string work and then
play the same passage on a 5 string, again using mostly the E and A string and you'll see that slight difference in the attack angles does make a difference in the feel and the tone.
 

VHS analog

Member
Messages
5,015
I've been tuned to B E A D for the last two years and I don't miss the G (Unless I'm playing Motown/James Jamerson).
I had to upgrade to a Badass II bridge because the Fender bridge didn't have enough adjustment range to cope with the longer intonation. (I'm using VERY light strings BTW)
 




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