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Any problems playing in Drop C with a 5 string set?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by FBS1996, Jan 30, 2014.


  1. FBS1996

    FBS1996

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    Leeds, England
    Hey everyone

    I joined a band a couple of months back and we play in drop C. From what I've seen, there is VERY little choice in terms of bass strings with uncommon guages, so I started out by just tuning a standard 110 - 50 set down to drop c on a 34 inch scale bass (Fender Precision), but the E string would sound too floppy and rubber-bandy for me to use, and it would also slip out of tune very easily.

    So for the past few months, I've been using the BEAD strings from a 5 string set and tuning them to CGCF. I was just wondering if this would be too much tension to put onto a bass neck, or should it be able to handle it? There's been no problems so far, but am I likely to run into any problems in the long term?

    Thanks everyone
     
  2. InsaneBassninja

    InsaneBassninja

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana,USA
    I do it all the time but my next is 35" those. Plus am in the same but a tiny bit. But Really for C I would use a 125 - 135 string gange.
     
  3. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    What gauge BEAD are you using?
     
  4. Jensby design

    Jensby design

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Hastings, NE
    :confused:
    __________________
    damn kids and their ninjas
     
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  6. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Put a string of them together and you've got an Indian river.
     
  7. FBS1996

    FBS1996

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    Leeds, England
    ah yeah sorry, forgot to mention that one, I think it's 125/105/85/65.

    Chees
     
  8. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Here's some estimated tension, based on Circle K's charts (someone else may be able to calculate properly):

    125 for C - approx. 37 lbs - seems fair.
    105 for G - approx. 53lbs - pretty tense.
    85 for C - very tense, more than 60lbs but so tense the chart doesn't give a figure for C around this gauge.
    65 for F - again, over 60lbs.

    Not pushing Circle K strings particularly (although they are good), but using their charts, a balanced set for that tuning would be something like:

    130-86-63-47 (or 130-85-65-45 given more traditional gauges) - that's around 40lbs per string.

    Or 124-82-61-45 for around 37lbs per string.
     
  9. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    If you bought a 5 string set, you'd be best off discarding the E rather than the G.
     
  10. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    ^ What SVT said.
    EAD tuned up to GCF is too tight, buy a custom-designed drop C set or use a tension chart to build a set from singles with your preferred tension on each string.
    I you must use a 5 string set discard the E, 125 85 65 45 will be fairly balanced but perhaps too low a tension for you.
     
  11. FBS1996

    FBS1996

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    Leeds, England
    Thanks for that fellas, that makes sense. The tension on the D and G strings had been pretty tough, there'd be no chance of getting a string bend out of them without breaking a finger haha. I think I'll try out the 125/85/65/45 and see how that goes. I've tuned strings down a tone before and the tension wasn't too loose for me so it should be alright. Cheers :)
     
  12. SnowCal

    SnowCal

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    Snowier Climes of California
    Would it be an issue to just tune BEAD? You'd have to play a fret above where the guitarists are. I don't see how that'd be a problem though.
     
  13. FBS1996

    FBS1996

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    Leeds, England
    We have some pretty quick runs using the C string, so I'd need to have C as an open note. I would prefer to do that though, it would be easier
     
  14. TheControlled

    TheControlled

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia.
    I tune my Lakland 55-01 CGCFBb using a D'addario light gauge 4 string set (.090, .075, .060, .040) for the GCFBb and a single .125 for the low C. Requires some adjustments from standard but works great once it's set up for it. Plus, this is the best way I can do it and still use the through body feature - D'addario make Super Longs in those gauges. It also works for BF#BEA if I use a .130 for the low B with no extra adjustment.
     
  15. MrTaff

    MrTaff

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    What about tuning to C-F-A#-D#, just half a step up from BEAD so you can use a light 5 string set which gives you much more options for strings.
     

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