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4 + 1 Conversion for bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by loveofjazz, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. loveofjazz


    Dec 11, 2006
    Years ago, you could get a kit to convert a 4 string to a 5 string. New bridge, new nut, and an additional tuning maching assembly that went where the string guide was on a Fender or Fender-type bass.

    Does anyone remember these? Are they still available?
  2. Smacky the Frog

    Smacky the Frog

    Nov 15, 2006
    What about new pickups and neck?
  3. justinb515


    May 23, 2006
    Sounds like more trouble than it's worth to me
  4. I recall seeing these on eBay a year or two back. Looked, interesting, although string spacing would have to be very tight. IIRC they had a tuner on the bridge for the extra string to avoid having to fit one on the headstock.
  5. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    I think even Hipshot and Wilkinson have made conversion kits at one time or another. They do not appear to be available any longer.
  6. its pointless, can you imagine adding a 5th string to a Jazz neck, or even a P bass neck? the strings would be spaced almost like a guitar....

    and after you get over that theres the need for new pups, bridge, etc.....

    the trussrod would be off center and the neck would probably start to pull to the side with higher tension

    all in all its really not something worth doing.

    now converting to an 8 string might be something to look at
  7. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Those were the Wilkinson conversion kits. I have the string guide and bridge saddle tuner for one, but I used the bridge plate and regular saddles on a bass I sold many moons ago.

    Unless you physically move the trussrod, that's not true.
  8. The way i think of it, there would be 3 strings on one side of the neck and the other two on the other. So there would be more tension on one side.
  9. not really, because if you moved the strings to make room for the 5th, it would make the A string line up with the truss rod.

    IMO it does seem ALOT of work to get a 5 string bass.
  10. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I used it on a Pbass with width a nut of 1" 3/4 and it work really well. A lot of manufacturer use 1 3/4 for their five strings.

    TO answer the question, it work well. I had problems with the string tree that I replaced with another tuning key. But the B string was really floppy.

    I still have the bridge here somewhere, I lost the string tree. If you want it for cheap send me a PM. (If I can find it!!)

    Attached Files:

  11. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Oh. No, that's not how the instructions did it. They suggested leaving the "G" slot on the nut alone, widening the "E" slot to fit a "B", and adding the middle three slots as they'd be near the "A" & "D", but not on them. The new "A" string would go into a locking slot in the center of the string tree, and that's dead center on the neck. The individual string tensions are pretty even, but the overall tension would increase by about 20%. I bought the kit because I wanted to return a Carvin back to it's original state, If I was inclined to alter a 4 string, it would have had to have a wide neck, definitely not a Jazz bass!
  12. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    This guy on youtube did it:

    and to a jazz aswell

    I think the main problem is will the average truss rod support the however many extra kilograms of tension from a string?
  13. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    This can be done. I had it done on a Precision bass back in 1986. I converted a fretted four string into a five string fretless. New nut, new Schaller bridge, and then added a EMG Jazz pickup in the bridge position. Even the P pickup worked well, no problem. I've attached a photo to the post here. (Those were my instruments in 1991).

    When I converted it, I had a completely new fingerboard (ebony) added. It was widened slightly on the outsides, making it as wide as possible (it was a little sharp along the edges, but nothing annoying). There were no truss-rod issues at all. The string spacing was on the narrow side, but absolutely playable.

    I sold it in 1997 when I ordered my custom V fretless.

    EDIT: I had the same problem as the Precision bass mentioned above, though... the B-string was pretty sloppy. I solved that by tuning it E-C. Loved that tuning (and still prefer that for fretless and for at least one fretted bass). :)
  14. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I remember the ads for these. Like others have said, it was a 5 string bridge with a tuner on it and an anchor for the 5th string.

    I think it made more sense in the past than it does now. There are so many more affordable 5s than there used to be.
  15. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    I agree to this. When I converted mine, there were two available 5-string models around here. The first Ibanez RD 5-string model (which was pretty bad and had a similar string spacing and a floppy B-string) and the Yamaha BB5000 (which was far to expenssive for me!). So it made sense then. Today I wouldn't consider it at all. :)
  16. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    just get an SX :) .
  17. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    Yeah, it blows my mind that you can get a decent 5er for under a grand these days. They used to be so exotic...
  18. for those worried about the truss: the rods used in 4 and 5 string basses are identical, some 6ers only have one rod to, so it really shouldn't be an issue

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