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4 string bass with low b?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rabid666, May 30, 2007.

  1. rabid666


    Sep 30, 2006
    Is it possible and reasonable for me to buy some bass strings for a 5 string bass and put the lower four on my four string bass. I understand that I'll probably have to widen the spaces for the strings at the nut, but will there be any other complications? And will this make it prone to a very floppy B string?

    Bye like
  2. Beta


    May 9, 2007
    Why not just buy a 4-string set with the same gauge strings as the lower ones in the 5-string set?

    Stringing and tuning a 4 to BEAD isn't unprecedented. It works for Timmy C.
  3. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Yep. People do it all the time. The real question will be how floppy the B string is, which is largely a function of string tension (higher is better, and heavier gauge strings tend to take more tension to get up to pitch, though not always), and the rigidity/quality of the neck joint. The neck may play some role.

    Also, make sure the string gauge you'll be using fits through the string holes and over the bridge saddles without any problems. This could be an issue on some basses.

    On my Steinberger XL-2, which is a one-piece graphite bass with no neck joint and carbon-fiber construction, you can really go low without floppiness if you use the right strings.

    Some people go a lot lower than a low B, but I don't personally see the need.
  4. Its done all the time my friend! Though choose a bass with a longer scale so the B wont be so floppy. Warwick have recently released a 4string corvette tuned in this way.

    You will need to make adjustments to action, intonation and truss rod. Id take it to a tech and have him do it for you!!
  5. you may have to get a new nut installed or else the existing one filed to take the thicker strings... it wouldn't be cool to have your nut break and a string pop loose out the side of the neck now would it...
  6. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    You can definitely string your bass up BEAD, and there's no reason whatsoever why the B string's "floppiness" should be any different than it would be on 5 string bass of the same scale length. The biggest issue in this project is getting the nut slots enlarged.

    Who makes those?
  7. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL

    and you can order strings in any gauge in a large selection of brands. .120, .105, .085, .065 is a good starting point for BEAD

    34" bass necks and low B strings tend to be floppy. Timmy C did some modifications to his Jazz bass to allow the b string to feel tighter. He also uses a .120 string for his B. I think the standard B String is about .130. I would definitely look for a bass that has a 35" neck - my 5 string Spector has this and I love the tighter feel for the strings - it helps a lot with down tunings. The 35" scale allows the dowtuned strings to remain a lot tighter than a 34" neck would.

    I should add; there are 34" necks out there that do low B tuning without the flopyness issue - they are tough to find and can be pricey - that's why I suggest a 35" neck. The Spector Euro LX edition has 4 string basses with the 35" scale for BEAD tuning - check out www.basscentral.com
  8. 5bassman


    May 4, 2005
    I do it anytime I get a bass. My B string has always been fine, never floppy. I'm running a "84" Fender P that way now.
  9. Beta


    May 9, 2007
    Here you go.

    Or the OP can mix-and-match, as was suggested earlier.
  10. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Ever mistype "juststrings" as "juststings"? It's another string seller capitalizing on the misspelling.
  11. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    Ah, so you meant he should get a long-scale EADG set since the string diameters are larger. Gotcha. Isn't that price about half (or less) of what you'd pay for that set retail?

    The mix & match makes sense too. I've never bought from any of the online string places, but it makes sense. Here are some links I've collected for various online string shops:






  12. xparis001

    xparis001 Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Providence, RI
    Senior Product Manager, Akai Professional
    My lord, are those designed to be tuned EADG? that's some neck tension...
  13. Beta


    May 9, 2007
    And apparently designed to be used with 34" scale length, too.

    I can't imagine what RotoSound was thinking, but it's a production set nonetheless. Other companies that make a "heavy" gauge set usually have a .110 E string.
  14. jrduer


    Jun 27, 2005
    Georgetown, TX
    I tried to put a .130 on my '79 T-40, and it wouldn't fit through the hole in the body. I thought about taking the ferrule out, but decided against it. Maybe I'll try a .120 next.

  15. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    You may also need a slight trussrod readjustment since the lower-tuned strings exert less tension.
  16. You can string a bass that way. You will probably be better off buying a bass that is a 35" scale bass in the 4 string model. Two that come to mind are the Modulus Quantum and the Peavey Cirrus. I know there are more than that, I just can't remember. If you want to stick to a 34" scale bass, Laklands are great for that kind of thing too.
  17. The average 5 string is 34", so it would work as well as the average 5 string. You may have to enlarge the holes in your bridge. I used a tapered reamer($10) and a small round file for the nut to modify several basses that way. D'addario has a two pack of 5 strings for about $30 at musicians friend, you might be able to trade in the extra G string at a music store. I have traded two G strings for a B sting at my local store. You can always go back to standard tuneing with a new nut.

    Go for it.
  18. T-MOST


    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    Warwick makes a Corvette that comes strung B E A D. I don't know how you function without a G but i guess some folks do it.
  19. very easy... the same G is five frets up on the D... duh... :)
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