4 string basses specifically designed for low string tuning....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by hillbill901, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. hillbill901


    Jul 22, 2009

    Go easy, I'm a newbie!!

    I'm trying to get some details on 4 string basses that have been designed from the ground up for low tuning (typically B-E-A-D).

    So far I've come across Scheter Scorpion, Sandberg Terra and the Warwick Dark Lord. Are there many others out their?

    At the mo, I'm in two minds as to whether to mod one of my existing 4 stringers or go for a purpose built one (yes, I already have a 5 stringer but specifically want a low tuned 4 string!!)


  2. hillbill901


    Jul 22, 2009
    That should be Schecter.... :)
  3. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    What's the problem with simply stringing a 4-string BEAD? What would be different about one that was designed for lower tuning?
  4. Double Agent

    Double Agent

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    The only thing I can think of that would qualify a bass as better for down-tuning would be a longer scale length, the effect of which has been debated too many times to count on TB. However, if you want some that are 4-strings with greater than 34" scale length, check out the following, in addition to the ones you listed:
    - Spector Euro LX 4-35
    - Yamaha TRB1004
    - Peavey Cirrus 4
    - Dingwall Afterburner I (4-string version)

    The Dingwall is probably the best of the bunch and is priced accordingly. The Spector is my personal favorite, but the Peavey and Yamaha are both very nice as well.
  5. hillbill901


    Jul 22, 2009
    Nothing at all, the nut would need to be filed for the larger guage strings and it would need to be setup again but thats it I think, part of the reason for this post is to find out....

    If some manufacturers (Dark Lord aside) have decided to make basses specifically for B-E-A-D then it does make me wonder if they've done anything else apart from tweak the nut!

  6. Ibanez BTBs cuz the 4 bangers are 35" scale
  7. irishryno


    Jan 22, 2008
    Ibanez signature edition for paul gray comes bead strung and is very workable tonally
  8. Dean and ESP offer a number of 35" scale 4s that would take BEAD stringing/drop tunings well. I'm to lazy to find any examples for you though. Brand is enough.
  9. hillbill901


    Jul 22, 2009
    That's cool, I can check it out. I wonder if there is more to this than a long scale, some of the "designed for B-E-A-D" tuning basses only have a 34" scale anyway.

    Cheers though, keep 'em coming and I'll do the digging!!

  10. Oric


    Feb 19, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    The Knuckle Guitar Works Quake Bass is extra long scale to accomadate tunings an octave lower.
  11. hillbill901


    Jul 22, 2009
    Cheers, 39" scale is intriguing!!
  12. Sbociol


    Feb 24, 2009
  13. hillbill901


    Jul 22, 2009
    Cheers for all of these - loads for me to check out....

    Any others lurking? :)

  14. Sylex's Bassist

    Sylex's Bassist

    Nov 28, 2008
    Morro Bay
    the paul gray (slipknot) signature ATK from Ibanez comes from the factory tuned B E A D if its the black model, but the new red one is exactly the same, even though it comes factory tuned differently
  15. humpy thumb

    humpy thumb

    Jul 23, 2005
    Sydney Australia
    Warwick bass forum moderator.
    The Warwick Vampyre Dark Lord(F#BEA) has been discontinued,but still available via the custom shop.The Corvette Taranis comes standard tuned BEAD & is also available in 5 string.
  16. Hazak


    Jul 3, 2009
    Montreal, Quebec
    Seriously, F#BEA is so overzealous imho... I play heavy metal and would find no use at all in going as low as F#... Maybe in some sort of doom metal band or something... :/
  17. taygunov

    taygunov Guest

    May 8, 2008
    The Ibanez BTB series is pretty much exactly what your looking for. 35" scale and handling low tunings is one of Ibanez' main goals for the BTB, so i think you should check it out
  18. humpy thumb

    humpy thumb

    Jul 23, 2005
    Sydney Australia
    Warwick bass forum moderator.
    ime the metal guys dont tune that low compared to say Bill Dickens or Jaquo,who are very un-metal.
    If it doesnt appeal to you personally,then dont buy it.But there are some players that do want the option.It's all about choice.;)
    Being associated with Warwick,I can honestly tell you that there are many players that use a Darklord in both metal & non-metal applications.Tuned in a variety of ways,even standard.Warwick also offer a .175 low F# string,for those players that like that sorta thing.
  19. Hazak


    Jul 3, 2009
    Montreal, Quebec
    I never said it couldn't be used for something. Neither did I say that it sucked. And I also added "in my honest opinion" in my post, just to not make it like my opinion = facts. So, really, I hope nobody gets offended by this lol.. I personally just wouldn't pay much for it.
  20. I've considered purchasing a bass and modifying it to be a "Contrabass" but after thinking about it was dissuaded as I came up with the reality of multiple problem with an F#BEA-tuned bass. Some of what came to mind is that you oftentimes not only have to purchase a new bass specifically designed around low tunings (woods that resonates at low frequencies well, specialized hardware such as tuning machines and bridges that can handle heavy gauge string sizes, pickups and electronic designed to reproduce the frequencies, etc...) but also purchase specialized sets of strings that are likely to be a good deal more expensive than "standard" strings (JustStrings.com has Warwick's Black Label Stainless Steel "Dark Lord" F#BEA-tuned strings (.175, .135, .105, .085) for $48.35, more than 3X my personal 4-string set o' choice, D'addario ProSteels EPS170 .100-.045) as well the reality of little choice should you not like the tone of the steel "Dark Lord" strings AFAIK there's no string set close to the same gauges as Warwick's, unless you can get a string manufacturer to make a custom set, which I imagine would still have the problem of high cost-per-set.

    The other major issue is that for a bass with a tuning any lower than your typical AEADG (standard 5-string tuning with a "dropped A" for those of us with Hipshot Bass Xtenders on their B-strings) I would think that you'd have to invest in an expensive amount of new amplifiers and speaker cabinets that are also specifically designed to be able to reproduce said lower frequencies. Because cabinets that are more "stoutly" designed and built reproduce lower notes better (I once read a comment by a well-known Bass Amp and Speaker builder than the *ideal* material to use in a cabinet for bass reproduction would be "Concrete" :D ), said cabs are likely to be a good deal heavier than most on the market when one of the main selling points currently is the exact opposite: *lighter*, 1 or 2 Neo driver cabinets that are easy and quick for load-ins and outs. You read in the Amp forum about players gigging with a 1x12" these days... I'm no expert, but I imagine that you'd need a HUGE increase in both overall speaker area as well as a dedicated sub with a X-over to remove all of the high range from those speakers... in the end, a stage rig that would be more akin to an arena stage than a club. And I'm not even addressing the dirty looks and outright "No"s you'd be likely to get from people working Sound and how the average venue's Front-Of-House sound wouldn't be close to be able to duplicate your unique rig... :rollno:

    ...but to answer the OP's question about 4-string basses designed for lowered tunings, I agree that the main ingredient is an increase in scale length and that the best bass on the market for a reasonable cost would be the Spector Euro LX 4-35, which Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree used on their tour for numerous songs off their then-latest CD "Fear Of A Blank Planet" that were tuned C/F/Bb/Eb and was quoted as saying "The Euro 4LX-35 has a graphite-reinforced neck, which means it can come out of a freezing-cold trailer into a hot gig every night for a month without going out of tune or having any trussrod problems" and which he's also used during the sessions for their upcoming album "The Incident". However, for a great budget bass I'd recommend the Yamaha RBX-774 (*not* the lesser 34"-scale 374 model, which was a lower-priced replacement). I owned 2 of the 775 5-strings, a fretted and converted fretless, and was very impressed in the build quality, pickups and sound, and tension from the 35" scale. In a Shootout of "4-string Basses Under $800" in Bass Player, the 774 was chosen as a "Best Buy" and given high marks on it's overall quality and tone. They were sold for a song after Yamaha discontinued the line (I got each of mine for just over the price of an SX when they originally went for around $700 apiece :eek: ) and were great basses that I used for about 4 years solid and led me farther down the path of Jazz-esque basses.