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4 String with low B - Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by PhatPhoenix, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. PhatPhoenix


    Jan 25, 2013
    Hi all, here goes the first post.:ninja:

    I am looking into getting a new bass and have been wanting a 5 string, but I have annoyingly short fingers so I was thinking a 4 string with B-E-A-D tuning might be better. I am not very good at modifying guitars, so I was wondering if there were any well made 4 string basses that are built to be B-E-A-D tuning?

    I was originally thinking of a Carvin SB5000, but if anyone knows something similar which is not going to be a problem with buzzing frets or requires aftermarket modifications I would be all ears.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    The only two things I have ever had to do going B-E-A-D is to use the bottom four of a five string set (need those heavier gauges) and gently file the nut slots a tad wider - not deeper. Then do a setup to account for the possibly different tensions. Beyond that, I've never had to do modifications.
  3. PhatPhoenix


    Jan 25, 2013
    Thanks QweziRider, I am somewhat concerned with the tonal qualities of the guitar. For example there are some 5 strings out there that have a subpar B string and others that sound authoritative. This is why I wonder if anyone makes a 4 string with a low B in mind? The other point that has been mentioned on other posts is tension and I wonder if some guitars might be better suited to thicker gauge strings.

    At the end of the day I want something that sounds right and plays well.
  4. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    I'm afraid the only four stringers I own are Ricks, so I can't help you along the lines of other brands that do well with BEAD. I can say the Ricks have been perfectly suited in sound and feel with BEAD.
  5. basspipe


    Dec 19, 2004
    Your best bet is to find a used Modulus (IMHO) 4-string with a 35" scale. Then have the nut modified and the bass set-up to accommodate whatever B-E-A-D strings you choose from a 5-string set by a competent and well-trained guitar and bass tech or luthier. I always check to see if they are certified repair technicians for companies like Taylor, Martin, Fender, or Gibson. Be careful if you find a "luthier" though, just because someone makes fancy instruments in exotic woods doesn't necessarily qualify them as an expert. So, check around for someone that other respected musicians in your area trust with their own instruments. You might also want to check with Modulus, I'm sure this isn't a new idea. They might have some advice or better, they might be able to make or modify a nut for you.

    Good Luck!
  6. I have an ibanez srx300 tuned bead with DR red devils. Paul grey had a signature ibanez tuned bead..if I could find one cheap I still might pick one up.
  7. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Spector Euro is available in a 35" scale.
  8. 5StringThunder


    Dec 28, 2012
    Like basspipe said. Try to find a 35" scale. The ESP LTD F series is 35". Also try a 135 or 130 gauge for the low B. I use a 135 tuned to a low A on my 35" 5 strings.
  9. PhatPhoenix


    Jan 25, 2013
    Thanks for the input everyone.

    Forgive my ignorance, but why is a 35" scale preferable? The Carvin SB5000 has a 34" neck, same as their SB4000.
  10. basspipe


    Dec 19, 2004
    The extra inch makes the b-string a little tighter and provides more fundamental b-string tone. Meaning that the sound you'll get when you strike the string will be more defined at the moment you strike it. Some would argue this however, they're usually playing very high-end instruments like Fodera.

    As far as my vote for using graphite necks, the material does not absorb as much of the strings vibration as a wood neck will and so the strings vibrations are captured more clearly by the pick-ups which will offer a more clear and defined b-string that will not get lost in the mix. Another alternative might be a Moses Graphite neck. Check out their website. They can copy any neck for you to use a replacement.
  11. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    You could buy the Sandberg Terrabass (Oliver Riedel, Rammstein signature) which comes factory tuned B-E-A-D. It has a extra thick neck, so no need to worry about destroying your neck.

    Also, the Fender Steven Harris signature P bass, comes factory tuned in B-E-A-D and has a extra thick neck.

    I'm not sure what your budget is, but both basses are around 1300 / 1400 bucks :)
  12. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    My opinion is try BEAD on a cheaper bass Get a good quality set of 5 string strings and use the B,E,A & D. Very slight filing of the nut may be required. There's a good chance you'll miss the higher notes. I Know I did. I used a MIJ Fender Power Jazz bass special and it handled it beautifully but I like my high notes.
  13. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    The Peavey Cirrus 4 string basses are 35" scale, too.

    Thin neck with the longer scale would be perfect for what you say you want.

    I might also suggest experimenting with a less expensive bass. Maybe a Squier Jazz or one of the new SUB Stingrays. I would think one of the new SUBs would be great BEAD.
  14. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Any four string should be fine. If there were a way to "design" a bass to guarantee a good-sounding B string, then there wouldn't be such a significant variation in B strings on 5-string basses (although some do believe in the virtues of 35" scale). Even if someone wanted to design a 4-string to better handle a B, there wouldn't be much of anything for them to do other than things that you can already do to any bass (widen the nut slots, adjust the setup, etc.).
  15. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Were did you hear that ? Maiden play in E, the bass is strung in standard tuning.
  16. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010
    I have my Fender MIM Precision set up to BEAD. I use the bottom 4 strings of a DR Lo-Rider 5 string set. No nut modifications were necessary (doesn't mean there wouldn't be for any bass though), just a fresh setup and proper intonation. In my experience D'Addario strings work well too. The general consensus seems to be that hex core strings have a bit more tension than round core, so that certainly helps if you're tuning very low. You don't necessarily have to use a 5 string set, plenty of brands have very heavy gauge strings that will get the job done fine. It's just a personal preference for the string gauges on my part. I used a similar setup on an Iceman bass in the past and had good results. Though that did require a minor amount of filing on the nut. I should also say although I don't have any 5 strings currently, I have in the past. I make no point to compare them to a 4 string set to BEAD, they were all very different instruments and I was looking to get something different out of each of them. So there might be a very different set of variables involved to get what YOU want out of a particular 4 string in that tuning. I don't think there's necessarily one hard set of specs (scale, string type, string gauge, etc.) that will make it be great or suck flat out, across the board. It still has to be setup properly as an instrument in its own right, apart from the tuning.
  17. DonaldR


    Mar 26, 2012
    I have done the same thing on an old BC Rich Mockingbird US-made (see my tread http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/no-reason-why-34-bass-cannot-have-good-b-string-932149/) and it's such a join to play. I put a set of DR 5-string on it and didn't touch the nut until I felt I liked it. It's a keeper for me.
  18. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Then... I mixed it up with another bass xD Sorry
  19. I think you should go to your local GC and music stores, and try some 5ers being that's what you really want. Ibanez SR, Schecter Stiletto, and Peavey Millennium BXP (to name a few) all have smaller necks. I have nothing against BEAD (been there - done that), and I'm telling you this because I think you'll be better off in the long run, and happier you did.

    At least - try a few out before you decide. Just my 2 cents.
  20. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Esp Ltd F series 4 strings are ready for BEAD stringing right out of the box and are also 35 scale.
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