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5-string as a first bass-Asking for trouble?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tekhna, Feb 25, 2005.


  1. tekhna

    tekhna

    Nov 7, 2004
    I am thinking of building a 5 string with a 5 piece maple/walnut neck from Carvin, mahogany body.
    I am just worried about low B being tight enough, and there being factors as a novice that I don't know about. It seems like if I do everything well, and the low B gets messed up, it will be a failed project. Any tips, or has anyone else successfully done this?

    thanks

    Ben
     
  2. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Well, in my experience, a "tight" low B string depends on several factors

    - type of wood used in the neck... stiffer woods = stiffer neck = better string tension

    - thickness of the neck. again, a thicker neck = a bit stiffer neck = better low B

    - thickness / guage of the string. Thicker strings give better string tension, imho....

    - scale. A 34" scale offers just a touch less string tension, although I have built several 5 string basses with very stiff woods in the neck (coco bolo, bubinga, wenge, etc....) and with the necks being just a bit thicker and the string tension on all of them was excellent.

    Carvin makes a good product.... not sure whether they're necks will be to your liking for a low B. Try and find someone in your area with a Carvin 5 or 6 string and see if they will let you try it out.