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

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

  1. 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?


  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.