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5 strings on a 4 string neck

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bass_drum, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    I'm thinking of getting a custom neck/bridge made for my bass that'll go on my 4 stringer, but it'll have a high C aswell as EADG, so the string spacing will be tight. I am considering this, since I want a 5 stringer (want to start doin soloes maby even do some guitar soloes) but dont have alot of cash, plus I think this will help when I play chords.

    What do you think?

    Do you think it'll be very hard to slap?

    Any personal experiences

  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Hope you have fingers like E.T.

    It's a bad idea.
  3. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    I'd agree, but I'm I don't know much. It seems it would be tight and darn hard to slap.... and hacking the headstock/bass/bridge aLL up would probably cost more than just buying a cheap 5 or a cheap 4 replacing the nut and putting a set of piccolo strings on it (if u want geetar solos /chords)

  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Many years ago a conversion kit was available for Fender-style basses. But I agree, bad idea. Stick with four until you can afford a real fiver.
  5. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    dont do it
  6. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    hmmm..never mind then.

    Thanks for the warning guys! ;)

    Just wondering, how would this idea turn out for 6 strings on a 5er, still not good?

  7. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Les had a 6 built... or maybe it was already built and he was the only one who liked ti or somehting.. i forget the story. anyways, it's a sixer with a really slim neck and toight spacing
    www.ctbasses.com find it somewhere thur... either way IMO I think it's a bad idea unless you are confident you can make the changes yourself, otherwise I thin it'll end up costing you an arm.
  8. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN


    Actually, there still is. There was some discussion in either the setup, or the luthiery forum about this a while back. The overall consensus was that it was a bad idea. But hipshot apparently thinks it has some merit. Don't forget that you would also probably have to change pickups too.
  9. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I did it a few years ago with a wilkinson convertion kit. I had problem to keep it in tune, so I had a tuner. The playability was good. It was a big neck though (1"3/4). The B string was awfull that's why it's back to 4 string now.

    Attached Files:

  10. I thought I heard that 5 string Rics are like this...

    However yet again, I am not sure
  11. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Older Ric 4003s/5's are 1-7/8" at the nut, a fairly typical measurement. Current 4004Cii/5's are 2" at the nut, one of the widest fives available. They are however, a somewhat narrow 17mm at the bridge, not a Fender 19.05mm (3/4").
  12. bazzanderson


    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I owned one of the 4003s/5's briefly. Most expensive pain in the @ss I've ever owned. Don't know what Ric was thinking (or if they were thinking at all) when they designed that one. That string spacing was impossible to accurately get around on.
  13. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I'd say its only a real bad idea if you slap. From what you say, you do so yes it is a bad idea.

    But I have played some basses that felt like that, and some peeps like them cause they like narrow spacing. Honestly, I think a Peavey Cirrus 6 neck is what a 5 should be. I have thought before about getting a 6 and making it a 5, I love a freakin cirrus.
  14. basspunk2005

    basspunk2005 Guest

    Jan 31, 2005
    i know someone who has done this and the strings are stupidly close to each other, it probably will play bad and you will need to make sure you dont hit 2 or 3 strings at a time, unless playing chords. also it looks pretty **** if u have 5 strings on a 4 string neck. if u were to get a 5 string neck then it should be ok i assume?i cant remeber if you said your buying a 5 string neck or not lol. another problem is the pickups, will they cover the extra string?as they are there for a four string and the 5th string may not be picked up aswell?personally I think it would be better just to buy a 5 string bass and save the hassle
  15. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I used the Wilkinson 5-string conversion kit years ago. I used it with a 1 3/4" neck (width at the nut), and then with a 1 1/2" jazz width neck if you can believe that. Believe it or not, I kind of liked certain things about it. Getting around with the left hand was really quick, and it forced me to "dig in" less with the right. There was only one tune I had to slap on at the time, and that required quite a bit more precision, but I managed. Still, I ended up switching back to 4 strings simply because I've never found 5 to be particularly useful or necessary for the music I play.

    If you feel like doing it, though, I say go for it. I love experimenting on my instruments, as my poor, beloved Frankenbass will attest to!

  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    There's an old bass in a store near me that is set up like this from the factory. An old Hamer, I think. While there is way too little room for me to play down at the bridge, I can imagine it could be a very fast bass to play if you were a pick player.
  17. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    Weren't Rickenbacker 5's like this? 5 strings on a 4-string neck.
  18. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    People often say that, but it's not true. Standard 4-string 4003 = 1-11/16" at the nut; old 4003s/5 = 1-7/8" at the nut; current 4004Cii/5 = 2" at the nut.
  19. alansan


    Mar 12, 2004
    Dublin, Ireland
    The StingRay5 is my favourite production bass in terms of getting the right balance between five strings and a slim but playable neck. It does take a few weeks of practice to get used to but now I can't play wider five string necks even half as comfortably.

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