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A Twist on 5-string bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bassline1414, Oct 16, 2000.

  1. Playing on a 5-string bass, I HATE it. I can't find a use of a low B string. But, I think a high B or C string would be extremely useful, for playing high notes on the G closer to the headstock. What adjustments would I have to make on a 5-string bass to turn it into an E,A,D,G,C instrument? I know I would have to adjust the neck, but is there any other tweaking?
  2. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I'm thinking this would be easier than going the other way. I say just slap the new strings on there and see if you get any objectionable rattling at the nut. That's the only thing I can think of that could give any kind of problem.

    Lemme know, K?

  3. This isn't that uncommon. In fact, I have my fretless tuned E A D G C. There will be a little less tension on the neck, but adjustments should be minimal. Be careful with that truss rod! ;)

  4. Cirrus

    Cirrus Guest

    Apr 30, 2000
    Las Vegas, NV
    Maybe a silly question, but what would one use for the C string?

  5. A C string!

    Really. I don't see them around too much, but DR makes a 5 string set that's E A D G C. I bought them by accident once and was going to return them, and then decided to try it. Been that way ever since. :)
  6. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I had my Curbow 5-String set up like that for a year, or so (liked the effect that Steve Swallow can get out of his Parker strung with a high-c). I used D'Addario Slowounds on it, so I went to juststrings.com and ordered a 4-string set, and a couple of high-c single strings in case it snapped. I can always go to a music store and get another 4 string set, but good luck finding a single c string. The Curbow neck is made of Rockwood, so I didn't really have to worry about the tension difference, but if your nut is cut too low (ouch), You might get some buzz since the E string will be in a slot meant for a .125, or .130 b string and on, and on.

  7. timp


    Jul 19, 2000
    Hmmm Uses for the low B. How about those e flat songs that force you up almost a full octave (it is a bass afterall) or how about playing down at the 5th fret and having 2 full octaves across the fingerboard w/o having to move up and down the neck, or how about when a song just comes alive when you toss in a low D or C (or even with my Sting Ray a B). Yep, your right Bassline1414, there are no ways to use the low B. ;)
  8. I'm saying I wouldn't use the low B string, it's a personal thing. I know plenty of bassists who don't use a 5 string and get along fine with it. If you use it, good for you.

    And if I had a high C or B string, I could play high notes on the G closer to the headstock so I wouldn't have to move my hand position as much. I could also double high guitar licks easier, which has a cool octave effect. Maybe I should be cool like John Turner and get a seven, that way, I could play really high notes and have that low B, just in case ;).
  9. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    FWIW, the original 5-string fender in the 60's had a high-C instead of a lower string. And, it also only had a 14, or 16 fret neck since the assumption was that with the extra string to cut out position shifts (ie stay closer to the nut for higher notes), the neck didn't NEED to go to the higher frets...who knew?
  10. MrGump


    Apr 20, 2000
    Im with Timp.How about that last note of a song played an octave lower,doesnt that resolve the song nicely.If I wanted to play alot of high notes I would play guitar.
    And its so nice and easy to play in the Sax players favorite key.
    G+L made a 5string strung this way with a P-bass look and pick up.It was called the L-5000.It pre-dated their L-5500 which was the EMG equpped thing.

    [Edited by MrGump on 10-17-2000 at 06:30 PM]
  11. Give it a try, you will need to get a new nut, and have the bridge set up for a different intonation and probably relax the truss rod a bit. You'll also have to work a bit to get a good tone again but then what else is there. Several jazz players have been using 5 stringers with a hi C most natable Steve Swallow. Good luck
  12. Cirrus

    Cirrus Guest

    Apr 30, 2000
    Las Vegas, NV
    Well I'll be darned... You learn something new every day. :) So what's a typical C sting gauge?

  13. A C string is typically anywhere from .028 to .032, but I've seen 'em down to .020 (Ken Smith). The problem in wanting to stay low on the neck and use the C to avoid shifts, is that notes in the low positions on the C wont sound as fat as those played on the G string higher up. It's physics. You're talking about a string with a lot less mass. You would definitely have to change the nut to do it properly (a minor job for a luthier). For solos, it would be great, for grooving, not so great!
  14. I have used the EADGC tuning for years on my fretted and fretless Carvin 5 strings. This is a great tuning for jazz solos. As mentioned by bassmonkey the best way to get strings is to buy a set of four strings and order the "C" string. I go one better and look for sales on 4&5 string sets and order the extra strings from my local dealer. I do this for the 7 string bass as well.
  15. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I did go straight from 4 to 6, but when I was considering a 5 there was no question that I would have strung it high C. Love those soaring fretless solos...

  16. mtrotier


    Jun 6, 2011
    What do you think: For those who are comfortable with the guitar fretboard. Tune the high c bass at E A D F# B. This gives the same interval relationship and therefore fingering as the 5 highest strings on a guitar. To the guitarist/bassist, the ear to fretboard relationship will exist by default. One knows all the arpeggios scales exc.. You could even play chords or intervals on the high part of the neck. I intend to try this by buying a cheap bass, replacing the nut, and buying a set of 6 string bass string, and slap them on. Has any body heard of this, what do you think. Thanks
    Bluebard likes this.
  17. 1. Congrats- ZOMBIE thread of the year! :D
    2. If you can imagine a tuning & there are gauges/lengths available, it has been done.
    3. Welcome to TB. :)
    Need Gigs likes this.
  18. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Except for truss rod adjustment, thats it. When stringing fiver eadgb or eadgc, instead of beadg. Cause the nut slots dont gotta be widened for heavier strings. Ive owned a three fivers and all ended up being strung eadgb. Like guitar. Makes lot more sense to me for doing chords etc then does eadgc. High b or c is useful for leads as well as for chord adds for those doing more out of the box stuff. Most c strings can do b tuning fine as well. Unless useing extra light strings in which case medium light might work better if that step down to B makes string a little to loose from extra light gauge.
  19. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Matt Garrison, Hardian Feraud have theirs tuned that way.
    I would do the same thing, except I'm so used to have a 5 string with a low B, when I did do it, it kinda messed me up!

    I like have a low B string, but like having the high C as well.

    But really, get a 24 fret 4 and you only have 6 less nots than if you had a high C.
    The new Carvin Brian Bromberg model gives pretty full access to all 24 frets.
    Hell, a Warwick Thumb NT has 26frets!
  20. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    i guess he could've posted a new thread and got publicly shunned! ;)

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