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Alternative tunings for 5-string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by EvoMan, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. I am thinking of getting a 5 string fretless and I am wondering whether a 5 string always has to be tuned with a low B.

    I only play a fretted 4 at the moment and generally believe that I would get more out of adding a higher string on a fretless, not a lower string. If I get a stock 5 string fretless, can I tune it EADGB or EADGC or will I run into a problem with the bridge or nut?

    I don't suppose the tuning makes any difference for the electronics? Any idea if a lightwave system would be sensitive to string thickness if I go with a lightwave fretless?

  2. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    I've tuned my 5 strings a couple of different ways. My Alembic is tuned to the standard BEADG but my Warwick is tuned ADGCF. In the past I've also had a standard Ibanez tuned EADGB. The only thing that I've had to do for all those tunings is adjust the action and intonation and the lower tuning I used heavier strings. Electronics-wise its not a big deal.
  3. So you haven't had a problem with the nut or bridge? The limited info I could find searching the talkbass archives included comments from people warning of having to get a new nut to use EADGB. I didn't think that going from thick to thinner strings would be too big a deal (as opposed to tuning down, where the string might not actually fit into the slot in the nut).

    By the way, I had originally assumed that one would use EADGB on a 5 , if you were to add a higher string (based on my knowledge of guitar tuning). However, I saw people refering to EADGC. Is there a tuning that is more common on a 5 string bass (not including the obvious BEADG).

    I would think that EADGC would be easier to adapt to, unless one has been a guitar player in the past and was used to the B.
  4. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    Yeah it seems that most 6 string basses tune the highest string to c, since I play guitar as well as bass I tuned it to B. As far as the nut question goes I didn't have any problems. If string height is a problem you can always either add a shim under the nut or adjust the action.

  5. If someone chooses to tune EADGB or EADGC, can they actually but a 5 string set that is not intended to include a low B? The lightest set I can find have been something like 30-50-70-90-115, so that the E would have to be a 115 and the other strings would also be a bit on the thick side. Cam I get a set with something like 25-35-55-75-95? Would I have to pay out for a 6 string set and dump the low B? Thanks.
  6. Wyman


    Sep 5, 2004
    Nashua, NH
    You have to pay for a 6 string set to get the high C string. The only way around it is buying a four string pack, and than buying a single C string, but shops usually only have one brand of strings available for single string sale.
  7. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    Some companies make a 5 string set with high C.

    A quick search of Google and Juststrings.com shows Warwick and La Bella.
  8. bassamico


    Dec 4, 2016
  9. Kalium strings or Bassstringsonline.com both allow you to build whatever you want as long as it is in stock. There are as many tunings as there are bass manufacturers. Most popular for a 5 string are BEADG or EADGC. But, you can go AEADG (drop A), ADADA (B and E strings down a whole step and G up a whole step), ADGCF (tenor bass), F#BEAD (metal!!!), or whatever you want it to be.
    Grumry likes this.
  10. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    I'm sure string availability has improved much during the 13 years this thread laid dormant.
    warrplayer, lz4005 and Grumry like this.