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 shows Warwick and La Bella.