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B-E-A-D Stringing

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bgavin, Feb 13, 2002.


  1. Anybody here have hands-on experience with B-E-A-D stringing on their P-Bass?

    I'm curious about the results, tone differences, playability, etc.
     
  2. DaveB

    DaveB

    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    I had my '75 P strung BEAD for a couple for months. That included daily practice, weekly band rehearsals and about four gigs (my RB5 was/is my primary gig bass).

    It started as an experiment. I didn't want to have a new nut put in so I simply put the bigger strings in the old nut. The B string sat pretty high in the nut but was very playable. A little bridge and truss rod tweeking made the action satisfactory ( my action is medium-high anyway)Tonally, it was terrific.It sounded just like my P except with a low B. I didn't miss the G string as much as I thought. I just moved up the neck to compensate.

    Since I had a "real" fiver there wasn't much point in continuing the experiment so I went back to four strings but clearly the experiment was a success. For any player who has a four string, doesn't want to get a fiver but likes getting down on a B string it is certainly a viable alternative. Of course, the "proper" way to do it is to get a new nut.
     
  3. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I've modded My P bass derivitive (Ibanez GSR), and a friends Fender MIM P to BEAD, and in both cases, they played with respectable performance on the B, and sounded fine, once the B string is accomodated to by playing style. It's a fine deal, if you have no desire for that G, like I did on my four. Certainly cheapens search for a B, but you might sacrifice versatility in it's name.

    Personally, I have no qualms with it.
     
  4. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    I have a 35 scale neck thru kawai (alembic type) that I keep strung BEAD. I put an adjusable nut on it and it works great. The bass is very solid so it has a good response, and i use the g string the least of all my strings plus I just really dont like the feel of most 5er necks so it has worked out great.
     
  5. What is involved in replacing the nut?

    I'm primarily a 5-string player, and rarely use the upper G string. I just bought a MIM P4 and am thinking hard about BEAD on a permanent basis.
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Well, A nice set of circular files, or, like I did, a Dremel tool. Worked out nicely
     
  7. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    On the mim's (and all fenders I believe) they have that skinny nut (I hate those) but "most" of the time you can take a small plastic mallet and give it a few good taps and it will come out. Go down to the local shop and pick up a replacement nut and a little glue (just a little) and pop it in. Now you can file your nut slots and be done. BIG BIG TIP , purchase 2 nuts. On the first one file each slot ( make sure the bass is setup good prior to taking out the original nut) until the strings just barely start to buzz. After all strings are "slightly" buzzing use that nut as gauge. Pull out the calipers and measure the slot depth. Now on the second nut file the slots to within .025. Now file down the slot to taste paying attention not to go to deep and knowing the height from your first nut is where it will start buzzing so stay above that. How much above that is really up to you, if you play hard stay a little higher if you play soft you can get closer. Its not a big deal and it sounds harder than it is but its easy. I have done this to all my basses and its key to the "ultimate" setup. On all my basses though they use the wider nut and I just buy an adjustable nut and install it. Doing this really lets you play with your board very flat and you can lower your action all the way around. Or you can mill the nut slot wider and drop in an adjustable just be sure to check neck widths.
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Hmn. I just used a Dremel tool, and used one of he Diamond headed bits, and gently widened my nut, without taking ot off or buying new a new nut. I It was pretty harmless, and I've done it on a couple of basses with no damage done to anything...
     
  9. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    I say use a different nut because if you choose to go back to normal tuning alot of times the slots will be to wide and the strings will buzz in the nut. This way you can switch back and forth.
     
  10. Much obliged. Sounds like good information.
     
  11. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Did you all ready get your P?
    If not, you should just consider the MIA 5 string P-bass. :)
     
  12. No, my MIM P4 has not arrived yet.

    The MIA P5 best price is $995 at the Bass Place in Arizona. I passed it over for several reasons: inline-5 headstock, plastic tuners, cheesy Fender active preamp, typical Fender 5-string neck, and standard MIA bridge. I'd have to replace the tuners and preamp, and live with the neck and bridge. The P5 is a *long* way down from my RB5.

    The alternative is finding another RB5 and replacing the neck pickup with a Bill Lawrence P-46. I'd get the 4+1 headstock, Hipshot tuners, no preamp, RB5 neck and RB5/Gotoh massive bridge. For me, modding a used RB5 is a better idea than hassling with a Warmoth build. The string spacing is tighter on the Warmoth deluxe 5, and Gotoh no longer manufactures the 206/GC5 bridge that is used on my RB5.

    The MIM P4 is an experiment plus a way to get myself instantly into a P sound for a reasonable cost. If I can successfully string the MIM as BEAD, I can live without the G string, and all the hassle of modding another RB5. It may turn out the P tone is just GAS, I won't have wasted a lot of cash modding an RB5 into something with no resale value.
     
  13. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    Its a good idea. I have not been able to comfortably adjust to the larger necks on the 5 and up basses so I choose to do it like this. The luthier I use has built a wonderful 6 string with standard P spacing, this is the first "to many string bass" that I have felt at home on but other than that im a fish out of water so I will stick with 4 and be comfortable. You will probably want to can those pups but thats just me.
     
  14. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    The MIA 5 doesn't sound bad at all, Falsehood had an mp3 he recorded with it, that sounded simply incredible. :)

    I believe it was all stock, and he was recording using a Bass POD with only the mids turned up a bit on the bass' preamp.


    Whatever floats your boat, though, I just figured I'd throw that out in the air for you. :)
     
  15. Prague77

    Prague77

    Aug 20, 2001
    Waco, TX
    meh! i couldnt stand not to have the g string. Just get a 5 or get a hip shot detuner
     
  16. I have an RB5 now. I bought the MIM P as an inexpensive experiment for getting into the P tone. Unfortunately, I really don't want to play a 4-string, cuz I use my B string constantly. I don't use my G string hardly at all, which is why I asked the question.

    String tension tuning BEAD is less than standard tuning. And much less using TI Jazz Flats in BEAD.

    If the P thing works well for me, I plan on finding another RB5 and modding the neck pickup to a split-P type. If it doesn't work for me, I will have a nice P4 to diddle with, or I can easily sell it on eBay for what I have in it.