BEAD instead of EADG?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ericmknight1906, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. I've come to the conclusion that my hands just aren't fast enough to play a 5 string bass not matter whether its finger style or slap. Either the finger boards are too wide or the strings are too close together.

    I was thinking about regressing to a 4 string and buying a musicman sterling and stringing it to a BEAD so I wouldn't lose the versatility of a 5 string. Has anyone ever attempted this type of stringing on a 4 string? And If so how did it work out?

  2. TOOL460002


    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz
    tim c played that setup with audioslave- and im pretty sure wooten has played a 4 string strung ADGC- so it can definitely be done. no personal experience- but id assume you only need someone to make make you a new nut.
  3. wazzel


    Dec 27, 2007
    Cypress, TX
    That is not an uncommon thing to do. I think all it takes it to reslot the nut. I have been considering that to.
  4. ghiadub


    Jan 17, 2006
    Auburn, CA
    I have done this to several basses. It is very common and it is nice to play in a "closed" posistion if you need to transpose a song for a singer's range. Or just to be able to play higher up on the neck.

    You will have to slot the nut and check/modify your intonation. (you should be running the lower four strings from a 5 string set)
  5. TheDarkReaver

    TheDarkReaver Inactive

    Mar 20, 2006
    Lincolnshire, UK
    you can actually get away with using your regular gauge strings, i did it for over a year with no problems...well apart from being a tiny bit looser than you would get with a proper low b string. still playable though,
  6. I thought of trying that someday [ADGC], but I'm pretty sure you need a 35" scale bass for that - but it does sound intriguing.
  7. I just tried the BEAD on my 4 string Jazz...It doesn't sound right and the Tension feels kind of Funky. Instead I bought the heaviest 4 gauge set I could find and detuned the strings to BEAD. That seems to work better. (A tad bit loosey goosey) but at the same time the strings seem more easier to work with.
  8. A year ago I played in a Blues band in which the singer (limited range) sang a *lot* in D - and a bit in G. It was also agreed that the bass should be as 'foundation' as possible, and I also have small hands - I had a Yamaha RBX375 which was giving me hand-pain.

    I used both an oldish - but nice) Ibanez Roadstar 2 fretted and a Westone Thunder III Mk2 Fretless 4 strings strung BEAD using the bottom 4 strings of a 5 string set - Roto Flats for the Fretless & Hi-Beams for the Fretted.

    You only need to *widen* the nut slots - DON'T make them any deeper. Also, I've put regular EADG strings back on both of these without later problems on the same nut.

    The other thing (contrary to most people's expectations) is that there is actually less tension with BEAD than there is with EADG - go to the sites which give you string tensions and do the arithmetic!

    I'd say give it a go - I still use the Westone BEAD.
  9. schnigges


    Jun 29, 2008
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    You could also try DGCF
  11. Ampegged Paul

    Ampegged Paul

    Jun 17, 2008
    I too am an "ex" 5 stringer because of the neck width. Ever since then ive restrung 4's with BEAD tuning. I just have no use for the g string. Right now I use GHS heavy Boomers on my Geddy Fender. You will probably have to file the E string nut and the intonation is different.:bassist:
  12. Modifying the nut was a bad idea as I found out for myself. So here is the setup I'm content with.

    Fender Active Jazz tuned to BEAD with Daddario super light gauge .95-.40 and super low action. Play like a 4 string with the sound of a 5. Is the G string really necessary??

    Gotoh Bridge with a Tusq/Ivory Nut
    Bass/Treble both about 5 or 6, Mids about 6 or 7ish and Pan mostly to the bridge pickup.

    This setup almost plays itself

    There is this myth that you lose tone with light gauge strings but that's not true at all. There is also a myth that Fenders perform poorly with thin strings. That's not true either.

    The light gauge D's tuned down to BEAD with no problem. intonation was still spot on. And the feeling was silky smooth.;)
  13. Ampegged Paul

    Ampegged Paul

    Jun 17, 2008
    Not only do I play in that tuning all of the time(even in 34" scale) but I have a Musicman Sub Bass for sale with that very tuning already set up on it.:bassist:
    Lemme know if youre interested.
  14. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    You can tune a bass any way you want. The tension is the important part, not so much the scale length (although the scale length plays a part in that).

    What you need to do is factor in the tuning, gauges of strings you'll need, and the scale length of your instrument to find the "correct" tension (not so loose it's unplayable, not too tight so the strings will break, comfortable to play). You may need to make adjustments to the nut, and a new setup is often necessary.

    I recommend this site:
  15. MHensleyJr

    MHensleyJr Supporting Member

    May 5, 2008
    Redlands, CA
    Dude this isn't the classifieds, so don't advertise you bass for sale here!:mad:
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    When I used to play 4 string basses I had EADG and Eflat and DGCF and BEAD ... All work fine ... but I finally settled on BEADG ... I can play 99.9% of what I do with that tuning.
  17. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    I used to play BEAD before, it's a really handy tuning, and will work fine on a good 34" bass, you just need a decent B string.

    Th ADGC that Victor uses is starting at the A of a standard 4 string, or in other words the high 4 strings of a six string.
    Its Tenor tuning.
    The tuning Solarmist is speaking of is a whole octave lower.
  18. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    You wouldn't necessarily need a 35" scale to tune down to ADGC, just like you don't need a 32" scale to tune up to ADGC.

    It is my understanding that scale length plays a much smaller role in determining the string tension as opposed to the gauge, mass, and material of the strings themselves.
  19. Ampegged Paul

    Ampegged Paul

    Jun 17, 2008