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BEAD Practical applications

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by lmfreeman9, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. lmfreeman9


    Sep 1, 2007
    Sorry if this is redundant but all of the threads on the subject are technical and the OP's asking what if.

    I already made the leap, stringing an old PV Fury P Bass with used Sadowsky Flats I had. Just long enough to fit and surprisingly tight on the B string. A lot of tension, had to adjust the neck, but am pretty pleased with the overall tone and playability.

    I play blues and classic rock and occasionally feel the need to go below B, but don't dig the few 5ers I've had. I have great difficulty enjoying the sound of the G (no treble please) and probably won't miss it and will find more reasons to use B. I am running a Yorkville Bassmaster 400 head and Markbass 4x10.

    What I want to know from you long term BEAD users, is what you use, how you use it and why it works for you. Please include equipment details and genre of music you play.

    Thanks in advance!

    Attached Files:

    T_Bone_TL likes this.
  2. I used BEAD on an Ibanez GSR200 in the time when my 5 string was in for repair, just so i had access to the notes i was used to having access to at the time.

  3. LemmyLicious


    Sep 27, 2010
    Just my kinda thread. :ninja:

    So, I've had BEAD (well, half-step down from that) on two basses now for some time, a cheapy ESP LTD Viper and now my Ibanez (http://www.musiikkiliike.fi/index.php?target=products&product_id=30831). Just put Rotosound SH flats on the Ibby, and it's all great. Left the A# to be a rounwound since I really don't see a use for it other than support for plucking through D# string (I play metal so there's alot of high-velocity runs and low stuff, of course) and the occasional arpeggio work I have to play lower since the line was originally written to be played on the upper strings.

    I also find dropping the F# string off a good idea since I want to focus on the low end instead of finding myself doodling with guitar-y lines. Most metal songs that need to go that high have the lines sounding like a guitar anyway, and I can go pretty high on the C# string too, of course (or play it an octave lower). Due to the relatively huge strings you get quite the tight string spacing, which I really like. Filing (and subsequently ruining it from the resale point of view) the nut and getting a decent string set from music stores are the only problems I'm havin'.

    I'm surprised the tuning is so rare, it makes so much sense for low-register metal and a lot of other genres too I reckon.
  4. lmfreeman9


    Sep 1, 2007
    Agreed Lemmy. I am playing against and supporting 2 guitars and do not need or want trebley notes-just an edge to the bass. I rarely run more than 25% treble and usually much less (0-10%) on the tone pot.
  5. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I normally play 6+ strings, so if I'm going to restrict myself to only four strings, I might as well go with the four most useful ones for almost any bassline I would need to play with only 4 strings, and that happens to be BEAD.

    I've considered tuning in fifths for my 4-strings, though, as B-F#-C#-G# contains every note available on a 5-string.
  6. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I was in an originals alt-country band for a short time and BEAD just worked. I never missed the G string and loved having more bottom end. BEAD works really well for root-fifth songs in G since you can go down rather than going up for the fifth.

    But I mainly play classic rock now. I think when you are playing a lot in E that standard tuning just works better. And, let's face it, the songs I am playing where originally played in standard.
  7. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    BEAD is great for players who aren't comfortable on 5+ and need those extra low notes. I've never been afraid of 5, since that's what I started on, but I've played BEAD and would gladly do it again, if I weren't spoiled by my Dingwall. I've found B tuning better than drop D or D standard, even C#. Sure, playing some drop D tunes (like any Tool) is just easier in drop D, but with practice B can work just as well.
  8. lmfreeman9


    Sep 1, 2007
    Well. I answered my own question. Brought the Fury to rehearsal as a backup. Once I picked it up, I never put it down. It sounds HUGE and the band LOVED it!

    I find it VERY easy to transcribe songs and most are easier to play and sound better. The only downside is that I am forced to play in unfamiliar territory (now the D string) on parts of the neck I don't usually play. (Which in the long run,is a good thing) I have options which improve songs fundamentally like going from E on the A string to E on the B string in a reverse octave. Never missed G.

    I cannot understand why I waited this long and maybe the key elements for me are:
    A good amp
    A band situation with 2 guitars
    Flatwounds and
    the fact that I do not play a lot of embellishments or slap
  9. rubendlr


    Mar 10, 2012
    Austin, TX, USA
    I just tuned my 83 Precision BEAD and I haven't had so much fun in years. I always wanted to get a Jazz bass because my hands are so small. But I got a short scale Jaguar Bass instead, skinnier AND shorter scale. Anyway, I was having buzzing issues on the P-Bass and I decided it couldn't be any worse so I'd try BEAD. Guess what - it plays better in BEAD than in EADG! Again with my small hands, a 5 string was never really an option, but now I can hit those notes on a 4 string and I still have my Jag for the high and fast stuff. Win - win. :hyper:
  10. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I was going through this a few months ago, debating the merits of BEAD, BEADG, and the apparent dark horse, CGDA. I finally bought a fiver and tried to love it. No fear here, but no love either. I had dismissed CGDA as being impractical on a scale length longer than a cello's, double basses don't use it after all. But then I discovered that some double bassists do use CGDA. Given that I had to at least try it and to be honest, I love it! Even though it is not for everyone the experience I now have with it tells me that other four string tunings certainly can work for those who are not happy with fivers. The church music I play tends to benefit more from the low notes a fiver gives you than from the range it gives you. So BEAD undoubtedly would have worked quite well for me too if I had tried it instead of the fiver. In fact if I had bought a 24 fret SR500 instead of an SR505 and tuned it BEAD I would have almost all the range of my 20 fret EADG Fender, plus the five extra notes on the bottom end. I mean capo it at the fifth fret and you have a 19 fret short scale EADG bass! I think it is an excellent option but I'm head over heels for CGDA right now and I expect that to continue.

  11. lmfreeman9


    Sep 1, 2007
    When you go CGDA what set of strings do you use? (gauges)
  12. BEAD is a good option for those with smaller hands and/or shorter fingers who have difficulty stretching them out. I had a Precision I did that with for a while, and it sounded great.
  13. I've got an SBMM SB14 that I've got set up in BEAD, it's my backup bass for Cassandra Syndrome (where my main one is a Schecter 6-string). Since I switched the Sterling over to EB Slinkies, I've been majorly in love with it: super playable, awesome tone, just a boatload of fun!

  14. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I've been playing 5's and 6's only for pretty much the last two decades, but I wanted to get a true P/J config Spector 4-string so I decided to go with their 35" scale Euro 4-string.

    The prog metal band I'm right now has songs largely based around low B and drop A, and although I composed all the bass lines so far on my 5-string, I noticed I was pretty much never using the G string for this material, so it made sense to give BEAD a go. I think the weirdest thing for me was getting used to the high string not being a G. Early on there were a couple times I hesitated briefly when reaching to play a note on the D.

    OP I think in your case from you described, you'll probably like BEAD just fine.
  15. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Ideally 0.133, 0.087, 0.057, 0.037. Most likely your brand of strings won't offer those exactly. I am currently using GHS Precision Flats (0.128, 0.085, 0.055, 0.040) and GHS Pressure Wound Flats (0.128, 0.084, 0.058, 0.040).

  16. LemmyLicious


    Sep 27, 2010
    Also, I've found that BEAD is a great way to get used to the idea of a 5-string. Used to find fivers awkward but after half a year or so with BEAD I can now visualize the neck much better, without having to go through the frustration (and investment) of playing a fiver at first. Might have to get a fretless fiver as my next bass. :p
  17. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I tried it for a heavy project and liked the ability to go low. I don't miss that skinny little string.
  18. lmfreeman9


    Sep 1, 2007
    Ditto that!
  19. lmfreeman9


    Sep 1, 2007
    That's really where the rubber meets the road. I realize a lot of players like the high notes, slapping, embellishments, etc. But for the rest of us who are only concerned with the low end, B has more utility than G. I still spend most of my time on EAD and many songs B isn't used. When I use B, I am judicious, especially played open, + C or C#.

    For songs in D and E, especially when the octave is used, it's huge! I especially like the low end tones on D and using a much larger percentage of the neck.

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