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BEAD Tuning on a MIM 4 stringer?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by megiddo, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. megiddo


    Apr 5, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    I've done a search on BEAD tuning and seen all the reasons to do it and not to do it. I REALLY want to get a 5er but that's out of the question for the foreseeable future, sooo..... since I want to go low I'm debating converting my MIM Fender Jazz to BEAD.

    I play Praise and Worship music that leans toward Alternative Rock. My jazz has Bart j4 pups, the electronics have been upgraded with new pots that are wired for series / parallel, and it's strung with Rotosound SwingBass 66 strings. In church I use a Peavey Basic 112, for Praise and Worship gigs I use my Ampeg SVT 3pro with an SVT 1540 cab. I've been playing for a couple of years and have finally found a sound that I like, BUT I would like to have the option of the B string. I very rarely (if ever) use the G string. If I did go BEAD I'd get a 5 string set and just not use the G.

    So, it's time to ask the experts! With those considerations what would you do? Would I be able to get a good quality B out of my setup or should I just hold out for a 5er sometime in the next 10 years? Ha! Will Barts made for a 4 string set up be able to give me a beefy B.

    (Beefy B - sounds like a rap artist's name. Ha!) :D

    Thanks for your help.
  2. eldave777


    May 24, 2005
    If you get the Music man a lot of guys I sell to that tune them BEAD have me order a 5 string B bridge saddle. They will use a set of 5 string bass strings and leave out the .45 string. It seems to work well. Have it set up at the store if you do this.
  3. megiddo


    Apr 5, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Thanks Joshua, I'm pretty sure I'm going to try it, but my main concern is getting a quality sound out of my rig. It makes no since being able to have those great low notes if they sound like crap.

    Oh, I forgot to say that I've changed out the stock bridge for a BA II, should I mess with the grooves in the saddles, or leave well enough alone? And when I say "I" I mean my bass tech. I once "tweeked" my bridge during rehearsal and really messed up the intonation. The guys in my band will smack me if I go anywhere close to my bass with a screwdriver! Ha!

    Is there anything special about 5 string pups other than being longer to accommodate 5 strings? More windings, different electronics? Just wondering if my Barts can go that low.

    Sorry for the "newbieness" of this post, but I value all the expertise here.
  4. SubMonkey


    May 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    fwiw I play a franken-jazz tuned BEAD.

    +1 to all that's been said here..... to shorten the story, count on doing a full setup (truss rod, top nut filed, bridge saddle filed, drill the bridge to accept the wider b-string in the e-string slot etc..)

    the only info I could add is that mine has Bartolini J pickups in it, as well as the NTBT preamp, and the B comes through very clearly.... I've gotten to the point that I play my 4 stringers tuned BEAD more than my fivers anymore. I highly recommend this setup...

  5. I strung my iceman BEAD just recently and only had to make the nut slots wider. I got a buzz for awhile until the neck adjusted itself, but I should have the tension checked.
    I didn't notice any problems with the tone of the B, but I also have a 1x18 in my stack, so that probably helps. If you're playing in places with a house PA, you'll probably be playing thru 15s or 18s, so it shouldn't be a problem.
  6. megiddo


    Apr 5, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Well, I think I'm going to give it a shot. Two more questions. First, what would be the 5 string equivalent to rotosound SwingBass 66's? Second, (assuming that the B string can fit through the E string hole on my bridge) do you think I could string 'em up for a test run without messing anything up. Like breaking the nut at the E slot?

    That way I could get a semi good idea what it would sound like before I pulled the trigger. I've got an outdoor gig coming up July 10th and I want to do this well before then so I can get used to the new set up.

    Which brings up another question. How hard is it to get used to things?

    Man, I guess I have a million questions. :D
  7. megiddo


    Apr 5, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Well, I took the plunge and restrung my bass. I had a complete professional setup to give it the best chance of being a keeper and it worked. He filed the nut slots and bridge to fit the larger string and adjusted the truss rod. The strings aren't floppy and it sounded great through my Peavey Basic 112. I can't wait to use my big rig with it. :hyper:

    So far so good. If anyone is considering doing the BEAD thing on a MIM Fender Jazz do it! I'm really liking the sound of E played on the B string.

    One word of caution. I picked it up on Friday evening and didn't get a chance to play it until church today. I made it about half way through before I switched back to my buddy's MIM Precision. Glad I brought it with me this morning. Seems I have more "muscle memory" than I thought. :meh:
  8. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Rotosound makes 5 string Swing Bass 66 sets, I love rotosounds but never got a decent tone out of the low B's, give it a shot though.

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