BEAD tuning on Gibson EB-0L (34" standard scale), string recommendations?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ajkula66, May 3, 2017.

  1. I'm going to start by saying that I fully understand that my question is likely a long shot, given that these basses are not all that common, and that the number of owners who actually de-tuned them to BEAD at any point in the game is even smaller...anyway...

    A couple of starting points and concerns:

    1) I can't play flatwounds. Never could. Tried it time and time again over the past 35+ years, but they just don't work *for me*. Not a diss towards zillions of my fellow bass players who enjoy them worldwide, just a thought to bear in mind.

    2) The bass is currently strung 50-115 in standard tuning, feels nice and very tight and I'm certain that I could drop down to C# without getting a "bow & arrow" effect, but that's not where I want to go. I'd like it to become a 5-stringer who left its G string in another lifetime...

    3) Given the tuners (this is an early model with a slotted headstock) as well as the nut, I doubt that I'll be able to get away with anything thicker than 125, and even that might be a stretch, although probably a doable one.

    That's what I've got right now. Questions are welcomed, and suggestions appreciated.
  2. Fender has a light 5 string 7250 set in .40-.115 that is normally a G to Low B tuning. Using the D -B strings and tuning BEAD should get you what you want although it may not bear heavily tensioned as you wish. GHS has a Boomer set that is .50 to .110 that is so tension heavy it might tune down to BEAD without floppiness. I used it as a DGCF tuning but it was still very stiff.
  3. Thanks for replying.

    I'm not a huge fan of Fender strings but it's also been decades since I've last tried them so I might give that 7250 set a shot.

    As for the Boomers...that's what's on this bass right now, only E is actually 115...yes, the tension is quite heavy.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    You just answered your own question.
    Use a 5 string set without the G. Widen the nut slots as needed to get them to fit.
    Since you've been using a .115 for E, I would suggest starting with a .130 B.
  5. I can't widen the nut enough to fit a 130 B string, let alone the tuners. I believe that much was clear from my original post.

    Also, I was asking for a specific recommendation on the strings.

    Thanks nevertheless.
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    You didn't say anything about not being able to widen the nut in the OP.

    Tuners don't need to be altered if you use strings with the correct ball-to-taper length.

    There isn't a B string that will give you the same lbs of pull as a .115 E that will fit in your current nut slots.

    Change the nut or change your plans.
  7. Huh. I thought that what I said in the OP regarding "getting away" with no more than 125 was clear enough. Guess not.

    As for the tuners, it doesn't seem that you've dealt with slot-headstock EB models, otherwise you'd understand where I'm coming from.

    Not changing the nut and/or the tuners, can't go over 125 for B. Fully understand - after almost 40 years of playing bass-that the chances of finding a 115 B with enough tension to please me are slim. That's why I left 125 as the margin.

    Any *specific* recommendations now?
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Get a different bass.
  9. A brilliant suggesttion indeed. Now how in the world haven't I come up with that one myself.

    Thanks for the help. I couldn't get my issue resolved without it. Let alone with it.
  10. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Metal strings don't exist that will do what you want to do without altering your nut.

    You don't want to alter the nut.

    So either give up on the tuning, live with floppier strings than you want or get a different instrument you won't mind changing the nut on. Those are the only options.
  11. So there's no 120 or 125 B string that will not be floppy? I find that a bit difficult to believe. More than just a bit, really.

    I've played fivers in very distant past, and not all of them had a floppy "B", nor were they strung with stuff that would be suitable for a utility pole.

    In a few more days I'll just buy a bunch of strings and start testing, which is the option I wanted to avoid to begin with since I'm not young anymore and the time is precious...oh well.
  12. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Gibson EB-OL bass.jpg Are you talking about one of these? If so, I think you're going to have to drill some tuner holes out - and change the nut - if you want to go BEAD with bigger strings. Or, just face the fact that there are some basses that simply can't be modified to do something they weren't designed to do. Personally, if it were mine, I certainly wouldn't screw with it. But, it's not; it's yours, so... good luck with it.:thumbsup:
    lz4005 likes this.
  13. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    None will be nearly as tight as your .115 E. You can't go up .005 and down 5 half steps and not be much more floppy.
  14. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    I don't have an answer but if it was me I might try reaching out to the major string manufacturers. Maybe there are strings with extra thick cores that increase tension without increasing string diameter. You may even be able to have a custom set wound for you. I'd be a little concerned about long term effects on such a classic bass but I'm a bit of a purist (and a 5 string player).
  15. Yes.

    Trust me, I have no intention of performing an irreversible mod of any kind on a dead stock '70 bass. If the concept that I have in mind doesn't come to fruition, I'll be happy to play it "as-is".
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  16. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Those basses are CHUNKY sounding so I get where the concept comes from. That beefy tone on a way down tuned string, it makes sense
    ajkula66 likes this.
  17. I've had some time to spare this morning and tried this approach. The E-turned-B string was actually less floppy than I expected, although I wouldn't be able to live with it in the long run. That being said, above 5th fret - where the tension started being acceptable - the tone it produced could likely do permanent damage to one's kidneys if played at louder volumes. Loved it.
  18. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    That's not what tension is. Tension is the lbs of pull the tuner puts on the string to get it to pitch. It is the same the full length of the string.
  19. From the terminology aspect you're correct. Which is about the first valid contribution that you've made to this thread so far.

    I was referring to the feel of the instrument. No less important than the science itself. Otherwise, everyone would be playing the same set of strings with the perfect, scientifically calculated tension of xyz lbs.

    I might come up with a different term to describe this aspect of reality the next time around. Or I might not.
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