"BEAD" Tuning?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Mr.Sharkfist, May 7, 2017.


  1. Mr.Sharkfist

    Mr.Sharkfist

    Nov 8, 2015
    Hi bassists, I had an idea not to long ago that I wanted to try on my bass guitar. I was going to try to attempt to remove the G string and put the D string in it's place then move the A string where the D was and the E where the A was and then add in a low D string (like a 5 string bass) where the E string usually would sit. This would make it tune to DEAD hence the name of the title. I had a few questions concerning this idea as well, is it as simple as it sounds? Will I have to adust the saddles for the bridge or nut? Will there be a significant amount of added string pressure that I'd have to be careful with neck tension? Thanks for reading everyone, any input is appreciated!
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    BEAD tuning would be more normal than DEAD tuning. Having two strings tuned so closely together would confuse the heck out of me.
     
    PillO likes this.
  3. Mr.Sharkfist

    Mr.Sharkfist

    Nov 8, 2015
    I'm sorry that's what I meant. Forgive me I have dyslexia, sorry for the confusion! :)
     
    bholder likes this.
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    So changing from EADG to BEAD typically would involve tweaks to the nut, the bridge settings (re-do intonation and saddle height adjustments), and maybe a truss rod adjustment. Not terribly difficult.
     
  5. Mr.Sharkfist

    Mr.Sharkfist

    Nov 8, 2015
    Ok thank you, I currently use "Ernie Ball Power Slinky" string with a gauge of 110-55. What would be the best B string to match with that? Also what kind of tools would be necessary to adjust the nut?
     
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I like heavier gauge B strings, so I'd shoot for at least a .135, though you might prefer a .125. Basically get a matching single for the B and move the other 3 up one. Save the G in case you want to go back. And a set of nut files is what you need, the slots may need widening (not deepening) for the new strings gauges to seat properly. Or you could just try the strings without tweaking the nut and see if the results are satisfactory.
     
  7. Mr.Sharkfist

    Mr.Sharkfist

    Nov 8, 2015
    Alright thanks, I'm off to purchase my B string. Best regards.
     
    bholder likes this.
  8. BassBeginer64

    BassBeginer64 Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2018
    Riverside Ca
    Question on playing BEAD, do you play as EADG Tuning?
     
  9. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    I have a 4 string SX Jazz tuned BEAD, works well when I need it.
     
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    There are (at least?) two different ways to approach BEAD tuning.

    Method 1 is you learn all the notes of BEAD tuning, as they sound, so that you can play any song in its original concert-pitch key. So for example, when you fret the 1st fret of the low B string, you call that note "C" (because it *is* a C).

    Method 2 is you still think of it as EADG tuning, but you mentally transpose the song down a 5th into a different key. So for example, when you fret the 1st fret of the low B string, you call that note "F" (because it would be F in standard EADG tuning). But then you have to transpose the song to the new key. For example if the song is a I-IV-V progression in C Major (C, F, G) then you would transpose to F Major and play F, Bb, C, which will actually come out sounding concert-pitch C, F, G.

    Depending how your brain is wired, one method might be easier for you than the other. Whichever method you choose, it's important to be on the same page as the other musicians in your band (especially if the guitarist is used to watching your fingers!) so that you are all playing in the same key.
     
    dr doofie likes this.
  11. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Just get a Warwick Dark Lord.:D
     
    BassBeginer64 likes this.
  12. JACink

    JACink

    Mar 9, 2011
    Spain
    I have strung a few of my basses BEAD at some point or another. Some needed the nut filing, others didn't.

    If you have a plastic nut, a small cut off from the string can work as a file if you don't have any nut files.
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    the danger is indeed stuffing strings that are too fat into the nut slots, you risk breaking the corners of the nut off!

    get the slots filed out so the strings don't bind up in there and you're good to go. you shouldn't even need much of a truss rod adjustment, since if you think about it 3 of the four strings are the same, it's just changing a high G for a low B, and there may not be much tension difference between the two.

    mostly the saddles will all need to be adjusted back and maybe raised slightly, you're now playing the lowest 4 strings of a 5 string set.
     
    Stumbo likes this.
  14. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 16, 2022

Share This Page