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Can I turn a ??

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Kirbe, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. Kirbe


    Oct 30, 2005
    Can I turn a 4 string Bass into a 5 string??Ive been really looking for a 5 string i like but i saw this really sweet 4 string its a Ibanez GSR200FM..i was wondering if thats even possible and how much it would cost to be done and how to?thankyou
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Uhmm, just buy a similiar 5 string ibanez model. Sr305 or any soundgear.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    No, it's not possible, not without paying about two or three times as much as the bass cost originally. And even if you do it, there's no guarantee that it will work. Just buy a 5 if you want a 5.
  4. Yeah. Not having ever built a bass, IMHO, I would think that you'd have to change out the neck, re-route the body to fit it, re-set or change out the pickups, change out the bridge.

    Pretty much a whole new bass, there. About the only thing you'll have left is your original finish on the body.

    Buy a new bass.
  5. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    You could also try BEAD tuning if you really love that particular bass. Or how about the GSR205?
  6. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    The original 5-string conversion kit used a reverse-tuning 5th string and a narrow-spaced 5 string bridge. You used a new nut, a headstock mounted string anchor, and the conversion bridge. I'm completely blanking on who made them but I see them occasionally on eBay and some of the boards.

    BTW, I think they were a bad idea and a quick way to ruin a bass, so I'm not endorsing them, just saying that such a thing has existed for a while.
  7. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    I'd also wondered about the idea of converting a bass you really liked, but wasn't available as a 5string. One in particular that comes to mind is the Sterling (which may be senseless with all the talk of a 5'ver coming out).

    Anyway, all talk of price, difficulty and value aside and if someone was less concerned with those well made points than they were with having a particular instrument they wanted to do, would it be possible, and if so, are there possibilities of, say for example, putting a Precision neck on in place of a Jazz to get some extra width?

    Also I believe the pickup situation could be handled fairly easily by paying attention to the available window of capture on any of a wide range of blade style pickups.
    Bartolini states on their site that the important thing is selecting a pickups window of capture is that you try to have at least 1/4" of room between the outside strings and the end of the pickup = some 4stringer pickups will work for a 5string application.

    With all that said, I agree with most of the opinions here that the original poster would be better off going with a factory built 5stringer, especially as there are so many available on both the new and used markets these days.

    So, with full acknowledgement to all the opposition to the idea of actually executing one, what would be the obstacles, and how would one best overcome them? :oops: :confused:
  8. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    <old man voice>

    In the mid eighties, 5 string basses were just starting to come onto the scene with any sort of frequency. The were definitely interesting to players, but not common enough to be readily available in a variety of price points. So, the 4 to 5 conversion that was mentioned above, the one with the one tuner on the bridge, was fairly common (but far from popular) I must have played a half dozen P basses that felt the wrath of a five string conversion.

    All of the converted basses that I ever played were tuned E-C. I don't know that I ever even saw one tuned B-G.

    There were playability problems:

    1. The reverse tuner was just goofy and bugged your hand
    2. The string spacing was REALLY tight. (Which made the P bass a popular choice because of the wider neck)

    It was also really hard to get the setup really right because of the added tension of the fifth string on a neck that was designed to manage the tension of four.

    </old man voice>