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Change a 5 string with low B to a high C

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Christian Houmann, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. Can you change a 5 string bass (35 scale) with low B and put E-C strings on with out any problem?

    And can you buy a 5 strings set with E-C?

  2. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    You could probably tune a regular 5-string pack up another 4th... maybe not. don't sue me if the strings snap and hit you in the eye.
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Better go back to OT, Mike :rollno: ;)

    Dont do that. EVER! You will have string stiffness that will be beyond enjoyable, the strings will sound bad and I've not even mentiod the strain that it will put on the neck - which might even crack.

    There are E-C sets available, but they are very-very rare. Try rather 4-string sets with an individual C.
    For example, you can get individual C strings from DR and they sound good, too. For a C, 0.030 or larger is the way to go if you want it to last and still have a strong full tone.
    Also, if this doesnt want to work, you can try a 6-string set, and then you can choose either to string BEADG or EADGC.

    If you plan on making it an E-C tuned bass and not changing back ocassionally, it might be a good idea to get a suitable nut - as the smaller strings might rattle in the bigger slots (though that is just a small niggle, and just an acoustic phenomenon: it will most probably not come through your amp)
  4. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001

    I wouldn't advise that unless the 5 string pack you started with were VERY low gauge!! The tension placed on the neck would be really high, and also, the strings would end up being seriously stiff!

    Hou, as mutantbassist said, you may need to look at the nut, as the slows may prove to be to deep for an E-C tuning. However, I've done this swap myself with a Musicman Stingray 5, and got away with it without changing the nut. Also, you'll need to adjust intonation and action.

    Regarding the sets, some companies do provide them, but again, as mutantbassist said, it's probably easier just to add a C string to a four string pack. Or ..... get a 6 string pack, in preparation for your return to the low B!! :D
  5. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    I have a five string strung E to C, and I love it that way. I don't have any problems with string noise. If you are not comfortable with doing this yourself, take to someone that can set your bass up for you. As far as buying string sets with a E-C set up, you can find them, (or order them that way) but they are hard to find....around where I live anyway. I buy a six string set and string it up the way I need it. The only problem is I have a bunch of B strings that I don't use.

    This should have probably been posted in set up, not basses.
  6. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Yes, it can be done, but there will be a setup issue. Don't do what Mike Money said, do it the right way.

    I am moving this to Setup.
  7. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I switched my lakland to a 5 string "tenor" and didn't have to change the nut. The slots are roomy but there is no buzzing at all. I just get a four string set from D'addario and order C strings seperately. I've mixed brands a couple times but I didn't really notice a big string-to-string tonal difference.
  8. bluemonk


    Dec 17, 2002
    I've ordered a separate C string along with a pack of 4 to get the setup you are looking for. Watch out for the low gauge because those C strings get pretty skinny in a low gauge. Maybe that's soemthing you'd like, but it feels weird to me, and it produces an almost guitar-like sound out of the C string. Lots of clarity, though.
  9. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Hey bluemonk,

    That wouldn't happen to have been the BTB tuned EADGC would it? I'd been planning on stringing it that way when it arrives, haha.

    And if it was my bass, what strings did you use? I have some strings here that I bought for my bass project only to find that they are too short to put on a 35" scale. Am I going to have to take the bass to the store to buy strings now or what?!?

    AND...I never really cared so much for playing on the higher frets anyway. How different does the C string at say the 7th fret sound compared to the G at 12th?

    I hadn't thought too much about this tuning until I tried a Modulus 5er that I discovered was E-C after I picked it up and really liked the "B" string on that one!
  10. I'm looking at having this done to my washburn 5. If i were to take it soemwhere, like a repair place, how much do you think a reasonable price would be, excluding the strings and a new nut?
  11. I tuned my Aria IGB 68/5 E to C as well....I have only seen one set of strings in this tuning so I usually go to just strings .com and buy a 4 string set and a single around .027 to .035 depending on the gauge of the rest of the strings. It didn't require a nut change for me either. In fact the only difference I encountered was a little lower action which for me was good ( not low enough to cause any buzz). I was about to get rid of the "fiver" the low B isn't for me but now I enjoy this bass a lot
  12. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    You usually don't have to replace the nut if you use medium to high guage strings. I use Heavys if I can find them so it would be rare that I'd need to replace the nut.

    I keep thinking I'd like to have a high-C string, but I really like getting those deeply voiced notes on a B string. I should get a 6 string, but I just don't like the feel of them.

    Maybe I'll get a cheap bass to string ADGC sometime.