Cheap bass recommendation for BEAD tuning

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RyanJD, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. RyanJD


    Apr 19, 2011
    Hey guys, I've got it in my head that I need a 4-string bass with BEAD tuning. I've got a 5-string Ibanez that I love, and a P bass and Warwick Corvette that are both 4-string. Rather than modifying the bridge and nut on one of those, I would like to buy something used and fairly inexpensive that I can toy with. (I'll be using a .145 B string, so yes, I'll probably have to bore out the bridge and take a dremel to the nut.)

    So what's a good 4-string pickup configuration that can transfer a solid B dynamic. For example, would a Squier P pickup struggle with that? A Jazz config? Humbucker? P/J? Something else? My concern is that 4-string bass pickups are designed for a low E and would struggle with a B. But maybe that would be a non-issue. What do you think?

    I'm looking to go no more than about $300-350. Under is better. Used, preferably.
    I've been looking at the Sterling SUB Ray4, old MIA Peaveys, and some Squiers. My preference would be to keep close to the classic styling of the J/P/Ray body styles, but I could live with something else at this price range. 35" scale length would be great, but I don't know of any at this budget.
    My main concern is that the low B booms. I can handle the setup for it, but the pickup config is the unknown variable in my mind.
    What does TB say?

  2. RyanJD


    Apr 19, 2011
  3. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    Don't worry about the pickup, just buy the one that you prefer for comfort and condition etc.

    I have strung various basses BEAD and never had an issue with the pickup (or the bridge, but I didn't have a 145 on there ;) ).

    It is quite possible you won't like the pickups for a number of reasons, but I wouldn't think that the B string would be one of them.
    St_G and lz4005 like this.
  4. RyanJD


    Apr 19, 2011
    Good info, thanks! Any particular basses you've really liked with the BEAD set up?
  5. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    My LTD 5 string, the bottom 4 strings are like that :whistle:

    On a serious note though, the one that lasted the longest as BEAD was a Harley Benton PJ active.
    Squittolo likes this.
  6. RyanJD


    Apr 19, 2011
    Appreciate the suggestion.
    I think I'll probably end up going with a Ray4, but I really like the idea of a 90's Peavey Forum or similar...
  7. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    SX J. Strung BEAD with flats. Seemed to have more even punch from all four strings than my MIA P did when strung BEAD with the same strings.

    bassmeknik and RyanJD like this.
  8. RyanJD


    Apr 19, 2011
    How could I have forgotten about Rondo?!
    I'll be right back...
    bassmeknik and Mike N like this.
  9. I had the same idea last summer and found a used blue Peavey Millenium 4, less than $200 in like new condition. Seems blue is the least valuable and amber 3 x more valuable.
    Been wanting to try a Millenium for 10 years, am really impressed.
    Haven't made a single mod except to set it up for BEAD 65-130 nickel wound.
  10. Rondo Music is very low on stock of basses after selling out of several models over the Christmas holiday's. I have been watching the web site for the new stock to arrive (it hasn't as of today 1/30/18) so if anyone not familiar with them goes and looks now keep checking back, they will likely have more soon. They sell only imported instruments and thus it takes a while for them to replace their stock. They must have had a good holiday sales season, almost all of the Douglass line and many of the SX line are OS and have been temporarily removed from the site. This is their standard practice, while out of stock the model gets removed from the web site.
    eagle67, RyanJD and Uncle Hanky like this.
  11. I found a used Peavey Grind ($200 on CL) and adapted it to BEAD. I was looking for something that was nominally 35" scale. It was OK strung with a 0.130 B (that's as large as I went). Swapping out the bridge rails for a Hipshot A helped, and swapping out the electronics and pups helped even more (but the new bridge, tuners and the replacement Nordys added ~$400 to the project). After that it did sound pretty good though :thumbsup:
    I called it "Grond" due to the massive B that could be used to knock down doors, gates of mithril, whatever...

    So, I would say that just filing the nut with no other mods made it playable as a BEAD.

    Good luck with your project!
    Uncle Hanky and RyanJD like this.
  12. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    Did one of my Corts BEAD, works great. Used to do my Steinberger BEAD, that was even nicer. Pickups won’t be a problem. Enjoy it.
    equill and RyanJD like this.
  13. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I bought a used MIM J from a guy who told me it had been set up for a set of DR DDT-55 (115-55) strings and the only thing besides mechanical adjustments the tech did was a little file work on the nut. He never said specifically other than he was using it for alternate turnings but it was tuned to standard and played fine. It was pretty beat but it was also really right on the price so I snagged it up. I tried some 105-45 XL nickel and they didn't really want to work like I wanted so I ordered some DDT-55's and it came alive. The only downside is good luck finding someone who stocks them, you need to carry spares if something happened and you needed to change strings right then. Other than that I love the thing.
    Look for a late model used MIM and set it up like you want it. Good used ones are certainly within your budget.
    pudgychef and RyanJD like this.
  14. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    How does the B sound on the low cost bass?
  15. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    Maybe look for one of the 35" scale Ibanez btb 4-bangers. That would be a slick BEAD bass.
    BboogieXVII, RyanJD and IamGroot like this.
  16. RyanJD


    Apr 19, 2011
    Yup, I definitely noticed this when I looked yesterday. Usually they stock much more variety than I saw.

    Interesting. Thanks for the input. I would think a standard J would be fine for alternate tunings, but I'd be hesitant to do it with a P.
  17. I think you would have better luck with a top-loading bridge (is that the word?) and a tapered .145 B-string.

    Something like the Hipshot A.
  18. BboogieXVII


    Feb 4, 2013
    I've seen them on CL for right around $200.
  19. You might want to consider a Dean Edge 09. They go for less then $200 and your luthier can set it up with the strings and tuning you want. They weigh about 7lbs and the neck is excellent with good finishing on the fret edges. Mine is very very comfortable to play. :D
    Dean Edge 09.jpg
  20. equill


    Nov 25, 2010
    Good to hear this; I'm thinking of tuning my own Steinberger that way.
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