Convert 4 string to 5 string (or not) dilema

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by maturanesa, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. I have a custom bass that is my main bass and i love it. Its a 4 string.
    I commented the idea with the builder and he said he should take measurements first...

    Ok, this is the dilema:

    - The bass is a neck through singlecut (fodera style) with a P-bass neck measures. Kinda chunky.
    I use light strings so it should be fine in terms of neck tension.
    - Im not a metal bassist but want to be as pro as i can and be able to play low notes when its required
    (i know a pro bassist would buy a fiver, but i love this bass)
    - A narrow spacing is not an issue for me if its a normal spacing that you could find in other basses like 6 string basses for example. If its not a weirdo, subnormal spacing, its ok.

    - The pup im using have blades inside, so no pole-aligment issues...

    - Theres no way i can try the feeling, neck response and string balance and get back if dont like it.
    - Weird looking headstock with an extra tuner added (its a Warwick's shape headstock)
    - B is not that necessary to a point you are not able to play or get a gig.
    - Probably narrow spacing makes slapping more difficult
    - Have to use rail bridges for each string to adjust spacing (dont like those)

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014
  2. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Did one myself...
    Begining of the project -
    Finished project -
    Overall it was pretty easy to do. I have built several basses before, so I had no problems in that department. I did get some help from Ric5 on different parts and had to pick up some files for the nut.
    Other than that, it was fun and it came out really well for my first go around. Looking to do a Fender P at some point as well.
  3. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I wouldn't do it. For a very short while I owned a Tacoma Thunderchief "5 string". I put that in quotes because it was just a four string onto which they crammed an additional string; it had the same neck as the four string version. The strings were so close together that I couldn't get my fingers between them even down at the bridge. I packed it up and sent it back the same day.

    If you play with a pick it might work for you, but otherwise, I'd just look for an affordable five string.
  4. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    If you 'love' the bass, don't mess up a good relationship. Find a cheap fiver.
    AGH likes this.
  5. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    Find a 5 string to at least see if you use the B enough to warrant doing it.

    If you can afford it, why not así the builder to build you a 5 string versión?
  6. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
  7. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Honestly, do as you want. I had fun. I also did not spend much money at all. Bass cost $125. Conversion parts - $50.. Again, what everyone is saying is true. Play a 5'er to know what you like or don't like about them. I have 20+ basses. This was not a difficult choice for me. I also know what I wanted. The bass I converted was not the bass I should have done. 1-1/2" nut is really narrow. Should have done it with a bigger nut width. However, I have a blast playing the bass. I can't wait to try it again. If you are looking for a super narrow string spacing on a 5'er, there are very few basses out there that have that kind of spacing and a narrower neck at the heal, but there are not many.
  8. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    oh, BTW - I just bought another P style bass to convert to a 5'er. All in cost $47 for the bass and all the parts to complete..
  9. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I've got a 4 string body I'm thinking of trying to jam a 5 string neck on to - I figure if I trim the base of the neck 1/4" on each side, do a depth (from the back) a tad deeper than the pocket, then match the butt shape, it should work - anyone done this? Foolish thing to attempt?
  10. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Carvin LB-20 1.JPG I suppose you could do what I did with my Carvin LB-20, and string it BEAD. This is a "before" picture; it's currently wearing the 70-135s out of a 5er set of LaBella Black Tapewounds. And it works just fine; just required a slight truss rod tweek, and a new nut.
  11. cronker


    Feb 13, 2007
    Hmm. I wouldn't do it if you enjoy the bass as it currently is.