Coverting a 4 strings to BEAD tuning

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Catalin, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Hi guys,

    I bought a 5 string Fender Elite Jazz from Thomann and decided to return it because it have shielding problems.
    I decided to order a 4 strings elite instead and spoke to them to set it up to acomodate a five strings set without the G string of course, and also to do a shielding job.
    My question is how a 4 string Fender will react to BEAD tuning over time, i mean will the neck handle the tension well, will it stay in tune and intonate as a 5 strings one? I ask because once they do the modifications i will not have money back option.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Likely the only things they will have to do are file the nut, tweak the neck and reset intonation. It will be fine. Tons of bass players play BEAD these days.
    EpicSoundtracks, mech and sissy kathy like this.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    There is no tension inherent in BEAD tuning. It all depends on what gauge strings you use.
    A BEAD bass could easily have less tension than an EADG bass. Or more. Or exactly the same.
    mech likes this.
  4. Ok, i got it. So it's perfectly fine to to this
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Yes, you will not damage the instrument. I would suggest getting a new nut instead of cutting your current one. That way you can swap it back to standard tuning, should you ever want to.
  6. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    As long as you set it up correctly, there is no long term impact. Assuming you got to the first 4 strings of a 5 string set, you will need to file out the nut slots and adjust your truss road. Sometimes there are problems with the thick strings fitting properly into the bridge saddles.
    Whether or not you care for the tune you get is a big question. Getting the B right on a lot of basses is very hard. I tried it on my Vintage VJ74 and it worked OK, but I just couldn't get the B string right because of issues with the bridge. It sounded alright.
  7. That's a good ideea!

    I guess the guys from Thomann will be able to do the job right since they said they'll do it.
    I looked at the bridge of the 5 string elite which i didn't sent back yet and the sadles of B and E strings look like they are the same size. The sadles of D and G strings look different though.
    Btw, this bass intonates and feels flawless, except for the noise of course ha ha!
  8. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    First post in many years for me. :) I've used BEAD tuning on my jazz bass (MIJ '62 reissue) since a few years back. Some 7-8 years ago I started tuning down a step to DGCF, a couple of years later one step more to CFBbEb, and at that time I started using the DR DDT (drop-down tuning) strings with the thickest string being .125". A while later I figured I could as well switch all the way down to BEAD. I've always preferred slightly thicker strings, so that might be the reason I've never felt a need to file up the string grooves in the nut. I guess they've adopted slowly to the thicker gauges and filed up themselves. because I've never experienced any problem with string height att the first frets.

    Of course, I've always adjusted the truss rod if I've noticed a difference in the string tension or relief. Sometimes, I've had to tighten or loosen it due to change of season too (humidity, temperature), but that is fully normal.
  9. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Here’s what you need to commit to memory.

    Trees don’t grow to be tuned to E standard. In fact they don’t grow to become instrument necks. Why would one tuning be better for the tree than another? Zero reasons.

    Necks aren’t shaped to be tuned to E standard. They are shaped to be comfortable to play.

    The truss rod supports the neck by taking a large portion of the stress off the wood while allowing adjustment of that stress to give the best possible playing results. If more tension is applied, the rod is adjusted to compensate. It’s action holds the wood in a relatively stable position until humidity causes the wood to swell or contract.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
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