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Ghetto 6 string best tuning with 4 string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tamikan, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. tamikan


    Jun 26, 2012

    I'm sorry if this has been posted before but what is the best tuning on a 4 string bass to get all the goodness of a 6 string bass

  2. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    What goodness do you refer to? You want both the low B and the high C?

    Most people just do BEAD and I've heard of ADGC, but not as common.
  3. http://youtu.be/e__bsqUs648

    You ask the impossible...unless you have enormously long fingers, and are still playing a short-scale instrument.
  4. tamikan


    Jun 26, 2012
    Yep :hyper:
  5. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    That seems like a recipe for disaster. String tension and relearning where all the notes are and all...

    Maybe just get really fat strings and tune B - E - A - D.

    Good luck with all that.
  6. tamikan


    Jun 26, 2012
    You're right and I tend to be more in need of the B string than the C

    Should I be fine with my normal .45-.105 strings and simply detune each string to get BEAD or you get better results with the proper bigger strings?
  7. There are 4-string sets made for B_E_A_D tuning; do some searching.
  8. tamikan


    Jun 26, 2012
    I know that already but do you really feel the difference compared to detuning regular ones
  9. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    'cello tuning: C G D A
  10. If you found the perfect strings you could do fifths tuning: B-F#-C#-G#. String tension would be...interesting.

  11. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Yes. Tuning a "regular" gauge set (.45-.105) down to B would be like playing wet spaghetti.

    Assuming you own the bass in question with said string gauges, try it and see...it won't take you long.
  12. Figured it out. It doesn't quite work out evenly, but in order to reach from Low B to the High C.
    Begin at Low B
    After 4 steps (8 frets) "G"
    After 4 steps (8 frets) "D#"
    After 4.5 steps (9 Frets) "C"

    You'll need to either buy individual strings or buy a 6-string set and pick the appropriate sizes.

    Edit: Idoker has already mentioned, but yes, you will need to re-learn the notes of your fretboard.
  13. idoker

    idoker Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Charlotte, NC

    If you want that far of an extended range on a 4-string bass, cello tuning would be your best bet.

    But, realize that you would have to "relearn" much of the fingering. If you already have a strong foundation, it shouldn't take that long to acclimate yourself. But, the cello is a different instrument than the bass... phrasing, chording, etc. And a lot of the passages that you've used in the past might be more difficult to preform.
  14. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson! Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    I'm sure you could contact Circle K strings, tell them what you wanna do, and they'll combine a set of strings that will work for you. They're known for making balanced tension strings. They have an option for 'Fifths' tension, but choosing it only brings up a blank page. At least it looks like they've thought about it.
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Why do you not just get a 6 string bass and you won't be getting any of the "goodness" with this setup, you will get a nightmare of problem, probably a super floppy B string and a thin sounding C string. Your 4 string is not designed for this, your intonation might become tricky to set as well.

    I really do not see a benefit to this arrangement. You will get the low B and high C and miss out on everything in between. Slapping will be strange and chords will be pretty much impossible or very strangely voiced. The string tension will be super frustrating as it won't be balanced at all.

    Good luck and let us know what you end up doing.
  16. +1 If the OP wants a 6-String bass range, just choose one. There are several used basically inexpensive options.
  17. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    wait, you're supposed to know the notes on the fingerboard?!?!? That's crazy talk. Next thing you'll want me to understand rhythm and stuff.
  18. lol Of course.
  19. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Yeah, I was thinking Circle K would be the place to get a set that was at least workable, regarding tension.
  20. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I think you are asking for too much but if you want an even tuning you could tune in sixths which would give you B-Ab-F-D which exceeds your desired range by two half steps. Or you could tune in flatted sixths, giving you B-G-Eb-B, one half step shy of your range target. I cannot even begin to tell you how difficult it would be to play anything with those tunings. String tension would be no issue at all, you would just order custom string sets from Circle K strings or possibly the custom sets from other manufacturers which are available from Bass Strings Online would also work.

    I recently started tuning in fifths, CGDA, like a cello, as has been suggested above. Learning the new strings was not terribly difficult as you already know three of them, they are just in the wrong places. Except the D, that is right where it should be. Yep a lot of things you already know will have to be relearned because the fingerings are now different. Sometimes the new fingerings are more awkward, sometimes they are about the same, in a few cases they are less awkward. It is a good tuning for playing melodic lines: ask any string player except the double bassist. Actually, some double bassists tune CGDA so you can ask a few of them too! It is the perfect tuning for the bass guitarist who likes to play cello music and it works well for any string music in fact. Based on personal experience I can recommend tuning in fifths as a move that is at least as rewarding as it is demanding. I have no experience with sixths or flatted sixths. Those options could be disasters, they could be as usable as fourths or fifths. You'd be a pioneer as far as I know. Obviously with a fifths tuning you could start on B or end on C if you really needed to but so far I am finding that C is low enough and A is high enough for what I do, YMMV.


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