Putting B,E,A,D strings on a StingRay 4...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Blueszilla, Apr 28, 2003.

  1. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Anyone out there done this kind of thing? I'm sure someone has. I have played 5 string primarily for 6 or 7 years now. I joined a band recently that works a lot and want to use a four string for the weight considerations. Since I've learned all the tunes on a 5 string and don't use the G string much due to the material, i thought I would use a four string with the first four strings of the 5 setup. I bought a used StingRay 4 that I want to do this to and am asking if there is anything I should be aware of. Someone, somewhere has a story to tell...:cool:
  2. I am not the most learned person on this subject, but my guess would be that you would run into trouble with the nut, maybe the bridge sadle, and the pickup handling it (that is a straight out guess), but other than that, I don't think that that is a bad idea at all. Tell us how it works out if u try it.
  3. masaru


    Aug 8, 2001
    Okinawa, Japan
    I did it to a Yamaha PB400 with no problems. I have a SR4 and 5, and wish the 5 sounded more like the 4. Just do a good set up on it, don't forget about intonation, and don't overcompensate if you need to file the nut, which you probably shouldn't have to do. Good luck with the project!
  4. At worst you'll bust a nut....


    (where's the tounge in cheek humor smiley?)

    But seriously, the bigger strings might break out the nut. New one should be simple stuff for any repair shop. Electronics should be fine, everything should be workable.
  5. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Tufnuts, do you go out on the road with the Big Dog semi that's loaded with the bikes? It was just here and we played at the club/bike shop where they were doing the demonstration. Very cool indeed!!:cool:

    If I have any issues with the nut 'n such, I know a good setup man. I'm actually getting the Ray from a TBer.
  6. Nopers. I work in the engineering department. The most I travel is to go work out vendor issues :D I'd love to get to one of the shows some time. I'm just usually too busy.

    Good luck w/ the ray.
  7. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    What kind of 5 were you playing before? It seems like a Ray is a weird choice for weight considerations.
  8. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    I have a Fender RB5. I also have a brand new F P-bass (Highway series?). I like the sound of the P-bass, but I have always wanted a 'Ray and the band I'm in would benefit from a beefy bottom end, as 'Rays are supposed to possess. How do the two compare weight wise ( Ray4 vs pbass)? I know the SR5's are somewhat heavy, as I've read in the forums.:)
  9. Gander


    Jun 5, 2002
    I just made the conversion of a four to BEAD.
    I was warned by a luthier that the neck would not take the increased string tension. Turns out, with the strings I chose, that string tension is less when you drop the G string and add a B. I had to loosen the truss rod a bit. The just strings site has some tension tables.
    Make sure that the fat B will fit in your bridge in place of the E.
    For revising the nut, I bought .085 and .042 nut slot files from StewMac. Really nice files(not cheap) that cut on the small edge. You can have a luthier do the nut revision for cheap(if you can find a good one).
    Finally, the string should contact the nut at the front edge of the nut. If not it changes your scale length.
    Hope this helps.
  10. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    I've got a bass a strung BEAD. Couple of things:

    1 - the tension of fatter strings is usually less than thinner ones, so you may need to add relief to the neck
    2- you need to file the slots in the nut to accomodate thicker strings
    3- a 130 B string barely slides into the back of my bridge, so make sure before you do surgery on the nut
    4 - it can be tough to intonate the b string, I ran out of room on my bridge until I changed to a tapered string
    5 - the b string can be quite floppy, especially on a 34" scale, so you made need to raise the action at the bridge (and it's a thicker string already, so this may be a tough adjustment)
    6- because of #4 and 5, I switched to tapered strings, which fixed my intonation and string height problems - ymmv

    overall, it's a great thing to have for a hack like me who just couldn't get used to 5 strings. good luck!
  11. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Thanks for all the tips guys. I didn't realize all the possiblilties. I am determined though to make it work.:) I suppose I will asking similar questions when I ge the bass and try it out.:p
  12. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Never go to this luthier again. The bigger the gauge, the less tension. Always. It's the way it works. Not to call him a fool, but I'd really hope a competant luthier would at least be aware of this..

    That's a good consideration. A lot of stock bridges (the Fender bent plate type) aren't milled to handle a .130 string. Open chanel bridges eliminate this, and I know for a fact Schaller roller bridges can handle them, but other than that, I'd take off your E string, and then see how big a drill bit (if you have one) will fit in the hole. the Schallers fit a 11/16" bit (think that was the size...) which is more than most B strings.

    Most existing nuts can be modified painlessly with a set of fine files, or in my case, a Dremel tool. The trick is to simply remember to not cut LOWER than the existing nut slot. That'll get you in trouble. Other than that, it's not that big of a deal.

    I've done it on more than a few 4 bangers at 34", and the Bs are usually remarkable good. In fact, the B on my Ibanez GSR200 is better than a lot of Warwicks, MTDs, and Laklands. Not better sounding, but better tension and playability. Go figure.

    Any other questions, PM me. (Resident BEAD freak/nut/authority type person...)
  13. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Taken in context that statement is pretty confusing. Taken out of context it's wrong. The bigger the gauge, the greater the tension (for a given tuning and scale length). The lower the tuning, the less the tension (for a given gauge and scale length).

    Where the confusion lies, is that lowering the tuning of a string outweighs the typical increase in gauge, hence B strings are always lower tension than E strings of a given set.

  14. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Certainly this is true in the most literal of senses. Given two gauges of string of equal length (scale), tensioning them to the same pitch will cause the bigger gauge string to be under greater tension, thats physics. That being said, no one is going to do that in the practical application (at least not in what we're talking about here). I'm sure Brendan assumed that we were talking about tuning each string to its proper pitch, and this guided his comment. If the luthier was speaking in the literal sense, certainly that would cause confusion and in MO is not an appropriate thing to say as it would cause...:confused:
  15. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Which is what I said. I'm refferreing to tuning to pitch. Certainly, a B tuned to E is going to have a much higher tension than an E tuned to E, but BEAD will have less tension than EADG. Like I said, bigger the string, the less tension there is required to tune it to pitch at BEAD (which is what I was refferring to in the initial post, of which Blueszilla caught). If it was tuned to E, which is what the luthier might have been talking about, then yes, there would be an increase in tension.

    Actually, a B tuned down two steps from E (C) is very near the same tension as a B tuned to B, slightly higher, actually. Found this out tuning my BEAD CFBbEb. Tune to E on a B string though? That might well snap the B....
  16. man, i always get lucky on this site....
    i was planning a simialer conversion and i think i got all the tips i need off this thread.

    i'm going to tune a 4 to B F# C# G#

    just gotta decide on string gauges and i'm good.