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Resetting 4 string to BEAD

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by CMECHO1, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. CMECHO1


    Aug 14, 2014
    I have been a bassist for roughly 18 years. In that time I've tuned to every configuration one can imagine to create everything from certain band's like Soundgarden's often less-used C#GC#G to anything that will create an interesting noisy musical discord for my mainly industrial music projects, then right back to E standard or Drop D to play the actual notation. So, tired hands aside, I've found through the years the lower end-like off a cliff-suits me and am considering a permanent switch. Now I realize using the tuning dropped a half or whole step on 5-strings is a relatively popular technique (some would say fad but....eh, it's kinda like Ibanez 7 and 8 strings....always been there whether we noticed or not) among more brutal and technical metal bands, the best example being Meshuggah, but Between the Buried and Me, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Eyehategod are also good ones. I being on the industrial end of things, preferred Ben Green from Godflesh. Anyhow, a local respected bass tech in a music shop says he'd be happy to cut a brand new nut, bore and adjust the Hi-Mass bridge, and reoutfit the strings and notation to B.E.A.D. losing the high G, which I really only used for bass solo-y parts or low-high quick contrast. I can't afford a 5 string so let's back pocket that response, BUT I'm hesitant about what is essentially a complete reformat of my favorite and primary bass, even though it would make it that much more "mine".

    Voices of wisdom, opinions here...to reset or not to reset? Technical responses only please. I know the alternatives, I know why I'm doing it, I know a LOT of people think it is grossly unnecessary. Don't care. It's not. It made perfect sense to the country boy tech (I kid, amazingly talented bass technician) once I explained what I was going to use it for. So technical replies-damage to bass, permanent problems, opinions on the hardware change, only please.
  2. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    What did he quote you for the new nut, etc? Squier VM J or P 5ers are $300 bucks.

    That being said, I did this to a bass on my own before, just a little widening of the nut, and I didn't have any adverse reactions on the bass. And I switched back to standard by using heavier gauge strings instead of getting a new nut.

    Guess it depends on the instrument but the only problem I see is making the truss rod touchier to adjust.
  3. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    I would do it. I did it to my home-build Thunderbird and so glad I did. Sometimes the satisfaction of a great playing rumbling low-register that you can feel even unamplified is just so satisfying. And honestly, I prefer the 4 string format as it just fits my hand better, and with just a bit of a rethink, my playing starts to feel natural on it, and it affords you an economy of motion up and down the neck in position.

    These *cheapie* high-mass bridges will get you in the door on the cheap if you just want to test the waters...( http://www.guitarfetish.com/Oversized-Top-Mount-Bass-Bridge-SUSTAIN-Chrome_p_578.html )don't really need to be "bored out" either... and it'd be relatively easy to dial it back if it's not your thing...
  4. elBandito


    Dec 3, 2008
    Rotten Apple
    You don't need a new nut going BEAD. Should be an easy job filing new slots and adjusting for new strings. B string has less tension than G string, so overall tension should drop.
  5. I set my 4 string to BEAD (.120 - .100 - .080 - .060) and didn't have to make any adjustments to the nut or bridge saddles.
    hover likes this.
  6. danalogue

    danalogue Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 5, 2013
    Denver, CO
    Bergantino & LaBella Strings endorsing artist
    The jazz bass in my avatar is a B-E-A-D bass. I use it exclusively for one band I'm in. Just had to widen the nut slots and that's it. The tension wasn't even that different from an E-A-D-G bass. Even if I want to string it to E standard, the nut slots are filed at an angle back towards the headstock, so with a little wiggle room there's still no buzz.
  7. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    I have a Stingray copy strung BEAD and love it.

    I widened the nut slots slightly, restrung it, set the intonation (not forgetting to establish the witness points) and maybe (can't remember TBH) tweaked the truss rod a gnats whisker.
  8. highway


    Aug 20, 2008
    don't forget about cheap SX basses if you want something to completely dedicate to an odd tuning
  9. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Shouldn't be a prob going from EADG to BEAD and widening the nut slots.
    Going back the other way, tho- if there's not enough break angle at the nut, to the tuner, the strings could wallow around in the slot because of lack of downforce.
    When stringing, wind to bottom of tuner post, even if using a string tree on a Fender-style headstock with no angle.
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