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Swapping G string for low B

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by NormL, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. NormL


    Aug 27, 2005
    I have a G&L 2100 fretless bass and never liked the sound from the G string. I got this idea to buy a 5 string set and only use the 4 low strings. I wanted the low C when playing in F.

    This moves all the strings up one position. I got some GHS Boomers, light gauge, strings that are .055, .075, .095, .120 from D on down.

    Only the E, .095, won't set down in the A nut slot. It's solid, but higher.

    My question concerns the pickups. Are the Individual pickups on the bars calibrated for the vibration frequence of the string in their position? Or are the pickups all the same regardless of the string they reside under?

    It seems harder to get a perfect pitch note.. Could be just working in the lower registers is harder. Just rolling my finger slightly goes quickly from sharp to flat with a very tiny posiition that is on pitch. Even my electronic tuner seems more erratic in displaying the pitch.

    I would appreciate any insight you might have on the fesability of doing this.

  2. Since you are playing fretless, intonation shouldn't be much of a problem as far as setup is concerned. I would be much more worried about those big roundwound strings tearing up your fingerboard.

    As far as the pickups go, they will be fine.

    For the Nut, just file a little material out of the groove on the sides. Don't try to go too deep or you'll change the action. If you take it too far, you might have to replace the nut.
  3. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Lots of people do this... there's several threads on this very topic if ya do a search :). General opinion is, if ya can afford it, just get the 5 string version though.

  4. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    As Discgraham wrote, the pickups are fine... They might need adjustment though since big strings move farther and could therefore cause the pickups to sound too close (which can cause the sharp/flat thing).

    You can cheat on filing the nut by carefully pulling the round wound string back and forth through the nut slot until it seats properly.

    If adjusting the pickups doesn't help and the problem is with only one string, perhaps it's a bad string...it happens.

    You might need to do a new setup on the bass if you changed string tension considerably.
  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    The magic term to search is "BEAD" - there's a lot of info in the archives about what you're trying to do. I'm considering setting up my Steinberger XM2A BEAD - they're easy, no nut!

    Moving this to Setup...
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
  7. NormL


    Aug 27, 2005
    I was pleased with the replys. It gave me just what I needed. I will consider getting some flatter wound strings to save the fingerboard.

    This morning the new strings did much better than I expected. I did notice that getting a good solid sound from the B note will take some practice and tweeking.

    Thanks for the search term "BEAD". It was late last night when I posted and I couldn't think of what to search on.

    Thanks again to all who responded.