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Thinking of BEAD, lose the G?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rockinrayduke, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. A player I knew in LA restrung a 4 string Dargie Delight Sterling to BEAD which I thought was a cost effective way to get the benefits of a fiver without buying one. Anyone ever tried this and did you miss the G string?
    JeffC23, Maiden Bass, Ellery and 2 others like this.
  2. Bass Man Dan

    Bass Man Dan Endorsing Artist: Ned Flanders' Bass-a-Reeno Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    Yes, it is a "thing". I actua!ly went through our set list of probably around 50 songs and counted one time how many songs I use the G and how many I use the low B. It came out fairly even. So a-fiver-shopping I did go.

    I would recommend you do a similar analysis of what you will be playing. Obviously, if you find you need the g, you'll miss it!
    J-Bassomatic, jackn1202, Zag and 6 others like this.
  3. wesonbass


    Nov 26, 2012
    Graniteville SC
    I recently strung the Coronado thats in my avatar BEAD .I had a torn rotator cuff and couldn't reach the top of the neck without pain. Didn't want to cancel gigs and this allowed me to play higher up on the neck. (Much less painful) only missed the G a time or two. I normally play a 5 string jazz but this bass was lighter. I'm loving BEAD and have been playing the Coronado a lot. Try it, you may like it.
    nomaj, Zag, reddog and 4 others like this.
  4. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Did you guys who went BEAD need a different set of strings to make it work?
  5. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Yes. Buy a 5 string set and lose the G or buy a custom set. Not much difference in price as the G is the cheapest of the strings in there.

    Although there are a few string companies who make sets specific for BEAD.
  6. jakka1

    jakka1 Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2012
    I am in the process of getting a Dingwall NG-2 set up this way.
    Cyril_YU and djaxup like this.
  7. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I wen't BEAD for about a year. It wasn't so much that I had lost the G string as I felt I wasn't really using anything below D enough to justify it.
    For my taste the notes were just too slow and rumbly and I felt the B and C notes an octave higher had the punch that I felt were better for the music I was playing.

    I switched back to E and installed a hipshot D-tuner and that works better for my needs.

    It was a great experiment though. Glad I did it, I learned a lot.
  8. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Yes this is common.
    Yes you need different strings, and to probably file your nut to fit the larger strings. I like the way a tapered B string works for this. You might need to adjust your truss rod as well.
    Depending on the music I'm playing, I don't miss the G string. I miss the wider neck even less.
    IMO a B doesn't sound right on a 34" scale. My preference is for a 35" scale for any bass with a low B.
    jakka1, Dwight Trash, Ellery and 3 others like this.
  9. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I keep one bass tuned in D standard. I don’t see a need for notes lower than that, and I don’t use it very often, but some times it’s just the ticket.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  10. G-Dog

    G-Dog What a fun place! Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2016
    I tried the BEAD experiment on one of my basses for quite some time, over a year at least. I liked it a lot! Found I was preferring that bass where I hadn't before. Didn't miss the G at all.

    So, I tried it on another bass. I loved it! Both long scale, a P Bass Special and a Jaguar. Very pleased with my two main basses strung BEAD for a few years. Use low D a lot. Low C and B not as much, but glorious when I do.

    Then came the challenge. Could it work on a short scale MP Starcaster? Well, using the same 5-string set as the long scales wasn't quite good enough for the B string. Had to get a really thick one, but that did the trick. Now I've got three BEAD basses, two long, one short, good for any occassion.

    I've still got a couple basses standard strung, but I just don't use them as much as the BEADs.
    Zag likes this.
  11. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    totally missed the g string. went and bought a cheap 5 string and liked it, then got a better one.
    there are plenty of affordable 5 strings around; a used mexican fender active jazz can readily be had for $500-ish
    djaxup, Luigir, Zag and 4 others like this.
  12. I'm going to go in a different direction here...

    I have played pretty much exclusively five string for around 8 years now. I had some bass parts and necks laying around, but they were all four string parts. I put a bass together and strung it up BEAD just because I was so used to the top string being the B. But the top being the B on a bass with only 4 strings was kind of confusing at first. I never really got used to it. I finally just string up a four stringer EADG and it was easier to adjust to between that and a fiver than it was to adjust between a fiver and a four strung BEAD. I guess with the bass only having four strings, I always just envisioned it as being EADG. It was a mental block thing I guess...

    djaxup and instrumentalist like this.
  13. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Yes I did this for a while with my Geddy Lee jazz bass. I ended up missing the G string, so once I saved up enough money I went out and bought a 5 string.

    It was a good stop-gap though, and allowed me to casually look for the "right" 5-string without feeling like I was missing out.
  14. Inara

    Inara Fierce Fun Fretless Female Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2017
    Seattle, WA USA
    I've not done this, but had a friend who did. He kept a BEAD-tuned Carvin as his main bass for years. Also, this is how Anthony Jackson first started getting into extended range bass way back in the day.
  15. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    This one might work for me, but what happened is I went BEAD thinking I didn't use the G string that much. On the gig I soon discovered that my perception did not match reality. So eventually I drifted into 5 string where I remain today. But along the way people pointed out tuning in D standard to me and since keys of Eb and D are my biggest whine about 4 string basses and it is extremely rare for me to even use a low C on my 5 strings, I feel like that had I thought of D standard tuning back when I went BEAD, I might have never gone 5 string.
    Anders Barfod likes this.
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    One of the challenges of a bass that goes down to low B is getting that to the audience. Bass amps don’t go that low (most don’t really do a low E very well), and PA’s may or may not make it down there. Some of the places I play, i won’t bring the D standard bass, as the PA doesn’t really work. A low B would be silly in those places.
    G-Dog likes this.
  17. GtenderG


    Feb 29, 2008
    I went BEAD with a Spector NS2 I used to own. Sounded and played great, but I have great sounding 5er so back to standard it went.
    That said, it was fun to play and made me think a little bit about what to without the G string. You can do it for reason cost. Next to nothing if you can do the nut yourself.
  18. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    I am currently in the process of building a 37-34" scale bass in order to play it in BEAD.

    Also, it's absolutely 100% wrong that amps/PAs can't do the B and E string properly. This is a misconception because people are using 34" basses strung with thin strings.

    If you want the E and B strings to come out right, increase the tension. Use fatter strings, or a greater scale instrument (like dingwalls, or make your own fan fret).
  19. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    A Hipshot D-Tuner works, too.
    wesonbass, rtav and leche like this.
  20. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick, Mesa Boogie, Joyo, Dr. J, Levy's Leathers
    I did it on a P-bass about 20 years ago because I couldn't find a 5-string where I lived. Worked alright, but good 5s are plentifully available so affordably these days, I doubt I'd ever feel the need to do it again.

    I had to drill out the hole in the bridge to accommodate the low B string. Used a 5-string set without the G.

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