Tuning a 4-string bass guitar down to B

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Manozi, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. Manozi


    Mar 16, 2006
    Howdy all,

    First of all greetings and salutations to everyone, since this is my first post here :)

    Now for my inquiry:

    I am a guitar player, but due to the lack of a bassist in my band I am going to have to handle the bass duties for an upcoming recording.

    We use 7-string guitars (dropped 2.5 steps from standard - to a B) and all I have available to me is a 4-string Peavey bass.

    Since I've never dealt with restringing/retuning bass guitars before I was wondering what the ideal string gauge would be for switching a standard-tuned bass to a B tuning.

    Any specific brands/sets that are suitable for such a conversion?

    Also are there any string tension problems to be expected?

    If there is anything else I should know about regarding bass setup, adjustments etc. in this situation, I'd appreciate some feedback!

    Thanks kindly in advance! :)


  2. It sounds like you looking for B-E-A-D tuning on the 4 string. Yes, this is possible, but it's going to require some work. The string gauges for a typical 4 string cannot be tuned down that low since there would not be enough tension. I tried this once as a test and the strings were so sloppy. So, you can buy a 5 string set and not use the G string. The problem here is that the thicker strings will most likely not fit in the nut slots, maybe not even on the bridge saddles. You can carefully file the nut slots bigger or replace the entire nut with one setup for BEAD strings. The bridge is a whole different story and varies from model to model. You may get lucky and have one that will accomodate the thicker strings. Lastly, the truss rod and bridge will need adjusting to properly set the action and intonation.

    Is this more than you bargained for? But, the effort will result in what you want and this is cheaper than buying another bass.

    Paul Mac
  3. Manozi


    Mar 16, 2006
    Hey Paul,

    Thanks for replying.
    No this isn't more than I bargained for actually. I realized beforehand that there would have to be some modifications made.

    And yes, you're correct this would be the best alternative for me since I cannot afford to buy a 5-string as of now.

    The nut will definitely have to be filed or replaced but I wonder if the bridge will have to be modified as well.

    For lack of a better way of doing it I'm attaching a picture of the type of bridge the bass has.

    Do you guys think it'd have to be adjusted for the new strings to fit in correctly?

    I think it might have to be, and it looks like it will be a pain in the ass to do so.



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