Tuning a 4 string bass to BEAD

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Derp, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. Derp


    May 29, 2013
    In case I want to, is it possible to tune a standard 4 string bass with factory strings to BEAD without getting a 5 string set?
  2. No! Your neck will bend like 45 degrees!!
    Then the electronics will catch fire...then your hair!

    Seriously though...I haven't done it myself yet (but I've been thinking about it). Not to sound like a forum sheriff but try Searching the topic. I know that question has been asked hundreds of times already around here.
  3. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    If you can deal with ultra-floppy strings, then yes, you can.

    But the best would be to use a 5-string set and have the nut modified or replaced and have the bass set up.
  4. This. I don't even like a C as my low string on a standard 4 string. But honestly, before I event went through that trouble I'd save the money and buy a new bass. Can't hurt to have more, can it?
  5. The nut will need to re-slotted or replace then go to https://www.circlekstrings.com/store/ and find the gauge you want,I would suggest anything balanced set from .124 to .142 for the B-string
    I did something similar on my 6-string F#BEADG if you want to tune LOW Circle K is the way to go.
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

  7. GK Growl

    GK Growl Inactive

    Dec 31, 2011
    The nut can be made larger easy enough with using the larger gauge strings as a file. The goal is to increase the width and not the depth. I did this with 2 basses and it worked great.
  8. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I have tuned standard-gauge strings to BEAD many times. The strings will be very floppy, and a light touch is required, but it works in an emergency. :)
  9. Most certainly. Rotosound makes a drop-zone 4 string set of .130, .105, .80, .65. My B string is not floppy at all. You will probably have to take it to a tech to have the nut filed correctly to fit the bigger strings though. And keep in mind they're stainless steel. Some people dig, some don't

    EDIT: They also only cost as much as a regular 4-string set
  10. kzr750r1


    Aug 12, 2011
    One thing to think about is string ternsion... The larger the guage the higher the tension...

    I have tried recently some GHS boomers with a 115 for the B on a 34" scale Ibby RB650. It works, but as mentioned a different touch is needed. Works with a medium pick very well.

    THe tension on this is very comfortable for me.

    Moving over to may 35" with .125 or .130 B it's night and Day.

    Think I'm going to try a couple different sizes of Circle K next on the 5.
    Try a balanced with a .124 and .118 B sets to see how it goes. I have the feeling the .124 will be the ticket.

    Trade off between lower tension and my usually heavy attack it just may work.
    But who knows I may like the .118 and need to adjust my attack. :bassist:
  11. dune2k


    Sep 26, 2009
    Get a 5 string set/equally thick strings, otherwise you won't get a proper tone out of your bass. Aside from that different (4 string) basses take low(er) tuning differently well. No general rule here, since this is a combination of pickup, it's placement & used woods.

    So far the best B-string I had was the one in a Ernie Ball Slinky set, D'Addarios are OK and a good place to start though. My last EB set died within 2 weeks, so right now I'm searching for other strings that get me the same sound but hold longer...
  12. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Yes, the question does get asked a lot. My answer is:
    -Yes, I've done it;
    -Yes, it worked just fine on the bass I tried it on;
    -No, I didn't like it, so I put the "normal" strings back on.

    Depending on what bass you try this on, you might have problems with the neck. I wouldn't try this on a Hofner, for example, or an old 4001 Rick. I tried it on my Aluminum-necked Kramer 450B; no strings made are going to bother that neck. The bridge will get pulled out of the body first.
    I used Warwick Black Label Low B strings (.065-.135); yes, they're made for 4-string basses. They tuned up BEAD just fine, and weren't floppy at all on the Kramer. I would have had to tweak the nut a little, if I had decided to leave them on. However, they just didn't work for my kind of music. Really monstrous low end, but it just didn't work with rockabilly, and really old '50s-'60s rock. So I took the Warwicks off, and put the Super Slinkys back on. Interesting experiment, though, and if I ever feel I need that sound, the Warwicks will go back on. :)