Tuning a 5 string bass differently.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Kev555, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. Kev555


    Dec 27, 2007

    How bad would it be to tune a 5-string bass EADGB? Would there be any out of tune notes? Would there be anything noticable?

    How bad would it be to tune a 6-string bass EADGBE? Again, same questions...?

    Well, you probably guessed I'm a guitarist. I'm studying jazz guitar at college and since I already know my arpeggios and all the notes on the neck, why not pick up a third instrument and add two strings I'm already familiar with? No one else would notice exept me, right?
  2. It works fine. The low E gets a bit floppy, but you can do it and it will sound ok.
  3. 98dvl


    Jan 31, 2002
    Dumb question, but why does the low E get floppy? Seems like if that's the case, the low E on a 5er tuned BEADG would be floppy too, right?
  4. ThunderGod


    Dec 6, 2007
    I believe the preferred tuning would be EADGC. This way, it maintains continuity in tuning (4ths) and all intervals stay similar to the rest of the fingerboard.
  5. EduardoK


    Jun 28, 2004
    I'd say you can easily try both. I prefer EADGC (I believe most bassist would agree) but being a guitarist is reason enough to try EADGB as you'll find it more familiar. Nothing wrong with that, maybe you'll have to try different string gouges/tension for the right B...
    As for EADGBE, sounds pretty cool to me too :bassist:
  6. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    it doesn't

    TS there's nothing wrong with it at all. The only difficulty of those tunings are finding the right strings, and getting the setup right after making the switch.
  7. DavePlaysBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    I have thought about tuning in D on a 5 string (D-G-C-F-Bb), but have not gotten around to it.
  8. Kev555


    Dec 27, 2007
    I can understand the fifth string on 5-string bass would only be tuned 1/2 a step lower which is great but it wouldn't be the same for a 6-string since the two added strings are the low B and the high C. All the strings would be a 2 1/2 steps higher. That would make the last strings very tight? And if you do the opposite be tuning 3 1/2 steps lower, the lower strings would be extremely weak, right?

    Or am I saying nonsense?
  9. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    as long as you change the nut to accommodate the new string gauges and set up action and intonation properly you can pretty much do what you want. Just don't think you can tune EADGC (or B) or any of the other tunings you're thinking without changing strings etc.

    BTW your technique will have to adjust also. It's a different axe.
  10. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    The only problem is finding the stings.

    You don't want to take a string (say 105) designed for an E and go tuning it anywhere much futher than down to a D, or up to an F#, as you' will run into tension and setup problems.

    I've got a 5 string tuned E-C (E-B would make no real difference). I bought a cheap set of 6 string strings (they do exist on ebay), and didn't use the low B (buy 4 string set, and make a low 5 string set from it for a second bass). Works great, I found it very easy to adjust (easier than adding a low B), and it works great. (no setup adjustments were required, but your milage may vary)

    Going E-E will harder as you'll have a really tough time finding a set of strings, but if you can find an ultra light top string you're good to go.

  11. funkybassplayer

    funkybassplayer Commercial User

    Sep 16, 2003
    Longview, TX
    Nordstrand Audio, Epifani
    I can say that after playing the same bass, and two others, tuned EADGC since the day i bought it in '96 that there really aren't any probelms that i have run into except for a bit of neck tweaking (crazy Texas weather). I haven't had to change the nut at all. The string slots were originally a bit tight for normal 5er tuning but it works fine tuned to C. As far as finding strings, a lot of companies either have 5 string sets with a high C or they make individual string that could be added to a 4 string set. D'Addario has something like this that i have seen in store displays. I have actually started buying the Ken Smith taper core 6 string set, then i just toss out the B.

    There are numerous options of strings and unless you are going to do somehting drastic like string up piccolo (sp?) then i don't really see any need to change the nut. Good luck to ya.