1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Tuning down to B on a 4-String????

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Mondo, Jan 19, 2002.

  1. Mondo

    Mondo Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    St. Augustine Beach
    I play on a four string bass and my band tunes down to B,E,A,D the top four of a five string. My strings sound really loose and floppy!! How do I tune down four steps on a four string and make it sound good?? I am about to buy a 35 neck on a four string would that help?? Or should i just get a five string bass?? I really perfer a four string to a five but i am willing to learn to play a five better if it is worth it??? All help is welcome!!! Thanks for all the help!!

    Mondo, :confused:
  2. Jarrod


    Jan 1, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    you'll need to use bigger strings, like 130-105-85-65 (basically you'll have to buy a set of strings for a 5 string bass and not use the high G).... and when you do that, you'll also need to recut your nut to accommodate the larger strings... also, before you do all this, you'll need to make sure your bass can handle that... a lot of four string necks aren't made to handle that much tension caused by the big strings... i would have a guitar tech do all this work for you, really..... also, yes a 35" neck helps too, but overall you'd just be better off getting a five string bass, instead of mangling your four string

    oh, but there are some basses out there that are made to be tuned BEAD... such as the Schecter Scorpion... you could look into those too if you don't want to learn the five string

    P.S. technically you're tuning down 2 1/2 steps, not four (from B to C is only a half step, and from C to D is 1, D to E is 1)
  3. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Actually, Jarrod, the thicker the strings there is LESS tension required to bring them up to tune. Making you have even less tension that what is considered normal for an EADG bass, so you might have to tighten the truss rod to get less bow after you mod the bass out to BEAD.

    Mono, I refitted my 4 string BEAD, and Jarrod is right that you'll have to file the nut down to make room for the larger strings. But, the thing to consider is your bridge. is is the kind with the holes? Or is it the kind with the grooves that the string sit in (like a Hipshot A type bridge, or a Warwick). If it has the holes, then you may only be able to get so thick on the gauges. My bridge won't take over a .130, unless I redo the holes, which is a whole nother mess. So just be aware of that gauge problem.
  4. Jarrod


    Jan 1, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    doh, you're right... i confused myself a little bit there... i had a friend once who used a 130 as an E string, so in that case, the tension was insane.... but used at the tension it was meant for (tuned to B), you're right it will be looser
  5. I used to have this problem in my band. Then my bass got stolen from my house so it was a good excuse to by a 5 string. Since i have got the 5'er its saved so much trouble and gives a tight sound.

    Why not get some G.A.S and buy yourself a 5 string? Worth it in the long run, rather than modifying your existing bass.


  6. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I dunno Merls...I kinda like the feel of a 4 BEAD...specially when you deal with CGCF tuning, or, iffin your like me, you just stay in the lower registers anyway...
  7. idealtracks


    Dec 18, 2001
    I used to have one of the Steinberger basses with a Trans-Trem tremelo. It worked perfect for this exact purpose, while maintaining decent string tensions... plus you can switch tunings back and forth with a press-and-turn of the tremelo bar. And these things NEVER drifted out of tune.

    The bass Trans-Trem system got some bad press but it worked PERFECTLY for me and hundreds of other players. And I don't use the word perfect lightly.

    You can still read all about em / buy them from http://www.edromanguitars.com.

    good luck
  8. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    yeah... you need bigger strings to tune down that low. like someone else said, get a 5 string set, and dont use the G. youll hafta intonate the bass again (move the bridge saddles) and it will probably need an entire setup. DONT i reapeat DONT buy a 35" scale neck for a bass that originally has a 34" scale. the positioning of the bridge and the pickups on a bass is designed to be used with the neck that it came with. putting a 35" scale neck on a bass that orininally has a 34" scale would make the bass impossible to play in tune. just wanted to warn ya! btw ive done the BEAD tuning on a 4 string, it worked great! plus if you ever want to play a song in standard tuning (that doenst use the upper positions much) you can just put a capo on the 5th fret and your back to standard tuning! good luck!

Share This Page