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Turning a 4 string into a 5 string...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by WolfyDean, Sep 30, 2010.


  1. WolfyDean

    WolfyDean

    Sep 30, 2010
    Okay...I'm in the market to buy a new bass...however, the bass I'm looking at is a 4 string...I want a 5 string. I was wondering about altering the bass to make it into a 5. Would I need to change the neck? Or just the head stock and bridge?
     
  2. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    subscribed
     
  3. Mate, a four string bass only has four tuning posts, even if you chaned the bridge to a 5 string bridge... There'd still be only four tuning posts.

    I Also think that 5 string basses have wider heels (I'm not sure). So that rules out buying a new neck OR a bridge

    Why not just buy a 5?

    That's as far as I'll go.
     
  4. ninepoundjammer

    ninepoundjammer Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Berkeley, CA
    Change the neck, bridge, pickups. But you could keep the body (once you routed the neck pocket) and the pots and a few wires, oh, and I guess the strap buttons. Sounds like a good idea.
     
  5. Mad Russian

    Mad Russian

    Aug 25, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    You would need to change neck and bridge for sure. Not sure what issues you would have putting a 5 string neck onto a body/neck pocket built for a 4. But you would really be better off just buying a a 5 string. Plus you would have some issues with pickups.
     
  6. GregDunn

    GregDunn

    Jan 8, 2009
    Meh. There are a couple of people on TB who have changed their 4 into a 5 by adding a tuner and swapping out the nut and bridge. That said, it'll only work on certain basses (the headstock needs to have room to add a tuner, like say a Fender; and the pickup would need to be a blade or other continuous pole type, not a multi-pole piece design).

    Tell us what model the bass is, and I'm sure someone onhere can tell you how much work would be involved, from minor to "forget it".
     
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    BlueTalon likes this.
  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    Converted basses

    bass5%20062.jpg

    b%20052.jpg

    b%20043.jpg

    Picture%20463.jpg
     
    BlueTalon likes this.
  9. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Oct 13, 2009
    You should get a fiver instead of trying to convert a 4 string bass. The neck of the 4 string bass your looking at may not be able to support the added strings pull. Such a conversion should only be done on high qaulity basses whose neck can easilly support heavy gauge strings without running out of trussrod adjustment room.

    Besides this issue you also have that of finding a 5 string bridge whose spaceing will work for the neck string spaceing allowances with the extra added string. The typical fiver bridge wont work. You'll also need a new nut and as others have said a headstock that allows proper room for the added tuning peg. The stock pups on the four string also may not work well with the changed string spaceing and extra string added.

    The converted basses shown in this thread arent low end basses either. Theyre build qaulity etc is such that their necks can support the extra string.
     
  10. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    If the neck can stand up to 140 lbs of tension with no warping, it can handle another 35. Even your budget line Squier uses a multi-piece neck.
     
    BlueTalon likes this.
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    Pretty much any 4 string bass built in the last 30 years can handle a 5th string. Adding a low B is not that much tension. A high C would be a more. Don't convert an old 60s or 70s bass. I have converted dozens of 4 string basses into 5 stringers. None failed. A couple had problems, but one was because I didn't finish the neck and a couple just had lame necks to begin with.

    This conversion is not for those with large hands.
     
    BlueTalon and Winter like this.
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    Here's one with a plywood body and a $50 neck. But I love playing this bass.

    5sg%20030.jpg
     
    BlueTalon likes this.
  13. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Oct 13, 2009
    Good to hear that most modern necks can take the extra string no problem.
     
  14. FunkQueen

    FunkQueen

    Aug 23, 2007
    Can I convert a 5 to 6?
    a Cort GB75 to 6?
    What do i have to change exaclty?
     
  15. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    New nut, another tuner, new bridge, possibly new pickups.
     
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    There are a couple of guys here who converted fender or squier jazz basses from 5 to 6. You need to make sure you have room for the additional tuner in the headstock. You need a new bridge and a new nut. And make sure your pickups are wide enough.
     
  17. FunkQueen

    FunkQueen

    Aug 23, 2007
    But i wont use LOW B i will use high C and high F.
    Would the neck support it? they usually put 2 supporters in the neck on 6 swtrings...
    is it a risk? ;I guess an average luthier can not do it well...
     
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I can't say your particular bass would be ok but as a general statement many if not most 5 string neck should be able to handle an extra string. My Dean 10 string bass held up fine with 10 strings. It appeared to be pretty much the same neck as the 5 string model.

    There is a 70s 4001 on ebay that someone tried to put 6 strings on it. When you tune it up the neck bows. But that is a 70s 4001 bass. The modern 4003 could handle 6 string. But the neck is really too narrow for that many strings. But the width of Fender jass V necks make them a good bass for this type of experiment.

    If you are considering EADGCF you might consider DGCFA#D#. That would give you the extended range and it would also give you the low D
     
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    Warmoth makes an 8 string dual truss rod bass neck. That could be a good neck for this type of experiment.
     
  20. Palta_Bass

    Palta_Bass

    Mar 29, 2018
    What about the new string spacing? Is it 16.25 or something similar? (Where did you buy the new bridge?)
     

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