May 5th, 2012, 11:28 AM
I have often thought about converting to use a low B string to get a 5th fret fretted E. I hate to admit it but most everything I play is done on the two bass strings (4 string basses) using open E ( & often open A as the 4th). It has been my understanding that the big B string is hard to make sound good or intonate. But still if it sounds good fretted than I would be happy. I have n issues in using a 7th fret B. Anyone have experiences with this tuning? Thanks & take care. Bob
May 5th, 2012, 12:35 PM
I haven't tried it on a 4 string bass but the fretted E is very useful. The notes lower than E are increasingly less useful as you go lower at least on my bass with the amps I've played through.
May 5th, 2012, 02:16 PM
I wonder what effect scale length has upon using a B string. Better? Worse? I won`t even guess. Thanks & take care. Bob
May 5th, 2012, 03:40 PM
I tried this on a 4 string bass and found it pretty much useless. The B string was used by me mostly as a thumb rest.
Shorter scale B string requires more tension for the same pitch, so it's stiffer than regular scale B string. :wink:
May 5th, 2012, 04:04 PM
Immo I`m thinking that it might depend a lot on your style of playing and what you play. I play mostly 12 bar blues in E so for this application it might be the setup. As I say that fretted 5th fret E would either make or break the deal for me. If that was OK or better I would like it. If not it`s not for me then either.
Not so good for short scale though but I`m thinking of using the application on a Pbass clone I am refinishing. (Trying to get that road worn effect on it). I suppose if I do that I may as well go ahead & defret the thing. Thanks & take care. Bob
May 6th, 2012, 06:34 AM
I tried the BEAD trick on my Telecaster Bass (regular scale + muddy humbucker right next to the neck) and the lows were extremely deep, blues sounded pretty nice but those fiver lower notes were a bit too much... I don't know, dark? Low? It's just I figured I won't find any good application for them in whatever I play, so I returned to EADG.
May 7th, 2012, 08:24 PM
It worked like gangbusters on my Steinberger - really, really well - but that bass doesn't move or sound the same as a wood instrument. But if you can get it to work, it's just great.
May 7th, 2012, 08:46 PM
I did it for a while on my old Vox bass (MIJ long scale) and it worked ok, but I did have an 18" speaker to help with the lower notes. The stuff I play these days doesn't need the lower string. I had to file the nut slots a little bit to get the action and sustain right.
May 8th, 2012, 11:10 PM
Have you considered a Hipshot bass extender key?
It takes a while to set up, but instantly and accurately detunes the E to D (or Eb, Db, even C, I think) and back painlessly...I have had one on my Rick for years and use it once or twice a set at nearly every gig--I really use it for the D it gives me, but it would supply you with your fretted E.
May 8th, 2012, 11:46 PM
marshman the link is for use on an upright. Even if it worked thats a lot of money to invest in a freebee Pbass clone. I already have purchased a B string so its just a matter of wrapping a little sandpaper around a drill bit and working my way carefully to the bottom of the groove and perhaps enlarging the bridge orfice where the string enters. Take care. Bob
May 9th, 2012, 01:48 AM
The guy that plays bass in my band modded his fretless P-bass for this tuning about 14 years ago, and loves it. He did take it to a tech to make sure the neck was adjusted properly for the extra tension but beyond that, no worries. And he doesn't have any intonation problems, though the fretless thing may have something to do with that.
Only downside is, sometimes I ask him to play something up high and he'll have to remind me, "I don't have those notes anymore."
May 9th, 2012, 10:04 AM
Did it - tried it - hated it - restored it back - had to put a new nut on to restore it
May 9th, 2012, 10:05 AM
I play a 5-string now, but back when I had a P-Bass clone I tried BEAD for a while. I don't really use the low B, C, & C# notes, but I find that I can't do without the low D. Eventually, I tried Drop-D tuning on the 4-string and liked that best.
May 9th, 2012, 10:28 AM
aunchaki can you explain drop D tuning to me. I used it on guitar years ago to play open g with a slide but can`t remember anything about how it was done. Thanks & take care. Bob
May 9th, 2012, 04:25 PM
I never tried it, but I imagine this would be the result . . .
The notes lower than E are increasingly less useful as you go lower.
those fiver lower notes were a bit too much... I don't know, dark? Low?
That matches my reaction when listening to five-string players.
And besides, all the notes would be in the wrong place!
May 9th, 2012, 04:34 PM
aunchaki can you explain drop D tuning to me. I used it on guitar years ago to play open g with a slide but can`t remember anything about how it was done.
Drop-D tuning is easy, just tune the lowest string from E to D. You'll have to jump up to the fifth fret to get the low G, but it quickly becomes second nature. You can get a Hipshot tuner to quickly switch from EADG to DADG with the flick of a lever.
Low D is heaven.
May 9th, 2012, 06:29 PM
I`ll give it a try again. First time I was thinking E was first fret which wouldn`t work for me but second fret just might. Thanks & take care. Bob
May 13th, 2012, 01:22 AM
For me personally it`s a matter of having more to gain (fretted 5th fret E) & nothing to lose but my G string (otherwise everything remains pretty much the same ).Not for everyone but i`m chancing it that it will work for the stuff I like to play. Take care. Bob
May 16th, 2012, 01:17 PM
I strung my backup BEAD awhile ago but rarely used it. One day I decided to really give it a chance and I haven't gone back to standard tuning since then.
I'll occasionally use the low notes for something different (usually during the instrumental break) but mainly I grab them to end a song. Sometimes the G string would be nice for certain riffs but I'm generally not a fan of the thin sound they produce so it's not a big deal to lose it. I use P basses.
The B string is always going to be floppier than the E string but the relative difference isn't any more pronounced than going between any other pair of strings. I use med gauge D'A Chromes which are generally considered a 'stiffer' string but I've always preferred bigger strings anyway.
And FYI, BEAD is overall lower tension than EADG so you might need to loosen your truss rod a tiny bit, although it's really a pretty minor difference. File your nut, adjust your intonation...basically just give it a setup (which I always do I change strings anyway) and you're good to go.
best of luck
May 16th, 2012, 08:08 PM
thanks bcat ( I use bobcat on another forum)
you express my concerns directly and makes me feel good about this experiment. I have thought long about it and have come to the conclusion that I have nothing to lose but a string i don`t like anyway (I`ll be looking for a guitar player to give it to so it might find some use).
I have the Fender Bass Manual (paul balmer/Carole Kay) to help me in all the setup procedures. (It`s a great book to have). Congratulations on your #1 post here. Take care. Bob
May 16th, 2012, 10:49 PM
Thanks, Bob. I thought it looked like you could use some support around here.
Fender has a nice setup guide on their website, too. If you haven't done many setups before, my main suggestion is take your time. I'll double check everything daily for a few days and generally make minor adjustments a couple times. Once it all settles down I'll play it a couple weeks and then go back and do a quick recheck but it's generally fine. Anyway, check it out.
I think it took me about 2 weeks of playing it exclusively for the fingerings to become automatic. I didn't have any prior experience w/BEAD or 5ers. If you do you'll probably pick it up much faster.
Good luck and keep us posted with your progress and thoughts.
May 17th, 2012, 12:40 AM
Thanks basscat. Thats a good link bookmarked for revisiting as needed. Take care. Bob
May 17th, 2012, 06:23 AM
I currently play 5-stringers, but have had a couple of basses in BEAD. With the appropriate setup, they play fine.
The usefulness of the low notes is debateable, but I play in a heavy rock band tuned to C# and was in a metal band tuned to B before that, so they are invaluable in some contexts. I also find that the lower string means that you can play higher up the neck whilst keeping the pitch low, so you can get that smooth, deep tone which comes from the top end of the neck without losing the 'bassline'. It's great for Reggae and so forth.
May 17th, 2012, 08:31 AM
It is done by a couple bassists here in Sweden and i like the sound of it.
May 17th, 2012, 10:18 AM
I hate five string basses, so I tried this back about fifteen years ago. I was playing in a pretty heavy band, that de-tuned all the way to C rather than drop D.
I tried re-tuning my bass, but it lost too much tension at that tuning. So, I bought a set of 5 String bass strings and threw away the G. I just used the bottom four, tuned BEAD. It worked great, and kept decent tension.
May 17th, 2012, 10:35 AM
I hate it. I re-strung my four-string with the lower strings from a five-string set, and ended up just tuning it right up to E. I prefer that to lighter strings though :wink:
May 17th, 2012, 10:36 AM
Jakedog did you have any trouble setting it up as far as filing the nut to accept bigger strings at each position. Right now that`s my only concern (setup). I`m sure i will readily adapt to the changes ( look forward to throwing away the G )if I get it set up without issues. Thanks for your input. Take care. Bob
May 21st, 2012, 08:08 PM
Sorry...when I click that link I get a 'search' with about 15 different drop-keys on it, only the first seems to be for uprights.
Anyway, I have one on my Rick and use it fairly frequently. Like a few other folks have mentioned, I went 5-string about 8 years ago but so rarely went below the D I found I preferred the Rick with drop key.
If you think D is as low as you'd be inclined to go, this is another option... http://www.kubicki.com/catalogExfactor.php