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Bass String Question

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I was wondering if instead of putting regular heavy gauge strings on my bass if i could use 5 string bass strings on a 4 string? so that way its BEAD instead of EADG. i was wondering if this would work fine or would i have to modify the nut to accept the low b.

You will probably have to widen all the slots....because all the strings are wider.

Other than that, it should work fine as long as your scale length is at least 34". You may or may not end up with a floppy B, it depends entirely on the stiffness of your neck and how good the neck/body joint is.

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You most definitely can :D

I recently set up a BEAD bass. All it needed after installing the heavier gauge strings was a minor truss rod adjustment. As for widening the string slots in the nut, that depends on your nut.

The string tension is fine, not extremely floppy & not extremely tight. This is on a Tobias Killer B.

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opening a can of worms here i know, but it also depends if the bass is strung through the body or not. 5th strings generally sound like a wet fart at 34" or shorter...... but if its strung through the body its almost acceptable - - even better if its a longer scale length.

not sure if its to do with having extra string length or to do with it going through the body.. but i seem to remember a decice that fitted to the back of a top loading bridge to create extra string length that claimed to solve the problem of a floppy b-string

they work fine on 35" scale basses

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I'll start by completely ripping off the entire lid!

It's the extra length of string that has the major effect. The tension is spread evenly through the string (we'll pretend friction doesn't exist) not just the playable length. that combined with elasticity of the string etc. So in addition to stringing through the body you could stick a reverse p-bass type headstock on so that the low string has even more length.

Edited by joshvegas
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Is it a bolt on neck? What about making a replacement neck in a 35" scale? Similar to what Warmoth offers with their "conversion" necks for guitar - the basic idea is that you add the extra length to the neck "behind" the original nuts location, allowing you to extend the scale length without moving the bridge.

If you just went up in string gauges even farther than what's normally used for a low B string, could you avoid some of the floppiness?

I played a few 5 strings the other day (my brother would like me to build him one) and I definitely noticed the difference in tone and response between the two different scale lengths.


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