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String recommendations for B-E-A-D tuning

secondwindow

Experienced
I have a 4-string bass, Fender American Elite Precision, that I've been tuning to B-E-A-D by using the four lowest strings of a 5-string set.

These are the strings I'm using now: Ernie Ball 5-String Super Slinky Nickel Wound Bass Set, .040 - .125.

The problem I have is that the 4th string is a bit "floppy", rattles against the frets if played with much more than a light touch. I've adjusted string height and neck relief as best I can to help with this, but it's not solving the problem. P02824.png

I'm wondering if a higher-tension string set would help. I'd prefer not to go with a higher guage so that I don't have to file the nut further, making switching back to E-A-D-G a problem.

Can you recommend a string set that will solve my dilemma or I'm asking too much if my 34" scale bass? Maybe I should be in the market for a 35" scale 5-string (I regret selling my Modulus Quantum 5).

Thanks!
 

RevDrucifer

Power User
Hahaha I’ve been down this road a LOT in the last year. To the tune of $400 in bass strings in one month. :D

Dude, check out Stringjoy.com, they’ve got a tension calculator where you can type in what you want to tune to (B) and see how the different gauges compare to the tension of a string in E standard. I keep my bass tuned to CGCG, while I can’t remember all the gauges off the top of my head, my low E (C) is a .115. Earlier this week I tuned it down to drop B and it still held just fine and sounded good, but I’d probably bump up the gauge a little bit if I were going to stay down there.

I was actually dead set on getting a multi-scale or a 35” due to the issues I was having with my Warwick....the string was either buzzing like a maniac or was so fat that it had zero tone to it, just a big, fat, useless fundamental sub frequency. Turns out, that was mainly an issue with the bass itself and is common across 5-strings. I ended up with a 34” Spector Pulse after talking to a bunch of Spector players and listening to 1000000 clips on YouTube of bass players tuning down.

Stringjoy is good with prices, too. $30 and I had a custom gauge set shipped to my house. They sound great....not as awesome as the NYXL’s I prefer, but really well balanced from low to high and not annoying with the brightness.

That said, not sure how well you’re going to fair with anything less than a 125 as far as buzzing/rattling goes. Some of it is to be expected but there’s a point where it‘s louder than the notes themselves. Give Stringjoy a shot and see what the tension calculator tells you. Having the right tension across the neck might just be the thing you need to get the neck behaving the way you need it to. Anything past .125 on my low B was useless, zero tone or punch. I thought for sure .115 would be just as useless but I was wrong!

What I’d do in your case (cuz it’s exactly what I did when I got my Spector) I order the custom set from Stringjoy and then ordered a couple extra low strings, from .115-.125, so if I didn’t get what I wanted from the custom set, I could keep trying new low strings. Thankfully, it nailed it right away.
 

secondwindow

Experienced
Hahaha I’ve been down this road a LOT in the last year. To the tune of $400 in bass strings in one month. :D

Dude, check out Stringjoy.com, they’ve got a tension calculator where you can type in what you want to tune to (B) and see how the different gauges compare to the tension of a string in E standard. I keep my bass tuned to CGCG, while I can’t remember all the gauges off the top of my head, my low E (C) is a .115. Earlier this week I tuned it down to drop B and it still held just fine and sounded good, but I’d probably bump up the gauge a little bit if I were going to stay down there.

I was actually dead set on getting a multi-scale or a 35” due to the issues I was having with my Warwick....the string was either buzzing like a maniac or was so fat that it had zero tone to it, just a big, fat, useless fundamental sub frequency. Turns out, that was mainly an issue with the bass itself and is common across 5-strings. I ended up with a 34” Spector Pulse after talking to a bunch of Spector players and listening to 1000000 clips on YouTube of bass players tuning down.

Stringjoy is good with prices, too. $30 and I had a custom gauge set shipped to my house. They sound great....not as awesome as the NYXL’s I prefer, but really well balanced from low to high and not annoying with the brightness.

That said, not sure how well you’re going to fair with anything less than a 125 as far as buzzing/rattling goes. Some of it is to be expected but there’s a point where it‘s louder than the notes themselves. Give Stringjoy a shot and see what the tension calculator tells you. Having the right tension across the neck might just be the thing you need to get the neck behaving the way you need it to. Anything past .125 on my low B was useless, zero tone or punch. I thought for sure .115 would be just as useless but I was wrong!

What I’d do in your case (cuz it’s exactly what I did when I got my Spector) I order the custom set from Stringjoy and then ordered a couple extra low strings, from .115-.125, so if I didn’t get what I wanted from the custom set, I could keep trying new low strings. Thankfully, it nailed it right away.
Thanks for the tips! I've never tried stringjoy.com, but I'll be checking them out.

Heading to their website now. I'll let you know how it goes.
 
Last edited:

Bodde

Fractal Fanatic
I would just buy a new nut and put on the four lowest strings of a 5 set. Makes sense.
The B string has a different sound than a tuned down E string.
 

secondwindow

Experienced
I would just buy a new nut and put on the four lowest strings of a 5 set. Makes sense.
The B string has a different sound than a tuned down E string.
Thanks for the tip. I'm using a 5-string set now. I'm making due with the original nut. I'm waiting to see if I want to stick with BEAD or switch to a 5-string bass.
 

secondwindow

Experienced
Ahh, you're right, I didn't notice that.
They're behind in their supply now due to COVID-19, but will be fully stocked soon. I hope so, for their sake - lots of businesses struggling these days.

When available to buy, I'll get my next strings from them. I like to support small business when I can.
 
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