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Thread: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

  1. #1
    my banana hammock hosts a leetle peppercini and has hit the skids Aceman's Avatar
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    Default New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    So - the singer went and got a nut cut for the bottom 4 strings of a 5 string set.

    Thus there is basically 130 low B, E, D, and G string on this bass now. It is usually tuned to Eb.

    First - it sounds really cool! has a neat chime to each note on the two fat strings!

    But - will this be ok for the neck???
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad City
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    Shaunofthedeadologist Johnny the Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Are you tuning the 130 to Eb?
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    my banana hammock hosts a leetle peppercini and has hit the skids Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny the Kid View Post
    Are you tuning the 130 to Eb?
    Or lower, but mostly Eb
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad City
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    Shaunofthedeadologist Johnny the Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    Or lower, but mostly Eb
    As I said in the other thread, it can lead to issues. You can try it though.
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  5. #5
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Dont you mean B-E-A-D?

    Ive had the thick 4 strings of a 5 string set (Ernie Ball 135's iirc), tuned either B or C (mostly B) on a 4 string since like 2011... no neck issues.

    Then again, it's a Japanese '87 Ibby RD-707 with a wicked 3 piece maple neck, so ymmv... depends on the instrument

    OTOH, the Ibby has maybe the slimmest bass neck I've ever played... so perhaps most basses will fare A-Ok, as long as their necks are well-made from proper materials
    Last edited by Adieu; 06-12-2017 at 04:39 AM.

  6. #6
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    I've got an '87 Ibanez SR-885LE 5 string. Really thin neck. I've never had a problem with it. Just make sure the truss rod is properly adjusted.


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    Shaunofthedeadologist Johnny the Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    I've got an '87 Ibanez SR-885LE 5 string. Really thin neck. I've never had a problem with it. Just make sure the truss rod is properly adjusted.


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    The issue isn't that he's playing a 5 string set, it's that he's using the bottom 4 strings of that set to play in Eb (a 130 tuned to Eb).
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  8. #8
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny the Kid View Post
    The issue isn't that he's playing a 5 string set, it's that he's using the bottom 4 strings of that set to play in Eb (a 130 tuned to Eb).
    My point was those bottom 4 strings won't harm the neck. I have 5 on a skinny neck with no problems. That's even more tension.


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  9. #9
    Shaunofthedeadologist Johnny the Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    My point was those bottom 4 strings won't harm the neck. I have 5 on a skinny neck with no problems. That's even more tension.


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    5's tend to be better reinforced. And it wouldn't be more tension on a 5 string with that set if you tune that bass to standard. I can do the maths if you want me to. I'd rather not have to right now though.
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  10. #10
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny the Kid View Post
    5's tend to be better reinforced. And it wouldn't be more tension on a 5 string with that set if you tune that bass to standard. I can do the maths if you want me to. I'd rather not have to right now though.
    I'm a luthier. I can tell you with certainty that most 5 strings have the same neck reinforcement as a 4 string. My Ibanez has one truss rod, and nothing else.

    Now explain how having an additional string tuned to pitch will not increase the total tension. I'll do the math (don't pluralize the word math) for you;

    Here's the tension for a set of D'Addario Pro Steels in .045 gauge.

    G = 41.520 lbs (0.045")
    D = 47.120 lbs (0.065")
    A = 39.010 lbs (0.080")
    E = 33.780 lbs (0.100")
    B = 31.390 lbs (0.130")

    So, a 5 string set exerts 192.82 lbs of tension on the neck. Remove the G string and it's 151.3 lbs. remove the low B and it's 161.43 lbs.

    This assumes the strings are tuned to standard pitch.

    So the bottom 4 strings on a 5 string set exert about the same tension than the same gauge 4 string set. And in fact it's less tension. This is because the increased mass on the B string allows it to reach pitch at less tension than the G string. Which is what I was saying to start with. So there's no need to worry about the neck. The rod will be looser too.

    Obviously other brands and gauges have different tension at pitch.

    So what was your point again?


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    Last edited by DavidRavenMoon; 06-14-2017 at 06:16 PM.

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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Using your set...

    .065 @ Gb = ~75lbs
    .080 @ Db = ~64lbs
    .100 @ Ab = ~54lbs
    .130 @ Eb = ~50lbs

    244 lbs for the set at Eb. Can Ace's neck take it?
    Oh no.....


    Oh Yeah!

  12. #12
    my banana hammock hosts a leetle peppercini and has hit the skids Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by PFDarkside View Post
    Using your set...

    .065 @ Gb = ~75lbs
    .080 @ Db = ~64lbs
    .100 @ Ab = ~54lbs
    .130 @ Eb = ~50lbs

    244 lbs for the set at Eb. Can Ace's neck take it?
    Yeah - That's the question!

    What would a standard set tuned to standard be?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad City
    He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

  13. #13
    Shaunofthedeadologist Johnny the Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    I'm a luthier. I can tell you with certainty that most 5 strings have the same neck reinforcement as a 4 string. My Ibanez has one truss rod, and nothing else.

    Now explain how having an additional string tuned to pitch will not increase the total tension. I'll do the math (don't pluralize the word math) for you;

    Here's the tension for a set of D'Addario Pro Steels in .045 gauge.

    G = 41.520 lbs (0.045")
    D = 47.120 lbs (0.065")
    A = 39.010 lbs (0.080")
    E = 33.780 lbs (0.100")
    B = 31.390 lbs (0.130")

    So, a 5 string set exerts 192.82 lbs of tension on the neck. Remove the G string and it's 151.3 lbs. remove the low B and it's 161.43 lbs.

    This assumes the strings are tuned to standard pitch.

    So the bottom 4 strings on a 5 string set exert about the same tension than the same gauge 4 string set. And in fact it's less tension. This is because the increased mass on the B string allows it to reach pitch at less tension than the G string. Which is what I was saying to start with. So there's no need to worry about the neck. The rod will be looser too.

    Obviously other brands and gauges have different tension at pitch.

    So what was your point again?


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    My point was that if you tune a 65-130 bass string set to Eb standard, either the neck will not be able to handle it without a severe truss rod adjustment or the strings will break after about 10 minutes.

    If Ace were to tune to B standard, yes no issues. If Ace used the E-G strings of that set tuned to standard, no issues. If Ace tunes a 65-130 set to a half step below standard, issues will ensue.

    If you are a luthier and cannot understand when I plainly said "a 130 tuned to Eb" as I said at the end of post #7, then I do not trust your skills as a luthier.
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  14. #14
    Shaunofthedeadologist Johnny the Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    Yeah - That's the question!

    What would a standard set tuned to standard be?
    As David said above, it's around 160lbs for a standard set. I don't know that I would temp adding 90 more pounds to that.
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  15. #15
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny the Kid View Post
    My point was that if you tune a 65-130 bass string set to Eb standard, either the neck will not be able to handle it without a severe truss rod adjustment or the strings will break after about 10 minutes.

    If Ace were to tune to B standard, yes no issues. If Ace used the E-G strings of that set tuned to standard, no issues. If Ace tunes a 65-130 set to a half step below standard, issues will ensue.

    If you are a luthier and cannot understand when I plainly said "a 130 tuned to Eb" as I said at the end of post #7, then I do not trust your skills as a luthier.
    Who would tune a 130 B string to E flat?

    And who was talking about doing that? This thread is about tuning a 4 string bass using the BEAD strings from a 5 string.

    And if you read what I wrote and thought before you started typing that would have been apparent.

    And don't worry about my skills as a luthier. Worry about your reading skills.

    Here's one of my basses.


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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    Who would tune a 130 B string to E flat?

    And who was talking about doing that? This thread is about tuning a 4 string bass using the BEAD strings from a 5 string.

    And if you read what I wrote and thought before you started typing that would have been apparent.

    And don't worry about my skills as a luthier. Worry about your reading skills.
    Reread the OP. I read it as Ace has a bass tuned to Eb with the lowest 4 strings of a 5 string set.
    Oh no.....


    Oh Yeah!

  17. #17
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by PFDarkside View Post
    Reread the OP. I read it as Ace has a bass tuned to Eb with the lowest 4 strings of a 5 string set.

    It DOES kinda read like that... but that makes no sense, does it???

    Unless --- shortscale kiddie/student/travel model????

    Still... nah, 130s?

    Brain's too undercaffeinated right now to confidently decide if tension would be proportional to the square or the cube of the gauge, but one thing's for sure, its NOT linear.

    If square:
    130 vs 100 tuned to the same note at the same length: 69% more tension.
    ...Overkill already.


    If OP just wants the added punch of a heavier 130 mil string, he should STILL tune to BEAD and just fret everything 4 or 5 frets up the neck for Eb and E stuff

  18. #18
    Shaunofthedeadologist Johnny the Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    Who would tune a 130 B string to E flat?

    And who was talking about doing that? This thread is about tuning a 4 string bass using the BEAD strings from a 5 string.

    And if you read what I wrote and thought before you started typing that would have been apparent.

    And don't worry about my skills as a luthier. Worry about your reading skills.

    Here's one of my basses.


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    This thread and the thread previously are both asking about tuning a 65-130 set to Eb standard.
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  19. #19
    my banana hammock hosts a leetle peppercini and has hit the skids Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    So far = holding up ok.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad City
    He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

  20. #20
    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 5 strings on a 4 string question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny the Kid View Post
    This thread and the thread previously are both asking about tuning a 65-130 set to Eb standard.
    He wrote;

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    Thus there is basically 130 low B, E, D, and G string on this bass now. It is usually tuned to Eb.
    So itís Bb, Eb, Db, and Gb. And if it isnít thatís the dumbest thing ever.


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