Will one standard 4 string 34 inch scale length Ibanez be suitable for CGCF, AGCF and GGCF tunings?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by BillMurray, Aug 15, 2020.

  1. BillMurray

    BillMurray SS.org Regular

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    Hi there,

    Guitarist in need of a bass guitar, budget is between £200 and £400, just for home recording.

    The tunings I play in are CGCFAD, and I drop the low C sometimes to an A or a G (AGCFAD, GGCFAD) (Periphery tunings, shocker).

    Will a typical £300 4 string Ibanez with a 34 inch scale length, fitted with either .135, .145 or .160 gauge strings work? I'm concerned that I'll need the .160 for when I tune the low C to an A or G but then it will snap when I tune to C. Also, I'm guessing that .135 for drop C will be to thin for A and G.

    Is the only solution to this problem to get two bass guitars?

    Thanks for reading, I appreciate any advice here.
     
  2. Adieu

    Adieu SS.org Regular

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    You might need multiple string sets? IDK

    All I can say is that the bottom 4 of a cheapo Ernie Ball 5string set (the purple one iirc) worked fine for B and C tunings on my 4string RD-707... then again, while bought for a paltry $150 used, it was a high-end premium bass back when it was new in '87.

    I do have to say, avoid the supercheap Gios, they have soft necks. They're fine in E with light strings, but shift around a disturbing amount from tuning or string changes.
     
  3. FancyFish

    FancyFish SS.org Regular

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    Since you are buying a bass, why not get a 5 string instead? I remember in an old Nolly video, he would tune his top 4 strings to Drop C and then tune his lowest string to G.
     
  4. BillMurray

    BillMurray SS.org Regular

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    Interesting idea. My knowledge in this area is limited, but would my drop C songs lose "something" from playing the low C parts on the 2nd string, as opposed to normally playing on the bottom string?
     
  5. FancyFish

    FancyFish SS.org Regular

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    I don't see why it would. You would probably need to adjust your technique a bit, because instead of riding the bottom string, you're riding the next to last string.
     
  6. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    It's *doable* but I wouldn't really recommend it. You wont damage bass or string but it'll kinda suck either way.
    I would agree in going for a GCGCF/ACGCF tuning instead. I don't find it loses anything - hammering away at the 2nd string is just fine for me. Though I *do* feel like there is some worth to that mindset on guitar and riffing on the 6 of a 7 not being the same as a 6 - it doesn't apply so much to bass in my experience

    I recommend this tapered 160 sourced in the UK https://www.stringsdirect.co.uk/str...s-single-string-160-long-scale-tapered-p11185 paired with a regular 130 5 string set with the 100 thrown out. Makes a good drop C set and is cheaper than similarly gauged singles as far as I remember
     
  7. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Well, just.
    With a gauge chosen to be tight in C (probably .135), that string would be low tension in A and very low tension in G. Bass strings are more affected by being undertensioned than guitar strings, and 5 semitones of retuning is huge.
    The large tension change (tension almost halves when dropping 5 semitones) will also alter the neck curvature and setup in unhelpful ways, more than on a guitar, as this is 1 of 4 strings not 1 of 6.
    No, i cannot see how it could be a disadvantage.

    I also recommend a 5 string in GCGCF/ACGCF, it will be far more useful and flexible in the future, especially as you seem to like low tunings. An equivalent 5 string is not much more expensive, well worth it.
    You still have the option of dropping the C to G/A if for some weird reason you prefer that, in which case you could tune it G/A/C GCF A/Bb for more high range.

    .160 for G/A is good, or perhaps .145 as a looser but more flexible option if you use A more than G.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  8. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    any bass should be fine. If you can play a 34" 5 string in B, why wouldnt you be able to play a C on it?, you tecnically are "tunning up" a 5 string and getting rid of the high G, there shouldnt be any issues with it. Only problem is that there isnt any "standard" set of strings for it. You need to buy a specific set of 4 string, ditch one of those, and get a .130 for the C.... thats what I found out when I was about to join a band that uses dropC

    also .130 is fine for B (for me), so tune up a semi-tone is even better, you wont need the .135 for C at 34"

    as for te other tunings, you would need a different bass. I know Periphery guys like to drop their low string in their gutiars to it and deal with the tension, but on bass that drop of tension is terrible. Maybe if you get a thicker string for the C, so you can "get away with it" for A?... but for G? nope thats too far

    this would be the best compromise

    nope, it would sound the same. It would be up to you and how you play it. You like to hammer strung hardcore to it standing ona power stance with the bass on your knees?, then having another string in the way would affect your playing of course, but if you play normally then nope, it wont affect it
     
  9. DrSadisticPhD

    DrSadisticPhD SS.org Regular

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    I'd agree with the others here, but also add that if you're gonna swap strings out semi regularly (say, from a 130, 145, 160, etc.), you might wanna find a bass with some kind of quick change bridge. It'll make string changes much quicker and easier and allow you to reuse strings without unwinding and straightening the tuner end. Most Ibanezes have this or monorails, so you should be good with most of their range :)
    (This is an Ibanez SR300EB)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I’d say tune the 5 string like everyone is suggesting, with the top 4 strings to drop C. Swap out the 5th string tuner for one of the Hipshot bass extenders, and toggle between G and A. I guess if you’re just recording it wouldn’t be that necessary, but if you’re going back and forth between G and A on that lowest string a lot, it would make things super easy. But like everyone is saying, bass strings have a very narrow zone of acceptable tension and pitch, so a C to G drop is going to be pretty tough.
     
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  11. BillMurray

    BillMurray SS.org Regular

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    Thanks everybody for your advice. I've decided to go for the 5-string. I'm going to buy a Jackson JS3 Spectre V, it has a 35 inch scale length as well, and it only costs £300.

    Plus, I failed to mention that I have a 4 string 34 inch scale bass (I had retired it!), I had no plans on using it again. It is old and really cheap, I got it over 10 years ago from a friend for £30! I'll get some new strings for that, set it up as best I can and perhaps use that for my drop C songs, whilst bearing in mind the tuning on the five string that would allow me to play in all three tunings.

    Thanks everyone.
     
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