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cooldog's picture
Jun 2015
2 months ago

I'm a guitarsist but just bought a 5 string bass to do some record with and I need some advice on how best to tune this thing. I found myself wanting to tune the bottom 4 strings like a 4 string bass and dropping the biggest (top of neck) string to a D because if I tune it any lower than a D, it seems to be almost unusable becuase it's tuned too low.  Any suggestions or ideas? I bought it used and when it arrived, the stings has been loosened so I have no starting point. Thanks!

mediumjohn's picture
LA / Lower Atlanta
Nov 2008
5 months ago

The top string is a B , the rest are just like a four string . That way it works just like all the rest of the things when it comes to runs and rocking between the one and five notes . Most guys I know just leave it alone and never hit it .

fruce_ki's picture
Jul 2015
3 months ago

The standard way to tune a 5-string bass would be BEADG. On standard scale lengths, the B can feel floppy indeed. You can try a heavier gauge low B. Or you can try ditching it and adding a top side string and go with EADGC or EADGB.

I got a 5er too, but only because the 4-strings felt too narrow and because I like to use that bottom string as anchor for finger picking. Chances are you won't have much use for the lower string unless your guitars or other rhythm instruments can also reach that lower range.