#1
Whenever I try to tune my bass all the way down to drop A#, the low string is very loose and floppy. I have heard that some people purchase 5-string bass strings, string their 4-string bass to BEAD, and then tune to A# F A# D#. Is this a good idea? Will the heavy gauges damage my neck? Also, will the E A and D strings withstand being tuned up a half-step? I've always tuned down, never had any experience with tuning up, even a half-step. If anyone could answer these two questions it would be greatly appreciated!
#2
gotta get the bass setup for that string gauging. or do it yourself. your choice. or, you know, just buy a 5 string. best decision i made in my career.

edit: dont tune up. at most 1 tone but thats it. youll either snap the string or warp the shit out of the neck if you leave it like that.
Equipment:

ESP F104 Bass
Spector Legend 5 Classic Bass
ESP B206SM Bass
Axl Mayhem Fireaxe Guitar
Gallien-Krueger 400RB-III Combo Bass Amp
Gallien-Krueger 115SBX Bass Cabinet
#3
Ericks pretty much got it.

If you have money have more than one bass for high and low tunings. I dont know how much you play standard tuning (ie: anything not metal or core) so it may be alright to just have a low tuned bass.

But pretty much dont have 1 bass for both. you have to set them up differently. And obvioulsy super thick gauge.
#4
What gauge do you use now? Tuning up a 5-string set might be a problem like you imagine, have you tried just a heavier gauge set?
http://musiciansfriend.com/accessories/daddario-exl230-heavy-long-bass-strings/100395000000000
.055 - .110

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#5
Thanks for the replies guys. I'm still pretty new to bass playing, not quite a year yet. But I might look into a second bass, most likely a 5-string. And the thing is, I want to learn the songs I listen to that are in drop A#, but I also play for my youth group, which would be closer to normal tuning.

Quote by jthm_guitarist
What gauge do you use now? Tuning up a 5-string set might be a problem like you imagine, have you tried just a heavier gauge set?
http://musiciansfriend.com/accessories/daddario-exl230-heavy-long-bass-strings/100395000000000
.055 - .110


I currently use Ernie Ball's Power Slinky set, which is .055-.110. The three higher strings tune down perfectly and have a very nice tension, but the .110 string is still pretty floppy in A#, although with lighter playing it doesn't come through the amp too much. When someone mentions tuning down that low, is the "floppiness" assumed? Because when I watch covers and other videos their string doesn't look or sound floppy. Maybe I just need to get used to it. (And stop saying floppy so much.)

Also, my neck does not appeared to be bowed and my action is decent, but could I use the truss rod/action to make the string more playable?
#6
Quote by BreakingBass
Thanks for the replies guys. I'm still pretty new to bass playing, not quite a year yet. But I might look into a second bass, most likely a 5-string. And the thing is, I want to learn the songs I listen to that are in drop A#, but I also play for my youth group, which would be closer to normal tuning.

I currently use Ernie Ball's Power Slinky set, which is .055-.110. The three higher strings tune down perfectly and have a very nice tension, but the .110 string is still pretty floppy in A#, although with lighter playing it doesn't come through the amp too much. When someone mentions tuning down that low, is the "floppiness" assumed? Because when I watch covers and other videos their string doesn't look or sound floppy. Maybe I just need to get used to it. (And stop saying floppy so much.)

Also, my neck does not appeared to be bowed and my action is decent, but could I use the truss rod/action to make the string more playable?


You'd only want to adjust the truss rod if the added tension of the strings was causing bowing in the neck.

There are a few things you could do. You could grab a 5-string pack of strings and use the first four. However, this could require you to increase the size of the slots in the nut, should the strings not sit properly in the nut...though this would limit your 4-string to the heavier set of strings unless you found a replacement nut for relatively-standard gauge strings. To be honest, I've never tried to fit a .130 string in an E string slot (usually .100-.110), so I'm not entirely sure you would have to widen the nut. Just a word of caution.

By far the somewhat easier (though not on the wallet) option would be to pick up a 5-string. I've played in drop A# with a .130 string with no worries. You could tune back up to standard tuning with no string tension issues, or you could even just keep a second bass in standard tuning.
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