#1
im thinking about getting a 5 string because i change the tuning alot but would an open B on a 5 string get a similar tone to if i tuned it down to a B?
#2
Dropping a 4-string bass down to "B" can be a hassle because of a lack of string tension. Go with a 5-string; preferably with a 35" scale if your band is into down-tuning.
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#3
^^ plus you'll probably have to file down the nut and it's just a big hassle for usually muddy results.

depending on your budget, you can go beyond a 35" scale and get into real low territory by getting a dingwall combustion for around $1300 or so - 37" fanned fret goodness.

also another thing to factor in: what kind of amp and cab are you running? if your cab just isn't built to handle those kind of fundamentals and push that much air, you're not going to have much success no matter what kind of bass you have if you want that thumping low B
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#4
i have the fender rumble 25, but like right now we are mainly just like playing around and covering songs
but what im getting is that it will sound different like if i were playing in drop D vs a D on the B string the tone would be different?
#5
Quote by alec25
i have the fender rumble 25, but like right now we are mainly just like playing around and covering songs
but what im getting is that it will sound different like if i were playing in drop D vs a D on the B string the tone would be different?
Well, not being a bass player, but being quite familiar with sound reproduction, I'd hazard a guess that you'd most likely need at least 15" drivers to have a solid low B. The low E on the 4 string is about 41 hz which sort of hovers around the free air resonance of most 12" drivers.

Not all things are equal in speaker design, and cone compliance, voice coil throw along with cabinet volume and overall design all factor into, "how low can you go".

Transistor amps can go down to near 0 HZ, and often need to have subsonic filters built in to avoid destroying speakers. The amp usually wouldn't be the issue. However it takes a ton of power to produce low frequencies, in order to bring them to the same volume as mid range.

I'm going to "guesstimate" a 2 x 15" cab would likely be the minimum necessary.

(Obviously this is in addition to the suggestions already made about the bass itself).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 8, 2016,
#6
Quote by Captaincranky
Well, not being a bass player, but being quite familiar with sound reproduction, I'd hazard a guess that you'd most likely need at least 15" drivers to have a solid low B. The low E on the 4 string is about 41 hz which sort of hovers around the free air resonance of most 12" drivers.

Not all things are equal in speaker design, and cone compliance, voice coil throw along with cabinet volume and overall design all factor into, "how low can you go".

Transistor amps can go down to near 0 HZ, and often need to have subsonic filters built in to avoid destroying speakers. The amp usually wouldn't be the issue. However it takes a ton of power to produce low frequencies, in order to bring them to the same volume as mid range.

I'm going to "guesstimate" a 2 x 15" cab would likely be the minimum necessary.

(Obviously this is in addition to the suggestions already made about the bass itself).


you're gonna need to be pushing a hell of a lot of air to power a 2x15, and honestly, i'd prefer a 4x10 or 2x12. the key is mostly in pushing air and not letting the fundamentals fart out. but it's kind of irrelevant cause TS just wants to play in drop D

you're fine with a 4 string, TS. on your little amp no one would really be able to tell the difference. while there is a change in tone between using the D on the low B, honestly you won't likely hear it till you pack some more punch on your amp. if you're looking for something to beef up your tone, an amp upgrade is where i'd start looking
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#7
Quote by Hail
you're gonna need to be pushing a hell of a lot of air to power a 2x15, and honestly
Honestly, I thought the amp drove the voice coils, which moved the cones, which pushed the air, but have it your way.

In any case, extremely low fundamentals usually require large speaker cones.


The TS says he's thinking about a 5 string.
Quote by alec25
im thinking about getting a 5 string because i change the tuning alot but would an open B on a 5 string get a similar tone to if i tuned it down to a B?

Wiki says B0 is 30.86Hz. If you can push a lot of 31 cycle information through 4 x 10" cabinet, God be with you...
#8
Quote by Captaincranky
Honestly, I thought the amp drove the voice coils, which moved the cones, which pushed the air, but have it your way.

In any case, extremely low fundamentals usually require large speaker cones.


have you ever heard a 2x15 play? they tend to not have enough punch for my tastes.

the reason i said a 4x10 is because an 8x10 is unrealistic in this day and age, but ideally, you're gonna be playing an 8x10 or 4x12 if you really want to produce low ranges. this isn't exclusive to low Bs, but if you go further into low F# and similar ranges, you need something that will cut. for a low B most anything will work though, honestly, including stuff like PJB cabinets that run 5" speakers.

most bass cabinets are designed FRFR in this day and age, so the difference is going to be in tone and the way air moves, not frequency handling.

lately i've been running dual 3 way 15"/6.5"/1" speakers which does well, but if you're just running straight 15s there's gonna be a lacking clarity IMO
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Last edited by Hail at Apr 9, 2016,
#9
15s are great if you want to sound really woofy and hollow.

The Rumble is definitely the weak link here though. Put some heavier strings on your current bass (or borrow someone else's 5) and see how that B sounds. Then get on your local classifieds and start hunting for an amp with balls.
#10
Quote by Hail
....[ ]......lately i've been running dual 3 way 15"/6.5"/1" speakers which does well, but if you're just running straight 15s there's gonna be a lacking clarity IMO
I completely agree, a mixed cabinet would be ideal. When you have any driver optimized to pass information as low as 30Hz, it's likely to be lacking upper bass and mid range presence.

I do think running a 5 string bass through a Fender "Rumble 25", misses the mark completely. Sort of places you in what us old fogies call a, "predicament".

EDIT: And speaking of 8 x 10"s or 8 x 12", IIRC I read Alex Lifeson from Rush saying, "we push a couple of stacks out on stage pretty much for show, a large part of the guitar goes through my laptop and out to the PA.... (Dunno how true that is, it came from an interview w/ Lifeson in GP Magazine).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 9, 2016,
#12
In my experience, you can drop-tune a 4 string bass to C as needed. Heavier gauge strings and longer scale length can help, but I wouldn't go below C or the strings will flop and make too much noise. If you have a regular need to go that low then a 5 string bass is the best bet.
#13
Are you talking of experience or hearsay, the holy grail of bass rigs at one time was the Fender Dual Showman which was the amplifier section of the Twin Reverb sat on top of a 2x15 cab, the guitar version had JBL 15" D130, the JBL 15" D140 was in the Bass version.
I've used everything from 10", 12", 15" and 18", in the 70s I added HF units to my cabs myself long before it became a standard practise.
At the end of the day most of the sound is down to the preamp in the amplifier or the actives on the bass itself.
One of the best rigs I had was an Orange 120 on top of an HH 2x15 cab and today I use a Markbass 1x15+horn combo which sounds great and is very good for my ancient back.
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#14
Quote by John Swift
Are you talking of experience or hearsay, the holy grail of bass rigs at one time was the Fender Dual Showman which was the amplifier section of the Twin Reverb sat on top of a 2x15 cab, the guitar version had JBL 15" D130, the JBL 15" D140 was in the Bass version.
I've used everything from 10", 12", 15" and 18", in the 70s I added HF units to my cabs myself long before it became a standard practise.
The JBL D-130 was the Holy Grail of loudspeakers at one time, period! I had a pair in homebuilt cabinets in my living room for a good number of years. I used them with a pair of 075 ring radiators to tackle the high end. If you could build them to the tolerances and the materials used when in production, they'd likely be about $600.00 a pop today.

The only reason D-130's are slightly impractical today is the fact alnico tends to degauss at high power levels. In the mean time, the public's hearing has gone to shit, requiring mutant amounts of bottom end to pound that excessive bass through their thick skulls.
Quote by John Swift
At the end of the day most of the sound is down to the preamp in the amplifier or the actives on the bass itself.
One of the best rigs I had was an Orange 120 on top of an HH 2x15 cab and today I use a Markbass 1x15+horn combo which sounds great and is very good for my ancient back.
I feel you there. Even moving a Twin Reverb with a set of D-131's was an onerous chore.

One point this thread has missed, is how the inverse square law affects cone excursion.

You can get a 4" driver to pass 30hz bass. However, if a 16" driver's cone had to move 1/8" to move "X" quantity of air, the 4" cone would have to move 2 full inches to move the same amount of air.

So, a 4" driver can produce 30hz bass, you just have to put your ear right next to it to hear it.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 23, 2016,
#15
Quote by alec25
i have the fender rumble 25, but like right now we are mainly just like playing around and covering songs
but what im getting is that it will sound different like if i were playing in drop D vs a D on the B string the tone would be different?


Not so much. And with a Fender Rumble 25, there's absolutely no chance you'll notice.

Most bass cabinets, honestly, and even most subwoofers have trouble reproducing a fundamental much below 45 Hz, and you need some horrendous power levels to do that at band levels. In other words, most can't reproduce the actual fundamentals available on a 5-string's B string over those on a 4-string.

But if you're looking at needing a D lower than a 41Hz 4-string E, the 5-string allows you to play one. I'm not sure that there's any point in comparing the tonal differences between a floppy D on a downtuned E string to the third fret on a B string. My guess would be that the 5-string's low D would sound better. Certainly you'll never hear the differences on the Rumble 25, but any differences you'd hear on really good bass gear would be from harmonics generated three octaves and more above that.
#16
Quote by smb
15s are great if you want to sound really woofy and hollow.


Certainly depends on the 15s and the cabinet design. My cabs are three-ways, and the 15s are just the LF drivers, handing mids off to a 6.5" driver. No woofs, no hollowness.
#17
Quote by dspellman
...[ ]...Most bass cabinets, honestly, and even most subwoofers have trouble reproducing a fundamental much below 45 Hz, and you need some horrendous power levels to do that at band levels. In other words, most can't reproduce the actual fundamentals available on a 5-string's B string over those on a 4-string....[ ]....
Without reading a bunch of LF roll off curves on a slew of available drivers, I'd like to point out that room dimensions come into play quite a bit at such low frequencies. The standing wave length of 30hz bass is 16', give or take. Accordingly, you can't really reproduce it in a room shorter than that. It just doesn't articulate correctly. If you play with the math a bit, you'll realize 30hz bass in a 12' room will pretty much phase itself out of existence after it hits the back wall. (The wave flips over and cancels after hitting the wall).

Odd dimensions at whatever size room, (assuming we're not in a stadium), will have more effect on bass than sounds at higher frequencies, which have much shorter wavelengths.
#18
Quote by Captaincranky
Without reading a bunch of LF roll off curves on a slew of available drivers, I'd like to point out that room dimensions come into play quite a bit at such low frequencies. The standing wave length of 30hz bass is 16', give or take. Accordingly, you can't really reproduce it in a room shorter than that. It just doesn't articulate correctly. If you play with the math a bit, you'll realize 30hz bass in a 12' room will pretty much phase itself out of existence after it hits the back wall. (The wave flips over and cancels after hitting the wall).

Odd dimensions at whatever size room, (assuming we're not in a stadium), will have more effect on bass than sounds at higher frequencies, which have much shorter wavelengths.


Wonder what happens when it hits the mattress...
#19
Quote by dspellman
Wonder what happens when it hits the mattress...

I expect it would depend on who or what got there before it....
#20
can you guys just
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#21
TS, I'd try putting a the 4 thicker strings of a 5 string set on your 4 string bass. You would lose the G string, and get only BEAD, but that may be enough for you. This may require filing the nut, which you can do with the very strings (assuming you're using roundwound strings, which are the more common ones) moving one by one back and forth in the nut until it fits correctly (put the string in the angle it would have if it was normally stringed, and don't apply much presure against the nut, because you want to widen the holes, not make them deeper). If that works, youu won't need to buy anything more than the new strings set. You can then, If you're willing, save money towards a good head and cab configuration.


About fundamental reproduction and such, if the amp won't reproduce it nicely, the hearer will "complete" the fundamental with their brains, so it's not like without fundamentals, there's no sound nor harmony function. It may not be ideal, but the ideal sound can only be found, and not always, when there's pro musicians. We can't expect to be able to have such an amp form the beggining, plus, you're most llikely depend on PA, so there's not much sense in having a brutal amp, anyway.
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#22
Quote by Sudaka

About fundamental reproduction and such, if the amp won't reproduce it nicely, the hearer will "complete" the fundamental with their brains,


While sort of accurate (the fundamental won't be "completed" but gets "hinted" at by the harmonics you *can* hear), the effect is more akin to listening to an AM radio reproduction through a 2" speaker compared to the digital recording played through a subwoofer. That's certainly an exaggeration, but it's the same idea. You don't know what you're missing if you've only heard the AM radio and 2" speaker.

The OP is worrying through a lot of machinations and asking questions about "tone" differences between open strings and fretted ones when he has absolutely no hope of reproducing any of this with enough fidelity to *hear* the differences.