1. Welcome to TalkBass 2014! If you're new here, we just went through a major site upgrade. Please post all concerns and bugs to the Forum Usage Issues forum. We will be monitoring that forum. Thank you for all of your feedback.

    The TB Android app is working, you may need to uninstall/reinstall. The iPhone app is now updated and should work after you upgrade. TalkBass is responsive to any screen size, so we recommend using your mobile browser for full functionality.

    Please read the TalkBass 2014 FAQ for lots of great info on the new software.

4-string vs. 5-string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eulogist, Nov 4, 2002.

  1. Eulogist

    Eulogist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2002
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been a religious 4-string bassist for a long time now, but I'm starting to get bored with it. Thinking maybe a 5-string would be cool.

    This thread is mainly for people who feel strongly either way.

    Sorry if this has been done before.
  2. Michael Jewels

    Michael Jewels

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2000
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought that after I bought a five string that my fours would just stay in their cases, but no so. I play two of my basses most of the time; my Jack Casady and my Stingray. Next, I play my Yamaha five string and then my fretless and my old Ibanez.

    Let me stop lying - For the last three weeks or so all I've been playing has been my six sting guitar, trying to get good at the blues.

    I had to have a five string about a year and a half ago, and bought one for $400 new. It definitely cured my G.A.S. for a fiver, but, the four string fire still burns as strongly as ever.

    If you think you need a fiver, you do! It's like being in love; if you *Think* you are, you are. :cool:

    Mike J.
  3. Ba Gua Tiger

    Ba Gua Tiger

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2001
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you want the range and depth a 5 string offers, and would use it, not just the b string, but all five, then I think 5 string is the way to go. it just takes a little adjusting at first but in no time you have the added depth/range of an added string (maybe even more frets. I have 24 on my 5)

    Its also fun to watch in experienced 4-string bassists try to play your 5-string (my friend Sarah said she is afraid of my 5string):D
  4. FCM3

    FCM3 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2000
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a recent convert. I started playing 5's in feb this year, after 10yrs of only playing fours, and honestly I'm still not totally sold on the concept. I love my 5-string bass, I really like the extra low notes, and a whole new fingering position, but its been hard to incorporate this new extra string into my old music, guess you get comfortable in certain positions.
    New stuff i learn now i automatically use the Bstring, soits been good there
    Nevertheless the 5 string has been my main axe, and I'm trying as hard as i can to adapt, but like the poster above, I still play my 4, its still feels more natural.
    I also cant slap worth a snot on the 5, where I'm pretty good on my 4. So more practice time for me
    frank
  5. Eulogist

    Eulogist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2002
    Likes Received:
    0
    FCM3 brings up a good point.

    For those of you who started on 4-strings and went to 5, have you been able to incorporate the B into songs you wrote with a 4-string?
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Likes Received:
    8
    After 20+ years of playing four, a bit of serendipity helped my transition to five. A few weeks after I got my first fiver, I was asked to join another band. I had to learn a lot of new songs for this band. I was tempted to learn them on four because I was still struggling with five, but I took a chance and learned them on the five string.

    As it turns out, learning songs fresh on five string was easier for me than re-learning the songs I'd been playing for years on four. The experience helped me become comfortable on my new instrument, and later on it was easy to play my long-time favorites on five. Especially important: instead of thinking of the five as four-strings-plus-one, all strings were equally important from the get-go.

    Anyway, I wound up playing five string on my first gig with my new band. I got through just fine, and since then I've played every gig on five. It's my instrument.
  7. incognito89x

    incognito89x ♪♫♪ ♪ ♪ ♫&#983

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think it really depends on what music you play.

    Personally I love playing my 5 string, but I want to get a new 4 string now for alternate tunings.

    I like to keep my bass in standard BEADG tuning.

    I'm not in a band at the moment, so generally i play popular music, etc. I'd like to have a bass tuned to C G C F or Db Ab Db Gb or something along those lines. So I don't have to tune and untune my bass every song lol :D

    Also it's nice to play in alternate tunings, so there isn't so much of the same thing. Some variation. Both are great instruments, just depends on what you play as stated before.
  8. Eulogist

    Eulogist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2002
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds like good advice, guys
  9. chocogarcia

    chocogarcia

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Likes Received:
    0
    I started to leatn with a 4 and then bought a 5 string because I didn't want to be left behind and wanted to be cool then I stop playing the bass at all. Too cumbersome to play and learn.

    I repeated this cycle twice.

    Do you really need the B string.

    Thanks
  10. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    I own several of all of them...

    I know you didn't ask this.. I find a 6 or 7 kind of easier to play.. the profile is normally a bit flatter.

    Most folks that hate them either buy the wrong 5er or haven't given it enough time.

    After going 5.. some of my 4s turned BEAD.

    For a slotted spectrum band mix your band mates will appreciate you not treading on their sonic range.

    Some folks forget to mention that your amp requirements may change...

    Seems as if 5ers are in better condition when bought used.. less likely to be dorked around with.
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002

    Joined:
    May 3, 2002
    Likes Received:
    3
    Bumping a seven year-old thread to give advise to a member that hasn't even been back to TalkBass in 5 1/2 years? Really?
  12. spade2you

    spade2you

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG]
  13. stflbn

    stflbn

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0

    This made me chuckle...


    .
  14. vinxbass

    vinxbass

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    I switched to 5 string 9 yrs ago and it's one of the best moves I've ever made when it comes to playing the bass. It gives me so much more versatility, plus my bandmates love the sound I can get from the low B.:smug:
  15. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like the feel and playability of a 4 string. Got a 5 string a few years back, and noticed I never really went below a low D. So, dumped the 5 string and set up a 4 string tuned BEAD. A few days ago, I retuned it to D standard, DGCF. I find this tuning far more useful, and have no desire to go back to a 5 string anything.
  16. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Likes Received:
    8
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs, Jule Amps
    everyone needs a hobby
  17. vin*tone

    vin*tone Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Likes Received:
    1
    [​IMG]

    Braaaaains
  18. Big Daddy Mac

    Big Daddy Mac

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Likes Received:
    0
    After 30+ years of playing 4 strings, I recently picked up a Yamaha 5 string fretless....and love it. It took a couple of sessions to make the adjustment. I switch between my 4001, Epi Thunderbird and the Yammy 5.
  19. Jefenator

    Jefenator

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm going to go with: whatever. :ninja:
  20. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's kind of subjective really. I started on four strings back when basses only had four strings. Further, I started on a P bass with heavy gauge flats. While I've played and owned may five strings over the last 20 years, I've never found one that really made me happy.

    Probably because I have big hands and because I started on a P bass, I almost always have issues with string spacing (for both the left and right hands) - it always seems like I don't have enough space.

    Then there's the B string - because I have a heavy touch and because I have almost always used heavy gauge strings, I have yet to find a B string that sounds good and doesn't seem floppy.

    Finally, you have to be a little more careful with muting on a five string than on a four - more strings means more opportunities for unwanted resonance, especially if you have a heavy touch and feel cramped for space.

    Of course, take all that I've said as just my subjective experience - there are a lot of people out there who have found 5 string solutions that work well for them. Even in my case, I haven't given up completely. I'm presently saving up for a Dingwall. If a full gauge 37 inch B string doesn't work, then I'm not sure what would.

Share This Page