1st bass - 5 string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by hiddendragon, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. hiddendragon


    Dec 8, 2005
    austin, tx
    I was interested in learning to play bass, I am getting ready to purchase on and I have a $500 to $1000 range. I have played and Acoustic electric guitar and drums for a couple of years but that is the extent of my musical experience. I was really looking @ getting a 5-string Bass but was wondering if that is the best Idea for someone just starting out. Would it be better to learn on a traditional bass first or does it matter? Any info towards this matter will be of great help to me and thank you in advance.
    Isaac :confused:
  2. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    If you want to play five, start with five.
  3. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Go and play some and see what feels best.
  4. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    The only issue that *might* be a hinderance is that you'll find most beginner books, videos, etc. are geared toward a four-stringer. Unless you'll be taking lessons from a teacher, you may have to "interpolate" a bit from those four-string scales and examples.

    Apart from that minor issue, nothing wrong with starting on a five at all.
  5. specplyrz

    specplyrz Inactive

    Nov 11, 2005

    My personal OPINION...start with a four...easier to play....bottom line......
  6. SFjonstarr

    SFjonstarr Guest

    Nov 4, 2005
    When I was first starting I wanted to play 5-string too. I didn't have enough money to get a decent 5er. I wound up getting a 4 just because they were better in my price range. You are willing to put enough money into it to make it sensible. I would recoment looking for a used Ernie Ball Stingray 5. It's a very good bass that is well within your price range on the used market. I don't think there is much advantage in starting out on a four if you're looking to play five anyway. Why deprive yourself of that satisfying deepness? It's better to start off with the configuration and range you're interested in to begin with than to spend the money twice and have to relearn the instrument. I just wish I would have had the money to invest in it to begin with. It would have saved me time and in the long run money as well.
  7. specplyrz

    specplyrz Inactive

    Nov 11, 2005

    A good point, but what you call "deepness" I call mud. That is my OPINION everyone and experience also, I might add.

    Think of it this way....you want to be a NASCAR driver....so go jump into a NASCAR? Nope, start simple...work your way up.
  8. gambit0714


    May 19, 2004
    Suffolk, VA
    It only sound like mudd if you don't know how to use it. ;)
    Not try to harp on you or anything but I learned how to play on a five string. The one thing I learned is that the low B in not for pounding. :bassist:
    If played right, it is used to add finess (pardon my spelling)

    If you pound it, then it will sound like mudd. If you play it and play correctly it sounds good. Add that to having a bass with a good b setup and you have a awsome combination. :eek:
    IMHO :D
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I think starting on a five is cool, but i do see the issue with instructional material. If you have a decent teacher, however, it should not be a problem.
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member


    I've never heard of anyone starting with one, two, or three strings before moving up to four.
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Would you mind sharing some of your observations that have helped you form this opinion? What makes a four string easier to play?
  12. Lorenzini

    Lorenzini Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I started on 5. I also had an understanding of music theory as a professional pianist. I do not know if that helped, but learning on 5 as opposed to 4 didn't make it hard to me. Also how about guitarists?? They start on 6 and with different tunings!!
  13. SFjonstarr

    SFjonstarr Guest

    Nov 4, 2005
    Starting on a five has some distinct advantages as well. Its nice to be able to play some lower notes when you're playing up the neck without shifting all over the place while you're learning. In addition, nobody can convince me that having those low E flats and D flats aren't super useful when playing horn based music. Not to mention not having to bow out to a keyboard player to provide deep low end when appropriate.
  14. gambit0714


    May 19, 2004
    Suffolk, VA
    The bottom line is.
    Do what you feel comfortable with.
    In the end you are the only one who is going make the decision to either "put it down or get funky with it." :cool:
  15. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I would say what kind of music will you be playing. I satrted on a 4 and quickly tryed a 5...i found out i didnt need the B for the music i do ...classic rock and blues and ran back to a 4 which i will stay forever...its really not the B that the problem it is the string spacing. If you are doing downtuned music start with a 5.
  16. Apart from the obvious advantage of the extended range, or rather because of it, I think a 5 is *easier* to play than a 4 (unless you have very short fingers and the wider fingerboard is an issue, of course). Try this: play a two octave aeolian run, E to E, starting on the open E string of a 4 and then play it starting on the 5th fret of the B string of a 5. See? It allows for more comfortable fingerings of many grooves that involve those lower notes and gives you more room to transpose them to different chords without having to "re-shape" them.
  17. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I myself started on a 5-string. I didn't really think anything of it, I figured "basses are supposed to be deep, why not get one with a lower string?"

    For a while I thought I wanted a 4, so I traded my bass for one. Whenever I'd play, I'd think how much I'd like having that low B. There's obviously different tunings and whatnot that you can do on a four; but it's just not the same to me.

    It is all strictly preference. If you decide that you want a 5-string, get one. Don't let people tell you "you need to start out on a four," because it isn't their money.

    Musicmans are great basses if you're looking for something in the $500-$1000 range. That's if you're not going to get an amp though, or if you already have one.

    As far as any problems with instructional materials... just pretend the B string isn't there. As long as you have a basic understanding of the four "standard" strings, the B shouldn't be a problem at all (at least in my experience.

    There was something else I was going to say, but I completely forgot.
  18. specplyrz

    specplyrz Inactive

    Nov 11, 2005

    OK, thank you for this reply. I appreciate you explaining that to me.
  19. specplyrz

    specplyrz Inactive

    Nov 11, 2005
    "unless you have very short fingers and the wider fingerboard is an issue, of course"

    What a ridiculous blanket statement to make.......
  20. specplyrz

    specplyrz Inactive

    Nov 11, 2005
    "There was something else I was going to say, but I completely forgot."
    Good! :D