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4 & 5 string bass. Difference?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Floppy1313, Jan 30, 2003.

  1. Floppy1313


    Jan 30, 2003
    I have been asking this question for some time now, and all I get is:

    1. Well... Duh! First has 4, and the latter - 5 strings.
    2. Er... You are cooler if ya play 5 - string bass. Yeah. The cool ones play 5 - string bass... Definitely!


    I always assumed they have different tonal range...

    Please, help me out people. Thanks.
  2. 5 string has B, right above E. 5 strings also are used more in rock sometimes. Also if you tab Dig or Not Falling for Mudvayne don't make the mistake alot do, that bassist doesn't use his 5th string, he just rests his thumb on it. Not once live or in DVD's did I see him use it. :)
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    If you do a search here you should find tons of info. Good luck!
  4. Well, firstly you get an extended range, commonly down to low B, but some 5 stringers use a high C.

    I have several 5 stringers, and use the low B string sparingly! Maybe on about 20% of the songs we do! One place I find it useful is that you don't have to move your hand about quite as much - you can just go down onto the B string instead of sliding down the E - if you know what I mean!

    I've actually got to the stage where if I change to a 4 stringer I get a bit lost at first! I prefer the feel of the necks, I sometimes also use the B string as a thumb rest, sometimes it's the top of the pickup!

    Not sure about cool, I certainly don' feel 'cooler' because I've got 5 string basses! Also, alot of people don't need them for the music they play - horses for courses!
  5. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    A low B is useful if you need to play in Eb or D a lot (yes you can detune a 4).

    I got a 5 because I couldnt see the point of having two 4's. I use a fretted 5 and a fretless 4.

    Although it took me some time to adjust to 5's I am comfortable with them but struggle on a 6 or 7.
  6. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    from my limited experience( i have 5 4 strings, 1 5 string) they are a completely different beast. as i have both a 4 and 5 string reverend rumblefish, the comparison is apple/apple. much heavier, obviously a wider neck, different balance, seems to require a different style. I've had trouble "losing" which string i'm on and have found that damping/muting is much more important--you don't want to let that b ring! Maybe i'm just too set in my ways (been playing since '73) but i'm sticking w/ 4 string, EADG tuning and finger plucking. The 5 is kinda fun as a toy, though. As I told a fellow bassist, theres more notes in a four string than i can get at, what do i need a 5 for?;)
  7. K-Frog


    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    Skip all the commentary about what's cool, what's the norm, what's widely accepted, blah, blah, blah........
    It comes down to what you need or what you want to hear. For me, the switch came when I started hearing more and more gospel recordings where the bassist was into a lower range than I was getting into with my 4. I realized that was a 5 string and I wanted to get a little lower too. It didn't occur to me to tune down, honestly. Now as I have played in church for many years I find my B string indespensible for all the Ab and Eb that we play in. If you don't need the extended range or extra string as a crutch(as I do), stick with a 4. If you need or want to explore extended ranges with standard tuning, try a 5. You'll like it or you won't.