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4 or 5 string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by spuds, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. spuds


    Mar 10, 2005
    I've been playing guitar for about 8 years and i've decided to make a switch to bass. Half a year ago, i walked into a guitar store and pretty much bought the cheapest 4 string bass I could find, just to get used to the feel of it.

    Now I'm ready to put more money in and get a decent bass but I can't quite decide between a 4 and 5 string. I'm so used to 4 string basses, and 5 string basses feel quite strange whenever I play them (Especially the thumb muting issue). However, I guess the extra range could come in useful.

    I'm hoping you experienced players could help me out. How useful is that extra string?? Or does it just get in the way most of the time? I've also heard that it makes slapping a bit of an issue.

    Thanks so much.
  2. It depends on what type of music you play, if you find yourself downtuning alot, I would say go with a 5-String, thats why I bought my second bass, I didn't have to much trouble adjusting to the extra string, it makes it easier then changing tunnings. It's only 5 extra notes, if you feel uncomfortable with one, don't buy one, its all personal preference, I do not have much trouble slaping either
  3. spuds


    Mar 10, 2005
    Cool, thanks for your advice.
  4. Hofbrauhaus


    Feb 10, 2002
    Upton, MA
    I agree that you're best off playing both and choosing whichever you're comfortable with. Being a guitar player and being used to 6 or 7 strings, you may be more comfortable with a 5 string as you won't feel like the bass is as "naked" for lack of a better term. I personally started off playing bass on a 5 string and have never gone back. I have a feeling the only 4 string I will ever own is when I finally pickup my first p-bass, until then the rest of my basses will only be 5 strings and perhaps a 6 string someday. Goodluck with your search. It's 4:30am and I have a class at 8:30am...I'm only going to be sleeping for like 2 hours........TALKBASS LOOK WHAT YOU DO TO ME!!!! :bawl:
  5. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    The B-string can be pretty useful. It can take you a while to adjust to a 5-string, but once you're done, you won't look back.

    The five is the new standard, in my opinion.
  6. +1

    You won't find many professional players without a 5 string. I have sold every basses but one, my Fender jazz 5.
  7. alansan


    Mar 12, 2004
    Dublin, Ireland
    It's strange but the SR5 spacing fits my big hands perfectly. I always trip myself up when I play other fivers with standard spacing.

    The body weight keeps my favorite 45 degree neck position in place without any effort.

    I may ocassionally crave a wider range of sounds (still havn't figured out the 3 way selector switch, sounds the same to me in each mode...) but I havn't found another bass that fits me as well.
  8. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Unless you're strictly in a punk band, get a 5 string in my opinion. Whoever said the 5 string being the new standard, that is the best i've ever heard it put.

    And welcome to the bass bandwagon! :bassist:
  9. I would go with what I felt most comfortable with. I switched to a 5er about 11 years ago, and now I'm wanting somewhat to get a 4 to play with. Mostly for slapping and DT practice, as I have a harder time on my 5er with these two techniques. Alot of pros still use 4s too. Victor Wooten is the first guy that comes to mind, and it just blows my mind what he can do on a 4.

    All in all I don't think it would hurt you either way really. Seeing as you already have a 4 you could switch between the two as needed. If I had a 4 right now, I would prob only be using it in my own practice time, not when jamming with the band. And if you find yourself not using that lower B string, you can always try it out with a high C. I just made that switch on my 5er and I love it. I do tend to play alot of chords though, which may not be your thing. Super cool for extending your tapping range too....

  10. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    i'm in love with my two 5 strings that I've only been playing since January. So much so it's hard to imagine playing my Rickenbacker 4003 at gigs as much as I used to. Now the fretboard feels too small in my hands.

    I like having the extra string. It makes it easier to play further down the fretboard. Allows me the extra low notes present in some songs we do.

    Yeah, I like it. Gonna be hard to go back to a 4-string now.
  11. spuds


    Mar 10, 2005
    Hey, thanks so much for all your help - Greatly appreciated. Yeah, i guess I'd be better off with a 5 string. Yes I do admit that as a guitarist, I feel a bit naked and powerless with so little strings. Haha.
  12. Hofbrauhaus


    Feb 10, 2002
    Upton, MA
    I love how he took the advice about him feeling naked over all the others! power to me! :hyper:
  13. +2!

    I once said that I was a die-hard 4 stringer, but I ate those words after I had my first 5 string for about a year. The 5 felt a little awkward for about 3 months, now when I play my 4s I feel resrticted.

    There's nothing wrong with 4s, but why wouldn't you want the extra range?

    Let's say you're playing a Blues pattern in G - with the 4 you have to go up to D, with a 5er you can choose to either go up to D, or down to D. :cool: When not over-used like spices in cooking, a 5 can add some real impact when you carefully choose where to play an Eb or lower note.

    I don't slap, so the slightly narrower string spacing on some 5s doesn't bother me at all.

    I can see myself going to a 6 or 7 in the future. Extended range is where it's at, IMHO.

    I would strongly suggest getting a 5 string.

    Good luck.

    Mike ;)
  14. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Great post, Mike!

    Until 2000, I was also a die-hard 4-stringer.
  15. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I would say you should get the 7er. I just recently got one, and I have a blast on it. I, like you, used to be all gung ho, four stringers only. Then I bought a 5er. Then I made it fretless. I put it down for a bit, and played my four cos I didn't need the low notes. Now I can't live without them. And they're useful in ANY setting really. ERB is where it's at.

  16. bazzanderson


    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Same here...same year. But since then that's all I've played (5 strings). When I pick up a 4 string it just feels a little weird and takes about 15 minutes of playing to get back in the groove. I pick up a friends 4 stringer every once in a while just to remind myself that a 5 is where it's at (IMO).