4 or 5 strings ? which are better?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IMABASSDORK, May 16, 2001.



    May 15, 2001
    Hey everybody ,

    I want a new bass but i dont know if going from a 4 to 5 string will effect my playing that much , but i want a deeper sound from a B string so what should i do? and any suggestions about which kind of bass?
  2. p0w3rman5ooo


    Aug 27, 2000
    Theres the schecter scorpian, its a 4 string tuned low, B E A D.
  3. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Getting a 5-string won't affect your playing by much, it's just a matter of getting used to it (which probably won't take too long).
    However, if all you don't care about a lost G, and you don't feel like buying a whole new instrument, you can string your present 4-string B E A D. Just remember that you have to file the nut slots a bit to widen them and give the strings the room they need there.


    May 15, 2001
    will the five string give me a wider playing range with funk and slapping?
  5. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Not quite sure what you mean? A bit perhaps, surely an added string increases range, but if you look at it that way you could say "it's only five more notes". And when it comes to slap/pop technique, I as mainly a 5-string player actually prefer a four, since it's a lot easier to mute the strings you don't play (crucial when slapping!). Way more comfortable. Most five-strings also have narrower string spacing than regular fours, which some people find awkward to slap on. But it's all just a matter of practice.


    May 15, 2001
    What kind of bass do you play ? fender?
  7. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    See this icon? [​IMG] Click on it! ;)
  8. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    the one that feels better to you is the best one.

    but I guess you must be tired of hearing that so I would have to say that for slapping a 5 is not all that beter than a 4, I personnaly don't like to slap the low B, it's too heavey and boomy (buy maybe thats my equipment and you can get better results through different gear).
  9. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    It does not matter whether you play 4 or 5 strings, as long as you play well.
    To my experience, even a 5 strings of high-end bass will sound different than a 4 strings bass of the same maker with the same quality of component, a 4 strings will be tighter , punchier than the 5 strings, I learned this is because of the mass of the neck.
    Yet, I have never xperinced any high end basses which have a clear and focus note below the E of the B string, regardless 35" scale.
    I rather strung them EADGC.
    In my opinion a B string is not so usefull.


    Mar 3, 2001
    Ada, Ok
    A 4-string is fine for funk and slapping. That B-string gets in the way and you wind up hitting it when you are trying to hit the E. I would also like to add that if you go for changing your tuning to
    b-e-a-d you will have to get a trussrod adjustment.
    The b string is larger then the e and puts more tension on the lower register side or the neck. This will cause the nect to twist and possibly bow inward. Bootsy played a 4-string and he is the funk master, Victor Wooten plays a 4 string and he is slap (and fingerstyle, for that matter) master. Fieldy plays a 5 string and he sucks. But Jaco, James Jamerson, Duck Dunn, and many other great bassists played 4 strings. And RHCP's Flea plays funk-slap.....on a 4-string.....are you getting my point???
  11. twiggy

    twiggy Guest

    Apr 27, 2001
    did he say fieldy sucks. bass_player why you playa hating on twiggy/fieldy whos next ryknow
  12. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Well said bass_Players.

    I have a GT-7 and slapping on that is tricky (practice, practice, practice), but I love the tone on it. I'm more fluent on my 4-string basses.
  13. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Sorry man, but you got this all wrong. There is less tension when tuning this way.
  14. geo?


    Mar 29, 2000
    <<Ahem>> I think pointing out some of the greats as endorsers (like enforcers, only different ;)) of 4 string basses then pointing to Fieldy (someone who most would agree is not one of the best players out there) as a representation of a 5 string player is more than a little slanted.

    I'd like to add that Flea has a number of 5 string basses and he does use them live from time to time. I also know that Bootsy has a few 5's that he plays at least for studio purposes.

    Don't like 5s? That's fine, but don't presume that funk is impossible or lacking on a 5. I get damn funky on my 5s.

  15. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    I'm always amazed when I hear guys that swear up and down that a 4 string will have a "better sounding" E string than a 5 string. Bullocks. A well made 5 will sound every bit as good on all strings as a well made 4, maybe even better in some instances because of the INCREASED mass in the neck. I've played plenty of basses with wimpy E and B strings, guess what, the rest of the bass was wimpy too. Conversely, I've played numerous basses with killer B strings, and the E kicked some serious booty as well.

    As for ease of playing, it's a mixed bag. You will get the ability to cover 2 octaves in one position with a 5 string bass, a major improvement IMO over a 4. But, that comes at a price, you have to practice your fingers to the bone to get used to the extra string, particularly when it comes to slapping. Anyone that thinks you can't slap on a 5+ string bass hasn't heard Bill Dickens play! :eek: Muting unplayed strings becomes a major concern, and must be dealt with, or you'll suffer from the nasty sound monster.

    Which is best? The one you feel is right for you.

    Oh yeah, and while many great players were 4 stringers, BASS_PLAYERS, there are plenty of killer players that use more than 4, INCLUDING Vic Wooten, who plays quite a bit of 5, although he's "known" for his Fodera Monarch 4 string bass.

    Keith Horne
    Bill Dickens
    Dave LaRue
    Otiel Burbridge
    John Patittuci
    Bunny Brunel
    Neil Stubenhaus
    Lincoln Goines

    All these guys and more are primarily 5 stringers. Am I implying that better players play 5+? Not at all, just that the number of strings has no relevance to the music made with them. For the record, my favorite bassist is Geddy Lee, who's never used anything but 4 (well, honestly he did use a 5 string bass on one song that was on "Hold Your Fire"...but who's counting? :p). Oh, and using Fieldy as an example of why 5's aren't good is a "straw man" argument (look it up), I can name 10 fourstringers that suck to every 5-stringer you point out that isn't all that great (no, I'm not a Fieldy fan, just suggesting that you use a better tactic to get your point across ;) ).
  16. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    is it me, or has 4 vs. 5 been talked to death?

    i'm still cracking up about the guy who called
    the 4 string an overgrown ukulele. heh.

    well, i think 3 is under-represented. is tony
    levine lurking here? tony, step up please!

  17. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    by the way, isn't oteil a 6 stringer feller?
  18. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    by the way again,
    i guess you would know, but how come
    larue is also shown in ads/websites/articles
    w/ a 4 string stringray.

    does he play 5 string ray mostly?
  19. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    i thought i heard notes from the low-B on
    the song 'roll the bones'.....am I right on that?