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4 or 5 strings?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by verino, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. verino


    Jul 7, 2005
    Hi i'm new here. Anyways I have a question. Ive been playing bass for 2 months and I am starting to make great progress. The bass I have is alright. its a 4 string fender replica but its not that great. So ive been saving up to buy a new one. I keep running into a problem. Should I get i 5 or 4 string? Ive been told to master 4 first but I LOVE the low and power full tones i get from that 5th string.
    So wich should I get? 5 or 4?
  2. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Get a 5 if you like the notes the B string gives you. It's not any harder or any more complicated-er.
  3. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    If you want a five, get a five. But crappy fives tend to be worse than crappy fours, as the B string will often be loose and useless on low end basses, just a warning.
  4. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I agree. Look around a bit. Find one with a B string tension that you actually like. If I may, I'd recommend yamaha. THey're relatively inexpensive, sound incredible, and have nice B strings. I had a BBG5S and let it go to get my Bongo. I bought it for $275 used. It was one of the best purchases I've ever made. My first bass was a Fender MIM Jazz Std. 5er, which I spent about $300 on. The Yammie blows/blew it out of the water hands down (IMO).
  5. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Visit a store with both. Play some. See what u think. The 5 is the same, basically. Its a bit more work to play cleanly at high volumes muting the strings. Thats about it

  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Get a real bass ... five strings.
  7. Make it an even half dozen... :bassist:
  8. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Eff that, how about a full dozen ;).
  9. What ever trips your trigger...

    I'll never go back to 4 or 5... :bassist:
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Re 4 or 5: get the one you want to get. If you don't know, I highly recommend 5 over 4. You'll be slightly more marketable once you learn 5-string simply because so many pop songs these days have "extended range" bass lines. Plus you get two full octaves in each fingering position anywhere on the fretboard (that may not make sense to you now, but you'll appreciate it later).
  11. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    To be told "start on a 4 and then work up to a 5" is utter rubbish. Makes it harder to adjust IMHO. If you want 5, get a 5, you can always step down to 4.
  12. I would have to say go for a 5er, if you love the low B sound don't let some pointless saying hold you back. Heck if you want go for 6, the possibilties are endless, the only thing holding you back is you.
  13. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    errrrrr.....Man I need to stop comming to TB....Evertime I start to think ahh im going to stick with my four string. Then I read threads like this. Next thing you know I'm pulling out my Five string. :) Why don't guit**est have these kinds of problems?
  14. There are a lot of different things to consider between 4 and 5 strings. String floppiness and instrument range is just one. If you go for 5, you will also find some necks to be wider than others, accomodating different string spacing. I prefer narrow, but that is just a preference. With 5 strings, you can also do a lot more in one position than you can on 4 strings.

    I don't think any one is better than the other. It all depends on what feels and sounds right to you.

    I would suggest going into a few music stores and picking up a few that you like and just trying them out. You don't even have to plug them in if you are shy (like me). In my opinion, in most cases, the truest test of tone is in the unamplified instrument. If it sounds good unplugged, it will most likely sound good through the amp.

    If it sounds and feels good to you, then that is the instrument you should get, regardless of how many strings it has.
  15. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    8 years playing a 5 stringer and now i go to buy my new one and definetly will be a 4 stringer....they are good for me,and i can play better and i can beat everyone with 5,6,8,11,400,or 138 string :bassist:
  16. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I played four for a year, then five for a year and came back solely to four for the past three years. I play with Hipshot's to get a low D when needed, but that's honestly about as low as I ever go.

    You'll find what works for you one of these days.
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The Hipshot Xtenders are excellent devices.

    I'm definitely not trying to convince you to go back to 5, but the low notes are not the main reason I switched from 4. The coolest thing about five is having that two octave range in each fingering position... that applies above the 5th fret, too!

    A few more neat things:
    It's nice to play a low E fretted or open.
    It's easier to play in F-minor using the F at 6th fret B string.
    Finally: I sometimes sub for a band with a horn section. Playing in flat keys is much easier for me on five string.
  18. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Very true. I forgot to mention this. Especially playing in the key of Eb or Bb. I'm playing in a production of Footloose (great show) and there are some crazy key changes. A five string would help a lot. :)

    Personally, I think I might as well go straight to six.
  19. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    If you love the 5, then go with your feels. It will be the right choice.
  20. flexo


    May 3, 2005
    Perth, Australia
    If the low B is the appeal to you, another alternative to consider is a 4 string bass tuned BEAD. That would be like the first 4 strings of a 5 string but without the high G string that noramlly is on a 4 string.

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