4 or 5 strings?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Aftermath, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Aftermath


    Jul 3, 2008
    Hi, My name is Dakota. I'm new to the forums and I'm a percussionist. actually I'm a drummer:D. I was at guitar center and I was going to buy a five string but the employee told me that a 4 string is the only way to go. and that I shouldn't buy a 5 string because they are way harder learn on. I want to play metal with my friends band that needs a bass. and I have a budget of $600. :help: what should i get??????
  2. that guy at guitar center is a noob. Just because it has one more string doesn't mean it's harder. That stuff is really annoying!
  3. TeeMartin


    Jul 18, 2006
    Call the manager and get that guy fired.
  4. Depending on which type of metal, you can usually play four strings and tune the E down lower. I prefer 4's but if you need low B, I would choose a 5. Schecter and LTD are good for metal bass in that price range.
  5. Four-string or five-string, does not matter. Learn to play first.
  6. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    For metal, I certainly recommend a 5-string. You have a lot of options for $600. My advice is to take a few lessons, get to know your preferences regarding string-spacing, nut-width, pickup configuration, etc, and then play as many basses as you can get your hands on, and find the one that feels right to you. What time of sound do you like? Who are some of your favorite bands?
  7. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Albuquerque, NM
    Is the $600 just for the bass or is that supposed to cover amplification too?

    5 isn't necessarily harder to learn on -- just different. You will probably want to make some adjustments to the tabs, scales etc that you will find in order to account for the 5th string. In general you can do anything on a 5 that you can do on a 4 but the reverse isn't true.

    My advice is to try out as many basses as you can (both 4 and 5 strings) and go with what feels better to you. Check out the stuff at GC and Sam Ash and figure out what you like then hit up the classifieds here, ebay, and craig's list to see if you can find it used. Your money will go much farther if you buy used plus you can get back what you put in if you decide to upgrade.

    Happy hunting :)
  8. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    A 5 string is not harder. In fact it'll probably be easier to learn on a 5 then try and switch to a 5 string after learning on a 4.

    Also, a 5 string might suit metal more although that's not to say a 4 is useless.

    It's an annoying answer I know but try a load of basses, 4 and 5 strings, and choose the bset one for you. Oh, and ignore the salesmen :D
  9. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Those kinda GC employees are what gives the chain a bad name. In the long run, you'll probably end up with both, so for now just focus on getting either one that feels good to you.
  10. I started with a 4 went to a 5 and then back to a 4. I don't find 5 strings more difficult to play (for slap bass maybe because there are more strings to mute). I think you just start and never stop buying different bass' as your playing progresses and your ear becomes tuned to what tone you are chasing. If I had my time over I think I would stay with 4 strings personally as it just suits my style... everyone is different... you can only have a go and make up your own mind. My two cents worth :)
  11. Hmm.

    G-clamp that employess bottom jaw to a desk or other flat surface, then go try out a range of 4s and 5s. If five is too much, go for a 4. If four seems insubstantial, go for a 5.

    Also ask wether the guitarist has a 6 or 7 string guitar. It's unlikely they have a 7 string, but if they do go for a 5 so you both have low bs. Having said that they might tune down on a 6 string, again making a five useful. Or maybe you'll just tune down your 4 string bass with them :eyebrow:

    It all just comes down to what feels right. Like someone already said, you'll probably end up with both anyway.
  12. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    5 string bass bass is like a long tall cool blond So Cal model, once you have her you can never go back.
  13. Go try out both, and see what comes natural - what feels right to you. Same with the brand. If you like 4bangers better - you can always drop tune for the lows.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    4 string basses suck ... they are missing a string!
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I don't know why I get sucked into these threads, but I always do...buy what you want. If you want a 5, get a 5. If you want a 4, get a 4. Nothing matters except what you want.
  16. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    JimmyM Has Got it right along with some good info from just about everyone else. Go play as many 4's and 5's as you can and see what one talks to you(feels like an extension of you). It does not matter what anyone else thinks what matters is what feels most natural to you.
  17. Personally, I find 5 string just the same difficulty as 4. Switching from one to the other is an adjustment (only until you're used to it), but learning on either should be fine. String spacing may be an issue for slap - 5 string could be a little harder if the strings are closer. I have a 5 string with 18 mm spacing (at the bridge) and it's a little more difficult to slap, but my 5 string with 19 mm spacing is easier. And IMO, I prefer 5 over 4. But, hey, that's just me.
  18. Indeed - there are some very good GC employees...unfortunately, about 92% of them are idoits.

    Your best bet is to hang around until some experienced players come in and as for their opinions.

    You'll want a fiver for metal just because of the low B. You'll also want to make sure that it's a 35" scale so you can use a wider variety of strings and still get a tight low B string...especially if you tune it down to a low A or A-flat.

    Lots of choices for $600 - from Schecters to Fenders to Ibanez. See what you like and what feels AND sounds right to you.

    Amplification is whole 'nuther issue.....

    If you're a drummer, just remember to do with your fingers what your right foot did.

    Good luck!!

  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member


    I admire your restraint. What I would have said was far less polite. :ninja:
  20. As a teacher, it is easier to start out with a 4 string than a 5 string. However, it is totally possible to learn on a 5'er