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4 or 5?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Nomadic Herder, Oct 25, 2000.

  1. Im just about to buy my first bass. I finally have the money!! I dont know if I should go with 4 or 5 strings. Any bands Id be in would be punk or ska. Im thinking 4, being cheaper and thats what punk bands usually use. What do you all think?
  2. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    oh no, not the beginning of another mega thread. Try searching for this topic, its been covered relentlessly. What you'll probably find out is that you have to decide for yourself. Just go to some geetar shops and try out as many basses as you can. Then get the one you like most and can afford.
  3. mega thread??
  4. The type of music you are playing doesn't matter too much with 4 or 5 but I play both and I like the 5 for those extra fills.... It's all preferance....

    ......if you groove it, they will come........

  5. 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
    4 or 5? That's simple. 5.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I would recommend five, if you can swing the dough.
  7. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    Simple, 4 string.
  8. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    4 string IMO :) But try them all out!!! Every Bass is differnet!!

  9. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Here we go again...a thread full of nothing but differing opinions! I personally prefer a 4-string. But, for everybody that prefers a 4, there are almost as many that prefer a 5. An increasing number of players prefer 6, 7, 8 string basses.

    One thing I will tell you, though, is if you're going to get a 5, make sure that your bass AND amp can reproduce the lowest string pretty well, that it doesn't sound floppy and loose. If it does, you will need to upgrade it shortly afterwards if you still intend on using the 5. That's the most expensive of all the options...
  10. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Start with the bassics....a four string.
  11. Deynn is right. Ya gotta walk before ya can run. If this IS your first bass, have you been playing a loaner? and know your way around the neck, and know where all the notes are?
    Or are you just starting to learn? If you know your way around a four string, then you could if YOU want to, move up to a fiver. But if you are not real comfortable where everything is notewise -at-a-glance- stick with a four at this time.

    Good luck!!
  12. I agree with Deynn and RIZ; start with a four. If you dig it and really get into it, and you can utilize a five, you can always get one, or trade up for one down the road. I'm personally glad I started on four, because it's easier to learn with the 'base' bass :D Then after only being at it 9 months (but fairly intensely), I felt a wide-spaced five would be a great idea, and it is! I went from a Jazz to a Roscoe Beck 5, and it was a pretty painless transition, and I only had to learn one more string, which is coming very quickly since I already know the other four so well. Get it?

    Hope this helps....:)
  13. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    DFW, TX
    Why don't you just get a 10 or a 12 string? Okay now seriously, its all personal opinion. I personally have a 5 string, but I never use the 5th string. Only reason I bought it was because I got a good deal. Also for the price you could probobly get a better quality 4 string than a 5 string (since 5 strings are more expensive).
  14. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Umm Deynn, could you explain me the difference in technique
    between fourer and fiver? Soo, my opinion is to you dear
    beginner.. Get what you like, stringamount matters as much as the bodyshape. Atleast to me.
  15. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    You know what....you're right. I have NO clue what I am talking about. You would think by now, that I would keep my opinions to myself and quit trying to help people, especially new players.
    Just because a beginner might not know what to do with those extra five notes on a 5 string, or that you can play the same notes (that you haven't learned yet) farther up the neck. Or that the majority of players...still just use a four string.
    What WAS I thinking? Hey newbies! Just go out and get yourself a doubleneck eight string bass. What difference does it make? :rolleyes:
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Deynn, I'm not trying to inject any sarcasm here, but I don't understand why a beginner should not start off on a 5 string, a fretless, or even an 8 string doubleneck if they so desire.

    Now granted, it would be pretty silly for somebody who has never owned a bass and who is just starting out to spend $11,000 on a bass, but if somebody aspires to play 6 string fretless, why learn on a 4 string fretted and then after 'mastering' that instrument have to unlearn habits and technique that you felt comfortable with on 4 string fretted but do not translate well to 6 string fretless.

    I normally agree with 90% of your posts, but this is one argument that I have never understood.

    John Turner? You out there? I KNOW that you have an opinion on this issue.

    [Edited by embellisher on 10-27-2000 at 09:19 AM]
  17. Embellisher, our man NH who poses the question hasn't intimated specific interest in playing a fretless or six-string + bass, he just wants to know for starting out if he should get a four or five, and he's leaning towards four. I think he was sort of looking for opinions pertaining to fours or fives as starting basses, that's all. :)
  18. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I suppose that my initial post...was aimed a the "average" new player. It is difficult to recommend any bass, without knowing a bit more about the person's musical desires and goals.
    This is one of those debates which you get slammed, no matter if you say 4...or 5.
    It is also the last one...where I offer any opinion. The last thing I want to do...is steer someone wrong.
  19. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    for what it's worth, i've always encouraged anyone who's asked me for my opinion to go for what they want - if they want to start on a 5, by all means. i used to give lessons to a guy who's first bass was an unlined fretless 5 string. he was doing fine - it was tougher for him to get started maybe, but he also got further - not only did he become a decent bassist, but his fretless skills were good too.

    as for the extra strings and how to use them, there is no "right" way really, the reality of it is that their musicality, just like most things musical, is pretty subjective, and something that a player is going to have to learn with experience and experimentation, just like with the other "core 4" strings. people are going to like your music or they aren't, and the # of strings on your bass is not going to much to do with it.

    4 string bass, 7 string bass, 12 string bass. they are all equally valid instruments for what they do. don't get something you don't want as a "starter" instrument. that would be like telling someone who wanted to play oboe that they had to start on clarinet first.

    on the other hand, it is understandable to have people who play a certain instrument to advise its use. so basically, many of the 4 stringers are naturally going to say "start on a 4" since that is where their experience lies and many of the "more" stringers are going to say something along the lines of "start with what you want, if you want more, start there, if not, go for 4" because that too is where their experience lies - most people playing "more" stringers now started on a 4, for whatever reason. it's all good. :D

    just my 5c.
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I started on a four because, with the exception of the lovely Fender Bass V, five and more string basses simply weren't around.

    Given that, I'm not sure what the advantage to starting on a four today would be, especially if you have the desire to play music that goes below low E (or above the G). If Punk only requires a four and that's all you think you want, go for it. I'd start on a five. A five requires the same skills as a four.

    As far as the price, there are several good fives for a reasonable price. I just played a new MTD 5 that sold for $449 and was very nice.

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