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4-string vs. 5-string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eulogist, Nov 4, 2002.

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  1. Eulogist


    Nov 3, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I've been a religious 4-string bassist for a long time now, but I'm starting to get bored with it. Thinking maybe a 5-string would be cool.

    This thread is mainly for people who feel strongly either way.

    Sorry if this has been done before.
  2. I thought that after I bought a five string that my fours would just stay in their cases, but no so. I play two of my basses most of the time; my Jack Casady and my Stingray. Next, I play my Yamaha five string and then my fretless and my old Ibanez.

    Let me stop lying - For the last three weeks or so all I've been playing has been my six sting guitar, trying to get good at the blues.

    I had to have a five string about a year and a half ago, and bought one for $400 new. It definitely cured my G.A.S. for a fiver, but, the four string fire still burns as strongly as ever.

    If you think you need a fiver, you do! It's like being in love; if you *Think* you are, you are. :cool:

    Mike J.
  3. If you want the range and depth a 5 string offers, and would use it, not just the b string, but all five, then I think 5 string is the way to go. it just takes a little adjusting at first but in no time you have the added depth/range of an added string (maybe even more frets. I have 24 on my 5)

    Its also fun to watch in experienced 4-string bassists try to play your 5-string (my friend Sarah said she is afraid of my 5string):D
  4. I'm a recent convert. I started playing 5's in feb this year, after 10yrs of only playing fours, and honestly I'm still not totally sold on the concept. I love my 5-string bass, I really like the extra low notes, and a whole new fingering position, but its been hard to incorporate this new extra string into my old music, guess you get comfortable in certain positions.
    New stuff i learn now i automatically use the Bstring, soits been good there
    Nevertheless the 5 string has been my main axe, and I'm trying as hard as i can to adapt, but like the poster above, I still play my 4, its still feels more natural.
    I also cant slap worth a snot on the 5, where I'm pretty good on my 4. So more practice time for me
  5. Eulogist


    Nov 3, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    FCM3 brings up a good point.

    For those of you who started on 4-strings and went to 5, have you been able to incorporate the B into songs you wrote with a 4-string?
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    After 20+ years of playing four, a bit of serendipity helped my transition to five. A few weeks after I got my first fiver, I was asked to join another band. I had to learn a lot of new songs for this band. I was tempted to learn them on four because I was still struggling with five, but I took a chance and learned them on the five string.

    As it turns out, learning songs fresh on five string was easier for me than re-learning the songs I'd been playing for years on four. The experience helped me become comfortable on my new instrument, and later on it was easy to play my long-time favorites on five. Especially important: instead of thinking of the five as four-strings-plus-one, all strings were equally important from the get-go.

    Anyway, I wound up playing five string on my first gig with my new band. I got through just fine, and since then I've played every gig on five. It's my instrument.
  7. incognito89x

    incognito89x ♪♫♪ ♪ ♪ ♫&#983

    Sep 22, 2002
    Royal Oak, Michigan
    I think it really depends on what music you play.

    Personally I love playing my 5 string, but I want to get a new 4 string now for alternate tunings.

    I like to keep my bass in standard BEADG tuning.

    I'm not in a band at the moment, so generally i play popular music, etc. I'd like to have a bass tuned to C G C F or Db Ab Db Gb or something along those lines. So I don't have to tune and untune my bass every song lol :D

    Also it's nice to play in alternate tunings, so there isn't so much of the same thing. Some variation. Both are great instruments, just depends on what you play as stated before.
  8. Eulogist


    Nov 3, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Sounds like good advice, guys
  9. chocogarcia


    Nov 17, 2009
    I started to leatn with a 4 and then bought a 5 string because I didn't want to be left behind and wanted to be cool then I stop playing the bass at all. Too cumbersome to play and learn.

    I repeated this cycle twice.

    Do you really need the B string.

  10. I own several of all of them...

    I know you didn't ask this.. I find a 6 or 7 kind of easier to play.. the profile is normally a bit flatter.

    Most folks that hate them either buy the wrong 5er or haven't given it enough time.

    After going 5.. some of my 4s turned BEAD.

    For a slotted spectrum band mix your band mates will appreciate you not treading on their sonic range.

    Some folks forget to mention that your amp requirements may change...

    Seems as if 5ers are in better condition when bought used.. less likely to be dorked around with.
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Bumping a seven year-old thread to give advise to a member that hasn't even been back to TalkBass in 5 1/2 years? Really?
  12. ya_rly-1.
  13. stflbn


    May 10, 2007

    This made me chuckle...

  14. I switched to 5 string 9 yrs ago and it's one of the best moves I've ever made when it comes to playing the bass. It gives me so much more versatility, plus my bandmates love the sound I can get from the low B.:smug:
  15. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I like the feel and playability of a 4 string. Got a 5 string a few years back, and noticed I never really went below a low D. So, dumped the 5 string and set up a 4 string tuned BEAD. A few days ago, I retuned it to D standard, DGCF. I find this tuning far more useful, and have no desire to go back to a 5 string anything.
  16. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    everyone needs a hobby
  17. [​IMG]

  18. After 30+ years of playing 4 strings, I recently picked up a Yamaha 5 string fretless....and love it. It took a couple of sessions to make the adjustment. I switch between my 4001, Epi Thunderbird and the Yammy 5.
  19. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I'm going to go with: whatever. :ninja:
  20. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    It's kind of subjective really. I started on four strings back when basses only had four strings. Further, I started on a P bass with heavy gauge flats. While I've played and owned may five strings over the last 20 years, I've never found one that really made me happy.

    Probably because I have big hands and because I started on a P bass, I almost always have issues with string spacing (for both the left and right hands) - it always seems like I don't have enough space.

    Then there's the B string - because I have a heavy touch and because I have almost always used heavy gauge strings, I have yet to find a B string that sounds good and doesn't seem floppy.

    Finally, you have to be a little more careful with muting on a five string than on a four - more strings means more opportunities for unwanted resonance, especially if you have a heavy touch and feel cramped for space.

    Of course, take all that I've said as just my subjective experience - there are a lot of people out there who have found 5 string solutions that work well for them. Even in my case, I haven't given up completely. I'm presently saving up for a Dingwall. If a full gauge 37 inch B string doesn't work, then I'm not sure what would.

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