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4 strings or 5???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lunchbox4u_6, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Lunchbox4u_6


    Dec 1, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    Okay, so this is probably directed more towards players who would consider themselves 4 string players. I started on a 4 and have owned lots. I picked up a 5 string in December because the price was right and I wanted to add the low B to my bag of tricks, but after playing it a lot over the last few months I still find that i'm not comfortable on it. I can fly on my 4 string and it feels like I barely have to think to play it, but the 5 string just isn't feeling that way.

    Here's the question, do you guys who play 4 strings find the need for 5 strings a lot, or just once in a while? To this point I've never really needed the 5 string, it's just been nice to drop a low C to give a little color, but i'm not a studio guy, i'm a live guy and i play country music right now.

    Secondary question, is it possible that I just have a 5 string that isn't right for me?

    I look forward to what everyone has to say.
  2. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    for modern country, i wouldn't dream of showing up with out a five string in Nashville. I would take a 4 and a 5. actaully last place I did that, the band leader for the country artist looked at my 4 and asked, "what's that for? do you have it tuned down or something?" needless to say the gig required a 5er. Lots of sub-E notes in this guys material. I keep both. Country artists in this town want 5s, Christian artists in this town only want 4s. very strange dynamic it seems. So I keep both handy and take whichever the artist wants me to use. But in general, I play mostly 5s now a days.
  3. Lunchbox4u_6


    Dec 1, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    Thank you.
  4. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    I play death metal in my spare time, and praise music at church. I wouldn't dream of playing either style without the low B string (in my case, tuned down to an A).
  5. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    If you're holding a 5-string you 'have' a 4-string with the benefit of the additional string.

    I've found nothing I can do musically on a 4-string that I cannot on a 5.
  6. Hugh9191


    Feb 20, 2009
    Personally or me it took me owning a 5 string to convince me I didn't need the low B. Before I owned it I always wanted one but I now know I'm just not suited to 5s. But that's just me.

    Play with what your comfortable with.
  7. Cyber Soda

    Cyber Soda

    Sep 24, 2008
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm with Zack. If it's modern country it's worth it to have it. Your 5 should be OK. The Cirrus has a LONG scale (35 1/2" in think) but the neck is kinda thin. If the extended scale is bothering you, go to a local shop and play a few. You may find that a shorter scale makes it more comfortable to reach around to the low B. In any case, you should be able to sell the Cirrus for quite a bit and, without coming out of pocket, have a pretty good budget for finding another. Good luck!
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Got a 4-string MIA P. Played a MM Stingray 5 the other day: ash body, nice neck, not too wide, felt very good in my hands, build quality; impeccable...uh, I'm gettin' one after I get the amp gear that can handle the lower tones.

    Hopefully by the end of the year.
  10. Lunchbox4u_6


    Dec 1, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    The scale of the bass doesn't bother me because my warrior is long scale, i enjoy that part about it. It's the neck that's getting me, it seems thin so the strings are pretty close together and it has been messing with my agility.
  11. Lunchbox4u_6


    Dec 1, 2008
    Dallas, TX

    To another point, any reco's on a 5 string with a wider neck/string spacing?
  12. I played 4s for about 5 years than got a 5er and it did take a lil getting used to and even now sometimes for me I feel like it gets in the way but I would still pick a 5 over a 4 .
  13. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Put the 4-string away and play only the 5-string for a while (not merely days). You'll figure it out, then you'll be wondering why you played a 4-string.
  14. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    you might want to try something with a wider string spacing. Cirrus basses are narrow, correct? like 17mm or something? try a Fender 5, Lakland 5, MTD 5, Sadowsky 5, G & L 5, Cort GB75, or something with a wider string spacing like around 19mm or close. That may make a difference for you. Stingrays are awesome basses, but they also have a narrow string spacing.
  15. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Well, what's your price range and what 5er are you playing now?

    I second the G&L suggestion.
  16. Lunchbox4u_6


    Dec 1, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    That's a good call, i'll have to look into a few of those.
  17. JulienJeff


    Mar 1, 2009
    I playa 4-strings basses and I almost never feel the need of having a fifth string.
  18. Shouldn't you be somewhere else?
  19. When I got my first 5 string in 2002 (I think), I struggled with the narrow spacing, but eventually got used to it. If you don't want to spend money, just practice. I now have 17mm, 17.5mm, 18.5mm, 19mm, and 20mm spaced basses in my arsenal. I grab them all without worrying about the different string spacing.
  20. CElton

    CElton I'm a new note finder...

    +1. I finally had to cut the cord and put the 4 string away. Try and be patient. I used the 4 string as a crutch when doing live shows and when I finally left the 4 string at home, I kept it pretty vanilla until I was comfortable on the 5. Only 5's for me now.

    If you find a 5 is just not for you, think about a d-tuner for the times you need/want something a little lower.

    4 strings are plenty, but I like the two octave runs with limited hand movements. I'm lazy that way...:meh:

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