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4 vs. 5 String

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bain, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. Bain


    Sep 7, 2005
    The Netherlands
    I searched the FAQ and newbie links, but I can't seem to find anything about this.

    Whats the big advantage of a 5 string? Obviously you have the extra low-B string, so you have another string to make noise with, but how usefull is it? Most bass players (including professionals) seem to do fine with just their normal 4 strings, so I'm guessing there might be more to it. So why go for a 5th string?
  2. QU!CK


    Apr 26, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    IMO it just depends on the style of music you're playing. Some can get away with a 4, some need a 5, it's all in the music and you're preference.

    Also, some guys like to string the 5er's high (high C insead of low B) but I prefer to play mine with the B. There's nothing like sliding down the neck on the B with a good amp...feels like a midget just drop kicked in you in the chest :)

    Again, it's all in what you're playing and how you're playing it...

  3. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    It can never hurt to have more tonal options. ;)
  4. The only reason i have a 5th string is so i can use a low D without having to drop D tune my E string, basically having a low D and having normal tuning
  5. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    I'm learning you can really funk things up with that B string.

    It's cool to have, it just opens up more musical possibility.
  6. chrisp2u


    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Agreed. When playing 4 I was always wishing I could reach for something just a bit lower instead of moving up. Made the switch and now I don't think I could ever go back to 4. Only problem now is whether I'd like or benefit from a 6'er or not.
  7. If you feel you want to go 5 half steps lower or higher than a 4 string can do, get the 5'er. Some people like to play chords on basses, and other strings are necessary instead of the 4.
  8. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Chicks dig the lower notes...
  9. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    I know what you're saying. My big dilemma was whether to buy a 5 or 6 stringer. I decided on five because I've never felt the need to chord alot, or go that high. Maybe someday though.

    It's hard to explain why it's so cool to have a 5 string. There are certain times when you're playing a little bass line up on the "normal" four strings, then it sounds just totally badass to all the sudden jump down to some ground shakingly low notes.
  10. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    If you're just starting out I suggest you start with the 4.

    *runs away and hides* :bag:
  11. jrduer


    Jun 27, 2005
    Georgetown, TX
    My favorite thing about my 5er is that I can play more notes in the same position, without moving my hand up and down the neck so much (or so fast...).

    That, and the earth-shaking low end, of course... :bassist:

  12. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  13. hehe...thanks Mark :D

    just get a 6er..ahm 5 string
  14. jdThumpin'


    Aug 16, 2005
    have you ever played a 5 string?

    I can't really describe the feeling but i bought a 5 right after i tried one in store :ninja:
  15. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I'm not saying start out on a 4 because it's "easier." I'm saying it because it's alot more common. Just my opinion. I think a 5er makes a great second bass.

    [​IMG] Take that!
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    For me, and a lot of other 5 stringers with a low B, the B string is not primarily about the low notes, nor is it a thumbrest.

    The low notes are nice, but the main reason that I love 5 and 6 stringers is so that I can play in Eb, so I can play in E without using an open string, so I can play in F, F# and G without having to play in first position, so that I can do two octave runs(two and a half on a six) without shifting my hands, so that I can can grab a root and a tenth on the B and D, E and G, and on the six, A and C strings.

    The low notes are cool too. But I spend 90% of my time between the fifth and fifteenth fret.
  17. i like both....but im yet to find a B string thats doesnt sound lame....a StingRay5 and my Jazz are probably the best sounding B strings ive played...well, closest to the sound i have in my head anyway, but im trying out some d'addario half rounds soon $120 for a 5 string set :meh: :( ...but ive never liked the slapping of a b string :confused: i dunno what it is it just never seems to be right...anyway, i guess im just screwed in the head :ninja: :help:
  18. Oliver


    Jun 21, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    5, the low B is always there if you need it. :)
  19. Jonki

    Jonki I will not slap my Bee!

    Oct 14, 2003
    Arendal, Norway
    why follow the stream?
  20. why be a non-conformist.....when did being different start being cool?