5 and 6 stringers decreasing in popularity?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rugrat, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. rugrat

    rugrat Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2003
    Northwest Illinois
    Just wondered what people might have to say. I know that our local music stores have told me that pretty much all that they have been selling lately are 4 string basses. I know that one of the stores ONLY have 4 strings in stock. Is the new generation of bass players buying 4 strings? Personally, I prefer to have a four and a five.
  2. You can't guage popularity from one store.

    Or from this forum, either.

    I honestly believe however that ERBs beyond 6 are incredibly esoteric and venture into high-end territory that most are afraid to dip into for financial and practical reasons.
  3. arock


    Sep 16, 2005
    Verona, WI
    Could be that the new generation of bass buyers buy a "starter" 4-string locally and then use sites like TB to guide and facilitate the purchase of higher-end basses. I can't imagine local shops carrying some of the basses that get bought and sold here.
  4. XIbanez4lifeX


    Nov 15, 2005
    I echo the statement that you can't quage popularity from one store. I am sure there are hundreds of thousands 5-6 strings sold every year. Also music is an art form that begs creative thought and originality, movement away from the norm is ideal.

    Read through bass player magazine and see all the different bassist, you will see 4, 5, and 6's in every issue.
  5. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    I would think that 5 string basses are as popular as they have ever been, and it seems like they are now a permanant fixture in the bass world. I also think that 6 string basses have lost some of their luster ..... it seems that a lot of players wanted to get their feet wet with a 6, only to find out that the necks were too wide, or that they didn't really need that C string, or (for many) that they were too hard to play.

    I do believe that the 7+ string bass world is thinning down quite a bit. It is quite a different approach to playing, requiring both a physical and mental adjustment that many bassists don't want to undertake.

    It'll be interesting to see what happen in the upcoming year ... :cool:
  6. everyone starts on the 4, and most people are too scared/afraid of change/don't think they need it/? to move up
  7. rugrat

    rugrat Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2003
    Northwest Illinois
    I'm not guaging anything really, I just mentioned a couple of store owner's opinions based on their sales. I'm wondering what everyone thinks the future hold for ERB's. I don't think there is a right or a wrong answer. Speaking of the "norm", has 5 and 6 string basses become the norm?
  8. sanray


    Nov 8, 2005
    I have a 4 string jazz, a fretless 5, and a 6 sting and I play them all, i think that many people just accept the 5 as something that is here and is useful. I love my six because I do actually love the C string it is one of my fave's. I may not use it when I am playing with a band but I do when I futs around by myself.
  9. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    I worked at GC for a while, and I get around to alot of music stores...
    I would say that a 4 string will continue to the the bass of choice for nearly every beginner and most other bassists, and I think that most local shops will continue to stock nearly all 4 stringers. It has always been this way, and likely will continue for a very long time.
    I think that 5 stringers are here to stay, especially as a second purchase instrument, and I would not be at all surprised to see their portion of the market continue to slowly increase.
    As for 6ers, I would not be at all shocked if production of them drops off a bit over time. They are almost never seen at small local shops, and are mostly sold at larger chain stores ,though even at GC, I don't remember very many 6ers being sold. I don't think they will ever dissapear completely from the larger stores or mainline brands as some metalheads, gospel/r&B players, those who pursue the bass as a solo instrument, and those who just like them continue to play them.
  10. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I think both 5 and 6 string basses are a permanent part of the bass guitar world whether their popularity is up or down. I know I will always have a five unless something unforeseen happens. The five is just a very practical instrument for what I need and i think many other players feel that way too. That said, seeing Victor Wooten last Saturday is a powerful reminder that five strings aren't needed (even if Anthony Wellington was backing him up on a six.) :smug:
  11. hahahaha, give it a rest. get over it. I KNOW I don't need it, and never wanted it. And I'm certainly not scared of it. Ludicrous. :scowl:

    Choice is one thing, and every one makes theirs, but this sounds like some sort of challenge. What, am I not a "true player" now, because I haven't yet "embraced" the *fact* that I "need" a 5 string?
  12. Unless its made by Fender, EB, Warwick, Cort or Spector... my local stores have no clue what it is.
  13. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    Uh oh....here comes the pain. The four or five thread begins anew. :help:
  14. Not because of me. I just think that quote was deluded.
  15. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    People who buy 6+ string basses are generally more advanced players and, may, be less likely to go into a GC and just pick one up "off the rack". A more advanced player probably has some idea of what brand and what features they want and would be more comfortable ordering online or directly from a company. As such, economically it doesnt make much sense for shops to stock a lot of a high end 6's and, to some degree, high end 5's as the buyers of those basses generally arn't "walk in with mom" type buyers.
  16. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    IIRC, the GC here in Chicago [thinking of the one near Halstead] had at least 4 6s when i was there last time.

    I think 4s will continue to be the most sold bass, however-at my school, i think 7/9 bass players play 5 strings.

    As for the 6 plus market, no clue. I want to become a part of said market eventually, it's just-right now i can't see a 6 becoming my main "bread and butter" bass-a 5, yes, 6-not yet.

    That's all
  17. RunngDog


    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    While I also agree with the general sentiment that 5 & 6 strings are not on the decline, I think this estimate is way too high. I'd be very surprised if the total market for new 5- and 6-strings is more than ten thousand per year.
  18. +1
  19. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I think more people are using 4 string basses because they just want to start a punk band and get a bunch of chicks so they buy a P-bass and some picks and start mashing away on it I IV V IV style.

    DISCLAIMERS: If you are in a punk band, that's great. Rancid rules. I love P-basses. Also, picks are good in certain aspects.
  20. I feel for the working bassist having a good five string is almost mandatory. Let's not forget that a lot of Motown tunes require you to play them in Eb and it's much easier to do so on a five string than to detune a 4 string. However this is all opinion, use what works for you. I personally don't see the five string decreasing in popularity, maybe the six but not the five.
    I will say one thing though, I think it may be smarter to have kids start out on a five. :smug: