5 sting Quandry

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lbanks, Jul 18, 2003.

  1. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    I've always played 4-string. THink about buying a 5. What should I be aware of before I jump? How does tuning work on a 5-string? Thanks.
  2. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    You should be aware of the fact there will be one more string.

    Tuning will almost surely include one lower string i.e. the much talked about "low B string."
  3. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO

    Unless of course, your me and you have a high C instead of a low B. :D
    Make sure you play severl 5'ers to see if you like the necks as well- some folks don't like most 5 string necks. Another thing to consider is whether or not you think having an extra string will be useful to you, or if it will just be a decoration or thumb rest (that's ok too, butnto quite as wortht he money I think;)). One more important thign to note is that the string spacing is almost always tigheter on a 5 string. Many folks don't liek them for this reason, and can't bring themselves to slap on a 5 (if tehy like that style of playing). I've never really had anythign except 5'ers, minus an essex I owned for about 3 months and am getting rid of this weekend.. boo on 4 stringers.:D :p
  4. Hey, Ibanks, welcome to Talkbass.

    Q: What should you be aware of?
    A: That you are probably going to fall in love
    with bass all over again.

    I was a self proclaimed 4 stringer for many years. I bought a 5 string mainly because of all the talk about them here at Talkbass.


    When I first got mine home, and played it for a few weeks, I thought, "It's nice, but, I don't think I'll ever prefer one of these to a four."


    It took about a year of switching back and forth, but, now if a bass doesn't have 5 srings, I feel that there's something missing.

    If you're sitting on the fence about getting a 5 string, allow me to push you over on to the five's side. You don't have to spend a ton of money either. My first 5 string was a $400 Yamaha; I didn't want to spend a pile of money, and then find out that I wasn't really into them. I just recently bought a fretless five. These guys get the lion's share of playing now.

    No one can guarantee anything in life, but, I think if you spring for a five string, you will never regret it. ;)

    Think about this: You're playing a blues pattern in G - now you have the option of going DOWN to D, rather than only up. :)

    I'd say get a 5 string.

    Good luck.

    Mike ;)

    P.S. The low B is simply one octave lower than the B note on the A string, second fret.
  5. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    In fact I just purchased my first 5 string today....yea for me! Its a Spector ReBop 5 Natural Oil finish.....it's sweet!

    The biggest difference to me was finding a comfortable 5 string. The neck will be larger than your 4 so keep that in mind. I played a lot of them b4 I found one that I felt had a comfortable neck and was easy for me to play, some are like baseball bats. Also check the top B string some of 5 strings have what we call a flubby B which means it just sounds like crap. Standard 5 string tuning is BEADG, take your time and shop around....good luck
  6. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I have both. The E-C tuning is pretty cool IMO.
  7. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Yep.. it sounds great on my new spector ( I just don't get tired of saying that). Down the road I'm gonan get a 5 string fretless jazz with standard 5 tuning.
  8. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten

    can you shed some light on the high C tuning, is that just for the B string? or is that something like standard C tuning?
  9. one3rd


    Jul 10, 2002
    It just means that you have a high C string, higher than the G, instead of a low B string, lower than the E.

    The 1/3
    No comment.
  10. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    B E A D G or
    E A D G C.
  11. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    I decided against a 5-string after playing a couple. Didn't hate it, just didn't like it. Buying this instead....
  12. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Ibanks: Not a bad choice, provided the C-Curbow has the Barts.
  13. PhilMan99


    Jul 18, 2003
    US, Maryland
    It's missing a string if it only has 5 strings! Maybe one broke!?

    But seriously, folks, watch for:
    * String spacing
    * Neck "feel" (some are pretty fat, or too thin, depending on taste)
    * Scale (many prefer 35" scale, which is supposedly less floppy, but I prefer 34" scale)

    Low-B strings tend to be "floppy", but that can depend on the string-set you choose, as much as the "scale" (string-length).
  14. buzzbass


    Apr 23, 2003
    Tenn. & NJ
    I own 10 basses, some more exotic, some more run of the mill. Out of those 10, I own 1 vintage Fender P w/flatwounds. The rest are all 5s, nuff said.
  15. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    Yep. Suppose to have Barts, but, we'll see when it gets here. Still waiting on the build record for the alembic.
  16. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny...

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    For anyone who is still reading this thread to find out what to look for on a 5 string:

    IMO, the most important 5 string feature is a tight B. It should have the same punch and volume as the other 4 strings. You can find a ton of 5s with really flabby, weak B strings because their necks may be weak and flex too much to yeild an even tone. If it can't be remedied setup and a taper-wound string set, you have a bad bass

    The preamp is another issue sometimes. The signal of the B can sometimes get a bit loud and a weak preamp may not handle it well (weak tone is a symptom if the string is tight).

    When I first switched to a 5, I rarely used the B for much more than a thumbrest. As I got better and played with more advanced people, I started using it all the time. I hate 4s now! (It's a shame, too, because 4s are cheaper and easier to find.)
  17. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area

    I like active basses, especially w/ 5ers. Sometimes you can change strings gauges to tighten up the B, other times it's just a wimpy neck. You should also make sure the 5 sounds good w/ your gear, some cabs don't go as low as others.
  18. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny...

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I love active systems. If you have ever owned a bass with a good preamp, you can hear the difference when you play a cheap preamp.
    Passive systems are all about the bass construction: if you hear a crummy B, it's not an electronics issue, it's a neck issue (assuming it's set up correctly).
  19. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

    :( Oh michael how could you:crying:

    4 strings for life!(until I get a double neck 6 string hyperbass that is ;)
  20. Hey Ibanks.. Welcome to talkbass..

    I just want to add something here..

    If you've never grabbed a 5 stringer, when you get to play one, your hands are going to feel very strange due to many variations in the dimentions and specificacions of the instrument related to the extra string.. So when you try a bunch at the music store, remember to take in count the thickness of the neck and the string spacing.. specially the last one.. Some salesmen never give the costumers any advice on string spacing when trying to sell a bass, so ask for different string spacings and try them out.

    I tried lots of 5 stringers in a year and thought 5 strings just were not for me until I discovered a 5string bass with wide string spacing, which is now my main bass.

    Good Luck