5 String Bass: For looks or for play?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Vince S., Apr 24, 2003.

  1. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    I noticed recently that a lot of the bands at my school have bassists that play the 5 string at their gigs.

    Most of these bands are the emo/socal pop punk type, and the bass lines consist of root notes following the guitar. So Im wondering, whats the use of a 5 string if you only play on the E and A, and never make use of the low B or the D or G for that matter?
  2. I own/play a 5 string bass (Ibanez gsr205) and I am also in a punk band. I mostly play my 4 string while playing live but use my 5-string for some things (heavier songs, bass solos etc.) in fact I only really got the 5-string coz I wanted it (a kinda dumb rockstar thing to do but who cares)
  3. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    Well, really there is no use to a five string if you follow the guitar on the E and the A. Of course, this doesn't mean that there is never a use for a five string. But these guys don't seem to need one.
  4. ooo and another thing is that punk and emo stuff uses baslines where you have to move your frettting hand up and down the neck a lot. With a 5string you can use the lower frets of the bass and also improve your fingering at the same time which, lets face it, a lot of these guys need.
  5. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Well if the guitar player is wanking away on G then goes to C, then on a 5 string bass you have the option of going to the low C on the B string instead of C on the A string. Just because the bass player doesn't exersize the option doesn't mean the instrument is pointless
  6. I only use 5 strings because I actually implement the B when I play. The 5 string players at your school are most likely doing it for looks since emo is very simple IMO and all sounds the same to me. But you never know, they might also play in a Heavy metal band where they actually use the 5th string. But most likely its to be a "cool" bassist.
  7. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Its sooooo nice to be able to hit a low D or Eb on a 5'er instead of playing higher. No, its not a necessity, but it sure is nice.

    Its extra range, is all. Think of it this way, if you were a vocalist, wouldn't you want the ability to sing a wider range of notes? Same thing with a 5 string bass. If you need it, its there. If you don't, it at least makes a REAL nice anchor for your thumb in several different playing positions.
  8. I play in both a punk band and a heavy metal band at school but vary which bass I use for the different genres (for instance I sometimes use the 4stringer for metal and the 5 for punk)
  9. I own a 5-er back home in Hong Kong, but I've come to the realization that I, personally, do not need that low B. The lowest note I've ever needed to play or felt the want to implement in a new/original song is a low D, which can be easily remedied by down tuning, or just getting a hipshot bass Xtender key, which I did. So now...I'm kinda looking to sell my 5'er, although I could just give it to XG's cause...
  10. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I started playing on a five - I bought it used, I didn't know exactly what I wanted or needed, I got a good deal so I bought it and started playing bass. I've been playing her for 2.5 years - I did recently get a cheap 4, but my fiver is a better bass and was my first and is set up better at this time - so really I'm not playing the four. That's why I will play my five even when I don't need a low B string. I've worried that I'll be playing out someday and somebody is going to assume that I'm trying to be "cool" by playing a five string when I "really don't need one" ...but the reality is that I'm just playing the best bass I own, the one that feels the best and sounds the best for the music I'm playing - I figure anybody that wants to judge me (wether I think I'm cool or not / what type of bass I do or don't need) ...well I just don't care about their opinion anyway. So when I find myself a gig this summer and you see me playing my fiver and never going below low E all night - don't judge me ;)
  11. My next bass will be a 5er, and looks have nothing to do with it. My 4 is gorgeous already, I don't need a 5 for that! :p I want a 5 because I'd like to use low D in many places and I despise downtuning (the other notes might come in handy too...) That's my reasoning. Maybe emo and pop punk don't need 5 strings if the players only bash roots on E and A, but that's quite individual. Maybe the bassists you're watching also play in a jazz or progressive band? ;)
  12. Aaaaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!!!!!!!
    I think I'm gonna go and puke...........
  13. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    :eek: OMG...are you ok? Do you need help? Do you need me to hold your hair for you or anything? :rolleyes:
  14. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
  15. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Normally I don't correct people's spelling, but since it's in your signature and will be reprinted every time you post:


    And, look, pick either Kurds and way, or curds and whey. One or the the other.
  16. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    I'm almost with ya there Marty...sheesh


    ...by the way, I think I know why you don't fall off: New Zealand sucks! ;)

    (just kidding :D)
  17. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    sniff sniff
    Do you smell something?

    Smells like Tabcrawler...