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5 string bass ok to learn with??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ElwoodPDowd, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. ElwoodPDowd


    Jan 2, 2013
    Shopping for my first bass.
    I've had 4 lessons.
    Borrowing my brothers '73 MIJ PBass. It is nice but I like how the thinner neck feels on my friends Austin Bass.

    Looking hard at a mint condition Peavey Fury IV for $200 (with a stupid looking coffin case that I would sell).
    Also a Cort Action, like new, for $100.

    But... Why wouldn't I just learn on a 5 string? Is it harder?
    Is it what people grow into or is it just a total preference thing?

    Schecter Stilletto Custom 5 string bass new for $400 with a new Peavey amp and soft case on craigs list in my area. Seems like a good deal.

    I just googled John McVie. I assumed he played a 5 string because some of his stuff is so low. I was wrong.

    I have so much to learn.

    This feels more like a diary entry than a question on a forum.

    Where's my magic 8 ball.....

  2. SpectorDetector

    SpectorDetector Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    Try to score that 73 P-Bass is my first advice! 2nd advice is that the 5 String is fine to learn on because it has a great place to rest your thumb(B-string)!

    It all depends on the music you want to play, I have only needed a 5 string for like 4 songs I wanted to play and that was fairly recently....
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Learning on a fiver is perfectly okay, I think it's kind of an old fairytale that you have to learn on a four stringer, kind of like how some people say you gotta learn how to play acoustic guitar before moving on to electric...

    If you feel good playing a fiver, go for it.
  4. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    If you want to start on a 5 there is nothing wrong with it, I wouldn't recommend it though. Not because of the technique or playing problems but because the B string is a very tricky beast. I personally haven't seen a good B string on an entry level bass. The cheapest, best B you can get is on Carvin (used if you really want to save). You will avoid the B if it sucks, you will get turned off of the low B forever.
  5. ElwoodPDowd


    Jan 2, 2013
  6. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    More strings really doesn't effect difficulty that much... the only real issue is that it forces you to learn muting better, which is really a benefit in the long run. Basses happened to be originally made with 4 strings, so people assume 5 is harder... it's not. If they originated with 5, we wouldn't think anything of it. The number of strings is really irrelevant to the difficulty of an instrument.

    With that said, the peavey fury and the schecter are both excellent basses. Get whichever one you find most inspiring right now, and have it set-up by a pro and get some new strings on it. Get a decent amp (in this case, maybe go for that schecter that comes with the peavey amp?), and you'll be set. If you think you'll end up using a 5 string eventually, may as well get it now. If you think you'll play 4, then get the 4.
  7. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    Put a .135 on that Schecter, and it will do just fine. That should bring the tension up to around the same as your average E string. I think cheap basses often have 'bad' B strings, because people are hesitant to increase the string gauge sufficiently to get the same tension as the other strings.

    Edit: I admit that you have a good point about starting off with a good B-string though, and the Carvin idea is great if the OP can find/afford one.
  8. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Not sure, but I think the Stiletto 5 is very similar to my Studio 5, which has a long neck, and a killer B string. Nice narrow fast neck for a 5'er. Maybe not the best choice if you are really into slap though? No reason not to get into a 5'er. It comes with a 4 string built in! Even if you don't use those low notes often, in the right place/time....they will make you grin. The extra positions you can play up the neck and still get low are often sweet as well. The price seems great too (depending on condition). Good luck with your choice(s)! Let us know!

    El bob is right on... I'm running a .135 B string.
  9. Fender made basses in Japan in '73?

    With regards to 4 vs. 5 string, either is fine. Some types of music tends to use more low B string notes than others. That said, if you think a 4 string P neck is too big, most 5's are at least that big...
  10. You can perfectly learn on a fiver. When I first started on bass I thought I had to go first on a 4 and bought the Jazz. I shoould have bought the same jazz but with a low B. Now I´m stuck with it because everytime I want to sell it I grab it and play it, and it plays heavenly, so I had to go for a fiver and that´s why I bought the L2500 wich I modded to where is it now.
  11. Arial Bender

    Arial Bender

    Oct 28, 2012
    Largo Fla.
    I was reading tabs when I started so It is harder to find 5 string tabs, and kept playing B instead of E.
  12. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    Try finding 7 string bass tabs. Lol welcome to my world.
  13. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    OK, I'm the old fogey who is going to suggest you consider starting on a 4, but for what I think are good reasons.

    All of my Extended Range Basses (ERB= 5 strings or more, I have fivers and sixers) have narrower string spacing except 1 5er and 2 6ers. These have the same spacing as my 4 stringers.

    Maybe I'm a wimp, but starting on a wide-spaced 5er (FORGET me trying to start on a wide-spaced 6er) would have been a strain on my hand. I was already playing guitar when I started learining bass. I feel that the more comfortable 4 stringer helped me get my basics down faster, and easier than a wide-spaced ERB.

    OK, so why not start on a close-spaced ERB? Because, even now, I can't slap on them, and so for slapping I would have to get my hand used to the standard 4 string spacing. And yes, I do play my close-spaced ERBs, but I don't slap with them.

    Starting on a standard 4 gave me basic technique, from there I went to close-spaced ERBs (even though I couldn't slap on them) easily, and finally to wide-spaced ERBs. Gradual progression, which actually felt very natural.

    I would be the LAST person to say that this is THE BEST way for EVERYBODY. People are different and different strokes for different folks. BUT I DO think you should think about why I felt this was best for me... just in case you are kinda like me. :cool:
  14. ElwoodPDowd


    Jan 2, 2013
    I may have the year wrong.
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    There are SOOOO many things wrong with that post.
  16. I started on 5s and I turned out fine :)
    I also use a tight spaced 5 as one of my main basses and slap on it all the time though, so maybe I'm super weird... But I don't think that's the case. Find something that's comfortable for your hands and get to practicing!
  17. ElwoodPDowd


    Jan 2, 2013
    So would you choose a Peavey Fury over a Cort Action for $100 more?
    If I choose 4 string.

    The schecter is out of my price range but has everything so it is tempting.
  18. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    I wish there had been 5 string basses when I was learning.
    The process of re-learning with a lowest string that was not an E was painful. Learn on a 5, and never look back :)
  19. I'd argue that the Spector Performers & Legends have a GREAT B string at a much lower price. Also, a Squier VM Jazz V is a solid B with a good setup.

    When it comes down to it, learn to play on whatever you feel comfortable with. A B string, or high C, should not be a deterrent to picking up a bass. It's more a stigma thing that some players avoid because they don't know what to do with it.
  20. Switch to the fiver for me was natural. Actually I can switch between the two without problems. The big issue for me was the string spacing. I like both to have the same spacing, that´s why I had to modd my L2500 to have min 18mm at bridge.

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