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5 string basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tresdirnt, May 20, 2001.

  1. Can anyone tell me the good and bad things about a 5 string bass. I know about it, but have never played one. Can you use the low B string easily, is it annoying, can you use it for drop D tuning playing a couple of frets higher? Come on, tell me everything people. And do people think you're cool with a 5 string? This is obviously the deciding factor.
  2. leftybassdog

    leftybassdog Senior Supporting Member

    First the lower notes are big and fat, it will give you a range you cant do with out the B string, most 5 string basses are set up low with a low b but you can string it high with a high c if you like, I dont have a use for higher notes with what I play, if you go five you will stay five, the down side is the cost of strings, and the space for pulling and slapping.but you get used to it you will love it . I change the b string every 2 sets to save money, I use a 120 on my warwick and a 130 on my stingray, its up to you what gauge to use but try one I think you will like it .
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    A five-string is much more versatile than a four. Yes, it's like having a D-tuner, a C#-tuner, a C-tuner and a B-tuner all on one guitar. I made the transition easily, first by thinking of it as a 4-string with an extra string. Initially, I'd only go down to the B string for low notes, but I gradually started to play most of my lines 5 frets higher on the bass. It was great, because I have stubby fingers, and the frets are closer together up there.

    Now, if your self-esteem (or perceived coolness) is derived at all from the number of strings on your bass, you have deeper problems than anyone here is going to be able to help. Anyway, most people here would agree that a quilted top is the only thing that can make you look cool ... well, maybe gold hardware, too.
  4. leftybassdog

    leftybassdog Senior Supporting Member

    I think a penthouse pet in a g string would make me look cool !!!!!!!!!! but not the number of strings on my bass!
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Welcome to the board, Tresdirnt.

    First of all:

    No, The deciding factor on whether to get a 5 is whether you feel the need to play notes below the range of a four string bass. One is not better than the other.

    If you want to be a good bass player, I suggest you lose the notion that your coolness is determined by what kind of instrument you play. No. You play music. You're as cool as any person who plays music could be. End of story.

    Good things:

    -Greater range of tones (low B)
    -More hand position options.
    -B string doubles as a thumbrest.

    Bad things:

    -More expensive. Strings also more expensive.
    -Wider necks might be strenuous for someone with small hands.
    -Low B might sound muddy or feel floppy, depending on the price range of the instrument.
    -In general, amplification needs to be better to accomodate the lower frequency of the B string.

    If you are used to the 4, getting used to the 5 takes a little time. You can incorporate it in your playing gradually. I had been playing 4-stringers for the past 12 or so years. I got a 5 last year and forced myself play it by leaving my 4-stringers at home. I'm so used to it I sold my Zon! About the drop D thing, well, you have a D right next to the G on the third fret of the E string...

    Well, maybe you could do some research on your own. There are older threads on the subject. All you have to do is use the search function. It doesn't get much easier than that.

    Will C.:cool:
  6. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I find that a bass with 5 strings suits my style of playing the best. It suits the hand positions I want to be in and the tone of the notes I want to play the best.

    A very important factor in going the 5 string route is that to truly make it work, you need a 5 string bass of good quality and a sound reinforcement system that can handle the additional lower frequencies. Remember, your overall system is only as good as its weakest link. You can have the nicest 5 string bass in the world but if your amp can't deliver, you will be disappointed.

    All in all, the number of strings debate really isn't a debate, and whatever number if strings feels best to you is the right number of strings.

  7. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    if you want to be cool you should consider playing guitar...

    now if you want to enjoy bass playing you should choose the number of strings thats most suitable to your playing style and consentrate on making music...only then will you be considered "cool" ;)
  8. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    My take -- if you WANT TO be cool, you should consider playing guitar.

    If you ARE cool, you play bass.

  9. ubersam


    Oct 12, 2000
    But what if you play both? Like I do. :D
  10. then I guess you WANT to be cool, not realizing that you already are;)

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