5 string essential for covers?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassnewbie, Aug 20, 2001.

  1. bassnewbie

    bassnewbie Guest

    Aug 20, 2001
    New Jersey
    I'm considering buying a new bass. Do you think a 5 string bass is essential to play in a cover band these days?

    I notice there is alot of music with either a dropped D tuning, or some where the guitar is tuned standard but there is a low B in there on bass.

    What do you think? Is a five string the way to go these days? I'm thinking of getting a MusicMan Stingray 5.

  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    IMHO, yes.
  3. That's an excellent question, newbie, not because I've found the answer is "yes" but it has made all the difference to me playing covers for three reasons -

    1. A lot of danceable late 80's and 90's music that goes down really well in clubs was made on 5's.

    2. There are a lot of old R&B and soul standards to cover that people love in dance clubs. The original lines were recorded on 4's. When you can drop down to say C on the B string as the root instead of climbing to the C as root an octave above like the original recorded line, it just adds so much fat and "hugeness" to the band's overall sound. It moves butts.

    This is especially true on tunes based on the classic 12 bar blues structure. Dropping down that octave from the rest of the band for what is often called the "turnaround" just adds so much impact.

    3. On modern rock tunes where a dropped D tuning was used on the original, a good taut B string delivers the "oomph" far better than a detuned E anyday, IMO. And the ability to play "across" rather than vertically, as on a 4, makes the lines much cleaner for me, without having to sneak a peak because I'm climbing up/down the fretboard.

    Those are the simplistic reasons I think a 5 "lights up my life" :rolleyes:

    But I won't say it is the absolute "way to go" for everybody. There's many deadly 4-stringers out there.

    Stingray 5 is a very popular sound and a fine bass. Just don't expect a lot of versatility, soundwise.
  4. seamus

    seamus Guest

    Feb 8, 2001
    Yeah all depends on what covers you are doing, which bands you play the most and all.

    I know some things I could play on a 5, but if the bassist is traditionally a drop D player, it's so much easier to play it the same way. Playing the open D variations and such are just easier on the 4, allowing more freedom for the fingers to get where they need to be.

    Still, with a 5, you can feel confident you're covered for all those tunes that go a little lower than the D as well. Those few extra notes can make a whole lot of difference there, just in the right spot, the LOW end. ;)

    If I wanted to be prepared to do things the four cannot do, I would say use the five.
  5. bassnewbie

    bassnewbie Guest

    Aug 20, 2001
    New Jersey
    Are there any other basses worth checking out in the Stingray 5 price range? The Stingray I'm looking at goes for about $1400.
  6. peavey cirrus 5 with wenge is only about 1350 at sam ash, probaly a little more for the maple i think.
  7. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Totally depends on what you're covering. If you're doing recent pop material, I'd say yes. For strictly classic rock of the sixties and seventies which may include Motown and blues, etc., the answer is absolutely not. However, given the advantages offered by a 5 (and 6 or 7), I think every serious gigging bassist should own at least one extended range instrument. I have quite a few 4's and that's mostly what I use but I have several 5's, a 6 and a 7, too.

    As to your choice of a 'Ray 5, I don't think you can beat them in their price range. I love mine and am currently awaiting delivery of another one on order.
  8. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    ibanez btb series
    conklin groove tools
    yamaha trb
  9. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    IMO, using low b's, c's, and d's on old music sounds a little tacky. I beleive you should play them like they wold be played in that era. But, i guess your opinion is more valid than mine.
  10. do check out the Peavey Cirrus 5. If you buy right, you should get it for less than $1000 used, or $1200 if new. I think it's more versatile than the Ray.
  11. JWBass

    JWBass Guest

    Jul 20, 2001
    Levittown, PA
    Check out a Modulus Quantum 5 Sweetspot.
  12. seamus

    seamus Guest

    Feb 8, 2001
    Oh by the way, I forgot to welcome you to TB bassnewbie. Especially since you are a fellow Jersey-ite. ;)

    I don't care much for Stingrays myself, but a Stingray 5 is definitely a nice bass. Some others in that price range or cheaper are the Spector NS5CR and the G&L L-2500. These are both 5 strings and sound really nice.

    The G&L has lots of awesome sounds, and it hits like a ton of bricks. They are built to last a lifetime, and the pickups they use make for some of the best rock sounds I've ever heard. I think more people would play them if their distribution were more widespread. That's just my opinion though, I happen to like G&L's more than Stingrays, that's all.

    Spectors also have a great all around rock sound and look really nice to boot. The hardware and electronics on them are also excellent. Only thing to watch out with the Spector is you better play one first because the necks can be 'batlike'.

    Though you'll hear lots of recommendations, just get what feels and sounds best to you. If it doesn't feel great, you will not want to play it, so I think that's a top priority. Make sure you can deal with the string spacing, action, weight, etc. After you narrow down what basses fit that criteria, then you can decide which basses among those sound best.

    Good luck, let us know what you get! :)
  13. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    <Do you think a 5 string bass is essential to play in a cover band these days?>

    Pretty much, if you want to play it right.
    Don't even go near anything coming out of Nashville without one.

    I'm thinking of getting a MusicMan Stingray 5.

    An outstanding choice. The yamaha Nathan East is a stand out as well. IMHO
  14. You could also look into Carvin.
  15. LowfreqB


    Nov 10, 2000
    United States
    My vote is for the stingray5. It doesn’t sound exactly like a Precision bass or a Jazz bass, or anything else. But they do (imo) sound great which is more important for any band. Check out the auction sites for used gear. The stingray in America shouldn’t cost more then $1299.00 off the rack at Guitar Center, unless it has the piezo pickup, which you don’t need. Perhaps online dealers can cut you a deal to include shipping in that price, so you can find the color you want. Check out bassnw.com bassplace.com or labassexchange.com there is a lot more out there, but none come to mind. unless it has the piezo pickup, which you don’t need for cover songs.
  16. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    It depends on the style of music, and whether or not there's keyboard involved. I've found that in rock cover gigs, I can get away with a 4, but in jazz, funk, brit pop, r&b gigs, I HAVE to have a 5.
  17. petch

    petch Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    Peavey Millennium 5 has a BUNCHA different tones and is well built.