5 String - Low B or High C?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by NJL, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. B - G for me

    37 vote(s)
  2. E - C, can't you see...

    15 vote(s)
  3. just keep your six!!

    16 vote(s)
  4. carrot juice, please

    1 vote(s)
  1. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    I have a six string Warwick Corvette Pro that came with an additional fix string neck and hardware. I have been thinking of switching it to the five but putting it E to C.

    I have a hipshot detuner for it already and would "drop b" on the E string (as I do on my Fender Jazz - and it works great).

    What do you guys think about this, would you fivers every try this?

    Just a bit curious...

  2. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
  3. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    My 10-string, doubled five will be E-C. It was a compromise at first, because, as I was planning it out, I was forced to shorten the scale (long story). I didn't think I would like the B string on a short scale, so I decided to go with E-C.

    Now, with a new luthier, and different design, it won't be short scale, but I still want it to be E-C. It will be mostly for solo stuff, so higher works more than lower.

    If the 6 neck is too big for you (well, I would suggest you try a bass witha less beefy neck first, but I assume you like your Warwick, so...), I say go for it. It's all about use. If you think you can use a high C more than a low B, do it. If you need them equally, keep the 6-string neck on there.
  4. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    I prefer a low B on my 5 String basses. One has a Hipshot that I drop the B to A. I also tune one of my 4 strings BEAD and another one ADGC (BEAD tune down a whole step).
    If you are playing with multiple guitarists, the extra low notes allow you to play "out of the guitar range" and not interfere tonally with the guitars. The low C also helps if you play with a keyboardist - many songs use C. If you play covers, a lot of newer songs use lower notes than E. Some guitarists prefer if you stay out of the upper register areas.
    In my opinion, in most situations the Bassist should play in "the deep Bass range", laying down the foundation to a song under everyone else. There are exceptions though. If you are playing with a Keyboardist - they can get down in that range and hold the song together allowing you to explore the upper register of the instrument. If you are playing Jazz - horns typically play in much higher frequency ranges than guitars - this allows a very broad area to play in, including the upper register area. You don't want to overdo the extra low notes though.
  5. BEADG for me. I like the low end!

    I have a 4 stringer with a hipshot detuner for dropping to D (but that's a recent acquisition)

    If I wanted a high C, I'd get a six stringer - just couldn'tlive without a low B too
  6. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Currently I don't own a 5 (well, I'm in the process of building up a single cut 5 for myself), just 6's and 4's, but even on my 6's I find the low B string to be used more often than the high C string, especially in a band situation. I really use the high C on my 6's more with my solo stuff, where I use quite a it of chords, etc.

  7. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    My new Czech Spector is E-C 5'er. I love it. I use the C 10 times more than I eer used the B on my old spector. I still have a "borrowed" fretless ibanez 5 with a low B, if I need the lower register for somethin. I really liek tappign and chording and so on, adn the C really fits with my playing style. Also, its great for annoying guitarists to death because they completely phase you out! :D
  8. InfinityJaco


    Jun 5, 2001
    for sure go for E-C! Have you ever heard of Matthew Garrison (the son of the late Jimmy Garrison - Coltrane's bassist)? He plays a Fodera with E-C and he is absolutely the most melodic/rhythmic/well-versed bassist in the world, no doubt about it. If you haven't heard his stuff, you NEED to, it's absolutely unbelievable! The low B is good for some situations, but the high C is a really cool idea since you can be much more melodic and do some really awesome sounding chords.
    I just purchased an Ibanez Gary Willis signature 5 string fretless bass and I'm switching the low B to a high C (with Fodera Matt Garrison sig strings, check em out at garrisonjazz.com under products). It's gonna rock!
  9. Jmann


    Apr 29, 2003
    Lexington, Ky
    I say keep yer six...
  10. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    I voted for 5...I'm thinking of going over to six...but I feel IMO if you have a 5, it should be B-G...It's all about bass yo, not treble, and that high C (or B, as I tune the high string on a 6) is definitely treble!
  11. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i'm listening to matt's solo album at the office right now!! :D
  12. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Keep your six... or is it about string spacing as well (wide spaced 5 versus narrow spaced 6)?

    If string spacing is an issue, I'd lean towards E - C with the hipshot detuner, especially if you're already used to using a hipshot.

  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Gotta have a B string: those throbbing low notes are so amazing. Also, I haven't heard a C string I've liked, and I've played quite a few high-end sixers.

    Then again, I'm a down-low guy, not a chordist or soloist.
  14. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    It does depend very much on how you play the bass - the poll doesn't count for much, since following the majority isn't as important as being able to support the music you're part of.

    With six strings, which way do you tend to go? At church I tend to do quite a lot of chording and melodic stuff but very rarely go beyond low D (and even that often gets used just because I can)... in my band, I only have a couple of lines that I couldn't play without the high C (and nothing that couldn't be adapted) but frequently use notes below E. To have one bass that can work in both contexts, having six strings is invaluable... but your mileage WILL vary.

  15. I havent played a six string and I find Low B to be low enough but if you want to give me one ill have ya six :D
  16. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    We ARE bassists. I love the rumble of the B string. I can see an advantage to having the C string if you play chords or solos, its just not my cup of tea. YMMV
  17. I use my 5 with the instrumental trio I play in and I get a lot of solos so I prefer the C. If I did get a 6, I'd probably want to either tune it like a guitar (EADGBE) or just add a high F (EADGCF). I used to have a low B on it (when I used it for rock songs), but it never really got used unless the song needed that low D. For the rock stuff I just went out and bought a 4-string Mexican Fender Jazz and added a Hipshot D-Tuner for when I need the low D.
  18. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Being somewhat of a beginner (14 months) I have a 4 and 5. I keep the 5 "B" tuned and I go back in fourth between both basses when we gig. I have my 5 tuned standard and the 4 1/2 step down E tuned. I noticed when playing the 5 and having to play around the B string it has improved my action and fingering tremendously. Adding some low end B stuff is awesome to a song normally played in E tuning. It has made my overall playing much better and now when I play only the 4 string it's seems much easier to play. We do cover songs in B tuning for bass and there is something about hammering that B string during a show that just blows the crowd away, they can't handle the low end rumbling in thier chests.
  19. ryuujin


    Jun 1, 2003
    Delaware, OH
    Ok im lost. I was looking at getting a 5 string but where can i get a high C instead of a low B(I think thats right). I personally think that E is as low as I wanna go and I wanna go higher. So who makes a bass I want, or can I just get a fiver and put whatever strings I want on it? Im kinda confused on that.
  20. InfinityJaco


    Jun 5, 2001
    hey ruu, i just bought an Ibanez 5-string fretless Gary Willis signature bass and it sounds amazing! (they also make fretted versions) I also bought a set of Fodera Matthew Garrison 5 strings with a high C (check them out at juststrings.com, under electric bass and Fodera, pretty cheap!). Check out Matt Garrison's playing too, he's out of this world!