5 string to 4 String

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DFW_Bass, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. DFW_Bass

    DFW_Bass Guest

    Jul 8, 2008
    Are there any 5 string bassist converting back to 4 string? I'm noticing a few 5ers are going to 4 and i'm thinking of doing so myself.

    Just wanted to see what is everyone else think or doing.

  2. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Albuquerque, NM
    What makes you want to switch back?

    Can't you play both?
  3. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

    I flip flop back and forth based on the tunes I am playing with various bands. Metal? 5er. Classic rock? 4 or 5. My blues band? Only 4's.
  4. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    I tried gigging with my much-beloved 4 banger this weekend, after a few months playing a 5 exclusively. I just wanted to see.

    The bass sounded even better than I remembered, but nothing about 4 strings appealed to me, even though I was playing country/classic rock/disco. Maybe it's just the tight spacing on a Steinberger, and I should try a regular 4 banger again, I don't know. I just like 5, planning on buying 6 or 7 next time.
  5. DFW_Bass

    DFW_Bass Guest

    Jul 8, 2008
    I will still keep my 5 around, but thinking about making the 4 my main bass. With a 4 I can play much faster and smoother. The only tone I like is the Fender Jazz bass, and so far the 5 string, i'm not too impressed because of the way if feels.

    With songs requiring the B string, i'm thinking that i can achieve the same with a 4 string.
  6. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    I'm debating the move. I find I play differently on a 4 than a 5 and if I really really miss that string it'll make me want to buy another...and by the time I'm able to do it the new Dingwall Combustion should be out - with a maple fretboard.

    I've really missed having a 4 string jazz bass with DiMarzios. Fingers crossed on my eBay scores.
  7. BassBob185

    BassBob185 Guest

    Oct 25, 2007
    Rocking Chair
    Keep the 5 and add a 4, you will be glad you did.
  8. TL5


    Jun 27, 2005
    I've been playing my 4 string P Bass almost exclusively since the spring.
    I still love the TL-Five and there's many times that the B string is more than just handy (horn tunes in Eb for example).
    Played the New Year's Eve "blues" gig with the P, brought another 4 stringer as back-up. It just depends on the music/set-list really.
  9. Bassman8416

    Bassman8416 Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2004
    Long Island,New York
    I tried to go back to the four string after playing the five for about 15+ years. I purchased a Sadowsky Metro MV4, beautiful bass, tone etc. I played it exclusively for 6 months and just could not get in to the 4 string feel.....so I went back to five and added a MTD Z6 bass and Love it. Everyone is different so I suggest trying one out, maybe you have a friend that could hook you up with a loaner for a week....to get a true idea of how it feels. Good luck!!!
  10. i went from 5's to 6's before finally going back to 4's. but i love it. i don't miss the extended range at all. i really never liked the sound of the low b or the high c actually. and everyone says you need to use them tastefully and i agree, but i found the need for the extra range to become less and less. there's just something about a 4 string... the range is just "the sweet spot" i think. and man, after you woodshed on 5's and 6's and then go back to a 4, it's like running without the ankle weights! they are so light and comfortable. like an old pair of tennis shoes. god, i love a fourstring bass!
  11. DFW_Bass

    DFW_Bass Guest

    Jul 8, 2008
    You hit right on the spot, i think that's the way i'm feeling now. I go to guitar center and play on a 4 string, and I sound so much better, i can do runs all over the neck that i can't seem to do easily on a 5 string w/o looking at the fretboard.

    So my 5 string are my ankle weights :bassist:
  12. Double Agent

    Double Agent

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    Meh, I've gone back and forth a few times now. It is more comfortable to play a 4, but I'm just not myself on a 4. The low B opens up a whole other world for my bass playing, its not just about the 5 extra low notes. Every time I've gone to a 4 exclusively, I have wound up regretting it in pretty short order. One of each is the best answer, but if I had to pick one, I would rather have a 5er. Better to have and not use than to not have and want to use.
  13. RedsFan75


    Apr 26, 2007
    Well, I'm heading back to 4 from 5 for a different reason.

    Arthritis in my back and hands.

    The weight of the 5 string neck puts too much torque on my spine, and even though I thought I had found a lightweight bass that wouldn't do that in the Greg Bennett designed Samick I have. It's around 8lbs which is light for a 5er, but after playing one day and picking up my 10lb fretless jazz and it felt better on my back. I started seriously thinking of going back to 4's.

    I've tried a few Peavey's in the store and their extended upper horn seems to make their 5 balance better for me, but it's become one of those situations where I'm afraid to pour more money into another 5 that hurts, especially if the Greg Bennett doesn't sell soon. Playing in my side gig I don't need/use the low B, but I do use it in our worship service. But since my 'revelation' I've used my Yamaha RBX4 A2 exclusively and haven't had any trouble playing the songs, but I have missed that B at times.
  14. kfletcher

    kfletcher Guest

    May 4, 2004
    Lake Charles, La.
    Why put pressure on yourself and deem that you are a 4 or 5 string. just pick up what you are in the mood for or what may fit a type of music you are playing that day and go with it.
  15. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    well, i've recently acquired a 4 banger P bass and am really loving it!

    I started on a 5 string, but here lately the 4 string is what i'm going towards. I find that my basslines are more interesting and groove oriented when playing a 4 banger!
  16. I started on four strings, moved on to five strings after a couple of years, then I found a P-bass that I absolutely fell in love with and had to sell my fiver to purchase. I played four-strings exclusively for a few years, but a few months ago, I found a six-string for cheap on Craigslist and snatched that up. For me, moving back to four-string after playing five strings helped my playing a LOT. I was getting pretty lazy with the five string, and just hanging out on the low notes, not doing anything that was terribly helpful for the song. When I changed back to four stringers, I was forced to re-evaluate the parts that I had been playing, and I had to move a lot of them up an octave. Most of them sounded pretty thin and wimpy transposed up, but I also learned that playing up higher allowed a lot more movement and melody to come through in my playing.

    Now I'm using four-strings with my band (tuned CGCF) and my six-string at church. I still approach the six-string the way I do with my four strings, and I have played a lot of worship sets where I never even touch the sub-E range, but the added strings help a lot with fingering positions.
  17. mikeluch

    mikeluch Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2004
    Ocala, FL
    I recently went the 5 string route after 35 plus years on 4s and although making progress, I find the comfort level on my 4's just very satisfying. Also, the type of music I play does not call for a 5 much.