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Advantages of a 5 string

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by IbanezGSr200, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. IbanezGSr200


    Sep 3, 2005
    What are some advantages and disadvantages of a 5 sting?
  2. Advantages are,

    extended range (i.e.: more notes) Most five strings have a low B string. but you can also string it with a high C string.

    The ability or option to play across the neck as opposed to playing up and down the neck.


    Not much when you learn to play one.

    A wider neck may be more cumbersome at first, and using more muting technique may be required to keep the strings from vibrating.

    Some people prefer a five string, others think it is useless. My opinion is that, although they primarily serve the same function, they are two different animals.
  3. Instead of the open E, you can hit the 5th fret on the B. :smug:

    Or instead of the C on the 5th fret of the G string, you can just hit the open C on your extra string.
  4. My favorite part about a five string (with a low B) is the ability to play the same lines 5 frets higher on the neck. This brings the notes closer together which is nice for small fingers. The fact that the strings are generally closer together adds to the possibilities despite the fact that the neck is wider.

    I feel five string GAS comming! :bassist:
  5. Amastacatious


    Jul 20, 2005
    1) You can get better voicings for chords.
    2) You can cover a bigger range without shifting much (ex. A 2 octave major scale on a 5 string can be played within 5 frets)
    3) If you ever do any musical theatre work, you will occassionally need lower octaves of B-Eb...
    4) Girls like it...
  6. tiredman9


    Aug 15, 2005
    New York

  7. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    While I no longer play a five for various reasons, I totally agree with many of the positives listed above...

    Sometimes, lines sound meatier when played higher on the neck... Especially in F for some reason :)

    In a horn band, having a low Eb and Db are amazing... When I played in a country group, the low D got a lot of use.

  8. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    All of the above! ;)
    And it's great for register when you have 24 frets too.

  9. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Very helpful when having to double/recreate synthbass lines.
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Excellent points above.

    I didn't consider this much until last year when I started subbing with a horn band. They play a lot of songs in flat keys, and also transpose songs for the vocalists (f'r instance Aretha's "Respect" in the key of Bb). It's much easier to transpose on a 5-string.
  11. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    -You never have to go into Drop D.
    -You can play Disco/Hip-Hop/R&B stuff much easier. Either to get those lower notes you couldn't get before, or to play higher, but on the B string for more ooomph in the tone.
    -I can't my head around tapping on a 4 string. The chords get split up and I can't visualize it fast enough. With a 5 string you can see the chord shapes and scales easier.
    -Their's the High-C string possibility whenever you feel you want to have it. It makes chords much easier, allows you to get crisper popped notes, and gives you better voicings for the higher AND lower chords.


    P.S. - IME, that's all right. I only owned a 5 string for like a month, but sold it because it was fretless. I'm currently GASing for an MTD Heir 5 like crazy.
  12. TomAngelripper


    Aug 30, 2005
  13. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    -First, turn off ALL CAPS immediately. It's extremely annoying.
    -Second, what are you talking about? A 4 string isn't easier to play than a 5 if you give it about 1 week.
    -Third, how would you know if you can play more complicated things? You seem like a n00b to me.
    -Fourth, nicer things? WTH. :eyebrow:

  14. TomAngelripper


    Aug 30, 2005
    E is easier to play cause of the B string!!Oh and i'm better than you.
  15. Don't feed the troll, man. :(
  16. Coward Of Reali

    Coward Of Reali

    Oct 13, 2003
    So now that we know the advantages of the five string, what are the advantages of the six? Why do we bassists need another higher string? What are....guitar players?
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I wholeheartedly agree.
  18. Well, I may not need a higher string.
  19. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    Who said you need 5, 6, 7 or more strings? I don't think anyone did. But they sure are nice to have. Why limit yourself to 4 strings just because of an arbitrary decision made 50 years ago by Leo Fender? The more tonal variety and options one has in creating music, the better imho. :bassist:
  20. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Advantages of a 5 string all mentioned above really.. you get low notes, from B to Eb below the standard 4 string.

    I've found this comes in handy, as was said, with tunes in nice keys for horns, Eb basically. Also, lots of modern RnB tunes tend to use nice fat low notes, my function band plays a Lemar track, Justice, and a Macy Gray track that wouldnt be the same without 5 string.

    Disadvantages.. well, I've been playing 5 string for about 4 years so I stopped thiking the B was an Estring a loooong time ago, but I still prefer 4 string, it feels like home. 4 string feels more free to me, I guess still find the 5th string a bit cumbersome, even after all these year, strange really. I find the B string just a bit too fat for my liking.