Advantages of the Fifth String?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassGod, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    DISCLAIMER: This thread was not made to bash extended range basses. My question is an honest one, and in need of answers. Please keep derogitory comments out, as I'd like this thread to stay open, so I can get lots of useful information.

    Well, I've been saving up some cash, and I've decided that I need a new bass. My Squire P is on it's last leg. I hear many people saying that five strings are great to have, and so I was thinking of buying one. But is it really worth the extra cash to have five more notes? Plus the practice time to get used to it? I am just wondering if anyone could list some advantages of having that fifth string. For example, when looking for studio work, will most producers be looking for a five string bassist? So come on five stringers, tell me how that extra string has helped you!

    Graeme :bassist:
  2. pdusen


    Aug 18, 2004
    I don't know from experience, but I do know that I will never use a 5-or-more-banger unless I find one with an extremely comfortable neck.

    And I like thin necks, so that may not happen for a long time.
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    It's not about 5 more notes. If it was, I probably wouldn't own any five or six stringers.

    The added low notes are nice to have. But I primarily like a five for the ability to shift from the first position and play in E up at the fifth fret. I also like the fact that I have two octaves under my fingertips, without a position shift. I like having tenths and elevenths easily accessible on the B and D string, as well as the E and G string. I like being able to play a note in a three octave unison. And a whole lot of other reasons for the extra string.
  4. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    While there are a pretty fair amount of guys that use the lower range, most are like Jeff and want the felxibility of the positioning. I tend to use higher registers regularly so I tune my 5 srings to a High C instead of a Low B. Everyone in a long wh9ile I will actually you those extra 5 notes, but that is rare. I also prefer teh neck of most 5 strings.
  5. +1

    I have only just started on a 5er and have found that it gives you more options up at the 2nd position etc. It also gives you the ability to emulate the piano's range in the lower notes.
  6. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    I really like this thread. I also like being able to play in Eb and not have to head up as far as notes go. I probably use the Eb more than anything else in those 5 lower notes. Also tonnes of dance tunes sound good with the lower notes. Some songs don't work as well as they could when you have to use higher C or D for example when the 5th string has all those lower notes which really seem to drive particular bass lines. The lower 5th string notes seem to have a lot more oomph in certain songs.
  7. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    you know, you will probably find a lot of good information if you do a search on "advantages of a 5-string". i'm just thinking, this quest has been asked a lot.
  8. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    it has JT.. probably on a monthly basis. When telling people to search, do remember that the search engine gets anal when you use words with 3 letters or less. It's bloody annoying and makes some thigns very hard to search for.
  9. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    It might be helpful to create a FAQ list. Then we could simply direct these types of inquiries to the FAQ. I know. I know. Someone would actually have to put work into it, but their must be a JT worshipper out their that you could sacrifice. :D
  10. PeaceFrog


    Aug 25, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA

    I most definatley could not have said it better myself.
  11. 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
    yeah, and the frets are closer together further up the neck.
  12. bigbajo60


    Nov 7, 2003
    Laredo, Texas
    When it comes right down to it... what Embellisher said is the main reason... 90% of the time (in my case) that's what it really is all about. The other 10% of the time, particular songs are in keys below E.
  13. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I contest that the range of a 5 string bass is not at all a new discovery. Many orchestral bass sections feature, and often require 5 strings, or string extensions, and not because of "modern" classical compositions. This lower range has been the sonic foundation of the evolution of western music. Think of Bach's extensive works on organ, Wagner, etc. The low notes have been around for a long time but the technology to reproduce them electronically is getting better all the time. I for one am taking FULL advantage of this technology. If my low Bb was not full and musical I would not use it.
    ....yes I posted this RANT already in another thread, sorry!!
  14. BassAde


    Mar 11, 2005
    S-o-T U.K.
    You also get a different timbre for the notes on the B-string. e.g. the G on the 8th fret of the B booms a bit more than the same G played on the 3rd fret of the E-string.
  15. remo


    Jan 15, 2005
    I like the access to the 5th from the A on the 4th string down..

    ie. the low C# under the F#.

    and the low D is so juicy on rock tracks!!!
  16. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    We automatically get our fries upgraded to "large" at Wendy's.
  17. dbaser


    Jan 22, 2005
    Mobile, AL
    I recently purchased a 5-string for two main reasons... As mentioned above, the timbre of the B-string and the ability to play in different positions. I haven't picked up my 4-banger since I bought my 5er. Pick one up at a local music store and play around with it...
  18. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    i have two 4 stringers now, but will get ATLEAST a 5 string next (i might save up more and get a 6 string). i hate having to shift positions on the neck just to play some higher notes. i used to wonder why 5+ strings exist, and used to have the "you only need four strings" mentality. Then my understanding of the bass matured, and i realised that i can (eventually) have both a 5+ string and a 4 string for when i felt like i needed it. so don't get too bothered about why you need a 5 string, ask yourself if you can only get by with a four string. ;)
  19. I like mine mostly for the position ease also.I also like using the B string to end songs in keys below E,like C or D for the rumble it gets.It works pretty well to play the songs completely in the upper range and only drop down for the very end,nice effect.
  20. Be sure to get a fiver that has a nice clear low B, not muddy sounding. You want it to be useful and musical sounding.