Alternatives to 5 String

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mikarre, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. mikarre

    mikarre Guest

    I keep trying to get used to my new 5 string (Ibanez SR 505) but I just can't get into it. For one thing the bass seems a little out of whack so on Monday I will be taking it for a setup, getting rid of the Elixers that came on it, and I'll take it from there. I love my 4 string (Fender MIM Jazz), and I'd rather play that any day. However, I feel compelled to own a 5 and learn to use it correctly because some of the music I play is detuned, some of it as low as low C.

    What are some alternatives to using a 5 string for lower tuned music? I know I can just play the low D or C on my A string of my 4 and it will be the same pitch as the guitar player, but I am afraid it will make the song sound weird. Anyone use this technique? I can't be the only one who hates 5 strings. Anyone gotten around having to use one, in a creative way?

    Also, is it normal for the low B to be so wangy? I expected it to be a little floppy, but it seems REALLY floppy. I'll take it for a setup like I said and see how it ends up. It's a beautiful bass, but it I am very annoyed with it so far.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. dee rob

    dee rob

    Feb 3, 2003
    austin, tx
    I play in a band with the guitars tuned to dropped c, but I still use standard tuning. I think that it helps me cut through the mix without it sounding like mush because of the detuned guitars. Give it a shot and see how it works out for you. If you go to our website, I think there might be one song (so far) uploaded in the music section. You can hear how it sounds with a bass in standard tuning and the guitars in dropped c.

  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Well, one option is to tune your bass BEAD (using heavier strings) rather than EADG. But I encourage you to keep practicing your 5-string.

    Tips for getting comfy more quickly on 5:
    1) Put down your four and concentrate on 5 exclusively (until you get the hang of 5; after that you can play both)
    2) Learn new songs on 5-string rather than re-learning songs you've played for years on 4.
  4. Try adding a bit more low end into your rig, and play some other things instead of low notes. And if you have to play low roots, really dig in and maybe use some overdrive or distortion to fatten up your rig.

    Try a heavier gauge of strings to add more clarity and volume to your bass.
  5. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    Perhaps a weird solution,
    But you could buy a good octave pedal and set it so it will only give out the lower sound.

    Then you could even string your bass ADGC instead.
    I've never tried it myself though, I have a built in octaver in my practice amp, and the b on my 4 string sounds quite convincingly low.
  6. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I prefer 4 stringers over 5's anyday. I have really short fingers and a 5 just doesn't work for me. What I do is use a 5 string set on my 4 stringer. The gauge of my B string is .125. I have run in dropped C and up to standard E (although I don't recommend it) with no problems and I get that low tone without string mush. I don't know how this works with other brands of strings as I only use Black Diamond coated strings. Good luck.
  7. mikarre

    mikarre Guest

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I took the bass for a setup today, and I've decided that when it comes back I'm really going to put some effort into becoming proficient with it. I like the bass a lot, even the guy at the guitar shop had some nice comments about it, so I don't want it collecting dust.
  8. exactly what i was thinking.
  9. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    You were? :meh:
    I thought I was the only fool here...but anyway, I can get a good fake low b out of my bass and a Roland Cube 30.