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Anyone go 5 string and not go back?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mbell75, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    Got my first 5 string a few weeks back and immediately warmed up to it. So much that I don't even want to play my 4 strings anymore. The 5 just feel right to me although I use the B for a thumb/palm rest primarily unless it's needed. Trying to justify keeping a 4 string on hand, can't come up with a good reason. Anyone buy a 5 and just play them exclusively now?
  2. Gougedeye

    Gougedeye Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Central Washington
    I play exclusively 5 strings these days and have for more than a decade. I got my first 5 string in 1992, a Peavey TL-5, red with gold harware. Not the list is too long to recall...I guess I should add, to answer your question, I have a couple of 4 string, but they never get played.
    Afc70 and reggie hall like this.
  3. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    I toured for the last two years using five string basses exclusively. I was feeling the same way, thinking I had outgrown all my four string models. After I got off the road, I put the five string basses down for a while and picked up the four string models. Why? It made me think again about note choice, and the necks feel like toothpicks after playing five string basses.

    Now, I flip back and forth. I've been working with a few bands, and one I play a four string precision exclusively. It would be weird to play a five string with the music.

    As of yesterday, I just landed the bass seat with a prominent original act, so I'll be playing and recording with the five string basses with this band.

    So, I'd keep the four string basses you have. You will never fully out grow them, and they might stimulate your creativity switching back and forth.
  4. kittywithabanjo

    kittywithabanjo Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2014
    Coquitlam. BC
    Been playing 5 string for 26 years have dabbled with 4s but always went back to the 5 string last year I got rid of my 4s.
  5. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Played a 4 exclusively for my first 12 years of playing before I bought a 5 just for a few songs, and since then I've gradually become so accustomed to having a low B that I feel really off when I'm rocking a 4. Nothing wrong with a 4 in and of itself but the 5 just feels too natural to me now.
    mbell75 likes this.
  6. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    Interesting points however I never understood the thought process behind it being weird playing a 5 string with certain music. Why? Its just a 4 string bass with an extra string on it. The way basses get stereotyped is absurd to me. Wanna play punk music? You need a P bass. Wanna play metal? You need a 5 string. Wanna play progressive? Of course only a 6 string will do! Boring. I like all types of music and Im certainly not going to buy a different bass to fit that genre of music and then trot it out to match the style because thats what other people think thats how its supposed to work. I'll play my 5 for every style :thumbsup: Will consider keeping one of the 4s too.
  7. Max Blasto

    Max Blasto

    Nov 29, 2010
    San Diego
    The only reason I play a 4 banger is when a song calls for a model that doesn't come as a 5 banger, eg my Rick or my Gretsch.

    But I'm only buying 5s these days.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  8. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I agree with you in theory, but in practice I find it's simpler to just show up to an audition or paying gig with something that's generally accepted within the norms and constructs of that particular musical style rather than try to argue with the R&B bandleader or artist (whom I am auditioning for or have been hired by) why by beat-to-hell-and-missing-a-string P is going to work for their sound, style and image. Perhaps it's different as a full band member but as a hired gun I want to blend in and not take any attention away from the artist without their say-so.

    I also have a gut feeling that when a guitarist who isn't familiar with basses that possess over 4 strings is running the show, they don't want to feel like you'll be a flashy player that will take the limelight away from them nor do they want to look across the stage and try to figure out if you're playing a G on the E string or a D on the B string.
    Bunk McNulty likes this.
  9. xroads


    Nov 6, 2012
    Basses are tools - whenever I need 5 strings, I'll use one, otherwise, I am happy with 4-string basses as well.
    To me, 4 string basses have a different vibe (maybe it's the lower mass of the neck), which still makes
    me use them from time to time.
  10. hoangduong212


    Sep 10, 2015
    I'm using my 5s most of the time at home, go back to my 4s sometimes for gigs/rehearsal. 4s gives smaller neck, lighter body, larger string spacing... everything I need for a >2 hours gigs/rehearsal
  11. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Yup. 5 strings feels right to me. I haven't played a 4 string in several years. I play quite a few different styles, and most of the people I play with probably don't know whether I play a 4 or 5. Audiences definitely don't. They don't care, either. Why should they if I play appropriately?
    Max Blasto and bass nitro like this.
  12. AndreasR


    Oct 23, 2012
    I just use both. My 4 is lighter, so I use that if I don't need a 5. But if I need the low notes or have to play a lot of Fs, I can easily switch to the 5.
  13. WaynerBass

    WaynerBass Banned SUSPENDED

    Jan 12, 2016
    Southwest Florida
    I went to a Yamaha 5 string back in 1997 and have never went back to a 4 string. As a matter of fact in 2008 I started playing a 6 string but still play my 5 too because there is a difference in tone between the 2 mainly because of the woods involved in their design.
  14. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    In 5 string land since 1993. Never went back to standard tuning 4 string except on my uke bass, my other two 4 stringers are tuned BEAD (even a 30" Epiphone Viola).
    groovelope likes this.
  15. Up the dose

    Up the dose

    Mar 10, 2013
    Yup. As soon as I made the decision to buy my first five string I sold all my four strings and bought a second five for a backup bass. The idea of learning all of the bands material on five and then not having one as a backup was unthinkable. Best decision I ever made.
    mbell75 and eriky4003 like this.
  16. somegeezer


    Oct 1, 2009
    Yeah. I've been a 5 player since I was about 15/16. The first time I held it, I just felt like it was made for my hand. So comfortable. Still have my 4, but it rarely gets picked up. It does have flats, compared to my 5s rounds, which means it at least gets chosen a handful of times.
  17. Steph Jackson

    Steph Jackson

    Sep 4, 2016
    I've only been playing 5 for 6 months, so naturally I still prefer 4's because I'm more familiar and comfortable with them. I do however, love my Overwater 5 and wouldn't part with it. I guess it's a case of right tool for the job in hand!
  18. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    I came late to the 5 string thing back in the middle of 2015, after being a happy 4 string player since I began as a kid back in 71. I didn't invest too much for the first fiver, in case it wasn't going to work out. It was too much fun, and I soon later scored, a nice 2002 Peavey Cirrus 5, that just feels so darn good to me, and sounds great, that my 4-banger Fenders, that I've loved for years, and are set up quite well, aren't getting as much attention as they should. I did get my P and main J bass out this week just to stay practiced in the 4 string, mental frame of reference. It did feel a little bit weird not having a low B-string though.;)
  19. I was talking to a bass player a while back, who told me he was never going back to 4 string. I have only played 4 string (self taught) and tried a 5 string a few years back. The biggest issue for me was (still is if I pick up a 5er) in my mind the string closest to my eye is the E string. Is using the B string as a thumb rest a good way to transition to a 5er?
    mbell75 likes this.
  20. DavetheDude


    Nov 28, 2014
    Actually, I started playing bass in 2011 with a 5-stringer. Cramped my hand real bad all the time, so I sold it and got a 4-string. As I progressed as a bassist, I wanted to give 5-string basses another go and got a lovely Sandberg California in April 2015. Never went back to a 4-string, so I sold them. And I assume I won't ever go back to 4-string instruments again, as I just hate how small the necks are...I have rather big hands, I wait for a new bass with 50mm nut, really keen on seeing how that works!

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