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are 5+ strings necessary outside of soloists or jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ras1983, Feb 5, 2005.

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  1. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    many of today's mainstream bands have bassists with 5 string basses. but i very rarelly see them use anything under an E. my thoughts are it would be more practical to have a 4 tuned b e a d than to have a 5 stringer when you hardly ever use the b string (or g string for that matter).
  2. Never think the the E A D G is not enough for all purposes. I play a 6 personally but it doesn't matter. That's just my style.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Well...most bass done in the vast, VAST majority of jazz (live and recorded) is done on a 4 string upright ;).

    A lot of the time, a fiver isn't about using notes lower than E, but being able to reach notes like a G without having to jump over to the other end of the neck.
  4. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I suppose that it does depend on the style of music you play. I play primarily in the church and at least 1/2 of the songs require use of the low "B". If I had to play some of those notes an octave up the bass parts would just loose it's feel/affect. I found that it really helps out when transposing songs to different keys also. Personally I'd feel lost without it. When I'm not playing the "B" string I'm using it as a thumb rest (which also mutes it nicely).
  5. jvbjr


    Jan 8, 2005
    Well the nu-metal kids use that fat string once in a while.
  6. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    I don't get it... more practical, how?
    It's not necessarily a matter how how often you play in that lower register, it's knowing when to play there (and when not to) that adds a greater dimension to a song.

    BTW, my car's speedometer reads up to 120 mph, but I rarely go that fast... wouldn't it be more practical for it to read only to 80? ;)

    - Ugly.
  7. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    you forgot the LowF string.

    Personally i found the thin strings in 6+ string basses very usefull if you tap a lot, the plain 4 EADG great for slaping and the LowB string is a good adition if you play along with the guitar but 2 octaves lower.

    But essentially the bass player makes the difference not the number of strings.
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I guess that depends on your definition of necessary.

    For example, is yet another thread on this issue necesary?
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member


    I confess that I was originally attracted to five string because I got tired of constantly detuning my E string to various notes. But after I started playing five I realized an even better advantage is having more positions from which to play a particular riff: I play the B string above low E as often as I do below low E. You also have a full two octave range in each playing position, as opposed to an octave and a half for four-string.

    Obviously, basses with more strings offer more versatility. The possible downsides to extended range basses are comfort (wider neck and/or narrower string spacing) and having more strings to mute. I suppose added expense could also be considered a downside.
  10. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Of course not. Don't be ridiculous.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    It is all on how the bassist wants to express themselves on their instrument, I like to use the Low B to emphisize certain low notes in a riff or progression.
  12. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    I think this has been delt with many times here before, but fwiw, I play 4,5,6,7, and after all is said and done, people will play what they want because that is there choice, and if they use all the strings on a extended range bass at any particular time does not matter. There are some people who buy Rolex watches, and some who like Timex, no one really cares except people looking to start a disagreement because there is nothing better to do. Finally I will say this........for those who only play four strings and know how and what to do with it, more power to them and keep on grooving, and those who like the extended range basses of 5,6,7 etc...same thing. the bottom line is...

    1: Can you hold a groove with what ever it is in your hands, whether it be a 4 string, five string and above, or a broom stick and rope fixed to a metal tub.

    2: play what makes YOU happy and gets the job done, period.

  13. 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
    I can't believe I haven't responded to this thread.
  14. LA


    Oct 17, 2001
  15. Andre_gt7


    Jan 4, 2005
    Atlanta - GA
    i play gospel with 7 strings
  16. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    Even if you never use that extra string, you will look really cool having it. It also makes a dandy thumbrest. :eek:
  17. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    A common misconception about 5-string basses is that if you have one you will be overplaying the notes below E in the B string, or in other words, those low notes unavailable in a normally tuned 4-string.

    After you get used to a 5, and to agree with many posts here, one of the main advantage is being able to play in different and more comfortable positions. One you get used to that, actually playing a 4-string can be more uncomfortable.

    Try playing a repetitive pattern with its root in F or F# in a 4-string for 10 minutes (say, and F minor scale up and down). That same pattern can be played in a 5-string in the 6th fret of the B-string much easier (my opinion).

    Also the point about the B-string being a fine thumb-rest it's true.

    I have had the dilema about playing 4 or 5 for many year, but time after time, I can't justify NOT playing a 5-string most of the time.

    I think many styles of music can benefit from the casual lower-than-low-E note and a bassist in any style can benefit from the easier playing positions, thumb-rest and yes, the ease when transposing songs.
  18. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    is the search key essential for people who wish to ask a question that's been asked many times before? :eyebrow:
  19. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    i knew that there was something missing here, well actually sum1, hey turner be a little more polite the guy hasnt said anything bad nor insulted anyone, but he's got a point with the 5 string revolution. Remember that not every1 has your taste for extended range basses nor your playing style.

    EDIT: BTW This guy has 6 post if hes going to be a talking bassist you (us also) better tell him that theres is a FAQ section that explains the functions and rules of this forum.
  20. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    nothing's really necessary - we could just hum into the mic

    i ditto what others have said about needing the low e flat to b to dupe certain songs, and about having the 2 octave range in one position.

    currently i dont have a 5 and i miss it, but i'm good enough to fake it without one. the reason i sold my five and kept my four was that my four was better than my five and i needed the money.

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