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Are fivers a thing of the past?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Frenchy-Lefty, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. I see less and less prominent bass players using fivers. Even players, who at one point, were iconic five string users like Robert Truillo and Tim Commerford are using 4 bangers now. So...is it a dying thing?

    I know it is genre specific but even for heavy music, more people seem to be using downtuned 4 strings.

    I guess bass manufacturers could easily answer this question using their sales figures.

    (For the record I own and play fivers and four string basses. Most of the week-end warriors I see around town using fivers, seem to be 40+ yrs old dudes like me. Now, I am almost embarruassed to use mine)

    EDIT: In the light of the misunderstandings generated by my original post, which has nothing to do with the merits of fivers, I realize that I should have put it a different way:

    "Do you think the market trend of five strings is declining because young players don't think they are cool anymore or is it still the same as it was 20 yrs ago?"
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  2. Tim Commerford played a 5 string??

    Trujillo, who knows. Maybe the guys in Metallica wanted it because the b string confuses them
    Jamieeeee, GregC, joebar and 28 others like this.
  3. alack


    Nov 20, 2000
    Well all I know is they're in my past.
  4. I have always thought that Tim Commerford played a five string Stingray on the first RATM but I you are correct, it was a MM4
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  5. I have two five string basses and don't plan to go back. I like to venture off in the deep low end...lol
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Trujillo has always played however many strings he needs for a particular song.
  7. Geri O

    Geri O Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Does it matter?

    I'll play a five. Period.
  8. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    Hard to say without actually looking at the statistics, which would be prohibitively exhausting to acquire from a significant sample of professional players.

    The easiest way to go about it would be to look at sales data for 4 vs 5 strings over time, but companies aren't too keen on releasing that data to people.

    At this point OP, a handful of observations among high profile bassists doesn't come close to signifying an actual trend.
    Jamieeeee, GregC, rhythmwiz and 9 others like this.
  9. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    It does appear to be a data-driven question. I think bass sales figures would be an indicator, as would bass string sales (maybe even more because it would indicate utilization). Other data points would be live performance data which I don't believe is tracked, and also recording data again not tracked afaik.

    My anecdotal observation is that I haven't noticed a significant movement in either direction WRT to proportion of four versus five string basses in circulation. Admittedly it isn't something I have given thought to either.
  10. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
  11. trigger happy

    trigger happy Supporting Member

    May 19, 2016
    I sure hope not. I just decided to make the transition from 4 strings after a year of training to 5 string, but it took the right 5 string. Just got her yesterday and can't believe that I didn't switch sooner.

    Attached Files:

  12. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I'm sure you are right that 5ers are on the way out. I read TB so I know that sooner or later all 5 string players go play one of their old 4 bangers just for grins and "It's just like coming home!". At which point they realize that Jaco only need 4 strings and they sell all their ERB and just revel in 4 string bliss! This is the future of bass fer sure. :)

    The sales figures and TB polls show 4 string fretted by FAR the most popular, 5 st. fretted next, 4 string fretless next, and 5 and 6 string fretless and fretted bringing up the rear. Most everything else is just fringe bass. The fact that Ric doesn't do 5s and Fender doesn't do 6 pretty much shows sales of those too low to be worth the bother.
  13. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Come on! Admit it! You are just one more geezer who is over 40! :)
  14. trigger happy

    trigger happy Supporting Member

    May 19, 2016
    Admitted. I still rock though. \m/
  15. Another title I considered for this thread was: "Are fivers only for old farts now?" :laugh:
  16. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
  17. drittal


    Dec 10, 2016
    Will all the goofy tunings now, I went directly to a 5. Sure, a 4 banger set to BEAD can get low, but then you lose your G string and I'm not about to go commando!
    Conkal, ICM, Dwitt33 and 25 others like this.
  18. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
  19. 12BitSlab

    12BitSlab Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2016
    I only play fours because I am actually older than dirt. I saw my 40's MANY years ago.

    With that said, I still see plenty of 5 string players.
  20. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    Don't know, but then again, I don't care much, really. ;)

    I like my fives and that's what I play. I have a four that I bought specifically to have a four so I could play it once in a while in order to be able to get around on one if I had to. But, after about 4 or 5 years, I concluded that I never play it so I'm now planning to sell it and put the money toward a new cabinet I'm drooling over.

    Regarding whether or not fives are now exclusively for old farts, I'll let you all decide if I qualify as an old fart (I'm 52). But I AM a dedicated five string player!
    edervjo, PsyDocHill and Frenchy-Lefty like this.

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