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Back to 4!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Arron2882, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Arron2882


    Jan 7, 2011
    Bend, Oregon
    So i went to 5 string about 2 years ago because everybody said that i should. I picked it up ok, but always felt meh about it. I no longer have the need for that extra string and recently went back to 4 and i feel reborn! I can't believe that i ever left 4's. Has anybody else felt the same way? I don't feel like i am missing out, in fact i feel liberated!
  2. Fenwick


    Dec 9, 2012
    Definitely. Still have the Cort b5 that I played on for years, not realizing that I hated the tight (16.5mm) spacing and rarely using the low B. Went back to 4 (now I have 2) and it really revitalized my playing and my motivation.

    Still plan to hock my Cort and find a nice 18mm+ 5 at some point though...
  3. I've always played a 4 banger and never been in a situation to need a B string. If I did get a 5 string, I would have re-think my amp and cab set-up. I guess it depends on if your band detunes or play a certain type of music where the lower registers are required.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I went 5 for a couple years in the early 90's and soon went back because a 4 is home. Still got it and I'll play it if needed, but nobody needs it in my circles so home it stays.
  5. I go in phases between 4, 5 & 6; doing 6 mostly now, but I also enjoy diddling on the 4- to me it's like a skateboard or BMX bike; simple, familiar
  6. blowinblue

    blowinblue Blue in name only. Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    SoCal USA
    Nope. I have an awesome 4-string and rarely play it. And never do anything because everybody says you should, even if they're fellow TBer's. :)

    M. M.
  7. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Nope, I DO NOT feel that way. In fact, I'm rather tired of people who want justifcation and support for leaving 5 string basses. I played 4 strings from my first bass and then for SO many years after that and I'm SICK of four stupid strings. Who thought that up anyway. I began by studying piano. Did you ever notice the bass note range on a piano? So why doesn't an instrument that is called a "BASS" have anything close to a decent range of notes? Obviously it was designed for people who never play in horn keys (Eb) but for people in bands with guitarists who only know chords in E.

    The WHOLE time I was playing 4 stringers I just kept thinking how STUPID that instrument was! And kept wishing for just bit more extended range and that was BEFORE I actually learned what a 5 or 6 stringer can do for you playing two octaves ACROSS the neck! When I got my first ERB basses I was in absolute HEAVEN. Those notes I always wanted were THERE! Yippee! Now I except for my 8 string I have no 4 string basses I actually play. I've never looked back. I don't want to look back. Now, when I do play 4 stringers it sends me back to a past I really do not want to return to! And if someone is happy with their limited 4 stringer instruments, that's fine with me. I don't need your approval for what I choose to play.

    And here's the big hint: You don't need our approval for you to play a 4 banger either!

    Sorry, but the "cult of the 4 strings" just gets to me sometimes...

    PS. :D
  8. LowBC

    LowBC Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2008
    Music Go Round - Aurora, CO (owner) We buy used gear!
    Did the opposite! Moved from 5 to 4 for a "roots/Americana" band but felt the call of the 5 as our music progressed.

    I rarely play below C# but it's nice to have more notes closer together.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Wow, Bongo...take a xanax!


    No, don't do that. But sorry...some of us are quite content with 4's. Don't need to or care about justifying it. Just relating life experiences. Didn't realize I was part of a cult. But if one doesn't exist already, I'd be quite happy to start one if the money's right.
  10. I got a five back when they were extremely rare, and just never liked it except when recording. Might try one again now that they seem to have most of the bugs worked out. Or not.
    My current original band mostly plays in drop-D tuning and that's low and heavy enough for me most of the time. The plan is to build some bass pedals hooked to a synth and sampler to extend my range in both directions while staying comfortable on my 4 and 8-string bass guitars.
  11. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I love using a 5 string at church if I feel it's really needed. Played it last Sunday because it worked, but the last two previous times I played my 4 string and it did just fine!

    Not to side track things....still toying with the idea of trying a Hip Shot on one of my basses to drop E to D to use at church.
  12. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    Cult of 4 strings? :D Actually.... wouldn't "going back" to the 4 string would be more accurately described as "leaving" the Cult of the 5 string then?
  13. coldpie


    Mar 8, 2013
    I've been playing with my 5 and fretless 6 since my 4 stringer was stolen. I would never trade either for a four, but I've been shopping for a nice 4 for a while now. Thinking about a$$ to get a little funky with. I have to admit,I love em all!
  14. Arron2882


    Jan 7, 2011
    Bend, Oregon
    To each his own my friend. I' m glad that you feel so strongly about what you play. I just never liked the low b. Maybe it was my basses, amp, eq etc. No regets
  15. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Geez, Benj…ease up.

    Arron's not trashing fivers, he's just saying he feels more comfortable with a four-banger. I think it's even safe to say no one on this thread is dissing anyone who likes a 5+ bass. Hell, I'm envious of you, especially if you're comfortable with something as expansive as an eight-string. That seriously rocks! :bassist:

    Don't we all use what we use for our own reasons? And aren't those reasons valid if they're arrived to without making snap judgements or due to bad information? I mean, he tried a fiver for two years. That definitely falls under the "good ol' college try" heading, right?

    Arron, I understand where you're coming from. I, too, tried a five-string for a while. Not as long as you did, but I did try one out for a time. Perhaps it wasn't the right time for me. I even thought of changing my strings from BEADG to EADGC, but I came to the realization that it wasn't just me stumbling over the "B" string (and I did…a lot!). It was that I was just more comfortable with a neck I could really get my hand around. My hands weren't too small for it, not at 6'1", but my overall grip just feels "right for me" with a slimmer Jazz neck.

    Maybe someday I'll get the hang of playing bass enough to give it a try again. Who knows? But for now, I'm more comfortable learning on a four-string.
  16. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    A five string bass is the stupid one, everyone knows that.

    Seriously, it is all about the music you play on it. I have never needed to play a note lower than a C# (detuned half step plus drop D) and I've never felt the need to get a different hand position for those notes either. I also think that in the world outside of talkbass, more fours are still sold than fives and more music is performed on fours than fives.

    In the off chance I ever need to cover something lower than that I would not be buying a fiver either, I'd get another four and string BEAD. I'm not a jazzer or a fusion guy, so if I would be playing that low I am not going to need the upper registers at all. I could probably play a three string bass tuned AEA and get away with it in that case.

    So to counter the above position, a fiver is a stupid compromise.:) It has more range than I need at the cost of extra expense, extra weight, wider neck, etc etc etc.
  17. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Yeah, I play both 4s and 5ers - but never did so because of anything someone posted here at TB - I did it because the music I play requires it... If I ever get to a point in my playing career where I don't need to go below low D, I'll probably thin out my 5ers, but will probably always keep atleast one around, just in case... I enjoy playing 4s more, because they're easier for me, but 5ers are still a necessity *for me* at the moment...

    - georgestrings
  18. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    I am smogg. I come on from the tribes of the five. We seek an alliance with the tribes of the four. We must unite and protect our lands from the hoards of barbarian invaders known as the mystic users of the six plus experimental ranges. Many say they are but a myth, but alas I have seen them on occasion. They come from the lands of Progressive and Fusion.

    Once they have been defeated and cast out, you may return to your lands of Comfort and Familiarity. We shall in turn return to the Valleys of the Low End where we shall bask in the thick pools of Low B. We shall remain ever vigilant against the evil ones and will call you if needed. As long as the tribes of the four do not try to cross the river of E Flatt and inter our lands, a truce shall remain for the good of all.

    Go quickly now and tell your brothers, for the day of reckoning shall soon be upon us.
  19. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    I have heard your appeal, Sir Smogg! I give you, as a token to seal the breach between the Lands of Progressive & Fusion and the Clans of the Four Strings…

    …forty-five years of Rush, Yes, Stuart Hamm and Emerson, Lake & Palmer!

    Take them in good faith, so that we shall all find common ground and enjoy the fruits of their four-stringed, yet jazzy and experimental, glory! :bassist:
  20. mimaz


    Mar 1, 2005
    Wheeling WV
    Endorsing Artist: Crook Custom Guitars
    I got my first 5 back in 2000...It took just a few weeks of gigging before my 4 strings were left behind. Permanently. I have a bunch of nice 4 stringers that never see a gig anymore...I've tried, but the 5 is just so much more versatile for me.

    That being said, if a 4 the right one for you, no problem. Get the job done however is best for you, not what's best for someone else.

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