BEAD or 5 string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassrique, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. I've spent most if my bass hours on 5ers, though my formative years (11-19) were on a 4 string. I have "come home" recently to four strings and I love it. The sleekness and simplicity of one less string to mute has been enjoyable to say the least, but I miss my low notes. The BEAD offers the sleekness I referred to but lacks the high notes.

    The obviosus answer is "both", and that will be my answer, but for the purpose of discussion, what would you prioritize? What if this 5er or BEAD is to be strung with flats? Does that change your thinking?
  2. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    Depends on your needs, but I use a Hipshot D tuner on fours now.
    ppiluk, diegom, Snibborwocky and 3 others like this.
  3. Five string, every day. For me, the G string is an integral part of the bass guitar. I couldn't be without it. On my five string basses, the G string used far more than the B.
  4. Bass Man Dan

    Bass Man Dan Endorsing Artist: Ned Flanders' Bass-a-Reeno

    Oct 20, 2017
    I play in a cover band. We play all kinds of stuff. I have to have all 5 strings from song to song. I don't prefer 5 strings, but it's a necessity.
    burgerdj, Mekana and 40Hz like this.
  5. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    B-E-A-D all the W-A-Y
  6. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    I also had 5 strings for many years but have returned to 4 strings. a 5 string is probably more practical but the next time I have a B it will be on a BEAD.

    I just haven't yet decided whether it will be my Carlo or my Lowdown Jazz that will get BEAD'ed. I will most likely not be stringing my BEAD with flats. I want as much clarity as possible from my B strings. I've got a fretless EADG for that.
  7. I have some of both, some with rounds, some flats, fretted and fretless. I like having the choice between a 5 string and BEAD 4: strings depending on my mood at the time. I use the B alot and the G not as much so I could live with the 4s only if I had to choose.
    Supadope likes this.
  8. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I totally disagree!

    I tried BEAD once back when I only played 4s, thinking that I never used the G string much at all. At the first gig with BEAD it became suddenly obvious that I used the G string much more than I thought I did. So I went 5 string and never looked back. However, gaining experience with a 5 string it appeared to me that since I can't recall the last time I actually played a low B note, what I should have done is change the bass not to BEAD but to a slightly higher scale where the low string is a D or possibly a C. This takes some learning, and also dealing with changing string gauges, but deals with the lower notes and only trims a small range off the G string. Something to consider.
  9. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    I had started using 5 nearly 27 years ago and ditched my 4 ever since. So between the two, definitely 5 string is my answer.

    Flats don't change anything. I currently have flats on one of 5ers and one of 6ers.

    But if I were to have a 4, it would be EADG + Hipshot Xtender.
    diegom likes this.
  10. 2F/2F


    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    If I really needed the low B through Eb, I'd personally rather play a BEAD bass than a five string. That's a general statement, though. If there were plenty of songs that needed the range from low B all the way up to the G string, then I guess a five string would be the tool of choice.
  11. BlitzCraig


    Sep 28, 2018
    as mentioned above, D-G-C-F may fit your needs (I haven't looked back)... then again, maybe it doesn't work at all for what you need
    bassdude51 and srayb like this.
  12. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    I’ve only owned 5s for the last 21 years. Ain’t gonna stop now.
    Lardass5000 likes this.
  13. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    I play both but think of them as separate instruments; I'd never run a B-D four-string, only the traditional E-G. I approach then differently as well, but then I play keys as well, so I see the 4-string as a 60 note keyboard, and five as a 76 or 88, as you'd think somewhat differently on one or the other.
    40Hz likes this.
  14. nFinnyD


    Oct 31, 2017
    If I use a 4 I run DGCF. But I almost always play a 5 run DGCFBb
  15. Luigir


    Mar 15, 2018
    Notice that with BEAD you're practically loosing one octave worth of extension of your instrument (30% of total extension). In particular you're trading at least 16 semitones on the upper register to gain 5 five on the lower. To me it is just not worth it and I'd rather use an hipshot D-tuner or a regular five string bass.
  16. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I like to look down and see the same geography under my fingers, so switching between different basses wouldn't be a good move for me. I play a lot of sets in different bands and genres so a 5 string bass is the instrument that gives me the maximum options and consistency.

    BEAD is an option, but only if you didn't mind playing without the G string. I moved to 5 string to increase my options.
    Guitarodeo likes this.
  17. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    BEAD worked for me for years. Until I started taking reading seriously and suddenly I had to make super weird shifts to reach the "high" notes. So I now play a six for that.

    For anything meat and potatoes, BEAD is hard to beat. Played it in two bands without breaking a sweat over the range. Only you can decide.
    Grahams Groove and Jhengsman like this.
  18. Lardass5000

    Lardass5000 Conforming! Conforming! Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2016
    In Lockstep!
    I cant imagine ever going back to 4 string. I have zero use for them. I guess once i went to 5 i just couldnt go back.

    My problem is that I want an Ian Hill Sig Spector. They only come in 4.

    I may be buying another 4 afterall. BEAD
    Strung_Low likes this.
  19. dab12ax7ef


    Sep 25, 2011
    5 string all the way. Yes, a little more work is required for muting, technique, etc, but it’s worth the effort and shedding. But if you like a 4 banger, no problem with that too.
  20. bearfoot

    bearfoot Inactive

    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    I am one of those weirdos that went from 4 to 6. For my general playing, I have gone back to 4. If I need a subsonic, I tap the octaver. 95% of the time the note I need is low D, sometimes I'll just de-tune on the fly for that as well. No big. I use the 6-string for solo vocal accompaniment and looping mayhem. Maybe *I* should give a 5'er a chance...
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