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Bought a 4 string, then a 5, drop the 4?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ectoflanger, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. ectoflanger


    Mar 17, 2009
    As a guitarist moving into the bass arena I started with a 4 string fretless only to find out shortly thereafter that a few of my favorite fretless songs require a low B. Gased for a fiver and have ordered one. Ditto for the fretted scenario, though I've not ordered or purchased a fretted five yet.

    Now here's the question- any advantage in keeping the 4 strings and continuing to use them for non-low B songs?
  2. butchblack

    butchblack Life is short. Do good. Find and do what you love.

    Jan 25, 2007
    Waltham Massachusetts
    I would keep the 4 stringers until you are sure you're happy with the 5's. You may find that you prefer the feel or playability of the 4's over the 5's
  3. ectoflanger


    Mar 17, 2009
    You know hard it is to sell guitars-- my natural inclination is to keep the 4's and use the 5's as needed. Though it does sound indulgent on my part.
  4. Shy Guy

    Shy Guy

    Sep 23, 2008
    Templeton, MA
    A good rule of thumb I use is to keep it for another couple months unless you need to sell it, you never know when an opportunity might arise.
  5. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Perhaps you can experiment with BEAD, see what the B feels like, and if it is really that necessary to you to take the jump to a fiver. Apart from that, the best thing you can do is go to a store and try as many fivers as you can, for as long as you can. This will not get you immediately and fully accustomed to the five string mentality/technique/position/etc., but it will give you an idea of what it will be like, so that you can make a more solid decision about whether you truly need it or not.

    Still, if a fiver doesn't float your boat, you can always play a B (or anyone of those "missing" notes of a four for that matter) on the next position. It may not sound as deep, but there are a lot of octave pedals out there! :D
  6. TheMutt

    TheMutt Guest

    Apr 28, 2007
    I have a 4 string J bass and a 5 string stingray. Personally, I have kept both of them since they sound very different from each other, and each has their uses. Granted this is comparing a passive bass with two pickups to an active bass with one bridge humbucker, I still feel that keeping a 4 and a 5 is worthwhile. I notice that on certain songs where the low B is not needed and there is a lot of E-string work, the low B can get in the way or be annoying to have to keep muted. Just a thought. That, and the prices of used instruments has dramatically dropped. Unless you really don't have the room, it's probably not worthwhile to sell for right now.
  7. I don't know what kind of music you play (I play a lot of alternative, metal, etc). Different tones/voices aside: I have a 5 string and two 4-strings. Since I got the 5-string (about 10 years ago), I tend to tune the 5-string to the standard BEADG, one of the 4's to DADG (Drop D) and the other 4, which has a Hipshot D-Tuner on it, to DGCF (Full Step Down), switchable to CGCF (Drop C). So, yea... Your 4-string can still be useful. But if you don't need the alternate tunings, and like the five string better, I would say ditch the 4 and get another 5.
  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I find 4 string basses kinda useless ...

    But if I did play a 4 it would be tuned DGCF ...
  9. Dubadays


    Apr 4, 2009
    Absolutely not. I don't own a 5 String myself, but many notable pros say to keep with your 4 string. The extra string and neck width may not seem like too much of a difference, but the 5 string can burden your playing tremendously.
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I have 7 5 strings and 6 4 strings. I play 2 of the 5 strings reguarly and 3 of the 4 strings. 2 of the 5s and one of the 4s are fretless. How many basses does it take to make Joe happy?

    Keep all yer basses dammit!!!! Sell them only if you HAVE to! Or to get better ones.
  11. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    That's what I do. I enjoy my 5'ers but the 4s are more comfortable (smaller necks) so I use them when I can and tend to use the 5s only when needed.
  12. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    I've played 5-strings (don't own one yet), but I honestly prefer the feel of a 4-string bass. I'd probably only use the 5-string if I really needed it, if I had one.
  13. I have come full circle on the extra string thing. I started, like most people, on a four, have since owned several fives, and now have only one. I find that for me when I don't need more than 4 strings, I don't want them. As you progress in the bass arena you may find this to be the case, although for me personally I'd get a fretted 4 first. It was a rather long time until I finally bought a fretless and I still am not very good with it. No matter what you end up collecting in the bass field I always think a basic fretted 4 string should be on hand. You may find that it's all you want or need.
  14. NorCal Dog

    NorCal Dog

    Nov 28, 2005
    that's exactly what i do

    3 fivers

    4 four bangers

    only sell if you absolutely must

    ( or as G.A.S. allows )
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.

    I find a 4 string limits my playing ...
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I build my own 5 sting basses and I use a 4 string p-bass neck for fast playing and a nice feel ...

  17. rapturebass


    Dec 6, 2008

    More pics please! :bassist: :hyper:
  18. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    As has already been said, keep your 4 string until you are absolutely certain that a 5 is what feels better for you.

    I owned a Bongo 5 for over a year and I could never get used to the 5th string. I find 4 strings to be much more natural for me.
  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Same deal with me, except I was relentless about getting comfortable with the 5. I had to due to some gigs I didn't want to give up. Played a 5 only for about 2 years, even in bands where I never touched the B. I didn't think I'd ever adjust, but I did (had a few failed attempts early in my playing). Going back to a 4 every now and then was slightly strange first times around, but I play both 4 and 5 now with no problems whatsoever. I prefer 4 however, always did, always will. I like to hit the bass a lot in different ways for different reasons, and I feel a lot more free about it without the B string getting in the way.
  20. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    If you want to sell it then go for it, the odds of needing it or using it are more than likely going to be minimal. Most 5 string players that I know don't revert back to a 4 string after making the change. So personally I would sell it, but that's because I know I'm not a 4 string kinda guy anymore. YMMV.

    The pros of selling it would be that you can use it to fund a 5 string fretted.

    The cons include having no back up bass should your 5 crap out for whatever reason, but that's very rare with new basses. More importantly, if you decide a 5 isn't for you then you're stuck with something you don't like until you can afford to purchase a new bass again.

    Weigh your options carefully and then do what you think is in your best interests. In short follow your gut feeling as it will usually serve you well.

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