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Comfort of a 4 over a 5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Professor Jones, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. Professor Jones

    Professor Jones

    Sep 22, 2009
    A 5 string can do anything a 4 string does. So what's the advantage of switching between 2 basses over always playing with a 5 string (leaving the tuning issues aside) ?

    The only advantages I see is that on a 4 string the neck is thinner and that its string spacing allows for more comfortable slapping.

    I'm asking because I can't decide between buying a 4 or a 5. I'm actually playing with a budget 5 (cort action 5), and want to buy a better bass. I do use the 5th string, but I wonder if the comfort of playing on a 4 is really worth it or not.

    What's your opinion ?
  2. Different sound different feel. I can't afford a 5 string p bass other wise I would play a 5 string all the time.
  3. 4 slaps better(for me), but if I need the low B, then the 5 gets plugged in. I usually take both, but it's as much for backup as anything else. I try to play the less-ideal(for a particular tune, set/gig)one occasionally to challenge myself a bit- it will sometimes produce something new.
  4. TechJunky


    Aug 31, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    I find 4 strings more comfortable to play. The thinner neck definitely helps. And it's easier to mute all the strings when I'm playing than the 5 string, so I sound slightly less sloppy (but that's my poor technique). My left hand doesn't get tired as easily on the 4 string either. And for the times I want to play with a pick or slap, the wider spacing makes it much easier. If I could only have one bass, however, I would go with a 5-string. I love the extra range and if I played it exclusively all the issues I have would likely go away since I'd adjust to whatever bass it is.
  5. 98dvl


    Jan 31, 2002
    The biggest advantage a 5'er has is that on a 5 string bass, you can play more notes per hand position on the bass... For example, if you're at the 5th fret, you can easily play about 2 whole octaves without having to move your hand up the neck to access more notes.

    Obviously, you get a few more lower notes with the 5 string bass, but depending on the music you're playing, you may not use these extra notes very often.... This leads to one down side of multiple string basses, it's harder (but not impossible) to keep the extra strings quiet (muted). If you're rarely using the extra string(s), you're probably better off going with a bass with fewer strings.

    For most people, having that extra range per hand position is the reason why they go with a multiple string bass.

    If you're playing a multiple string bass that doesn't feel comfortable, try another bass. There are different string spacings, neck widths, etc. that may make playing a multiple string bass easier. Sure, if you're used to playing a 4 string, and switch to a 5 string, there will be some differences, but they shouldn't make your hands hurt or feel uncomfortable. The differences should become non-existent as you spend more time getting familiar with the bass.
  6. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    So you usually use a 1 string bass? Got a pic or two? ;)
  7. Pierrot


    Jul 19, 2007
    Northern Sweden
  8. Thou hast been pwned.
  9. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I know they exist, I was talking to 98dvl, though. :p
  10. Eh, I dunno. I played 4's for years, then 5's for a few years, then back to 4's for the last 8 or so years. I just decided 5 wasn't necessary, 4's felt better to me, and it was a hassle- dead B strings, limited selection of strings(better now), etc. Whatever. I don't see myself going back to 5.
  11. I'm asking because I can't decide between buying a 4 or a 5. I'm actually playing with a budget 5 (cort action 5), and want to buy a better bass. I do use the 5th string, but I wonder if the comfort of playing on a 4 is really worth it or not.

    If you use the B string, then you probably need a 5 string.
    Any thoughts about buying a used 4 string, and comparing for a few weeks. If the 4 string doesn't grow on you, you can likely sell it for what you paid and buy a 5 string.
  12. I have to say I actually prefer the feel of 5 string necks over 4's. I like the wider neck.
  13. Ditto - while 4's are a bit better to me for slapping feel-wise, overall there is no 4 string neck that is wide enough for me - 17mil spacing 5 string neck are what works for me. Jazz basses for example (4s) cause my hand to cramp - need that extra width.

    But everyone is different, and obviously both 4s and 5s make sense, depending on your comfort/needs. They ARE just TOOLS anyways....

  14. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Why bothering with a 5 stringer when you can play everything and more on a 6 stringer?
    Or, why bothering with more strings when they still give you 12 notes?
  15. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    Surely it depends on the string spacing? It's entirely possible for a 5 string neck to be the same size, or even smaller, than a 4 string neck. The opposite is also true, so does it make sense to generalise?
  16. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Could totally fit two strings on there, neck should be much thinner.....:rolleyes:
    Why bother with a bass at all then, them same 12 notes are on a guitar, or a ukulele, a mandolin.......
  17. Why bother with any string instrument when you can play it all on a piano
  18. Pierrot


    Jul 19, 2007
    Northern Sweden
    why bother playing the piano when there is kazoo?

    ok, this is getting off topic, sorry.
  19. [/thread]
  20. grifff


    Jan 5, 2009
    Towson, Maryland
    My 4 is fretless.

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