do I need a 5 string if I want to join up with a country cover band

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tajue17, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. I have all 4 strings,,, jeez I traded the only 5 string I ever had for another 4 string because I never used it. so I'm on the Tube checking country vids and noticing a lot of these guys are using 5's....... any country bass players out there?
  2. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    This one comes up every once in a while, and you'll hear a range of answers because there is a range of opinions. So, in my opinion, I wouldn't say you need a 5. But low D's through B's have become pretty commonplace in modern country, so you'll probably want one if you're playing that kind of music. You could detune, get a Hipshot, or just take the upper octave when those low notes come up, but I personally prefer having the B string over those options.

    Now if you're playing classic country, 4 is plenty.
  3. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    If you're expected to play only the recorded bass lines then sure - there are lots of low notes on modern country tunes. Then again, a lot of cover bands IME aren't hung up on hearing the low octave as long as you play the right pitch, or even your own part that's compatible with the song. It will totally depend on your own band situation.
    Nomogram, Jim Carr and jamro217 like this.
  4. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005

    Yes you do. Or grab a 6 string bass and you're good to go.

    PS.with a 6 string bass you will get all (and the best) country gigs in your town, trust me!
  5. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    I would say yes also... It's the norm lately...
    G RICH 5 likes this.
  6. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    If you are ". . . noticing a lot of these guys are using 5's. . . " then is guess some aren't? So the answer to the question is, it depends on what kind of country are you going to play?

    Having both basses is the flexible situation, but as a 5 string player I can easily play a Jim Reeves song or one which requires a lot of B string on the same instrument. For me it's never been an either/or choice. A 5 has always been the most flexible instrument for me.
  7. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I'd say no - but some CW tunes (okay, "pop CW") have some notes below D. Pretty rare, but it happens.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welp, it all depends.

    If you are looking for a local country band in Texas it would probably be a good idea.

    That being said, I fill in with a band out of Nashville sometimes. They come this way with a Nashville rhythm section as well. Every single bass player they have ever brought with them had a 4 string P bass except one guy, who played a Sadowsky jazz type 4 string. And, yes, they do modern country. They are all young, and amazing players. And almost every single one brings a P bass. The crowds haven't missed the low B yet. I'll let you know of they protest at some point. ;)

    But, yeah, I'm the only bass player they use who plays a 5. Take from that whatever you want.
    okcrum, Nomogram, t-ray and 3 others like this.
  9. Rib 13

    Rib 13 Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    No.....but it is highly recommended...If its a working group with competition for the bass slot, it could be a deciding factor
    Fuzzbass and bobyoung53 like this.
  10. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    If you're looking to get the gig. . . . what ever gig that may be. . . . then the answer is you have to be right for the band and that means being flexible.

    IMO you'll need both.
    Fuzzbass, trey-bass and Joedog like this.
  11. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I played in one for 4 years without one. Unless they (or you) are anal about perfect replication of the original lines, you can get by. Start with what you have, and see.
    Nomogram, TonyP- and bassbully like this.
  12. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Jazz & Cocktails Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Central Pa
    Why not tune one of your 4 strings to a BEAD bass? And as stated, a drop D hip shot is a good idea. Lots of country with that low D.
    PillO, bassinflorida, G-Dog and 4 others like this.
  13. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    Could also restring one of your 4 bangers to BEAD
  14. I have a Xtender and a pitch shift pedal. I'm betting I could make it work.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  15. Hmmm. It sounds like the answer is "Yes" for new/bro country.
    I play classic country/rock and the answer is "No".
    To be honest though, the subject has never come up in any of the bands I've played in. I only have a couple of basses and they're both four string.
    I am thinking of installing two note extenders on both basses.
  16. spend that money on a nice hat and a pair of good fitting boots.
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I play a 5 and a 6 but I think (unless it's a tribute band or you are really stuck on exact covers) you can play any music on any bass.

    That said, I occasionally go thru times of thinking of selling them off and getting a passive 4 string P bass.
    Nomogram, bassbully and lowdownthump like this.
  18. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    it just depends on how badly you wanna play a few notes lower than " E " ... !??!

    most of the time my low B makes a great thumb rest .. !
    drummer5359 and Pocket4 like this.
  19. Big Kahuna

    Big Kahuna

    Apr 16, 2013
    And don't forget your bottle of Jack. After awhile you can just slide it up and down the neck, and it will sound perfect.

    wolfmancharlie and bassbully like this.
  20. bassplayer2014

    bassplayer2014 Inactive

    Jun 7, 2014
    No. As long as you're in the groove correctly a 2-string bass will work for the great majority of any music genre.