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Does a 4-string bass become obsolete after picking up a 5-string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JustRoots, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. My Lakland 55-94 Deluxe is lighter than most 4 string basses I've owned. The body is swamp ash which is fairly light but has nice tonal attributes.
    GonePlaid likes this.
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I think he's talking about the weight of amps and cabs which I was complaining about rather than basses. I have noticed no problem with the weight of 5 string basses themselves. On the other hand I will note that both my 7 string basses are 12 pounds or nearly so and necks are hideously wide, but those kinds of basses are not the subject of this thread.
    ShirazBop and GonePlaid like this.
  3. mesaplayer83


    Jun 27, 2017
    Yeah, he was wrong about the amps/cabs weight, too - IMO, he's either trolling, or woefully ignorant of today's gear choices... My Streamliner 900 and Mesa D800 can put out 900 and 800 watts, respectively - and my pair of Subway 115 cabs handle a low B just fine at 37lbs each: Mesa Subway 115 Stack(1).JPG Mesa Subway Full Stack(2).JPG
    GonePlaid likes this.
  4. GroovyBassist


    Mar 17, 2016
    Austin, TX
    That is a matter of opinion and preference. Obviously ours are different. But that's OK. I play both 4's and 5's but tend to lean toward the 5's more due to the projects I'm involved with. Nonetheless, the OP was asking if 4's become obsolete after going to a 5. The answer to that question is no.
    GonePlaid likes this.
  5. 7615


    Nov 19, 2015

    Do the math - that's an 80lb rig. Real light. Do the math. (37 lbs each.) So more than double the weight of top notch equipment out there.

    IMO you are both classically ignorant as well as being ignorant in the pejorative sense.
    GonePlaid likes this.
  6. 7615


    Nov 19, 2015

    I tuned my bass BEAD last night and played it through the Mark II - not bad - and it didn't have proper strings - it might work for you - 35 lbs!!

    The GK MB115 has a 15 inch with a horn and I think the mark is a little warmer. Unfortunately the tweeter on the Mark can not be turned off whereas the horn in the GK can be turned off. Depending on the bass it can make quite a difference.
    GonePlaid likes this.
  7. GroovyBassist


    Mar 17, 2016
    Austin, TX
    Dude, I thought we already agreed to disagree. I like my five string. You like your four. Why are you trying to sell me on a four string. I have them, I play them but for my current situation Five strings is where it's at. So go D-tune, B-Tune or whatever you want to do with your four String. I'm happy with what I have.
    GonePlaid likes this.
  8. 7615


    Nov 19, 2015
    I’m not trying to convert - you said you liked the Mark 2 and said you wanted a set up something like a Mark II

    I think you should go take your 5 string and check out a Mark - it might handle it. They are very warm sounding amps . And weigh less than 40 lbs.
    GonePlaid likes this.
  9. GroovyBassist


    Mar 17, 2016
    Austin, TX
    I think you are confusing me with somebody else. I never said that. I use a Trace Elliot rig.
    GonePlaid likes this.
  10. lol....ok
    bassbenj and GonePlaid like this.
  11. Some of these threads are interesting. We all have a common thread...we are bass players. I never say, "I'm a 5 string bass player. I never in the past said "I play the 4 string bass". I doubt anyone is that specific unless you are writing your bio and listing the gear you use. What's cooler? Whatever you think cooler is...and nobody else.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
    GonePlaid and GroovyBassist like this.
  12. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    I don't know about "obsolete", but... I've heard - from people I trust - that every time somebody picks up a 5-string bass, a 4-string bass vanishes forever. Which is why it's a personal point of honor to never, ever touch a 5-string bass....:whistle:
    dmt, Old P Bass Guy and GonePlaid like this.
  13. GonePlaid

    GonePlaid "It needs a bridge cover" Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2016
    Southeast FL
    "That's funny, I don't care who you are!"
  14. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Too true. I only own 5 strings, and had to cover a few tunes from Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime." I Don't Believe in Love, was one of them. I wound up drop tuning instead of playing the D on the B string. Got laughed at by some of my friends for it, but it was just easier to play that way. A couple of them found that out too when they tried to play it on the B string instead of drop tuning. lol
    ScotRFM and GonePlaid like this.
  15. I picked up my first 5 string in the 90s due to necessity. A lot of the music I was playing was written for 5 string. I also played in a church praise band which a 5 came in handy for. As I became more fluent on 5 string I used my 4s less and less until I eventually sold them and played 5 exclusively. Unfortunately, one of those 4 string basses I sold was my all original '68 Fender Telecaster bass(re-issue of original '51 Precision renamed Telecaster bass). I owned only 3 basses for a while...all Lakland 5 strings...until last Tuesday when I traded in 2 of them and purchased a brand new Fender professional series p bass(4 string). In my current band, the music we do is better suited for a P bass sound and look. So, now I only own 2 basses. My Lakland 55-94 deluxe in cherry burst/birdseye maple fingerboard and a Fender professional series p bass in Olympic white with rosewood fingerboard. Two excellent basses that will be able to handle anything I'm asked to play.
  16. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    Austin, TX
    It really depends on what you play and what you need. I'm at a point where all I need are 4. If I need more I'll adjust.
    The Schu likes this.
  17. Pete Greaves

    Pete Greaves

    May 1, 2014
    The answer is no, i play 4 and 5 string fretted and fretless, all depends on the gig. Some signature Michael Jackson songs for instance (Black or White as an example) can't be played as they were recorded on a 4 string because they use that low C or B..

    And if you are buying a 5 string just to get a few extra low notes, you have missed the point. One of the real benefits of a 5 string is being able to shift a pattern from the 4th to the 5th string when you want to which changes the tone (thinking of playing a B on the 3rd and 4th string of a 4 string.

    The moment you shift that root to the 5th note you have two octaves within 4 frets. Not to mention that for folks like myself who don't like playing open frets it lets you play the low E fretted. Most 5 string players I know never go below the low D so the extra few notes is really not the point. If you think that way all you will do is play a 5 string like a 4 string, andoccasionally hit the low note.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  18. BINGO...we have a winner...the whole reason I love my five string. I do sometimes go below the d only on the last note of a song...sometimes. I prefer to play up the neck further and the 5 string allows that to happen...the fretted E being one of them..The only thing I would use a 4 string for now is slap and I don't do that enough to warrant another bass ( gasp)
    Chris Szatny likes this.
  19. I concur. Sure, going below the E when a song dictates it is good as in modern country songs(Before he cheats by Carrie Underwood as an example). However, as someone who prefers fingering notes as opposed to alternating open and fingered(less consistency in tone)notes, I like a 5 string to accomplish that. Also, I like playing the B string further up the fingerboard for tonal reasons. When I play music from the 60s & 70s(Motown, classic rock, blues, funk), I love a 4 string P bass. I'll admit...for a long time I only played 5 string exclusively but that was because the bands I was in played various genres and the 5 checked off all of the boxes. Right now I am playing music that is more appropriate both tonally and esthetically to use a 4 string P bass. It's about choosing the best tool for the job.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
    Old P Bass Guy and murph7489 like this.
  20. vindibona1


    Apr 18, 2015
    That might not be a bad philosophy. Last January I upgraded my Jazz 4 with new pickups and paid for a fret level/setup. It was great. In February I got the bug to buy a 5er, which soon became two then three 5 string basses (and subsequently a 6er). My Jazz 4 is great, but I've gotten so used to the 5's that my left thumb doesn't know what to do with itself on the neck and my right thumb feels like it's got nowhere to go either. I've pretty much given up trying to play a 4 string now. Every time I try to play it now my brain goes "why?".

    I can see why some people just don't bother with 5 string basses nor should they. In many cases not a necessity at all. But it can change everything. Once you go there with any seriousness it is so hard to turn back.

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