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Finally played my first 5 string bass.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by blackba, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. blackba


    Sep 7, 2008
    Michigan, USA
    I have been playing since 1995, but always had 4 string basses. I just love the small neck of my Fender Geddy Lee Jazz bass.

    Anyway, so I borrow a friend's Schecter Diamond Series Deluxe-5. He is trying to sell it actually. The neck didn't feel as wide as I feared and I found myself getting around pretty good. I didn't struggle as much with the B as I thought (since I general reference off the low E). Tonight I plan to play some new songs and see how it works in.

    I do have some concerns about getting a 5string. If I get one, I think it will be a MM sterling5, as I loved the Sterling4 I used to have. Part of me wants to go for the Sterling5, the other says to play it safe and just get a Sterling4. Obviously I need to do a lot more testing and trying of 5 strings, particularly I need to try out a Sterling5.

    After reading a bunch of 4 versus 5 threads, it seems that about about 75% of the people settle on either a 4 or a 5 and just stick with one most of the time. 25% seem to switch back and forth alot. The bass players I know in my area all use 4 strings, those that have tried 5 strings say they are not for them. One of those being the great bass player that is selling this Schecter 5. So that brings up some questions.

    1. How easy is it to adapt to a 5 string being a long time 4 string player? (ie how many months)
    2. How easy is it to switch between a 4 and 5 string?
    3. For the more casual player like myself (only play a few worship services a month) does switching to a 5string cause more headache that what its worth? I have been doing fine with a 4 string all these years. I do also play guitar and keyboards, so I have a bit of a concern that I have the time to dedicate to the switch.
  2. AgIdoc


    Nov 17, 2008
    Huntsville, TX
    took me a few weeks. now its no problem. it was weird the 1st few days for sure tho

    i find it pretty easy. i get spoiled on the 5-er b/c of the extra positions

    nah. i didnt, and i'm in the same boat as you (most of my playing is 2-3 church related events per month...worship services, etc)

    its really not difficult. i would think most people could do it. whether they LIKE doing it or not is one thing, but i would think most TB'ers wouldnt have too much DIFFICULTY doing it.
  3. I played 4 bangers for over 25 yrs then switched to 5 string 10 yrs ago. It took a couple of months to get comfortable with it, but was def worth it because I like the low B, nothing sounds like that.

    Of coarse, I was playing 6 nights a week in the Reno/Tahoe circuit at the time, so getting used to it didn't take that long. It all depends on the individual as far as how fast that person will adapt from going to 5 string from 4 string.

    Now I won't even touch a 4 banger, not enough movement on the neck for me, personally.:smug:
  4. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    In my experience all the fears that people have going from 4 to 5 are very nearly unfounded. What they THINK is going to happen is actually what happens when you go from 4 to 6!

    Most everyone agrees the switch to 5 is easy and quick. The important thing is to understand how playing a 5 works. It's MORE than just a couple of extra notes! And then once you get it, you'll hate to go back to 4s. The only "4" I play these days is my 8 string (doubled).
  5. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    I recently bought a new Fender Amer. 5 string P bass. Your selection is a great one. Guitar Center seems to have a great selection of those instruments. Its a serious move to be sure while the low b string might throw you off in the beginning the transition will be easy to make.
  6. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I bought my first 5 string this past December and I love it. Love having the extended range that's offered from the low B string.

    As far as adapting to the instrument itself, I had no trouble with the actual physical playing of the instrument. However, I admit I'm still having some trouble trying to remember what note I'm playing or going for at times. ("Is that a G or a D?").

    The only other thing I'm having trouble with is trying to develop a slapping style. But that's due to the fact that I never developed that style on my 4 string. Don't have the mechanics and the finesse of that style down and the tighter spacing is something that I'm going to have to deal with. But it can be done! Lot's of amazing players on You tube (and here, I'm sure) can do it with no problem.

    I also play twice a month in one of the bands at church and my 5 string has really helped because more and more of the songs we learn have a 5 string bass in them. Before I had to try and work around it but now it's no problem. Glad I got it.

    Get one and enjoy it!!! Good luck to you!
  7. tdub0199


    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga.
    In our 45 minute set, I use a 4,5 & 6 string w/o any problems, It was never really that difficult to me to switch back and forth... I love em' all for what they are...
  8. AgIdoc


    Nov 17, 2008
    Huntsville, TX

    if you're playing modern/popular praise music these days, you're using the low D & low Eb *all the time*. IMO probably 1/3 of new & popular praise music uses those 2 heavily.
  9. BgTckt


    Apr 7, 2010
    So St Paul MN
    I like my 5 string for all the above reasons, plus--if those lower notes on the B aren't required, I can play up 5 frets and over one string, and not have to stretch quite so much. Nice when my hand gets a little tired. And sometimes I just like the different tone in that position.

    The 5 string neck *is* a bit of a slab, and sometimes my hand gets tired from reaching over it too. (Arthritis & scar tissue issues...) If you like the idea of a B string, but don't want to lose your slim neck, consider having an inexpensive backup bass set up for B-E-A-D. Usually just a new nut, or refile the existing one, and adjusting saddles and pickups. Not too expensive, and you can get used to having the B there before deciding whether to tackle the wider neck. If you like it, but really miss the G string--get a 5. If you find that you don't miss the G all that much, you can switch your main bass to B-E-A-D... or upgrade your backup & switch guitars according to the song. Have fun!
  10. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Buy a quality 5er.. get it setup.. then play it exclusively for a month.

    Opinions.. for worship.. consider a TL5 or Millenium Plus.. they're both 400-700 .. usa made and botique quality.

    If you're playing stuff like crowns, brewster, tomlin etc.. the b will come in handy to open up sonic space.

  11. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Forgot.. switching isn't that tough (once you're used to a BEADG tuning).. most of us stay with a 5er once we get used to the new flexibility.
  12. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I got my first 5 string in 1976-took it to a gig the day I got it and never looked back. In the last year or so, I've acquired a couple of oddball 4 strings, which I really enjoy, but 5 is where I live.
  13. mgauge


    Dec 21, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Im a better 4 string player, but hands down for me so far, the Sterling 5 is one of the best 5ers for my hands.. Great B String.. I dont care for the Ray 5, not for me
  14. I learned on a 4 and switched to a 5 when I got my first decent bass after about 6 months. It only took me about a week to adjust, but I don't know if it would have been easier or harder if I had been playing longer.
    I agree with the other worship guys, low D and Eb show up a lot.
    Also, I play low E through mid E on the B/E strings higher up the neck a lot to bring out the heavier undertones and make runs easier.
  15. Fetusyolk


    Aug 7, 2008
    easy peasy lemon squeezy

    edit: i sure wish i had a 4 string though ;)
  16. blackba


    Sep 7, 2008
    Michigan, USA
    Thanks for all the feedback guys. Now to save up....

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