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Five String Debate...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Brendan, Jan 3, 2001.

  1. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Now, I'm in the market for a five...I know, I've been saying I'm going to get a seven...then a six...now A five...I just can't find a sixer I really like, ok!? Anywho, I'm looking into a few basses (this is actually a cleverly disguised vs. thread :D)

    I'm looking at a MM Stingray 5, and Ibanez BTB1005, or, a new contender, the funky looking Dean Rhapsody Q5...? Now, I know there are a lot of MusicMan fans out there, but I wanna hear from some BTBers...this is a pretty big descision, and having tried both the Ibanez BTB and the MM, I'm wondering what to get (I'll have to wait before I can really throw the Dean into the actual debate)? I play rock, and well...I can;t make up my mind, and they're all around $1000 US (cept for the Dean, but like I said, I'll have to look into that more before I can really judge it)

    Whadda ya think?
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Well, at least you're getting the right number of strings. I believe the 5-string is the definitive bass of the age. Four doesn't cut it any more, and many people don't even consider a 4-string to be a bass. Perhaps a big ukulele or something. And those 6, 7, and 8 stringers are abominations in the eyes of god.

    OK, that said, I know you want me to talk about something else, but the Stingray 5 is a good bass for rocking. Rockers love them. That's just my feelings. Over.

  3. you just brought a tear of sadness to my eye, guess its time to start practicing songs by Don Ho.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Sometimes the truth hurts.
  5. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    I spent time trying the Musicman 5,the BTB 1005.and the new MTD offshore line.I went with the MTD.I liked the MM but feel it's overpriced(new).Didn't like the neck of the BTB,not my preference.I'd suggest trying out the MTD's (Grendel,Beast,and Kingston 5.)
  6. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    My dog has fleas!!
  7. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    Munji, you mean 4 doesn't cut it FOR YOU. The 4 still cuts it just fine for me, and a lot of other people. Famous, successful, highly influential people. You know who I'm talking about, but I'm not going to name names, because they have nothing to do with my choice to keep playing the 4.
    I've yet to play a gig where the 4 didn't cut it. Sure, I used two 5-strings on my last band's CD, on two songs, and I played a total of 4 notes on the B string. Those notes really stood out and had an effect because they were in the right place. But I never used the 5 for a gig.
    I've never heard anyone say they didn't consider the 4-string to be a bass. I remember the Spring '90 issue of BP, where they had this panel interview titled "Is the 4-string doomed?" Opinions varied, but the consensus was that the 4-string wasn't going anywhere. 11 years later, it hasn't gone anywhere. Stanley Clarke even said "Any player worth his salt will have a 4 as his main instrument." I wouldn't go that far, as a lot of players I respect and admire use 5's, 6's and 7's, but the 4 will always be around, and I think it's still the standard.
  8. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Amen, Dave!

    There was - and still is - a tremendous amount of awesome music made with a 4-string on the bottom! 'Nuff said.

    - Mike
  9. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo MusicMan & Upton addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA.
    I completely agree with you Dave, and I've been playing 5-strings for 3 quarters of my career and feel I'm a 5 player but there are times I wish I still owned a 4-string for the simple tone possibility (in my 5-string mind, no offense) when the B-string might get in my way. Although I don't believe one is better than the other its 1. A matter of personal preference and 2. the only way a 5-string might be "superior" is because it offers more tonal possibilities than a 4-string. Also for me I've just grown up playing a 5'er and it would be difficult to go back to the slim neck 4 at this point and I'd miss MY possibilities. And you can quote me here- Just cause I play a 5'er does not mean I'm better than Marcus, Jaco or Flea just in a different class because I'm me.:p-FiXeR

    [Edited by FiXeR on 01-04-2001 at 10:00 AM]
  10. I think what Munji means is that 5 string has become the standard, the norm. It's almost a surprise to see a 4 string player these days.
  11. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Where are you guys getting this stuff? :) The four string is still, by far, the "norm", or standard.
    Go into ANY music store and count the four strings and they far outnumber the fives. Which means that people are still wanting...AND buying more fours.
    MY question is..."who cares?!" What difference does it make? A person should play whatever bass they want/need...
    and quit worrying about what everyone else is playing.
  12. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Do you think any manufacturers will start building 4 string instruments strung B E A D as opposed to E A D G? It seems that in some of these discussions about 4 vs 5, it comes down to having the availability of the low notes that the B offers. I guess the question is, are you in fact using your 5 string bass as a 4 string?

  13. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    Schechter builds a B-E-A-D 4-string called the Scorpion Bass.. BP reviewed it a few months back.
    I've toyed with the idea of B-E-A-D, but I like the G string (insert joke here).
  14. Um, what? I've probably seen about 750 or so bands live in the last ten years, and I have yet to see one bass player use anything but a four string.
  15. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Did some poor guy ask for help in the purchase of
    a new 5 string somewhere in this thread?


  16. OK, "has become the norm" is a bit too much but the 5 string is not a fringe thing like it used to be, and more 4 stringers are getting them, not the other way around. Amps now are better at delivering the lower register, so there's no doubt you'll see more 5's in the future. I'm not saying this because I'm some sort of anti 4 string. I don't care what other people play, if it sounds good to my ears, I listen. I do see more 5 string and less 4 string.
  17. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm sorry, I can't speak for the 3 basses you've mentioned, I've never played them, so I can't critique them, and I don't know how helpful this email will be, but I've been VERY happy with my Carvin BB75 fretless. I think it's worthy of consideration.
  18. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    I think this may be as big an exaggeration as "the 4-string doesn't cut it anymore."
    Matthew, you've really never seen anyone play a 5 or 6 live?
    I've seen tons of them. Local bands, national bands, live, on TV.. they're out there. Probably one-third of the bands I've seen live in the past few years, in all different musical styles, the bass player was using a 5 or 6. But I still think the 4 cuts it for most people.
    Interestingly, at the last Atlanta talkbass/TBL shindig at JT's place, there were many 4-strings, a couple of 6's, and of course JT's 7 and 8-strings.. but no 5's!
  19. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    Good point, Captain.. although he did name the thread "5-string debate"!
    Brendan, there's a new Reverend Rumblefish 5 on BassNW.com for $700. Look into it!
  20. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Amen! The Rumblefish may not have all the tonal options of the Stingray and Ibanez (no preamp) but it is a great playing and sounding bass, built very well (though no frills) and like HALF the price. They got the feel of the neck PERFECT as far as I'm concerned, the pickups sound powerful (you can get J-bass like sounds as well as one more like a StingRay) and the B string is excellent.

    I would forget the Dean, even though I haven't heard it...just something about Korean made instruments especially since the "Q" model cost extra for the quilted top which may look good but doesn't make the bass SOUND any better than the cheaper Deans. When you're on a budget, cosmetic upgrades are a bad idea.


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