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Five string fears

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jimmy rocket, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. jimmy rocket

    jimmy rocket

    Jan 24, 2008
    Ayden, NC
    Ok, here's my question. I was just at my local music store yesterday and played this 5 string OLP MM2 that absolutely impressed me. I normally play a Fender American Jazz 4 string that I absolutely love.

    The OLP was $150 and I was really tempted to get it, but after playing it for a little while I realized how different it seemed to me than my 4 string. I mean, I theoretically know how to play the 5th string, and could work it into some lines, but apart from the obvious "it's just one more string" answer, I found myself thinking about the fret board differently. Like, it took me a while to feel out the 5th string, but once I did, I had to re-acclimate myself to my 4 string.

    I shied away from the 5 string OLP even though it was such a deal. At 4 strings it would be in my practice room by now. So...have any of you hand experience switching between 4 and 5 strings where you've played both interchangeably, and has it caused you any difficulty?
  2. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I had played a four for about a year when I bought my first 5'er. I had band practice immediatly right after I bought the bass, I didn't have any time to try it out at all. I was used to the feel in about 30 minutes. I will never ever go back to a four string as my main bass again.;)
  3. im also planning to get a 5'er soon, tho I have only payed 4's before.

    I have tried playing one at GC and was surprised at how easily I adjusted...

    my only concern really would be slapping, but It isnt that big of a deal to me.
  4. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    When I bought a five I adjusted to it immediately, but when I picked up a four again I was confused. I just made sure that I played both for awhile everyday and now even if I don't pickup a four stringer for weeks, the adjustment is immediate.
  5. i say go for it! I am going to this summer when I have funds.

    I feel like it is inevitable sooner or later, so might as well be sooner! you will probably wonder what you have been missing.
  6. 2Loud4You


    Jan 18, 2008
    Norcross, GA
    I went from 4 to 5 to 6 and don't even like playing a 4 anymore. That being said, I've played 6 string for close to 10 years and can still pick up a four and play it without mental adjustment.
  7. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    I took the jump less than a year ago (I was VERY scared then...) and recently got another 5er!

    I will tell you that there is a little learning curve and - depending on the basses, what can be a major difference in reach and string spacing, but I really like the versatility a 5 string gives you! I love the ability to play one "run up" and "one run down" if I want...also, I usually play at about the fifth position so I can hit a low F or G without having to move at all !!! Also - you get used to it just like you did with 4 strings.

    I find myself being a little more deliberate and careful with a 5er, but that is fading as well....

    Yes - it takes some getting used to...but at $150 what do you have to lose??? that is really cheap in comparison to alot of other basses out there!!! if you do not like it, you can sell it for close to what you paid....

    I am thinking of delving into fretless next and may go the "cheap" route to make sure I can do it before spending $700+ (used) on a nice Lakie fretless....

    Go for it and let us know how you feel (give yourself at least 2 weeks of "folling around" with it before you make any impressions!)
  8. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    I've been through 5 five strings and just never seem to get used to it. I don't have trouble figuring them out It just doesn't do anything for me when switching back and fourth. I really really love the feel of my four string. I've had some pretty nice 5's too.

    If I were you... i'd try one out and if it doesn't work for you get rid of it. Just buy something you wont take a huge loss on(like me....again and again)

    Either way good luck.
  9. is there anybody here that slaps on a 5 string?
    I know its perfectly managable, but it doesnt seem quite the same as doing it on a 4 string..


    Feb 28, 2008
    I have a cheap Samick 5 string but never use the B. I play finger style and the only way I can play is if my fingers hit a string above the E. It's strange, I can't play any other way. Most of the time I just to the B to a low A and use it in one of our songs and string my regular 4's the same way ditching the G.
  11. jimmy rocket

    jimmy rocket

    Jan 24, 2008
    Ayden, NC
    Thanks, I appreciate all the comments. My worry was that I love my 4 string Jazz, and like aproud1 I keep thinking that while I didn't have trouble figuring a 5 out, I didn't connect to it like I do with my 4. Also, they're pretty incommensurate instruments (OLP MM2 and an American Jazz) so I didn't want to forsake my baby for some hot new number that didn't have the stuff to make me keep wanting to play it.
  12. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
  13. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Dont be afraid of 5 strings.

  14. Flintc


    Aug 15, 2006
    Some folks can switch back and forth easily, some fall in love with 5ers and never look back, and some just can never quite get the hang of it. My impression is that about the same number of people fall into each category.

    I'm one of those people who just can't seem to get it. I started on 6, and losing a string going to 5 is like losing a finger. Nothing works right for me. Yet I can switch back and forth between 6 and 7 strings without difficulty. Five just ain't enough, and I'm just always running out of strings. I think a lot of this depends on how you hear the lines you want to play, and where you want to put them.

    I've never picked up a bass with only 4 strings, even to noodle, and I probably never will.
  15. Jo6Pak


    May 2, 2007
    Man, I'm just the opposite. That 'Floating Thumb' technique is what always puts me off 5 string, when I occasionally get the urge for one. I've been playing 4 string WAY too long and am too set in my ways to adapt to something that will never be anything more than a novelty to me. Yeh, I'm lazy (and old)...
  16. Flint is right. Some get it, some don't. Usually those who don't are either too fixed on their 4 string feel/technique and/or fear change. It will take some time to adjust. It took me a while before I was really comfortable. Now I switch between fretted/fretless 4, 5, and 6 string basses depending on what I want and what I think the song needs.
  17. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    i bought my 5 in november after a year on the 4, and this month i'm moving up to a 6. the 5 took a few days to get used to, and i can transition to 4's with no problem, but i can't imagine life without a low B, and i always find places where i could use the high C effectively, so it just seems logical to me.
  18. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Biggest issue is that it will take you 25% longer to change all the strings!

    Seriously, it is an easy move. A little practice and you'll be fine.
  19. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

    Nov 3, 2007
    Lexington KY
    Its an easy change. Going between different string spacing is more problematic for a lot of techniques IMO, although I'm sure a lot of guys here can do it with no trouble at all.
  20. StarscreamG1


    Dec 17, 2007
    I had always thought of a 5string but have always played 4s. When I got back into it last year I decided to go straight into a 5. Well I changed my mind on that one, ended up back on a 4...I have had a few chances to grab a 5 and always at the last minute I'd back out. I finally went through and got an older Foundation 5er a couple months ago. For me the transition was pretty fast. String spacing was an issue and as I stated on another thread a bit ago, switching from my 5 to my narrow Dyna 4 string and back takes a bit. But the more I've done it the less of an issue its becoming. Its all in 'training' the hands I think.

    My 5er has a pretty wide neck, a wide shallow D where as my dyna seems like a narrow U...the action and set up on my 5er really sucks right now too but all things considered, I am really glad I finally got a 5er. The neck just has a real funkygood feel to it I think and will be even better once the action and truss/tilt is tweaked out for my tastes. I was curious if I'd stop playing my 4s and I haven't. I go back and forth between 4 and 5 and its no biggie for me. I have even caught myself pondering a 6 string from time to time. But even though I got the fingers/hands for a bass, I don't care to deal with wide necks so I will probably pass on a 6 unless I can find a narrow 6 'U neck'....

    Go for it I say!!

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