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five vs four (yes, again)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Matthew Bryson, Sep 20, 2002.

  1. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I play a five string (Ibanez EDB605) – it’s my first and so far only bass. I’ve been playing almost two years (so far not in a band situation) I have a good friend (sax player) who said something recently that got me thinking – he said that I am getting really good and he is impressed with how my playing is coming along, but he can’t wait to hear me on a four string. He said he thinks that by learning to play and practicing and developing as a player on a fiver with narrow string spacing that when I get a hold of a four string, maybe with wider string spacing – that I will really tear it up and sound even better than I do on the five. I don’t know if that’s really true, but it made me think. I’m sure playing a four would really benefit slap & pop technique – but I don’t know how else it would help – maybe with fret board familiarity & note choice since there are fewer notes? Now, after several months of being broke I just activated a new credit card (so technically I’m still broke – but I have buying power – uh oh!) and I cannot stop thinking about four strings. I am full of questions, but here are a few I’d like opinions on: Is it any easier to play a four as opposed to a five? Is a four string possibly more appropriate for a band situation? (even if only so my bass doesn’t freak out the guitarist) Does anybody think that buying a four is a waste of money when you already have a five? Does anybody think I should dump the fiver and concentrate on getting comfy with the four – then maybe come back to a five later after I know the difference (could offset some of the cost – and it is an Ibanez) or should I definitely keep the five so that I can always play in standard and never drop to D? For the music I usually play (blues/classic rock/hard rock/metal/punk/alternative) I really want to try out a MIM P bass, I also want to try the Rock Bass by Warwick , I figure I better try a J just because and also maybe a Yamaha. Any opinions on any of those basses? Anything else I should try in the same price range? Sorry for such a long post – I’ve got a lot on my mind.
  2. Si-bob


    Jun 30, 2001
    Hemel Hempstead, UK
    Focusrite / Novation
    dunno about anyone else, but i found 4's and 5's to be different instruments, certainy in the way of technique!, just remember one thing, theres nothing u can't do on a 5 that u can do on a 4, its really down to your personel preference. go try some 4's if u don't like them, why buy one? on the other hand, do u use your low B a lot? like u said its good for not having to detune.
    theres a lot of people who slap perfectly well on 5, 6, and 7 strings, and so again it comes down to technique.
    to be honest with you, i wouldn't trust a sax player, i know one who thinks all guitars and basses look and sound the same!!!!!

  3. 5s are easier to play for me. I don't have big hands or exceptionally long fingers so the tighter spacing keeps my hands from getting too tired. The wider spacing on a 4 will hurt my hands after a while.

    4s are easier to slap on, but I'm used to it on my 5 now.
  4. Chriss62


    Jul 24, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    I agree that it totally comes down to technique. I played a four string for 2 years and i recently switched to a 6 with out a problem slapping. I pride myself of my slapping and it was only difficult for about 30 minutes then i had no difficulty. Totally Technique.
    :D :D :confused: :D
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I use both. Of course, I don't give up a B, I give up my G, beings that my 4 is strung BEAD. Personally, I think it makes the bass sound more mmm....groovy I suppose. With the deeper tones, and the lack of a high string make you just naturally just wanna get lost in the pocket. IMHO, anyway.

    4s vs. 5s is what you make of it.
  6. I just recentley went from 4 to 6.

    On a 4 I find I can be more technical and quicker but 6's, Im getting it down and they are a blast to play...I prefer the multistringed basses (5,6) that is my preference. It's all just getting used to it
  7. Play what ever FEELS and SOUNDS right to you... screw (can I say that here?) the opinions of others.

    That said, I prefer 5's. To me they feel more natural, you don't have to mess with wierd tunings, you pick up extra/easier octives, and when not being used the B makes a great thumb rest.
  8. pd_5string

    pd_5string Admin: Accnt Disabled

    Jan 23, 2002
    4's are easier for *some* to slap on...I just completed an 11 song album with slap in almost every song, and 95% of the time I am on a 5 string bass.
  9. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    i agree with everyone here, you should do what is best for you. as for the bass you're going to choose:
    same thing go for what you find plays well and sounds good. don't rely on name recognition alone. try everything you can! the rockbass has the warwick name on it but is by no means a warwick bass. but if you like the way that it sounds and plays then go for it. but i would check out all the other basses in it's price class first...

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