Four strings to die?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Funkize you, May 22, 2004.

  1. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Hey, I have been noticing lateley that more and More players are sporting 5 string basses, Most of the "Featured" players at any bass site, and around here... Galleries like "Show your Bass" or whatever have a Majority of 5 string basses, also now most "Professional" bassists use 5 strings as well. It seems that 4 string use is on the Decline, and (I may be wrong) but I think sales on the 5 string is More than on a four string...

    So for all you Multi-String people Jonh Turner and Progzilla (Mark Beem) you may one day just be like everyone else... So maybe "Progression" is actually "Regression" huh?
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Meh. I see what you mean, but Victor Wooten keeps me alive :p I think a lot of pro's use 5's because they are in nu-metal bands and they detune so they like the lower string. I think there are plenty of 4 stirng users you just notice the 5's because you are looking for them. If you were thinking that 4 striingers were taking over the 5'ers, you'd problem notice an abundance of 4's.
  3. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    The 4 string won't die anytime soon. I (and I'm sure, many others) have no plans to stop using 4's as my main insturment.
  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I have one 5'er but i definitely intend to keep using a 4 as my main instrument...its more comfortable.
  5. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Ok go to Norstrands Site, or F bass... Most of the Featured instruments are 5 strings, Most High end basses and Custom basses sold are 5 strings. Just bringing it up as a Point of interest.

    (IS this topic out of place Mod's)
  6. Blademaster Dez

    Blademaster Dez

    May 12, 2004
    Hmmm...If you look at the "what kind of bass do you own/play" thread way up top, the number of 4-string players is twice that of 5-stringers.

    I primarily play a 5 myself, but one day I'd like to add a premium 4-string to my future arsenal, because I find slapping/popping easier on a 4 than a 5.

    But I must agree that the number of people playing 5-strings has gone up since I started playing a 5 back in 1995 or so. Because of that, it's much easier to find affordable fivers than it was a decade back.

    Still, a lot of modern/ high profile rock bands prefer 4's (particularly vintage 4's). Jet, The Vines, Opeth, Von Bondies, Godsmack, Velvet Revolver, Slayer, The Strokes, Chili Peppers, and others do very well with 4's. So while 5's are being used by more people, the 4 is still the mainstay.

    But I do wonder based on analogies of other mediums. I wonder if something like this is what Funkize's trying to get at: Should the pushrod engine have died due to the introduction and wide usage of Dual-Overhead-Camshafts? GM doesn't seem to think so. Should 2D video games have died now that 3D graphics are all the rage? Handheld systems like Game Boy don't seem to think so. But then again, are GM and Game Boy truly the last bastions for pushrods and 2D gaming respectively? But perhaps musical instruments are a whole different beast than, say, automobiles and game consoles.
  7. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I'm mostly a 4-stringer too. I have an SR-5, but I have'nt spent enough time to get used to it. Plus the gigs I'm playing don't require the added 5 notes :D . But if playing a 5 becomes necessary for me to get a gig, I'll start woodshedding. :bassist:
  8. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Yeah, I really am a 6 string and 4 string guy myself, I own a 5 string, but its kind of wierd, I guess I (for some reason) prefer "Even" strings.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    That's because it's much easier to find a decent four than a five... so people will pay more to have a nice five built.
  10. Racsen


    Dec 6, 2003
    I m using 5er too but i dont lıke mıne B string and i will change it with C

    Some 5 stringer basses have bad B strings
  11. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    The 5 is just another tool in the toolbox...

  12. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    I can't imagine they are.

    Better not, anyway, I want a fretless Jazz. :)
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I believe Gard has said that five-stringers are the most popular at But anyway, the fact is that more and more bass lines in popular music are traveling below low E... it's true for blues, pop, and country, not just jazz and heavy metal. Someone here mentioned that five-string is now the standard for studio musicians and that makes sense.

    Four string will not disappear. And I would never say that five is "better"... however it is more versatile. So, that's why I recommend that beginners start on 5 if at all possible.... it'll increase their marketability.

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    I think 4 string will allways have it's place in the bass world. :bassist:
  15. When songs are in a key below E, it's more convenient from a bass point of view to have those extra notes. It's quite annoying to go down a D scale until open E only to have to go back up to 5th fret on the 2nd string. The B string is quite useful, in this case.

    However, it can be done without a 5. It's just a matter of choice, but many people today seem to prefer the lower, 5 string option.
  16. josh_m


    May 5, 2004
    Davie, Fl
    I have yet to play a 5 that I am happy with, either the string spacing is too narrow or the neck is too big. Les Claypool said something like "the bass you play the most is the one you are most comfortable with" and that is the truth. I can't get comfortable on a 5. I don't think I am the only person who feels this way therefore I don't think 5's are going anywhere. However, if you look at the evolution of the bass they did start out with 3 strings and now a 3 string bass is something that when it comes up gets 8 threads in one day ;)

    Of course the 3 strings of olde were DB and not BG.
  17. People just want beefier D's and Eb's. And C's without detuning.

    And for those that tune the fifth string up, it brings about good chordal opperatunites(guh i kant spel) without having to go up higher.
  18. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    4s will always live. Know why?

    Because there's something about a 4 banger, slung around your waiste, digging in a little harder than normal, making the pocket scream.

    Note, however, that I usually play a 5 well above my belt line. I've slung it low too, and it just doesn't feel the same as a 4. It's a vibe thing. Can't do that with a 4.

    I'm also cool with 6,7 and 8 bangers. I don't care. It's about the vibe, the time, and the place. There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
  19. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I think the four will always be popular. All the stuff I write, play, and the majority of what I listen to is within the realm of four strings.

    I have no plans to switch to a multi-string any time soon. I have only played two five strings that I thought the B string was "musical." (Corvette Pro Fretless and a SR5) Also, short of a starting or joining a Primus cover band, I don't think I ever will need more than a four string.
  20. I think most of the folks that play five and six string basses still do the majority of their playing on the traditional four. It seems to me that a lot of people use B strings as thumbrests and not that many people really play sixers. I stopped playing sixes because I found myself too tempted to noodle all the time. I like the feel of multi string basses better than fours though, so a five seems like a pretty good compromise. I have recently, though, been keeping a four on hand for when I play with new people. Other musicians seem to be more comfortable when bass players use four strings. I don't think that the musical community at large will let the four string die. I think most guitarists would prefer bassists only have two strings and very few ideas.