Help with 5-string basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by diehard_creed_fan, Feb 23, 2001.

  1. I am interested in buying a 5-string bass, but I don't know much about them. For instance, what do you tune the 5th string to? If anyone has any info or any websites they could give me to help me out that'd be great! Please help me out, thanks!

    -Paul Isaak
  2. Hello diehard, welcome to TB :)

    A 5 is just like a 4 but with an extra string normally tuned a forth lower (eg for concert pitch = low B).

    A few issues you need to bear in mind: How much wonga can you spend? Are you looking at new or used? Do you really need a low B or would tuning your 4 to D/C# fulfill your needs? Are you happy with dealing with the extra string and closer string spacing?

    This is important because many cheaper 5s about have floppy B strings with poor tone that will just annoy you in the long run. The extra string is really useful because once you're used to it 2-octave runs can be done using much less of the neck (for example).

    Try doing a search on this forum and give us more info about your experience/knowledge - so far all I know is that you play in a rock band and want a 5! Most major manufacturers produce 5 string basses and you can get one paying from budget level upwards - do a search and if you still need a hand give us a shout! :D
  3. Thanks, smoothergroover, for the information. I'll take a look.

    -Paul Isaak
  4. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Doesn't have to be closer. It ain't on my bass. :)
  5. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    If you don't know anything about them...then why do you think you need one?...;)
  6. basslax


    Apr 20, 2000
    Washington, DC
    we could help you out and give you some suggestions if you told us your price range. :D
  7. eep.. hehe will ya help me too? I'm willing to spend up to $600 but will get a little more if needed. (I didn't feel like making ANOTHER thread about this.. hehe) I play mostly metal and blues and jazzy shtuff. hehe. I play finger style and I use a pick now and then and seldomly funk. Any suggestions?
  8. mark


    Apr 7, 2000
    A 5 is just like a 4 but with an extra string normally tuned a forth lower? Gentlemen I may be wrong but I was under the impression the basses are usually tuned in 5ths not 4ths, however that's the second post this week that I've seen refering to a bass being tuned in 4ths.
  9. :eek: I have been spouting piffle...

    Going up = 4ths (B>E>A>D>G)
    Going down = 5ths (G>D>A>E>B)

    Sorry if I confused anyone :)
  10. mark


    Apr 7, 2000
  11. I sell basses for a living (well, supplements the gigging income, anyway), and I have played most every bass available in my country. IMO, you do not want to buy a low end 5, if the bucks are an issue I would stick to 4. As was stated above, a cheap 5 will drive ya nuts. If you've got a bit more to spend, then sure, go for it. I have tried nearly every brand of low B string to see if a cheapy 5 can be improved, but the results are not usually good. I play a 6, so I'm not biased any which way, but a 4 is adequate for most styles, a 5 or 6 or more is just a tool, not a necessity. I'm not trying to put you off a 5, they are fun. BTW, welcome to the crazy world of Talkbass!
  12. I love 5 stringers, I just found 1 today that I might be interested in buying.....I hope this picture shows....
  13. basslax


    Apr 20, 2000
    Washington, DC
    :eek: what the f*** kind of warwick is that?? :D :D ;)
  14. neptoon


    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    :D well, it's actually a warrior...
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Marty, have you played an MTD Kingston 5?
  16. That was my fault I pulled the tab for warwick on the list, see warwick and warrior are kind of near each other in the alphabet.....:eek:
  17. dwynsen

    dwynsen Guest

    Aug 31, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I have a 4-string Precision and a 5-string Carvin LB75WP (J-pup, P-pup). It took me a little while to get used to the 5-string. But now I don't want to play my 4-string much -- it's a backup. The 5 really DOES make it easier to make those 2 octave runs. My Carvin is a dream to play and blows away the Precision in terms of tone. I'm having my Carvin updated (adding the piezo's) and my band is upset with me because I have to use the Precision. A Carvin LB75 starts at about the $650 range for a plain-jane version, and goes up to $1400 depending on how you wish to customize it. I've played a lot of basses and the Carvin is an excellent value for the money. In my case, I bought the wider Bunny Brunel neck -- it's 1/4" wider at the 24th fret than Carvin's standard. It also has a profiled neck with less wood on the treble side. The extra 1/4" makes slapping a lot easier but that extra 1/4" takes some getting used to. Everyone has their own preference but, for me, I like the 5-string and would buy it again. And by the way, Carvin's low B string is NOT floppy and dull. It has great growl, it's easy to control, and it can deliver a low thump thru my 18" that is hard to describe! My band loves it. So do I. My advice? Play as many 5-string basses as you can get your hands on. Pay special attention to how the low B sounds and plays -- especially on the first 4 frets. There are a lot of dogs out there, and there are some pretty kewl sounding 5's too. You'll find one that you love if you look hard enough.
  18. I'm having trouble deciding if I want a 5 string or not. I have a 4 string tuned BEAD, and I like it, because I'm in a metal band w/ 2 (yikes!) 7-string guitars, and we never go high on the bass. But I figured if I got a 5 string I wouldn't have to tune it down or do anything to it, and plus I'd still have all the strings. Are you as confused as I am?? :D
  19. 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
    What's the confusion? You need a five-string. I made the switch from four to five very easily. Just think of it as a four-string with the convenience of a low note at the fourth fret. You'll find yourself playing further up the neck, where the frets are closer together. It's all about patterns, anyway, and the patterns are still the same. No de-tuning necessary, either (unless Fieldy is your idol). And that low C or D really sounds mo' bitchen at the end of a song, assuming you have the cones to produce them.

    I'm with dwynsen ... my four-string sits in its case most of the time, and comes out only when I'm feeling nostalgic. That skinny little neck feels like a ... well ... a skinny little neck. Oh, by the way ... the string spacing on fives is just like on fours ... some are narrow, some are wide. Get what feels best. OK, that's all.