I need the help of 5 string bass players!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mlafrancis, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. mlafrancis


    Jun 26, 2008
    In my area, im the only one who takes bass playing seriously. There are a couple other bassists, but they make Sid Vicious look like an amazing bassist. So i dont have anyone in my area who can help me out.

    So if your a 5 string bass player, i need your help!

    Okay so the guy who produced the 2 songs we went in and recorded a couple weeks ago, said I should be using a 5 string instead of a 4 string because of the tuneings my band uses. We use Drop C tuneing, so ive had my bass tuned to CGCF.

    Aparently he had a hard time picking up some notes, because of the low tuneing. He said I should be useing a 5 string.

    Because I diddnt have much time to talk to him about it, im a bit confused on what he ment.

    I think the way he was talking, was to have a 5 string tuned to standard tuneing (BEADG) and just adjust my playing so im playing the right notes. Is that what he ment? I have a basic understanding of music theory and such, so I'll be able to make this work, it'll just be a bit more time consuming but i'll get the hang of it.

    Or did he mean that 5 strings were ment for lower tuneing, so if I have my 5 string tuned BCGCF it would be fine?

    Can any of ya help me out? And sry that it was such a long post.

  2. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    That B and C are one note apart, why not go CGCFBflat, or GCGCF?
  3. mrtn400


    Dec 6, 2008
    Carmichael, CA
    I think he means it's too muddy because you're tuning EADG strings down really far.

    Just for giggles, go buy a cheap BEADG set, and string the BEAD strings on your current four string. The action may be a bit high near the nut, but it will give you a basic idea on how different it would sound playing the same thing on a five string.
  4. jerseyrichSnr


    Sep 1, 2006
    I think he meant that he was used to recording five string bass in a standard tuning BEADG. That way the strings are the right tension and the pickups work optimally for recording, without gain differences from string to string, or wolf tones coming through.
    Actually you should have appealed for comments from recording engineers. That way you may be able confirm what I just said. I play a five string bass, and I have also done some recordings with dropped tunings on a four string, and I can tell you that unless you are lucky (with a decent bass and good strings), you are likely to get results that are hard to balance, and notes with undesirable overtones. Some basses are worse than others of course.
    I think you are going to have to bite the bullet and get (rent?) a good five string, tune it to standard tuning, and practice the h*** out of the song. At the very least, you will have crossed that hurdle. You might enjoy it.
  5. George Himmel

    George Himmel

    May 16, 2009
    Boston, kid!
    Former Manager, Bass San Diego
    Hmm. Well, I can't say for sure what he was getting at, but most five-strings have a longer string scale, which theoretically would help in down-tuning the bass. Otherwise I couldn't tell you.
  6. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Do you use the F a lot up high on the neck? If not BEAD would work very well for you, and you'll need to widen (not deepen) the nut slots, not hard to do with a round jewelers file, or you can have it done for probably under $25 bucks
  7. the mud maybe due to the fact that your using lower gauge strings, do you tune down to CGCF from standard? if so 5 strings will help you since it will save your time (and your neck for that matter) if you are using it soley for your CGCF band buy a 5 string set and use the 4 heavier strings.

    even though for a jib, i would tune a fiver to GCGCF jsut so you could shake the room :p
  8. do not put a b string on a nut grooved for an e. it will crack. i know plenty of bassists who play in low c on a 4string. tension will be a problem so try out a few brands. the best i played was an aerodyne strung with 105 ernies. when i need to play with someone in that tuning i use my 5string in standard tuning. its a bit of a run around but hey its good for your hands and head!
  9. Charles Fields

    Charles Fields

    Mar 30, 2009
    I'd go with picking up a five string set and using the BEAD that's the easiest and fastest way to go just get a lighter guage set so the b string will work out in the nut try the set if can first then later on step into a 5 string bass .
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I disclose nothing
    A 5 string bass would be a good addition to your collections of basses. Also BEAD tuning could work as well. But for me I like having a g string. I have 15 basses and all are 5 string basses. The nice thing about a 5 string is you can play a low D low C and a low B without detuning.
  11. Flintc


    Aug 15, 2006
    "tuneing"? Are you sure you don't mean "tunning" or maybe "tooning"?
  12. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    A 5 string bass will have you not worrying what guitar players are tuning to. You'll be able to handle most any drop tuning, and wait for the guitar player to change guitars or tune up (wait, down).
  13. jerseyrichSnr


    Sep 1, 2006
    Just looking at your public profile, and an Ibanez GSR205 is listed, which is a five string bass unless I'm very much mistaken.
    I took your posting at face value. But what you really meant to find out was what is the best way to keep your drop tuning, so you don't have to re-practice to make the adjustment.
    I still say you should try the regular tuning approach on a 5 string bass FOR RECORDING PURPOSES.
    It's a totally different thing from playing live. I think the recording engineer is correct in suggesting a 5 string, but he couldn't express his problem clearly enough to you, for whatever reason. Take care of your engineer and he will take care of you.
    As you play more and more, you will find that being able to adapt and change will stand you in good stead. Think of the adjustment you made for dropped tunings. That was non-trivial.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I disclose nothing
    The only time I ever needed to detune a 5 string was when I needed a low B flat.
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