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I'm so confused! Advice please :)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Evil Undead, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. 4 strings, EADG

    259 vote(s)
  2. 5 strings, BEADG

    169 vote(s)
  3. 4 string, non-standard tuning

    37 vote(s)
  4. 5 string, non-standard tuning

    16 vote(s)
  5. I don't care, I'll play anything.

    70 vote(s)
  1. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    I'm having trouble deciding between 4 and 5 string basses. As it feels too weird to keep swapping between them, one is gonna be going in a case under my bed for a while, so I need to decide which.

    I've always felt more physically comfortable on a 4, but that B comes in really handy on occasion. And it certainly will if I play in a metal band in the future. I don't really like messing around with drop tunings (like drop D, drop C and all that) as I get confused and don't know where the notes are :oops:

    The downside is that the B tends to get in the way on the odd song. My current band (for the last 2.5 years) only plays in E standard so I don't really need a B string, but it does come in handy on a few of our songs.

    My 5 string is about 1.5 lbs lighter than my 4 string so that helps during long gigs. And I have a cheap backup for the 4. And finally, the 5'er is kinda ugly but the 4'er is a handsome devil ;)

    Please take a vote as to which you prefer and also post to let me know why you prefer that, along with any advice that you can give me to help me choose.

    Photos, just for fun.


  2. Jext


    Jan 10, 2012
    Personally I prefer a 4-string bass in my hardrock/stonerband. This might be because my music theory is lacking, and I only occationally use the 5th string, but the instrument is just so much easier to handle with speed and accuracy without the 5th string in my opinion.

    Also, the Warwick Corvette is a killer bass, I actually have it myself and absolutely love it. :)

    My band downtune to D# as standard, but we have many drop C songs aswell. I don't really see that as an issue tbh, it's not really hard to get used to playing that way. My Corvette also has a switch on the tuner to drop down to the right note, so I can even do it mid-song.
  3. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I play in a band with standard tuning, and I find a BEADG 5er to be perfect for my requirements.
  4. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Do you need a high G all that much?

    Maybe BEAD would be an option, you'll get the occasional low notes, comfort of a four string, and all you'll be missing is the 5 highest notes on the G string, on the downside, you may be moving up the neck a bit more than you used to.
  5. Kraken


    Jun 19, 2001
    Aylesbury, England
    I have come to a conclusion that both 4 and 5 string basses are a tool for a job, and for each of us we need to work out which tool works best and use that for the situation we have.

    as it is I have two 5 Strings one tuned standard and one tuned flat and I switch between them based on the needs of the song and which tool fits the situation best.

    I realise that doesn't help much, but maybe you need to do a bit more of your own soul searching on which tool best fits your needs?
  6. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    What is it about going from 4 to 5 that you don't like?

    With the two basses you have there is a big difference in string spacing. The 4 string should be 19mm and the 5 should be 16.5mm's. For me, that's a HUGE difference. I prefer for my basses to have similar spacing unless I'm using them for completely different things.

    For me, I like a 5 string. I can do everything I need to with a 4 but I like the wider neck of a 5er. With that being said though, I'd probably lean towards playing your Warwick $$. I think it's the better bass build wise and sound wise. Also, I strongly prefer 18-19mm string spacing these days.
  7. BassGen


    Mar 15, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I had a 5 string and sold it only because I couldn't justify keeping it. I really didn't need anything lower than E. But I also did not like playing it because the neck was so thick and fat that I didn't find it comfortable.

    That said, the neck on your 5 doesn't look that bad. How does the B string get in the way? It's not like you have to reach over it to get to the other strings. Use it as your main thumb anchor and when you need those low notes they are available. It's a nice looking bass you have too.
  8. I went from 5 to 6 to 5 to 4 and now I'm back at 5. It doesn't really matter which one you play as long as you are comfortable/not causing any damage to your hands and you can play what the song calls for. If you think you can never be comfortable on a 5 string, sell it and get another 4 string and set it up BEAD. I would also recommend playing a bunch of different 5 strings to see if there are any that are more comfortable to your hands/wrists. Good luck!
  9. When I was in an original metal band, I would have said 4 string BEAD or 4 string Drop D. Now that I'm in a cover band, 5 string BEADG. Seeing as you are going for metal, I would use the Warwick, given the looks and killer tone of the thing.
  10. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    These days I play 5 string BEADG. Been that way for about 6 years. I still pull out a 4 banger once in a while, but my mainstay is my 5'er
  11. I chose 4-strings standard...although I'd LOVE a good 5-string with a high B or C or whatever!
  12. f64


    Oct 31, 2009
    Taking a look at the used section of your local music store will tell you a lot. The metro NYC major stores have seen a 6 month trend of players going from 6 to 5 and from 5 to 4 string basses. It was most noticeable just before the holidays. The shelves are full of 5's and 6's, but not too many good used 4's. Plenty of junk but it's been picked through.
  13. I've owned a couple of 5's in my time but always went back to the 4. I tune to Eb just to mellow things out a bit. As others have said a 4 tuned BEAD is still an option.
  14. jaybass58


    Mar 31, 2009
    Try a Hipshot d-tuner...once you get used to it they work perfectly...I've had one on every bass I've owned for 30 years...
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
  16. jabsys


    Mar 30, 2011
    Drop tuned 4 for me, lots of metal riffs pedal off the open low D or C which make them hard to play with a 5 tuned to BEADG.
  17. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I have four, five, and six string basses. I have never had any difficulty switching between them. I do find the four string a bit confining. It forces me to find the note I want someplace else by shifting hand position. Great for learning the fretboard though, and I will typically learn songs as if I'm playing them on a four string.

    I've learned the judicious use of the B string (and high C on my six) is the key. There are times when I can reach back and play the E on the fifth fret of the B string if I want that tone, but if I really want a note to ring out and have sustain, I will opt for the open E. It just depends on what the song calls for.

    A good example of this is "Interstate Love Song". When playing the chorus of that song, there is a big fat E note that I like to really punch and let ring and slide into the next note. I can play that on the B string, but it doesn't have the same tone. Still sounds good, but I like the open note there.

    Then there are songs where open strings don't sound right, and I have options there.
  18. somegeezer


    Oct 1, 2009
    I chose 5 string standard, but at the mo am actually in a 4 string drop C tuning. Even with my 5er, as my B string broke not long ago. =P
    But I'd love to have a 6 string standard too. With the high C, rather than lower F#.
  19. THand


    Jun 9, 2008
    I only play 4's, but I'm a simple guy.
    BUT....you sound like you WANT to play a 5, and are looking for some justification. You don't need any further justification if it's what you want to do. Tuck your 4 in for safe keeping/backup and enjoy your 5.
  20. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    I haven't voted because I've never played a 5-string so I can't say I prefer one over the other. However, I will say that since your band plays in standard tuning (I'm assuming the guitar is a 6-string) and you are more comfortable playing a 4 string, then you should stick with the 4-string. Still play around with the 5 though because it sounds like you also enjoy playing it and like you said, you may need it later on :)

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