It seems 5 Strings are becoming the standard nowadays

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DriveThruEmoKid, Mar 28, 2003.

  1. I don't find that many people anymore play the classic 4 String Bass. Most play 5 and Up. Personally I am happy with my 4 String P Bass, but do you really ever use the B string on 5's or any other extra strings? I like the feel of my 4 string and i am Planning to upgrade eventually to another 4 String American P Bass, but should i consider a 5 string model?
  2. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    It may seem that 5-strings are becoming the standard because of their growing popularity, but 4-string basses still outnumber all others.
  3. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Yes, actually, I do use the B string. And for that matter the C string (on my six). However, as I've often said, if I had to play four-stringers, I'd still want to be a bass player. To me, the extra low and high notes are not essential, but nice to have.

    Lotsa folks still play the four, though, probably an overwhelming majority. P-basses are still selling like hotcakes and many people see no need for more strings. Fat Mike has been happy with two - an E and an A.
  4. lostcausebass


    Oct 29, 2002
    i had a 5 string for about a year before switching to a 4. i thought, like you that 5s were the new standard and if i wanted to be able to do what everyone else did, i should own one.

    what i found is that the 5th string doesn't really help unless you're up PAST the 5th fret, giving you another octave to use when you run out of strings working on the upper frets of the low string(s).

    it may just the be music that i listen to, but i'd say i don't hear the lowest 5 string notes, like the low b-range notes, in recordings...some amps can handle the low frequencies, some stereo systems won't do them justice.

    mike gordon of phish plays a modulus five string only because the modulus basses, he says, have a real center of tone on the low string. other basses' 5th just flaps around, or so he says. its made me want to try out a modulus. i think the best thing to gather out of a statement like that is that every company approaches 5's differently, and you should try all that you can before you ditch the 4.
  5. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Well, as the name implies, I love my 5'er. I just bought my first 4 (an essex jazz) however. there was some irresistable draw to a classic jazz 4. I prefer teh 4 for slap, but other wise I like having the 5th for scale felxibility because i do most of my playing between the 5th and 12ths frets. Like Ram said- the 4 is still the most popular weapon of choice, adn will certainly never die.:bassist:
  6. Jaco only needed four strings :D
  7. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    the only 4 stringer i've bought in 8 years was my upright :) although i plan on adding an essex jazz to my collection soon - and then that will be that.
  8. I use 5-strings just because Ive grown used to the feel of having 5 strings and I use the B in alot of my music (It can fit into any kind of music, really, It can). So thats why I use them, But No I dont really see the 5-stringer getting that popular, most bands I see still use 4 strings. But no doubt its on the rise of being the standard.
  9. iv been playing bass for about 2 years. I use a MIM fender jazz. But the next bass i get is gonna be a 5. i think that to grow as a bass player, im gonna need to expand. not saying you cant expand on a 4 string, im just saying that id like to be able to have thoes 5 extra notes. sure going to music stores and sitting down and playing for 5min, the B string just kinda seens different. like "why do i want these really really low notes, what music will this go for" but idk, im starting to low the feal of a 5 string. Many people that have switched to 5 say it takes a little getting used to, but now that there used to it, they find it so useful. EVen just for playing an E on the 5th fret insted of open, they love it. I know this one person whos played bass for like 30 years, and he just switched to a 5 last year. He said it kinda sucked for him, because he has 30 years of playing 4 strings so he has habits and the technique for a 4 string, but now all a sudden has a 5, so it was very had for him, so i figure that ill switch to a 5 and get acustomed to it. Ill still play my 4, i just figure "i already have a 4, i might as well grab a nice 5"

    - w00t
  10. Wownirvana


    Jul 7, 2002
    Athens, GA
    Fat Mike plays with all four strings. Where did you get that he only uses the E and A?
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  11. jambassist


    Sep 1, 2002
    Easton, PA
    i've played 5's and i'm just not comfortable with them. i spent alot of time trying to get use to the string spacing and NOT missing the string i'm aiming for. didn't work to my satisfaction. there's no doubt that 5 string basses are useful and i have respect for those that play them. i just wonder whether the trend that was mentioned above is a self fufilling kind of thing. i.e., this guy has one so i need one. i fell into that trap 3 times and came close to doing it a fourth time. fortunately, i didn't.

    rocco prestia, stanley clarke, victor wooten, michael manring, robert mercurio, etc. are all 4 string players. i guess they decided that for what they do and how they like to do it, the 4 string is fine. i came to the same conclusion. if a person wants a 5 string, great. but get it cause you really need it to express yourself NOT because you think you have to have one cause somebody else has one.
  12. E.O.M.


    Dec 7, 2001
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Bass Player stated in one of their issues about a year ago that Fat Mike indeed does use all four strings, however they are tuned E A E A (the 2 higher strings are the same octave as the lower 2), because he felt if he ever broke a string onstage, he had backups already on the bass.
  13. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I use them low notes.
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I have 6 basses, only two of which have 5 strings. I personally prefer 5 string bass and have been playing a 5er since 1989 when I got a Peavey Dyna-Bass 5, my first 5.

    I don't play my 4s very often, except the Tacoma, and I want to replace that with an acoustic 5! :) I often feel limited by a 4 string.

    However, for a lot of music I love my four strings, and sometimes when I'm playing the 5s I ignore the low "B". Personally I love the low - LOW - notes on the B string. Right now I'm listening to Paul McCartney's "Flowers In The Dirt", which features LOTS of low notes on the fantastic sounding Wal 5 he used in that era. However, it also features a lot of high playing on his Hofner!

    I don't like slapping on a 5 string. There's too much complicated muting involved, and unless you've got a very high dollar 5, the B is not going to stand up to that style very well. I prefer slapping on a 4 string Jazz Bass. However, it can be done on the 5. :)

    There's room for both. IMO the 4 is the staple, the center, the basic bass. The 5 is a nice option. I can't wait to get a 6 string bass. :)
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Five string isn't the most popular yet, but will be fairly soon. I hear more and more songs on the radio that feature bass lines that go below E. Accordingly, more and more beginners want to start on five, and they are also realizing that they don't have to start on four.

    I wish I had started on five, but that wasn't a realistic option 26 years ago. It certainly is now... LOTS of good, inexpensive fivers are available.

    I use all five strings. I never thought of my four strings as ADG plus low E, and likewise I don't consider my five string as "four plus one". :) BEADG "wide 5" is the perfect combination of fretboard width and string spacing for me. I don't want or need a high C string... I have no interest in an EADGC fiver.

    That's just me... people will have their own reasons for selecting their instrument of choice. And as always, I don't want to imply that five stringers are somehow "better" than four simply because they are growing in popularity, or that four will become obsolete.
  16. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I survive just fine on my 4 :) in fact my next purchase will be another 4 :D only thing I might have a need for a 5 is when I'm playing some of the slower church music that drops to E flat but then I usually tune down half step for those..
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I prefer 6 strings.

    But the 4 is still the best seller, and the will always outsell the 6.
  18. no, that was either a mistake or a joke. you can hear him using the D and G strings on songs.
  19. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    I have said it before, and it bears repeating...


    No B, no me.


    That said, most of my favorite bassists are 4 stringers: Geddy Lee, Dave LaRue (who plays 5 as well, but is primarily a 4 guy), Vic Wooten, Benny Reitveld, Pino Pallidino.
  20. jambassist


    Sep 1, 2002
    Easton, PA
    let's add to the list gard: rocco prestia, marcus miller, stanley clarke, flea, and the list goes on. get a 5 string cause you need it, not because someone else is playing one. btw, i'm loving the fodera monarch i got from you last year. how's beaver doing?