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Its been done before, but 5 or 4 string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by big daddy cool, Dec 31, 2001.

  1. I currently play four string. I'm thinking about starting five. I've played five strings in shops and I suck at them. Is it just a matter of getting used to or should I stick to four?
  2. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    You´r not alone, man.

    I play a four too, an every time I (try to) play a 5, I don´t know what to do with the B string.
    One friend that made the leap from 4 to 5 told me that at fist it´s very dificult to get use to the neck, and to have other string (an note) as the lowest. But is just a matter of time, when you get use to that, piece of cake!!!!!!
  3. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Well, for alot of people its confusing, but for me, the first time i picked up a 5 string i wasent hinderd at all. i just noticed i had a b string if i wanted to go lower. i think its all mental. if your used to a 4, try imagineing it as a four string. only see the last four strings, then when you want to use the b, notice its there, until it becomes natrual.
  4. yes, it has been done before. And I've joined in before.

    I have a 5 and a 4. I started playing a 5 last year after a quarter of a century on 4s. OK, let's be honest, a quarter of a century with a 15 year gap in it...

    If you can't work out what to do with the B, worry not. You should only get a 5 when you realise why you need it. If you don't need it, don't get it.

    For me, the main advantage is having 5 strings (!!). In other words, two octaves in one hand position. This has opened up the bass for me, making it just as easy to play in E flat as in A. It's become a new instrument. This really pays off when you are playing with a guitarist who tunes down three semitones!
  5. I made the transition a while ago, and it went o.k. The feel is definately different, but it is still an electric bass, and I try to keep that in mind. No I wish that I only played the 5, and not the 4s since the 5s are easier since there are more notes in easier reach.

  6. hmm... well it would only be for a couple of songs (not my own) that I would be using that extra string.

    I would get the 5, but I'm worried I won't be able to change my play to fit it and I'll just become a wreck and not be able to play stuff that I used to be able to play on a 4 string. My main problem is finding the strings with my right hand. It doesnt come naturally to me on a 5, but perhapps time would fix that. I also find it very hard to slap/pop on a 5 as the strings are closer together, but again maybe time and practise would solve this.

    I'm also worried that if i do get the 4, I'll regret not getting the five which would increase my musical possabilities, after all, being a schoolboy its not everyday that I'm able to go out and get a new bass.

    Any suggestions as to which I should get would be apprciated as I really dont want to look back after 3 months and think I bought the wrong one. Thanx
  7. 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
    When you're ready to start playing bass, you'll get a five-string.
  8. 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
    Also, you don't use the B string just for the low notes. In fact, the greatest utility of a 5-string is playing further up the neck, where the frets are closer together. Then you just play the same patterns you're used to down by the nut, only higher up the neck. When you need a low note (like an E or F), it's right there at the 5th or 6th fret for you. I found that it's easiest to play a fiver like it's a four-string with a utility string when needed. Soon, you'll just naturally go to it. Of course, you can always play the occasional low B, C, D, or Eb, which sound bitchen, when judiciously applied.
  9. Freakapotamus9


    Jun 20, 2001
    5's are a little different but youll get used to it. i hardly play my 4 anymore. i prefer 5's now. try em out!
  10. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    Go back to the store and try the five again and use the B string as an anhcor for your thumb and slowly incorporate some low notes ie, Eflat to B and see how you feel. I strongly prefer a five string for the extended range but I never turn my nose up at a great four string either.
  11. disadvantages:
    1) it'll cost ya... when you buy another bass.
    2) it takes time to get used to the feel... another string, wider neck, etc.

    1) increased range... it goes deeper, and that can be fun, and alot of music these days will utilize that increased range
    2) more notes available to the left hand..... this is neato once you get used to it
    3) they look cool (girlfriend - standing over shoulder - said that):D
  12. thank you guys. I think you've encouraged me to get the 5 string. Don't suppose there could be too much harm in trying because the one I would want would cost the same as the four string version.

    After all... If muppet guitarists can play on six I don't suppose there's much reason why I couldnt learn to play on five.

    Thanx again.
  13. A rather useful thing about the B string is the low D on the third fret. So you'll never have to drop D (something I find annoying) again! It just takes a second to figure out that the 4th fret on the B is the same as the 1st fret on a dropped D. And so on...
  14. Harpo


    Feb 1, 2001
    Kings Park NY
    I think the biggest problem I had when I got my 5
    was thinking that it was going to be harder then it
    was . Because I listen to everbody 5 string horror
    stories . It took me about a week to get use to a 5
    string. The first time I took the five to play with my band I took my 4 as a back up I was a little confused. And playey the 4 a good part of the night. I think that a lot of people are put of by 5 string because of fear.
  15. yeah, im pretty certain ill get the five now. I guess it is mainly fear thats putting me off.
  16. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    i hate anything over 4 strings.my teacher plays a 5 stringer and i have a 4,so whenever he plays something and i have to watch him i always forget about the B string and i play it wrong.:p
  17. tmt


    Nov 10, 2001
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    4 Strings are best for fretless. If you have a gig band then 5 strings is the standard one.

  18. Mikkel-S


    Jun 27, 2001
    Herning, Denmark
    Why have a 5'er when you can get a 6'er
  19. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    yeah try 5 man! if you want the B, its worth the work to get used to it. I used to play a 4. now i play nothing but fives no more than 2 years later. it takes time, but youll get used to it.
  20. Si-bob


    Jun 30, 2001
    Hemel Hempstead, UK
    Focusrite / Novation
    i play a 5'ver with a high C instead of a low B, i'v had no trouble at all getting use to it, and although i mostly use the C wen i'm playing solo chordal pieces and soloing, i have definatly seen the advantage of being able to hit a not on the C rather then sliding up the G.....evetually i hope to go to a 6.
    have fun


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