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Rig upgrades from four to five strings

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 68Goldfish, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. 68Goldfish

    68Goldfish Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    Port Orchard WA
    Ok, so after playing four strings for thirty plus years i just decided to get a fiver and see how i like it. Found a great deal on a G@L L2500 tribby here on TB. It's got me to wondering if my various bass rigs can even handle such low frequency's and wether or not I'll need to upgrade. Currently my main amp is a mid seventies ampeg V4b paired with either an old peavey 2x15 with black widow's or an ampeg fridge. As a alternative I also have and use a GK 800rb. Plus i have a vintage svt that only gets brought out once or twice a year. Ive had prior experince with g@l basses tending to drive the ampeg heads a little hard so my first inclination is to stick with the gk but it's older and maybe not suited to a five string. I'm sure the peavey probably does'nt have the best low end response either. So what would you upgrade first if anything? Any advise is much appreciated.
  2. The ampeg 810 with work well with any of the heads you mentioned. In fact its my favorite big cab and I've used them with low f# strings and they sound godly. Don't buy into the "this cab is designed for 5 string" gimmick. Some of the guys here get all into specs and stuff. The truth is everything below 40hz is filtered out in PAs and in recordings anyways. The whole deal about a specific note being a specific frequency is another issue people get caught up in. The truth is when you play a note not only do you get the fundemental frequency but you get all the overtone frequencies as well. When your talking low b string and bands that use them i can pretty much garuntee you what you're used to hearing is the overtones of those notes and not actually the fundemental.
  3. I would grab a f-deck HPF before panicking.
  4. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    It's not that you go from guitar to bass or plan to set up to F# H E A D, is it?
    Because then, all you get is a Bass that'll go 10.3Hz lower than the ones you have and your rigs are well capable of that.

    This sounds a bit like 'I want to take a ride on the german Autobahn where there's no speed limit, but my Mercedes SL500 does only 262kph, shall i get a Lamborgini or Porsche that will get me beyond 300 ? '
  5. Actually, plenty of fridges get blown up by 5 strings. Highpass ftw.
  6. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Or just learn to adjust the EQ on your amp- the bass control goes both ways- ive never blown up a classic rig with a 5 string- I listen to the speakers and if they are about to fart out I turn the bass control lower.
  7. ^^^

    Yep. The whole "designed for five string" stuff is, IMO, mostly hype. Mostly.

    It also depends on the sound you're going for. I play a 40+ year old 2x15 cab with ~40 year old drivers, even when playing my bass that's tuned BEAD. No problems, because I have a mainly low mid oriented sound and the drivers can take the power the head puts out.

    Another user on here, Ron_Now, plays in low F or something and for a long time, as I recall, was using a Bergantino NV610, which is voiced a lot like a classic Ampeg fridge.

    If I were going to go out and get a new cab to play in low tunings, I'd probably get a Dually, which isn't voiced particularly low.
  8. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    When I switched to 5 string bass it never occurred to me to change my rig!

    I've used 15", 10" and now 12" cabs and never had a problem with any of them at any volume. I always make sure I've got more watts in the cabs than the amps and always use good gear. I would guess that no more than 10% of my playing is below bottom E.
  9. Having the extra string may mean you just move up five frets and play the same thing you've always played. Strings are a little closer - frets the same. Open E and A sound good on a 4- but might sound better on the B and E string further on up the neck. That's been my experience in getting the extra string. I play the same notes but my left hand is staying mid-neck now. I like!
  10. FWIW, I sold off all my 4-strings in favor of a pair of 5-strings.
    My favorite player was a 2000 MIM-P, hot rodded with a DP146 and series/parallel wiring.
    But... I needed that 5th string for a number of good reasons... bye, bye MIM-P.

    Having been through a number of 5-strings, I settled on the Stingray SR5HH.
    I like the 17.5mm spacing the best.
    My RB5 was just plain Too Big. Great axe, wonderful quality, but the size was not for me.

    I had Warmoth build me a P5+J fretless, using the Hipshot-A premium bridge at 17.5mm to match the Stingray.
    I find my fingers are easily confused switching between 19mm Fenders and the 17.5mm.
    After a lot of years of trading basses, I figure one each, fretted and fretless, will do the job.

    I like full range cabs for my synths down to C1, and bass to B0.
    I roll my own, but if buying a retail cab, it would be an Acme B2.
    This is not a loud cab, unless you own a herd.
    I understand Bassman Paul owns a stack of four B2.
  11. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Indeed I do. That said, for pretty much all of my gigs, a pair in a vertical stack (see avatar) is all i've needed.

    Hitting an open B is a pleasure I never tire of.
  12. I keep watching for a B2-III, but they are not found on the used market.
    Considering the cost of a new one, I'm $$ ahead to roll my own.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    To add to what others have said: no, you don't need to change your rig for five string. An HPF is nice, but really, you just have to be careful about boosting lows, and IME that's pretty easy... if you overdo the low freqs then everything sounds like woooof when you play down there.

    My favorite cab, even for five-string-detuned-a-half-step, is a Berg NV610 which starts rolling off at 50Hz I believe, and I can hear low B just fine: most energy is at the 2nd harmonic, ~60Hz.
  14. 68Goldfish

    68Goldfish Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    Port Orchard WA
    Cool. Thanks for the responses. Sounds like I should just roll with it but be prepared to not let the bass frequency's get out of hand at the amp or the bass. I'm sure it will be fun!
  15. I play 4 & 5 stringers, depending on the band and gig - and some of those 4 stringers have the drop down anyway. The issue with fivers is the innability of most gear to accurately reproduce the low B -I don't think it's challenging for the amp to produce those freqs, but most cab designs are done for the convenience of the company/builder; and just about ALL speakers are exercises in compromise. I will say that after decades, thousands of $ and huge mounds of cabs filling storage lockers, my basement, etc., that I've extremely happy with the Dually built by Paul Tollini at Scabbey Rd - it's a Greenboy design with two Faital Pro 15" - and does astoundingly well in a variety of styles as well as being less than half the weight of an A***g 8x10. As you can see in the pic, I had him custom color the Durtatex to match a blonde tolex SuperBassman. Not as cheap as "rolling my own," but I don't have those kinda woodworking tools - and definitely a lot less than some high end cabs I've bought over the years.

    Attached Files:

  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    You said "accurately", but the claim is still misleading. Most bass cabs can't produce the fundamental overtone of the low B, but there's a lot more to any note than its fundamental. The low B fundamental is 31Hz (or whatever), but much of the energy of the low B note on bass guitar comes from the 2nd harmonic, 62Hz. There are many other overtones above that, and your brain will supply the missing fundamental even if it doesn't exist (psychoacoustics).

    Certainly, it can be nice to hear the lowest fundamentals from your fiver (or feel them, as the case may be), but they're a double-edged sword: those low frequencies can cause problems onstage, and IME soundmen tend not to like them because they can interfere with the FOH mix.
  17. I think many of us don´t even know how a 30hz tone really sound.
  18. True. And I shouldn't have said "accurately," then - understanding that as was also noted, we generally just hear the harmonic.
    ALL that being said, it's hard to get a useable tone that low with most equipment -
    The real benefit (to me) of a fiver being the the ability to properly play roots down the key of D (not really the low B) without detuning - eg, most of Steve Wonder's stuff is in Eb, etc.
  19. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    While reproducing 30Hz is impractical/problematic, especially with backline, the blanket statements often made here about the fundamental not being needed is misleading.

    In my opinion, the brain's ability to supply the "missing fundamental" only goes so far. It lets us identify the pitch of a note that's lower than what the system can produce/reproduce, but it's not the same as actually hearing that fundamental. Does the limited low end of little built-in speakers in TVs, phones, computers,etc. "sound" as good as a better playback system? If you cut out the fundamental of a sax, voice or piano would you say it still sounded good?
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I would never discourage someone from using a cab that delivers 30Hz. I agree that there's a difference between hearing the fundamental and having the brain fill it in: it's cool when all the environmental variables align and you can hear (or feel!) the low B in all its glory without undesirable artifacts such as blurriness or rumble.

    That said, too many players claim that "if you get a five string you need a cab that delivers 30Hz response in order to hear your low B", which isn't true. It's only necessary to hear the low B fundamental, and plenty of us five string rockers are perfectly happy with rigs such as SVTs that don't go that low. I play a lot of detuned modern rock through an SVT-style cab, and 60Hz can still make your pants flap. So, I think it's okay to say that the "low B fundamental is not needed". I agree that it can be nice to have, but it's rarely if ever necessary through your stage rig, particularly when you have FOH support.

    And no, low B without the fundamental is NOT the same as the B one octave up (another bogus claim).