Sound difference between 4 and 5?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AphekGreg, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. Hi All.
    This has probably been discussed, but I can't find it in a search. What difference in tone should I expect between a 4 and 5 string? I've always played a 4, but have been considering a 5. I played a Stingray 5 alongside a Stingray 4 and the tone was quite different. There was a lot less clarity or crispness in the 5 compared to the 4 or conversely, the 5 was smoother and warmer. They were both maple boards, so it wasn't a rosewood/maple issue.

    There was a slight difference when listened to acoustically and even more when amplified. I'm assuming that the wider pickup spacing is adding mids to the amplified sound, but I'm wondering why there's a difference if the un-amplified sound too?
  2. steviecsg


    Aug 16, 2002
    The Stingray 4 and 5s, I believe are different animals altogether. The pickup material is different and so are the electronics, which explains the difference in sound.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    The stingray 5 has the Sterling electronics - I believe although it's called a Stingray, it's actually a Sterling. You can get a lot more info at .

    As for other basses, although I can't speak for all, I believe they're essentially the same. I have a Bongo 4 and a Bongo 5 and they both sound identical lest the added notes on the B.

    I also don't think the Stingray differs all that much if the pickup selector switch is in the proper position. The strings may have been newer on the 4 than the 5 which sould make a HUGE difference.
  4. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I've played other basses that are 4 and 5 and sound very similar including a Fender Jazz, Musicman Bongo, Sadowsky, MTDs and Ibanez. As long as the electronics are the same I have noticed much difference. In just about every price range the result as been the same when compariing apples to apples.

    I would agree about the Stingray comment. That explains why I couldn't get the sound I was looking for recently after looking at a Stingray 5
  5. Thanks guys, that's great. So, this is just a Stingray thing, not a common problem. That's good to know.

    You obviously heard it too pickebass. I've always wanted a Stingray and the 4 sounded exactly the way I expected, so I was surprised by the 5.

    The strings on the 5 were older, but it was more than that.