To 5, or not to 5, that is the question ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassstud1, Feb 16, 2002.

  1. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    I just bought a 5 string Ray (w/speed bumps). I'm trying to work it into playing out. I usually play it half of the first set with out any major whoops. But I just feel so comfortable with my 78' MM 4 banger. Any one else out there that is switching from 4 to 5 or that has made the change have any suggestions or is it just practice practice practice?

    Thanks for any input on this matter
  2. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I've had a 5 of one kind or another for about 15 yrs. now. I play so many styles that I need a 5 or 6. I had a identical 4 (both Spector NS basses) that I kept for slapping, but once I was comfortable slapping on the 5 I sold the 4. I haven't owned a 4 in years and I don't regret it.

    Almost forgot, my EUB is a 4 (NS Design) but I don't need a low B for upright gigs.
  3. Harpo


    Feb 1, 2001
    Kings Park NY
    When I got My Stingray5 a few months ago The first time I Played out I had problems playing it.
    I took a little getting use to it. Now I have no problem going from back between a 4 and 5 .
  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    When I got my first five stringer about 5-6 years ago (Hamer Cruise5 2-tech) it took me a little while to adjust. But, the more I played it, the more I liked having the low B. Not just for the low notes, but for the fact of having 2 full octaves in every 5 fret box. Less position shifting on the fretboard.
    I was able to switch between 4 and 5 without any difficulty after awhile.

    But now, I play 5ers exclusively. I will get another 4 again someday, but for now, I am sticking with 5 strings.
  5. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    Hey, How about this? Think of your B string as a really expensive thumb rest!! Then slowly work it into your playing........... Just a silly notion I had to blurt out. Sorry.;)

    I have both, a four and a five. I use both, but pretty much stick to my five. When I switch I can still get the B and E string a little confused at first. It usually doesn't last long,(maybe one or two mistakes), and I am good to go. And if I have to transpose my B string notes on my four, I have to work it out quickly before the song starts, I can't do it on the Fly. But that is just me. :D
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    When I got my first 5-string 2 years ago (after over 20 years of playing 4) I struggled a bit at first. What helped me was learning a lot of new songs on 5-string, rather than unlearning/relearning old songs that I'd been playing for years on 4.

    The key is practice. I think it was 3 months before I was comfortable enough on 5 to gig with it. But since then I've been playing 5-string exclusively.
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Took me a couple of weeks to get really weel off with that fifth string.
    Then I was half lost on a 4-board...half the patterns were gone!!! And some cute low notes too.

    To five!
  8. I prefer the feel of my 5 stringers!!!! I've got 3 five stringers now and 2 fours! I generally use my fives, but when I do use my fours I sometimes mix things up a bit - like others posting here (phew - I'm glad it's not just me!!!) - but soon get used to it! And the transposing things up when you're used to going down (pardon the expression!) is weird and no, I can't do it on the hoof!!! I need to work it out first!!
  9. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    Thank you all for your input. I'm lucky enough to have about a 3 week period without a gig. I will just use my 5 in that time period and see if it helps me. I do practice at least an hour every night so we will see. I have a day gig to pay the bills. So that's about all the time I have to practice with a wife and all.

    Thanks again all
  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    An hour per night!?!?
    Golly, wish I had two hours a week!

    You'll do good!!!:cool:
  11. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    No Kidding!,
    I got a wife that doesn't drive and a 4 year old son that is basically my shadow. Thank God I got some practice done while I was still in my 20s.
  12. Harpo


    Feb 1, 2001
    Kings Park NY
    If you still have the 4 you might want to bring it for the first time just for insurance . After that I was Ok
  13. I'm stuck on 5-strings now, and fumble badly when trying to play a 4-string. I just bought a MIM P4 for experimenting, so I'm going to tune it BEAD to keep from getting confused.

    Go 5
    Stay 5
  14. rickreyn

    rickreyn Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    When I began with a 5, the spacing was too close together. It made it difficult to switch back and forth. So I was initially frustrated with playing a 5. I then acquired a five with spacing very close to what I was use to on my 4 and the transition was easier. Now playing a 4 is confusing. I do use the B as a thumb rest much of the time, but I now start patterns on the E on the B, instead of the open E. This makes key changes easier. Wider spacing is also key to being able to successfully slap on a 5. Real close spacing makes for a real racket if you aren't good at muting.
  15. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I play both, and have yet to have any sort of issues as far as switching goes. I'd like to get another 4, and 5, actually. I have no issues with either, and like em both equally.
  16. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Worse than having another string, or a wider neck, narrower spacing between strings drives me CRAZY! :eek:

    In 10 or 15 minutes I find I get the hang of it, kind of, but in which gig do you want to stink as a player for a quarter of a set as you struggle to get the hang of another bass?

    I don't know why some places make 5 string basses with narrower spacing. It doesn't really make the neck more playable. Unless you play with your thumb over the top of the neck rather than behind it, it doesn't really matter that the neck is a tiny bit wider, does it? After all, the B string is up there out of the way of your left hand and, as others have written, could at the very least be used as a thumb rest for your right hand.

    I can MAYBE see having narrower spacing for a 6 string because you have to reach over the C string constantly to play the lower notes, but why do it for a 5? :confused:

    The "standard" spacing makes the bass more useful for slap/snap style, and for me, tap style playing as well. Sometimes while (trying) to tap, I miss my jumps by a little bit and inadvertantly mute a neighboring string. For me, wider spacing really is preferable for fingerstyle, slap and tap styles.

    I've noticed that most high end, "custom" 5 string basses like Fodera, Lakland, Pedulla, etc. keep the 19mm (3/4 inch) spacing. It's the high volume factory basses (like Fender) that seem to put out 5 string basses with narrow spacing.

    I'm not saying narrow is worse than wide, or that Fender is worse than Fodera (okay, maybe I WOULD say THAT... :rolleyes: ), I'm just saying that wider spacing suits my playing styles better.


    Because I go back and forth depending on what the music needs, the standard spacing makes the transition between 4 and 4+ string basses easier.

    Unless you plan on exclusively playing a 5 string bass from here on out, I think it is wise to get a 5 with the same spacing as your 4s... the same holds true for the spacing on a 6 for that matter.
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    String spacing is the only real problem for me, and even that I can adapt to quickly.

    I was a 4 player for years, bought my first 6, and gigged with it the week that I bought it. It was a little bit of an adventure;), but according to the drummer and guitarist, they couldn't tell it was my first week on a six.
  18. I think the best way to approach a change to a 5 is to view it as a 4 plus 1. What I mean is play it like you would a 4, but use the lower notes to add color to the song. Don't play every note possible in the lowest frequency possible. I've heard players who live on the B string and it's boring. Bass notes need to be heard in order to build the chord and propel the groove, not just felt as a mindless rumble.