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what should i get 4 or 5 string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by UrbanAssault415, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. im a new bass player and im barrowing my uncles squier p-bass and lookin to get my own and i was wondering what i should get for my own bass.

    i was think bout a squier jazz bass or a cheap to mid-range priced ibanez 5-string

    since im new should i stick wit the 4 strings for an while then move to five or get used to a 5 string now

    what do u people think
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Well first off, why do you feel the need for a 5 string?
  3. i guess expand my horizon alittle i guess. i have no need for one but i have a wanting for one
  4. Mattski


    Jan 6, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    I only play fours and although I would like to branch out with a five, it feels too strange to me to make the investment.

    With that in mind, I would start with a five string and devlope your chops with that.

    Good luck
  5. I guess I'm one of the few who has never played a 5-string. I can really see some advantages in having the B string tuned lower than the stand E.
    I can see that the neck sizes for 5 strings will be wider than with 4 stringers,but this would just take some getting used to.

    If you think you'll be transitioning to a 5 later on, makes sense to get it now and learn it from the ground up.

  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Although I currently play a four (picking up a five again in a few weeks) I suggest that you go for the five if you want to play one. There are plenty of fives that are inexpensive so why wait?
  7. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I also only play fours (for the moment) but I do see the advantages of a 5. I recommned that you try a Peavey Fury V or the Peavey Grind V. Their necks are easily adapted to and are a good quality for mid-level 5 string. The Ibanezes are also worth investigating.

  8. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    how long have you been playing?

    Always keep in mind most music doesn't require or need the four extra notes a B string gives.
  9. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    You get five extra note tones actually. But remember that most bass music has been written on a four-string simply because five+ string basses weren't around. Five-strings only became widely accessible in the mid-90s, and some stores still don't carry them. Most bass music doesn't require or need the five extra high notes a G string gives, but that doesn't mean you still don't want that G string for easier fingering purposes, which is the most valuable tool a five-string has IMO-it's much easier to work in fingering patterns across the neck. I say get a five to start on-I wish I had.
  10. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    If you feel that your music would benefit from having a low B, go for it.

    Since you're starting out, becoming proficient on a 5 will not take any more work than becoming proficient on a 4.

    When I started out 4 stringers were the only option and it was a bit of a curve to incorporate the B. I'm really glad I took the time, but like Bryan, I wish they had been around when I started out.
  11. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    What Blackbird said.
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    How do you know you don't have a need for one? A LOT of bass lines these days go into 5 string range, even those in traditional genres such as blues and country music. I strongly suggest you start on 5 (I wish I did)... as mentioned, it's just as easy to learn 5 as it is 4.

    I also want to point out that the biggest advantage to having 5 strings is not just the five notes below E. Good lord, the way some people talk, you'd think a B string is only used for those five notes! :eek: The fact is, the B string has lots of notes *above* low E, and they are extremely useful: I often use the B string for lines that never go below low 'E'! The secret here is not to think of a 5-string as "4-string plus one lower string that shouldn't be used very often". By starting out on 5, you'll avoid this common misunderstanding.

    So, the biggest advantage to 5-string is having more notes available (a full two-octave range) at each fingering position. The flexibility afforded by this additional range is why some bassists choose to play on six or more strings. I still suggest starting on five string, though.... if for no other reason than it's so easy these days to find budget-priced fivers.
  13. elvis78


    Nov 26, 2003
    Finland, Porvoo

    Well, I have started on a five and sometimes I regret it. At first it was cool and I could make some fast chops just by keeping my hand around the 5th position. Now, I have been taking lessons. My bass instructor plays a four. I the basic learning the theory is based on playing on open strings, it was new for me, now I feel like I have cheated myself. Had to learn all from the beginning which was good, but I still would have saved me from som troubbles.

    My opinion is that 4 & 5 string basses is totally different instrument. You approch the 5 and the 4 differently.

    I bet many of you think, jep, but you can also play with open strings with a five, yes, that's true, but honestly, will you?!
    I'm planning to buy a 4-string and I can be sure, it'll be the main instrument for the upcomming three years, but I always have a 5, because I low the low D and the music I play need's to have it. But, after seeing my instructor playing and showing of what you can do with open strings and with a 4, I know where my goal is..

    My advise, learn to play on a four, when you know how to play on a four and if you then still feel the need, then go for a five.
  14. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I switched to a 5 early, and it was a good move. Year later, and I fiddling with the 6, and the switch ain't so easy. Do it early, and go ahead and take care of business.

    There are some oppurtunites that B string can bring. You might only get 5 more notes, but you get a whole new world with the properties a B string brings to the table. If you get one tho, get one without a crappy B string.
  15. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Play a few 5-strings before you buy.
    See if a 5 is for you.
    Do you need a low B, or High C string.
    I started out on a 4-strong.
    Soon I went to a 5, later I got into 6 string basses.
    This can take time, money and reserch.
    For the last 2 yrs, I've played 6-strings only.
    I Enjoyed the 6, but did not need it for style of music I play.
    Some people who hired me even went as far as to say leave
    the 6 at home. {blues and R&B gigs} they want fenders.
    I now play a Lull 5-string, and a Lakland Glaub P-bass.
    and a Stambaugh fretless 4-string.
    These basses fit my needs.
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Your post is a bit confusing. Theory teaching has nothing to do with open strings or fretted strings-it's based on notes, harmony, etc. If anything, multistring basses basses increase your ability to learn quickly because you don't have to constantly move your hand to grab the notes you want-that's the reason Fender built their first five-strings in the sixties-so sight-readers could play in one position without having to take their eyes off the sheet to see where to put their fretting hand. And on a four string you have to use open strings for some patterns because you can't fret a low E. On 5+ strings you have the option of using the open strings or fretted ones, and I can attest to the fact that I use both.
  17. I played on 4 strings for over 20 years (I'll not mention how many over 20 though) the same bass for most of the 20. And it was kind of tough for me to go to a 5 string. I mean.. the 3rd fret on the low string was always a G. I didn't have to think about it to find it, just grab and there it is.

    Now the 3rd fret on the low string a D, so now I have to pay a little more attention when I play. I still have trouble sometimes when I try to play and sing at the same time or when I start messing around when I'm playing and I'm not really paying attention, sometimes I'll grab where that G has always been and oops...now it's a D not a G.

    I personally love the low B string. I transpose just about everything I play to get it as low on the neck as possible. It bugs me when I go to see a band and the guy has a 5 string and only hits the b string twice the whole night...might as well be playing a four.

    If I was just starting out playing now, knowing what I already know, I'd go directly to a 5 and not even mess with the 4. Since I got the my 5 the only time one of fours sees the light of day is if I'm singing or feeling nostalgic. But I quickly miss the b string and out comes the 5 after a few songs.

    I say go for the 5.
  18. I say get a five.

    To paraphrase Rick Reynolds, "You don't need the extra low notes most of the time, but playing a low D, C or B at the end of a song can really make for a great ending."*

    My sentiments exactly. ;)


    * Sorry Rick, I don't recall what you said verbatim, but I remember that it stuck in my mind. :cool:
  19. elvis78


    Nov 26, 2003
    Finland, Porvoo
    Sorry, my english is not the best, I'll try to explain what I mean. The music theory is all about notes, rythms, intervals etc. BUT the basics about bass playing (physically) is playing on open strings and using the first position. Because I have a 5 I know the benefits, but as my knowledge increases, I have to say, it's important to learn the basics, and from the beginning.
  20. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane what goes here?

    Feb 23, 2003
    Denton, Texas
    I'm glad that I took the time to switch to using a 5-string bass. It allows me to play with guit*****s that tune standard, 1/2 step down, drop D, full step down, and seven stringers, without having to de-tune or go up an octave.

    I'm sure that 4-string bassists find ways of compensating for all of those variances. I just find that the 5 is ready made for those occasions.

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