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which is better 5 string or 4

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bluntman_bass, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. bluntman_bass


    Jul 13, 2004
    Wilcox, NE
    i have been playin a 4 string for a while now and i have been thinkin bout gettin a 5 string cuz sometimes a 4 feels a little restricting. i was just wonderin if the 5 is better and if it works well for slap cuz i like to slap quite a bit, or if it is hard to get used to after playin a 4 string for a long time. just wanted to know if it is worth getting.
  2. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    ive been playing a four stringed basses since i started, and when ever i play a 5, i keep mixing up the E and the B. but thats cuz im not used to them at all. the only reason id get a 5 string is to get that Eb and D which i sometime wish i had when im improvising. Especially when im in F and i wanna get the b7 un the F.
  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    neither is better, both have there purposes and only you can decide if you need a five.

    I think that the great number of strings has makes muting harder, but with decently clean technique and a little shed time, you should be able to slap with the same ability on a four or a five. Or six, etc.
  4. Timbo


    Jun 14, 2004
    Yeah you can slap on a 5. I'm happy I learned/learning to slap on a 5. That just means slapping on a four will hopefully be a bit easier due to more spacing.
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    4 is better, everybody knows that.

    I just bought a cheap 5 cuz I landed a gig that calls for one, and I feel I need to have one in my arsenal. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=4713&item=3734932502 I get it in 2 days. I'm psyched. I love new gear.

    Years ago I had one and kept doing what jazzin did, mix the E up with the B and vice versa when I switched back. I got rid of it becuase that pissed me off. I think I've grown a lot since then in my playing, so I'm not anticipating the same thing. I'm in fact welcoming the challenge. I'm getting the bass on thursday and I have a gig friday. I'm challenging myself to take it to the gig and use the B string as much as I possibly can - without ever having tried to incorporate it before. I think it's going to actually be more of an exercise in screwing up and not letting anyone else know.

    You can definitely slap on a 5 string. Just need to readjust and take a little time getting used to it. That's my $02.

    of course I was kidding with my first comment.
  6. 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
    Five is much better. You can play more notes on a five. Also, you can play five frets further up the neck, where the frets are closer together.
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Oh my! Why do we even respond to these questions any more?
  8. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    Just play what you like, screw all else. WAY too many people worry WAY too much about what other people play.

    But I do like my 5, it's meaty. :D
  9. I play both. Whenever needed, I play my 5-string. When it' s not needed, I prefer my 4-string though...

    But don't get me wrong here: I love my Hotwire Vintage Five!
    When it comes to slapping, my Thumb BO is more fun though!

    If it's worth getting a fivestring, is up to you.
  10. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Why shouldn't we?

    Rearranging the original post a little...

    "What advantages do five string basses have over four strings, particularly for someone who enjoys slapping? Is the transition to playing a five string easy to make?"

    Valid questions or not?
  11. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I think it has been pretty exhaustively argued out that most techniques are not affected by the number of strings you have available and that the ease of transition is more a matter of who you are than anything for which a rule can be given.

    As you add more strings you get a slightly extended range, more options about where to play a given note and some extra natural harmonics. However, you also tend to get a heavier instrument that costs more to purchase (and restring) and may have narrower string spacing.

    They are valid questions but they have been done to death here, hence the inevitable comments from old timers :D

  12. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Yep, however...

    It's sometimes too easy to forget that we all started from a point of naivety. That also relates to forum navigation.
  13. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Which is better? Neither. What ever works for you is what is better.

    I own and play 4, 5, 6 and 12 string basses. I play primarily five stringers, because that is what I am most comfortable with, and it is what 'feels right' to me.

    For my originals band, I need a bass that cuts through distorted guitars, and has a modern sound. We play metal influenced hard rock. A lot of the lines I have written on our newer songs requires a five string.

    I also play praise and worship at church. A lot of this music is in Eb, Db, F, and G. It helps having that Db and Eb in a lower octave when playing this music. And is nice to be able to play an F at the 6th fret, or a G at the 8th fret on the B string, instead of having to play them in first position on the E string. It also helps with sight reading, less position shifts on the neck.

    If I were playing in an old school metal band, an oldies cover band, or a blues band, I would probably play mostly a 4 stringer.

    So for me, it is usually the music that determines what bass is 'better'.
  14. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I've played five-string bass guitars for the past few years, but I just recently bought a cheapo four just to see whether the limitations bring any new ideas to mind.

    A lot of the music I'm playing now doesn't demand the low notes (or the high ones), and I've started to detect a cheese factor in some of the things I do with the fifth string, e.g. ending songs/turnarounds/accents with those farty low notes. Not to mention they can sound really horrible through the subpar rigs I have to play through onstage.
  15. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Neither is better, just different.
  16. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    either is great
    fwiw, it's unfortunate if a four string player has a hard time playing a 5, but it's just plain sinful for a five string player to be unable to play a 4
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Neither is better. However a fiver is more versatile.

    And I slap my fivers just fine.
  18. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
  19. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I would say a 5 is "better", for me at least. I can play alot of stuff in standard tuning, whereas the guitar player in my band has to switch tunings every couple of songs (tune down half-step, Drop D, Drop C, whatever!) A five string is more practical....FOR ME.
  20. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    a 5 looks more complicated and impresses people more. You will get more chicks with a 5.