Which is preferable 4string or 5string tone!!??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jinobass1, Jan 27, 2023.

  1. Jinobass1


    Oct 30, 2013
    Fender Endorser,Roland/Boss Endorser,Aguilar Amps Endorser,Korg Endorser,Revelation Cable Endorser,I
    I always loved the 4 string tone and when I had to switch to 5 string, realizing loving the Low B and sometimes changed to Hi C (changing nut was a bi*^h(nuts!))
    if I didn’t need the Low (Eb,D,Db,C,B)
    On a gig or recording, or if you had both basses w/you which would prefer !?
    The tone of 4string or 5?
    I always use 5 for when needed but sometimes I’ll switch to P-bass w/Flats and J-bass for old school:Soul/Motown/Rolling Stones/Beatles vibes. Whaddddaaaa You think!???
  2. MMiller28

    MMiller28 Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2003
    I don’t think number of strings affects tone in any way.
  3. My fives' have no particular change in tone vs. my fours, aside from the difference in the basses/pickups. I'd have it no other way.
  4. RichterScale


    Feb 21, 2021
    Not sure what the question is, but I would pick a 5 string.
    You can play any song done with a 4 string and have the low B when needed. Can't do the opposite.
    If you need a different tone for a different vibe/genre, you can change technique, right hand position and there's a bunch of knobs and switches down in the lower corner for changing the sound.
  5. ics1974


    Apr 13, 2012
    I’m not sure if the number of stings effect tone. But Maybe it does because more mass?
    I do prefer 5 strings though
    mutethatguitar and retslock like this.
  6. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Only difference is B string or no B string. If you need it, have it.
  7. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Sound the same to me. But I think on a 4 it’s the E alone so you can pulverize it with zero regard for other strings. The whacked open E is the perfect note. When I play a 5 I have to be mindful of the lower string. Otherwise, same note.
    FRoss6788, nomaj, FishDub and 4 others like this.
  8. Ketbass

    Ketbass Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2020
    Dayton, OH
    6 strings is the obvious answer here.
  9. ShadowGroover


    Aug 16, 2020
    More carrots, more money, etc More is always better
    kreider204 and bigthemat like this.
  10. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i've owned more than 50 4-string basses, and no 2 of them sounded the same - heck, even on 2 similar 4 strings, putting different strings on them can radically change the tones so they're nothing like each other. i've owned several 5-strings (i prefer 4 most of them time), and i bought each specifically because it had such different tone from my other 5-string basses. i also change strings or
  11. Snert

    Snert Suspended

    Oct 3, 2021
    Having a 5 with a B isn't just for 5 extra notes, but allows playing in different positions as well. I'd rather play across the neck.

    Get a 6.

    Edit> corrected typo, 5 not 4 notes.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2023
    retslock, Marko 1, Stevorebob and 2 others like this.
  12. tb-player

    tb-player Sarcasm intended... always! Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    Number of strings can DEFINITELY affect tone. You have to remember that a 5-string isn’t a 4-string with some extra low notes. I play my fives almost like a short-scale bass. I’m playing low E on the fifth fret of the B string and it sounds fat. Playing on the B string in that 5th-9th fret range is a much beefier tone. The economy of movement really makes things easier. And it’s comfortable to not have to reach.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2023
    Marko 1, Afc70, Stevorebob and 11 others like this.
  13. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    There’s a 4 string inside all 3 of my 5 string basses….
    retslock, mking, smogg and 7 others like this.
  14. I like 5 string for feel and string spacing especially but I do think that with more meat on the neck it does do something to tone. Maybe very subtle but I think a 5 has more heft on the tone. Just me though. I noticed a difference when I got my first 5er.
    BassikBrad and AlexanderB like this.
  15. Thumpin6string

    Thumpin6string Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Shoals Indiana
    Ketbass, kumimajava and gebass6 like this.
  16. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    I’m definitely a 5-string player through and through…or until I get the right gig that says I HAVE to play a 4-string.

    I think there probably is an extremely minute difference of tone between comfortable 4 and 5 string basses of the same specs, but I don’t think anyone that doesn’t have the ears of Eric Johnson could ever really hear it in the real world.

    My currently-in-the-pipeline custom bass is meant to be a relatively similar “backup” to my #1 in terms of pickups and output level, but is going to be drastically different to it in several other facts because, hey, why not? It’s here I’m hoping to find that one of them prefers flats while the other likes rounds so that I can have some variety on my 5’s.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I don’t like using the B string much for notes that are available on the regular tuned 4. It’s not always the case, and if it’s more convenient to use those notes on the B or I want fat bass notes I’ll use them. But I generally hate playing 5s on a gig, and do all I can to avoid it.
  18. Snert

    Snert Suspended

    Oct 3, 2021
    And inside all 6 of my 6 strings!
  19. pineweasel


    Nov 21, 2003
    This is the really cool thing about a 5-string. It actually contains two 4-strings: the long scale on the E to G strings, and a super short scale on the B to D from the 5th fret.
  20. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    So many have not noticed the difference. Given all other variations possible, the extra mass, cross section and geometry changes causes the bigger neck/more string to have a different profile. Tighter, more even and "compressed" ("produced"?) sound from fivers. Fours have a more transient, open and "airy" sound.
    There seems to be an inherent problem with many fivers, where the lowest 2-3 notes on the E string sound more anemic than on a four string. Seen it many, many times.
    Now I am talking about FSO with rounds.
    GeeBass likes this.