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Will I cause problems for myself?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Evil Undead, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Have one of each

    50 vote(s)
  2. Stick with one or t'other

    5 vote(s)
  1. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    I have a passive 4 string bass that I love (Fender P) but I'm also itching for an active 5 (Ibanez SR). I've played 5 strings before with no problems but never switched back and forth between the two on a regular basis.

    Would I be better just sticking with 4 strings and using different basses for different tunings? Does anyone else here use a passive fender 4 and an active 5 with tighter string spacing?

  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    You shouldn't have any problems switching back and forth, I switch from my 16.5mm Carvin to a standard 4 with ease. Cannot see a 5 being any different. Having 2 4 bangers isn't the worst thing ever either, it is really a personal preference, will you be using all 5 anyways?
  3. I'd find one with a wider spacing, if I were you. But, that's comin' from someone who's 6'5", 255lbs., with meat hooks for hands.
  4. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    No problems. I siwitch between a wide 5, medium 5, geddy lee jazz, sx jazz, and an 8 string all the time. The thing is, while you're home touch each one often so when you're playing out there's no problem.


    Feb 6, 2008
    It probably depends on what you setout to do on the instrument as you develop/progress.If your'e interested in fingerstyle playing only,then look for a 5 string bass with the more narrow string spacing.If you want to slap,pop and tap then you may find it to be to your advantage to have more space between the strings.Many other players will say the same thing.Since the 5 will be new to you anyway,the wider spacing is something with practice,and in time you will develop into
  6. atheos


    Sep 28, 2008
    Tampere, Finland
    When you're itching to do something, do it. Seriously. It may cost you, it may cause all kinds of unwanted side effects but it's still far better than thinking "what if" for unspecified amount of time. Goes with many other things than GAS, too.

    Also, it's actually good to get used to multiple different basses.
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    You're acting like basses are wives and you can only have one at a time.

    Basses are tools, or maybe like sneakers. You can buy all you want, try them out, keep the ones that fit and get rid of the others.

    I don't see why you would hesitate. The only question is whether you can afford it. If the money's there, get all the basses you want.
  8. No problem, if not, the more variety the better. I have basses with 4, 5, 6, and 7-strings. I can switch easily between them. It will not take you much time at all to get accustomed to different string counts.

    I just want to be ready to pick up any instrument and go. What if you're somewhere without that "one bass" your comfortable with & someone asks you sit in with them but all they have is a 5- or 6-string?

    This happened to me once time long ago. I exclusively played my 5-string for a number of years. One night, my band mates were at a club & were suddenly asked to go onstage for a few songs. We were without our instruments and I had to borrow a friend's 4-string for our songs. Before playing, I figured I'd drop it to D and that would have been sufficient. I hadn't realized how much I actually used the low end of my Low B before that.
  9. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    I say go with both and don't limit your options. :hyper:

    Switching between the number of strings seems to scare a lot of people but just do it often enough and you'll find there really isn't that much to it. I play 6 and 7 string guitars, 4 and 6 string basses including that goofy Ashula from Ibanez (6 string bass with 4 fretted, 2 fretless). I can now switch back and forth without much difficulty. Like anything else you just have to get used to it and soon it will become a non issue.

    In case you haven't seen the odd ball yet...
  10. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I switch back and forth between 4s and 5s all the time - at every gig and rehearsal for my main band, actually... For 4s I play Jazz's, Ps, a Sterling, and a T-bird - for 5s I play either Music Man or an sr905, and string spacing doesn't ever seem to be an issue...

    - georgestrings
  11. The more you play them the more comfortable they become regardless of how many strings they have. It isn't hard to make the switch after you get through your "adjustment" period of playing a new bass. I go from 5 to a 4 and back to the 5 every performance. The 4 banger has something special I like for a few songs otherwise I play my 5 most of the time.
  12. preside


    Aug 7, 2010
    Scottsdale Az
    I frequently switch back and forth on gigs with a passive Guild Starfire 4st and a custom 5er with a Bartolini. Funny thing is the guild is way louder!
  13. Britbonic

    Britbonic Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Lot's of people switch between 4 & 5s easily but one piece of advice. If you are new to 5s, spend some period of time only playing the 5 until you are completely comfortable with it. Practice on it at home, incorporate the B into your regular scales and routine, use if for rehearsals and gigs when you feel comfortable. If you switch back and forth while you are still coming up to speed on the 5 you may never get comfortable with it. Lot's of postings here on TB on that topic.

    Part of it is physical (string spacing, neck width, 34 vs 35" scale) and part physiological (realizing in the middle of a tune you just played E instead of A cause you know that's the note on the 5 fret of E string - except it was the B string!)

    I say this partially from personal experience. I'm on my 3 5er and think I finally found one I'm comfortable with, a Stingray 5.
  14. kjpollo


    Mar 17, 2008
    After a looong period of not using my Carvin 5er, I'm now in a modern country band and the 5er is pretty much all Im using there. I use my 4's in my classic rock band and now I find I dont have much difficulty switching off.
  15. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    I have my custom fanned fret P-style bass with Fender 9050CL flats that I use for 95%+ of the gig and an Ibanez SRA305 that has the "Phat II" (Ibby version of EMG EXB) for those songs that require 5er. I take both.
  16. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    No problems. If it takes a minute to get acclimated when you switch instruments, that'll be the end of it.
  17. Demonjrx


    May 30, 2012
    United States
    I think it depends on how you play. If it's almost exclusively fingers or pick you'll be fine. The only struggle I had when switching to a 5 was playing slap bass. If that's not an issue, it'll be easy as pie :p
  18. I don't have too many problems switching over to my SR5, but I am much more comfortable with the 19mm spacing, and the slim neck on my SR 4bangers. I'll take active over passive anyday.
  19. ShirazBop

    ShirazBop When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2006
    Greensboro, NC
    After +20 years on Fender Precision 4 bangers, I just got my first 5 string which is,...a Fender Precision V (imagine that...). I'm a finger style player more toward the bridge and have no problem moving between the two. Feeling sometimes limited on the 4 banger...

    I do run 'em all through a Sadowsky Outboard preamp DI though...
  20. ShirazBop

    ShirazBop When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2006
    Greensboro, NC
    ^ what he said! I did this and it REALLY helped!