#1
Since the bass player in my band recently purchased a 5 string (a move I wish he didn't make seeing how it throws our rhythm guy off and throws even himself off when I'm trying to explain how a bass line goes) I thought I would start this post to see what everyone else on here prefers. I'm a drummer first and foremost but have played bass as well for 8 years and will be a 4 stringer for life. I know I get crap all the time and have been told I'm somehow living in the past (whatever that means) and how 5 strings helps the bands image (so now music's about projecting an image?), but my arguments in favor of the 4 are...

1) There's nothing a 5 string has done that I wasn't able to accomplish on a 4.
2) Songs where the guitar are tuned down to E flat, D and even C sometimes still require the bass to have the top 4 tuned down anyway for ease of playing.
3) You're only getting 4 extra notes (E flat to B).
4) It's not as if it makes you a better bass player.
5) It's cheaper.
6) If it's good enough for Steve Harris it should certainly be good enough for me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to down on 5 stringers... Rob Trujillo and Ryan Martinie are great musicians, but they're skilled bass players regardless of what they play. Anyway, just something I was thinking about. I'm not trying to do any flaming and don't want others starting shit on here either. I'm just stating my preference.
#2
5. I love the sound of the lows, but then still want the range. Im considering even getting a 6. If its throwing your friends, then they need to be less cretinous and learn to adapt.
#4
I think that for some bassists it opens up new possibilities, just as a 7 or 8 string guitar might. However, I do agree that it isn't usually absolutely necessary. The extra string is just an additional option that provides different sounds - I've seen bassists who have it and barely use it, and others that absolutely rely on it 100%...so yeah, I think it's all a matter of preference. I guess if I had the money, I'd get a 5-string, just to have that possibility open. It's not as if having it requires you to constantly abuse that option.
#5
Kind of weird how he can throw himself off... it's the same thing just with an extra string.

But for your argument, I agree with you. I'm totally a 4-string kind of guy. I've thought about getting a 5 string, but the only convenience that I would like is to not have to tune down the low E for drop tunings. I'm much too poor to buy bass strings, a 5-string pack is even worse.
#6
Having learned on a four, then bought 2 6er's...I finally found home in the five string section. It is cheaper to get a 4 and it's only 4 extra notes...but the string spacing and neck width are the reasons i love it. My band plays in drop C#....I still tune E down, not B...making my "2nd" string the main string. The low string is there as an anchor as I tend to dig into my string (i.e. Ryan Martinie) so it functions quite well. Most cheap 5-strings have a crappy low B sound, flappy and unresponsive...so it's quite rare to find a 5er I like. A tip for your bassist who bought the five, think of the added string as an octave boost for D, C#, and C. The open B is more than likely going to muddy things up, but the others should provide a nice boom.
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#7
I tune my 5 strings EADGB. I'm mostly a guitar player so this is more comfortable for me, but if i pick up a 4 string i can still play just fine. I use the higher notes for bass solo's. I know that technically only get a few extra notes but it just feels more natural to me being a guitar player and such
#8
I prefer four strings since I almost always play one, but have nothing against a five string. I have a fiver to avoid down tuning. I can't stand how down tuned strings feel.

Also, five strings can make some songs easier. I know they're playable on a four string, but would you rather wear your hand out jumping every bar, or just stay in one or two positions and conserve energy?
#9
This thread is pointless because using a 5 or six string bass is down to preference, so all this thread is going to be is people stating their opinion, a few people comparing them before stating their opinion and probably people arguing with each other.

You make one of these and say don't flame, but that is what these threads always turn into and what they will always turn into as long as people have a difference of opinion.

EDIT: I use both

Ibanez K5
Warwick Rockbass Vampyre 4

Line 6 Bass Pod XT Live
Epiphone Les Paul Custom
#10
Quote by Bassist Rising
This thread is pointless because using a 5 or six string bass is down to preference, so all this thread is going to be is people stating their opinion, a few people comparing them before stating their opinion and probably people arguing with each other.

You make one of these and say don't flame, but that is what these threads always turn into and what they will always turn into as long as people have a difference of opinion.

EDIT: I use both


+1
Quote by Damaged Roses
I don't really understand why basses have 24 frets, I mean, I've never seen a bassist playing more than the 12 fret.


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#11
There shouldn't be arguments for or against any string number on a bass. They're just different. More strings extends your range and provides you with better economy of motion at the cost of a wider neck. Neither a 4 string or an ERB is easier or more difficult then the other, and neither one is superior to the other.
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#12
everyone should have a four on hand.

that said, i prefer five. people who say "it's only four extra notes" are missing the point of a 5 string bass.
#DTWD
#13
I prefer playing 4 string, but that's just me. I was taught on one, as was my brother and dad, and all three of us use 4 strings. Are 5 strings harder to play?
#15
I'm an ERB man myself, many songs that I write and play rely on or are made easier with the utilisation of more range. For me, it opens up shapes and various options that are difficult to achieve on a 4. I never play my 4 anymore but if I have the money, I think I might get a nice Jazz 4 just as a backup/for situations where a 6 is innapropriate.

As stated before, neither is better, it's all preference.

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Last edited by m4l666 at Aug 4, 2010,
#16
Here are my arguments for 5ers over 4ers

1) economy of motion
2) if it's throwing off you're rhythm guitarist then he should learn the songs and stop following the bassist.
3) economy of motion
4) more notes
5) economy of motion

and yes music is now about image. Find me a rich and famous band that isn't pushing an image. It's called the music business for a reason
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


Quote by fatgoogle
I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#17
Quote by skater dan0
Here are my arguments for 5ers over 4ers

1) economy of motion
2) if it's throwing off you're rhythm guitarist then he should learn the songs and stop following the bassist.
3) economy of motion
4) more notes
5) economy of motion

and yes music is now about image. Find me a rich and famous band that isn't pushing an image. It's called the music business for a reason


Rush?
#18


Long hair = quintessential rock star image.
The loose fitting shirts are typical of the pro rock era wih bands like pink floyd and ELP also sporting that styling.
The double neck guitar and big drum kit are there to show their virtuosity. Prog rock was all about virtuosity.



typical hairstyle of the late 80s
typical clothing of the late 80s
headless bass typical of 80s synth pop and rock

In their early career they looked much the same as any other prog rock band. When the 80s came round and synth pop was all the rage they made the transition with their image to appeal to the 80s synth pop audience. If they had kept their prog rock long hair and big instruments and baggy shirts it can be argued that they wouldn't have made it through the 80s to be as big as they are today.

I'll grant you that these days Rush don't push an image but that's because they're now so successful they can do whatever they want and the fans will love it.

Long and short of it is that image is equally as important as the music
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


Quote by fatgoogle
I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#19
Quote by skater dan0


Long hair = quintessential rock star image.
The loose fitting shirts are typical of the pro rock era wih bands like pink floyd and ELP also sporting that styling.
The double neck guitar and big drum kit are there to show their virtuosity. Prog rock was all about virtuosity.



typical hairstyle of the late 80s
typical clothing of the late 80s
headless bass typical of 80s synth pop and rock

In their early career they looked much the same as any other prog rock band. When the 80s came round and synth pop was all the rage they made the transition with their image to appeal to the 80s synth pop audience. If they had kept their prog rock long hair and big instruments and baggy shirts it can be argued that they wouldn't have made it through the 80s to be as big as they are today.

I'll grant you that these days Rush don't push an image but that's because they're now so successful they can do whatever they want and the fans will love it.

Long and short of it is that image is equally as important as the music


Yep, look at Cliff Burton. He had crazy red hair, wore a jean jacket, wore bellbottoms, and was a total hippie. But Metallica had to be 100 percent metal. If they werent badass in their photo shoots he would make them change it lol.
guitar solo - "meh, every song got one"
bass solo - "OMGZ0R U IS PRO MENZ"
Last edited by Rain_In_Blood at Aug 4, 2010,
#20
Quote by skater dan0


Long hair = quintessential rock star image.
The loose fitting shirts are typical of the pro rock era wih bands like pink floyd and ELP also sporting that styling.
The double neck guitar and big drum kit are there to show their virtuosity. Prog rock was all about virtuosity.



typical hairstyle of the late 80s
typical clothing of the late 80s
headless bass typical of 80s synth pop and rock

In their early career they looked much the same as any other prog rock band. When the 80s came round and synth pop was all the rage they made the transition with their image to appeal to the 80s synth pop audience. If they had kept their prog rock long hair and big instruments and baggy shirts it can be argued that they wouldn't have made it through the 80s to be as big as they are today.

I'll grant you that these days Rush don't push an image but that's because they're now so successful they can do whatever they want and the fans will love it.

Long and short of it is that image is equally as important as the music


If you were talking about bands over their entire careers, then you weren't specific enough. My point is that the individual members of Rush never personally cared about their image, and since proving their independence to their record label have been able to wear whatever they want (casual clothing).

Unlike artists such as AC/DC with lackluster music who have to perform in school boy clothes to try and "spice up" their performance, an artist such as Rush doesn't need this. Nobody goes to a Rush concert and gets disappointed because Geddy didn't have his black and white long sleeve t-shirt on, but if AC/DC (and I just use them as an example) turned up to a gig, stood in front of their mics wearing casual clothing and played their instruments, it would probably go down like a sack of shit.

You can pretty much trace this trend from one end of the musical world than the other (not that it's that linear, and barring the odd exception). On one end we have the contrived pop artists singing along to songs that they didn't write, while dancing with some sorry looking self-respect-less gimps in front of an OTT pyrotechnic display. And then at the other end, we have artists like Rush standing there playing their instruments in casual clothing, but that's good enough for them, because the music doesn't need compensating for.

I'm not trying to belittle the significance of over-all appearance on stage, but I don't think it necessarily requires some sort of contrived effort in that the artist ought to be wearing clothes he or she wouldn't ordinarily wear, as long as their fashion sense isn't too awful. As long as they look good, and they're playing music that isn't too boring or simple, then the music should (and usually does, if we stray away from the "charts" scene) take precedence over everything else.
#21
I totally agree with you bmarlatt1685. I see no reason for a 5 string or even a 6 string bass anyway. I think that you don't need much of a range on a bass. It's supposed to sound low and it's supposed to be different from a guitar.
#22
ok... 1stly, he can probably work out all of the down tuned stuff on the b string so he doesn't need to down tune, and he could also add in some octaves to harmonize with what you're guitarist is playing, eg. if he plays a 4 on the a string he can play a 2 on the b... 2ndly, just to make certain things easier, i have a 5 string but i've also kept my four string just for the sounds etc, so it doesn't have to be on or the other, he can use both.
#23
I'm a 4 stringer for life myself, man. Also, your whole long post abotu 4s gave me a good giggle. Kudos. (;
Try adding more delay.