#1
To start, I'm sure this thread is somewhere already posted, or has been posted time and time and again, so I apologize.

I've been playing bass since around christmas the past year (after playing standard electric for sixish years) and with a pay raise incoming, I am considering getting a new bass.

The only thing I havn't really decided on is the number of strings. The majority of the music I play is heavy metal and thrash metal, bands like megadeth, maiden, priest, anthrax, sabbath, malmsteen, and so forth. Occasionally stuff like crue, kiss, zeppelin, rush, so on.

I've worshiped Harris from a young age so obviously, considered an American Standard P-bass, but I've seen Ellefson use a 5 string (and 12, but that's besides the point) bass, and also model my play style from his works.

Would a 5 or 6 string be wise for my musical taste, or should I keep it classic with a 4 string?

TL;DR: I like NWOBHM and trash alot, and some rock too. 4, 5, or 6?

Thanks
#3
Whatever you feel like you will use. There's no valid reason but personal preference.

And that guy above is wrong.
Quote by UraniYum
Fuck you I'm trying to be caring and shit


Quote by Cb4rabid
Okay guys, I have a confession to make. Not really a confession since it's something that's been bugging me for awhile but I've always been in denial about it.

**** you gilly, it's not what you think
#4
In all honesty a 4-string is more than useable for all of those bands, sure a 5 or a 6 makes chords and stuff a bit easier because the notes are more conveniently placed, and you get a decent amount of extended range, but a 4 string bass can be used for the majority of that stuff. My opinion (this is why I personally do) put some heavy gauge strings (power slinkies are my choice) and then just use drop tuning when you have to. A 5 string will eliminate the need to do this as the low B will take you as far down as (heh) drop B tuning, but a 6 string would only be necessary if you're playing high range melodic type stuff where you need to go beyond 20th fret on a G.

One thing to consider, when you buy the bass the same model bass in a 5, or 6, will cost a few hundred more, and then strings for 5's and 6's cost a bit more. So if cost is a deciding factor, go a 4 purely because you can get a kickass 4 string for the same price as a so so 5 or a mediocre 6
#5
a 5 is probably what you want. but I think most of your heroes played a 4. in your positioin I would just go and try out a bunch of basses regardless of strings and jsut find the one that feels and sounds right in your hands.
no sir away a papaya war is on
#6
Quote by Sandshreeeew
In all honesty a 4-string is more than useable for all of those bands, sure a 5 or a 6 makes chords and stuff a bit easier because the notes are more conveniently placed, and you get a decent amount of extended range, but a 4 string bass can be used for the majority of that stuff. My opinion (this is why I personally do) put some heavy gauge strings (power slinkies are my choice) and then just use drop tuning when you have to. A 5 string will eliminate the need to do this as the low B will take you as far down as (heh) drop B tuning, but a 6 string would only be necessary if you're playing high range melodic type stuff where you need to go beyond 20th fret on a G.

One thing to consider, when you buy the bass the same model bass in a 5, or 6, will cost a few hundred more, and then strings for 5's and 6's cost a bit more. So if cost is a deciding factor, go a 4 purely because you can get a kickass 4 string for the same price as a so so 5 or a mediocre 6


thats bullshit. they will cost a little more yeah, but not a couple huindred dollars more unless we are talking about really high end basses.
no sir away a papaya war is on
#8
I just bought a 5 as my first bass. I think you may as well. It's not much more expensive really, and it's not hard to adapt to. You have to be incredibly skilled to make a 6 string worth it.
#9
I think that no one ever *needs* a 6-string bass. Ever. John Myung, does need a goddamn 6-string bass. However I love my 6-string bass, useless though it may be. I have a background as a guitarist too, and I find the extra high-range makes noodling by yourself a little more fun too. Unless you're doing arpeggios (that probably no one will hear anyway), you'll never use that 6th string, but it's nice to have there.

The 5th string, however, i would say is very useful. I play in a covers band, and my 5th gets used all the time. It means I don't have to tune down the drop D, mostly, but it also gives you more option in terms of voicing, if you think something should be a little deeper than the artist originally intended.

Basically, I'd say go for as many strings as you feel comfortable with. As long as you have big enough hands to handle a 6, and you don't mind being a little limited in terms of string choice (You can get DR Black Beauties in a 6, what else do you need), I don't there's a reason not to get one.
#10
There's no real disadvantage to getting an extended range bass. You gain extended range of course, but also a greater economy of motion across the fretboard. The trade off is that the necks get wider and the string spacing gets narrower the more strings you add, and you may or may not like that. The only way to find out is to try some.

5-ers and 6-ers aren't only limited to a few specific genres of music, nor are they any harder or take any greater amount of skill to play then a 4 string (unless you're having problems with the wider neck of course), and the extra string(s) are only as useful or useless as you make them. Just go try as many basses as you can in your price range, and pick a bass that you find comfortable and suits your needs.
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
#11
Quote by Sandshreeeew
American standard P-bass, I'm in australia and the 5 costs about $200 more :/

yerpp, here in aus, everything is ATLEAST 200 more.
#12
I think that no one ever *needs* a 6-string bass. Ever. John Myung, does need a goddamn 6-string bass. However I love my 6-string bass, useless though it may be. I have a background as a guitarist too, and I find the extra high-range makes noodling by yourself a little more fun too. Unless you're doing arpeggios (that probably no one will hear anyway), you'll never use that 6th string, but it's nice to have there.

The 5th string, however, i would say is very useful. I play in a covers band, and my 5th gets used all the time. It means I don't have to tune down the drop D, mostly, but it also gives you more option in terms of voicing, if you think something should be a little deeper than the artist originally intended.

Basically, I'd say go for as many strings as you feel comfortable with. As long as you have big enough hands to handle a 6, and you don't mind being a little limited in terms of string choice (You can get DR Black Beauties in a 6, what else do you need), I don't there's a reason not to get one.
wat

Really? If you can need a 5 string, you might need a 6 string. You can't ever really say that a certain instrument is useless. There's always a use for something, you just gotta find it. I can think of about a million things I can do with a 6 stringer. It'd be nice to fool around with some higher notes.

Also, you wont be able to hear it? What? I don't even understand this part
pinga
#13
Quote by Wolffgang
I think that no one ever *needs* a 6-string bass. Ever. John Myung, does need a goddamn 6-string bass. However I love my 6-string bass, useless though it may be. I have a background as a guitarist too, and I find the extra high-range makes noodling by yourself a little more fun too. Unless you're doing arpeggios (that probably no one will hear anyway), you'll never use that 6th string, but it's nice to have there.

The 5th string, however, i would say is very useful. I play in a covers band, and my 5th gets used all the time. It means I don't have to tune down the drop D, mostly, but it also gives you more option in terms of voicing, if you think something should be a little deeper than the artist originally intended.

Basically, I'd say go for as many strings as you feel comfortable with. As long as you have big enough hands to handle a 6, and you don't mind being a little limited in terms of string choice (You can get DR Black Beauties in a 6, what else do you need), I don't there's a reason not to get one.


Yeah, I'll have to disagree with this too.

Ever since I made the progression from 4 to 5 to 6, I find that any time I go back to playing a 5 or 4, I feel limited with the lack of the C/B strings. I'm not saying that 4 or 5 strings are useless compared to a 6 (I prefer to slap on a 4 and play hardcore/deathcore on a 5), but there are a lot of players (myself included) who will prefer to play a 6 string as a primary.

And if they can't "hear" some riff you're playing on a 6, then you're not doing it right.
Back to the classic avatar.

Quote by KISSguitarist
You are the best writer ever Graybass. Sig me for that. But i love you! You should make a book!

Quote by Phil_Bass_Boy
Jesus christ, your avatar is the best I have seen in my life.

Quote by mh400nt
Graybass_20x6 has a better avatar than you
#14
Quote by graybass_20x6
Yeah, I'll have to disagree with this too.

Ever since I made the progression from 4 to 5 to 6, I find that any time I go back to playing a 5 or 4, I feel limited with the lack of the C/B strings. I'm not saying that 4 or 5 strings are useless compared to a 6 (I prefer to slap on a 4 and play hardcore/deathcore on a 5), but there are a lot of players (myself included) who will prefer to play a 6 string as a primary.

And if they can't "hear" some riff you're playing on a 6, then you're not doing it right.

I actually even prefer to slap on a 6 string. The narrower string spacing combined with having the C right there when I pop the G just feels right. I use the C string in general a lot more than I thought I ever would back when I played a 4 string.
#15
Quote by UncleDomino
I actually even prefer to slap on a 6 string. The narrower string spacing combined with having the C right there when I pop the G just feels right. I use the C string in general a lot more than I thought I ever would back when I played a 4 string.


The string spacing is a bit of an issue on my side, though I'll admit that I probably haven't honed my slap technique enough, and just get sloppy. I feel the same about the C string though. So many melodic applications....
Back to the classic avatar.

Quote by KISSguitarist
You are the best writer ever Graybass. Sig me for that. But i love you! You should make a book!

Quote by Phil_Bass_Boy
Jesus christ, your avatar is the best I have seen in my life.

Quote by mh400nt
Graybass_20x6 has a better avatar than you
#16
I personally like a 5 string. It adds a few more options with less tuning requirements. But as many people have said and will say... whatever sounds and feels right to you!!!
#17
So I've decided to go with a 5 string thanks to you all, now the next step - Suggestions?
Been looking into a couple of Jackson and Peavey basses but I'm not to sure, budget is around 500ish dollars.
Thanks, again
#18
Used Warwick or an Ibanez, the SR505 is my favorite at the moment
Bassist/Vocalist-Visceral Violation
Mesa-Boogie Big Block 750/SWR Megoliath
Warwick Corvette
#19
SR500 series are gold, I have the 6 version and it's beautiful- sounds nice, feels nice, looks nice.

The 6er will give you more notes in one position, a bassier way of playing higher notes, and a C string to dick around with (so much fun!) but will be wider, heavier etc.

There's nothing wrong with any amount of strings, it's personal preference.

Ibanez SR506BM
Ashdown Little Giant 1000w
Peavey TVX 115+410
A big ass upright

#20
I mean, victor wooten mostly plays 4 strings. The amount of strings really doesnt have much affect on the music you can make. Its more of just what you feel most comfortable on.

I played a 4 string bass all my life. I bought a 5 because I figured it was worth trying out. For me, it was uncomfortable and I couldnt do any more or less on it, so I sold it.

Some people love 5 strings though

FYI, you could buy a nice used fender 5 string for less than $500

In fact, the bass player thats touring with david archuletta is selling his jazz for $400 right now. He lives in LA if you want me to put you in touch
Last edited by thebassiestbass at Jun 19, 2011,