#1
So I've had a lot of trouble deciding whether to get a 4 or 5 string lately, and playing metal, most people say its better to have a 5. My question is how does that low B help when you're doing a lot of drop D, Db, C, Bb, etc.? Do you change the B or what..? Thanks!
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#2
There's a couple of things you could try.

You could tune the B to the dropped note and the rest of the bass into whatever the standard tuning is. E.G., in a Bb (A#) tuning, you could tune a 5 string as Bb (A#), C, F, Bb (A#), Eb (D#). The 5th string is tuned to the dropped Bb string and everything else is in C standard. This is mostly useful if your band alternates a lot from dropped tuning to standard tuning. However, it can also lead to a lot of string skipping, which some players can find cumbersome.

Or, you could simply tune the B to the dropped note, and tune everything else accordingly with the guitar. E.G., in a drop Bb (A#), you could simply tune to Bb, F, Bb, Eb, G (or G#, if you want to retain 5ths tuning). This is best if you don't really change from a dropped tuning all that much (or at all). However, this would be more of an issue with lesser drops (like drop D), which would require the strings to tune higher than their intended pitches (or really low).
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Last edited by graybass_20x6 at Jun 15, 2011,
#3
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There's a couple of things you could try.

You could tune the B to the dropped note and the rest of the bass into whatever the standard tuning is. E.G., in a Bb (A#) tuning, you could tune a 5 string as Bb (A#), C, F, Bb (A#), Eb (D#). The 5th string is tuned to the dropped Bb string and everything else is in C standard. This is mostly useful if your band alternates a lot from dropped tuning to standard tuning. However, it can also lead to a lot of string skipping, which some players can find cumbersome.

Or, you could simply tune the B to the dropped note, and tune everything else accordingly with the guitar. E.G., in a drop Bb (A#), you could simply tune to Bb, F, Bb, Eb, G (or G#, if you want to retain 5ths tuning). This is best if you don't really change from a dropped tuning all that much (or at all). However, this would be more of an issue with lesser drops (like drop D), which would require the strings to tune higher than their intended pitches (or really low).

So if I play mostly drop d, some drop c, and a little drop Bb does it make more sense for me to go for a 4 or 5 string?
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#4
My opinion is that 5 strings are good... if your tuning THAT low.
It all comes down to whether it works better for your bass lines or application of a 5th string.
There is no "a 5 string is better than a 4 string" but "This is easier or more efficiant to be played with a 5 string than a 4 string"

In terms of playing in a band that plays in drop D... 4 string will be personally prefered... ALTHOUGH say im playing in Drop D and im playing a riff that jumps between say 10th, 12th and then 3rd and 5th fret... well id rather play a 5 string and just play 10,12 then 8 and 10 on the lower string rather than the larger alternative movement of 10 12 3 5

And i guess thats how the extra string would help. But if your only going to play songs that can easily be played on a 4 string... well a 5 string just seems redundant and you probably could throw some playing in to use it.. but then i guess your just throwing in use of the string to justify having it and not it being really actually needed either.

* update after reading your last post*
If your going from say drop D to drop Bb etc. then go 5 string.... the difference between tuning BEADG (Standard) to ADADG (Drop D with the B stringin a 5th also) etc. is a hell of alot easier and you dont need to worry about string changes to compensate for tunings.
Last edited by tofuhead at Jun 15, 2011,
#5
Quote by tofuhead
My opinion is that 5 strings are good... if your tuning THAT low.
It all comes down to whether it works better for your bass lines or application of a 5th string.
There is no "a 5 string is better than a 4 string" but "This is easier or more efficiant to be played with a 5 string than a 4 string"

In terms of playing in a band that plays in drop D... 4 string will be personally prefered... ALTHOUGH say im playing in Drop D and im playing a riff that jumps between say 10th, 12th and then 3rd and 5th fret... well id rather play a 5 string and just play 10,12 then 8 and 10 on the lower string rather than the larger alternative movement of 10 12 3 5

And i guess thats how the extra string would help. But if your only going to play songs that can easily be played on a 4 string... well a 5 string just seems redundant and you probably could throw some playing in to use it.. but then i guess your just throwing in use of the string to justify having it and not it being really actually needed either.

* update after reading your last post*
If your going from say drop D to drop Bb etc. then go 5 string.... the difference between tuning BEADG (Standard) to ADADG (Drop D with the B stringin a 5th also) etc. is a hell of alot easier and you dont need to worry about string changes to compensate for tunings.

Ok so basically one of the main purposes of the 5 string is pretty much just efficiency of movement? And also do you tune the low string down with alternate tunings something like: Standard- BEADG, Drop D- ADADG, Drop C- GCGCF? Thanks

Oh also is it gonna be harder to learn and play on a 5 string? Because this is my first bass, but i have been playing guitar for 5 years so as far as my fret hand goes I'm pretty well off.
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Last edited by nirvanagrunge13 at Jun 15, 2011,
#6
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Oh also is it gonna be harder to learn and play on a 5 string? Because this is my first bass, but i have been playing guitar for 5 years so as far as my fret hand goes I'm pretty well off.


It not harder to play than a 4 string it's just you'll have to get used to the Low B.
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#7
Quote by nirvanagrunge13
So if I play mostly drop d, some drop c, and a little drop Bb does it make more sense for me to go for a 4 or 5 string?


To be honest, it's completely up to you.

Quote by nirvanagrunge13
Ok so basically one of the main purposes of the 5 string is pretty much just efficiency of movement? And also do you tune the low string down with alternate tunings something like: Standard- BEADG, Drop D- ADADG, Drop C- GCGCF? Thanks

Oh also is it gonna be harder to learn and play on a 5 string? Because this is my first bass, but i have been playing guitar for 5 years so as far as my fret hand goes I'm pretty well off.


It's not particularly harder, no. It might take a little getting used to as far as the added string and feel of having a slightly bigger neck. Applying the 5th string also takes a little getting used to, but it's not difficult. It does add a little more efficiency as far as notes under your fingers at any given instance.

And yes, you could easily tune your bass like that, and have an extra option for lower, beefier notes.
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#8
Quote by nirvanagrunge13
Ok so basically one of the main purposes of the 5 string is pretty much just efficiency of movement? And also do you tune the low string down with alternate tunings something like: Standard- BEADG, Drop D- ADADG, Drop C- GCGCF? Thanks



If for example your not playing the extra range of notes say for eg. The bass is BEADG.. if you don't play the low B,C,C#,D,D# then yes, it pretty much becomes for efficiency of moving. For me, I wouldn't play a 5 string if we were playing a song where the guitarists are in DEAGBE (drop D) because chances are it would be in D minor and revolve around the open D being the main note used between riffs and id just tune down.

And in regards to tuning the low string, its more.. how you want it to be.
My 4 string is currently CGCF, my 5 string is CGCFA# (All in 5ths hence the high A#) and my 6 string sits in GCGCFA#
My band plays most of the songs in C Minor. I Dont really ever go below that because thats low as, so instead i started playing runs that were higher etc. but in terms of the 6 string when i play it i do play it for ease of movement.


I just re-read some of this and realised i should think about what i type as some of it may be scattered or not make alot of sense in how i've written it.... but im too damn lazy to change it now.
Last edited by tofuhead at Jun 15, 2011,