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New expensive 5 string or a 4 and a 5 string.

gaslight12001
Posts: 6
9 months ago
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Good afternoon everyone I've a question I need some help with. First time post here. I have a 4 string ibanez bass that I love cost me about 700 pounds, I spend my time in my music room rocking out to videos and tabs on you tube. Just recently alot of videos require a 5 string bass to play with the video.
Question is should I buy another bass a five string. Or sell my 4 string and buy a top notch 5 string bass as obviously that will do what my 4 string will do as well.
Also is a 5 string harder to play.
Many thanks in taking the time to read this. And hope you all keep safe and avoid this bloody horrible virus. Thanks Simon. 44yr old rocker.
A fiver requires you to almost always mute the B string. Can be done with foam if you're lazy. Usually the neck is a little wider and the string spacing a little narrower.
Do you really need that low B? If D is the lowest note, you could tune to drop D or standard D.
I sometimes need a low B. My solution was to string my old Ibby B, E, A and D. It's ten years old and a killer bass to play. The G&L is mostly tuned to standard E and my cheap Chinese P-Bass copy is mostly in D# standard.
The BEAD tuned Ibby in action:
2nick3
Posts: 512
Jay makes great points about alternate tunings and even alternate configurations. And here's the obligatory “4 strings was enough for Jaco” comment that seems to be a requirement when discussing 5's.

4's and 5's are different beasts. On one hand a 5-string is just a 4-string with one more string, but the feel of the neck can be REALLY different. And playing one isn't just for the B to Eb range, but everything else you can play on the B string in that new position. Really taking advantage of it takes some work.

I've got an ‘01 Ibanez BTB and the neck just isn’t for me. The 35“ scale isn't the problem (I actually like that), it's that the neck profile feels ”off". So I don't play it much, and I don't see it staying in my collection much longer.

So I wouldn't recommend spending much money on one until you know it's something you'll take to.
Guys thank you so much for taking the time out to reply I think I'll wait for the five string. And maybe treat myself to a geddy Lee replica bass. Thank you and stay safe.
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1900
I've always been a four string player, and I enjoy playing in alternate tunings. But lately I feel I've learned all I can learn from alternate tuning, and I've been feeling an itch to pick up a 5-string. I've even been writting more 5-string tabs lately, rather than transcribing for alternate-tuned 4-string like I normally do.

But I'll be relocating to another state in the very near future, so I won't be getting one just yet. Once I get settled in, though, I'll likely be picking one up. But I'm a cheapskate, so I won't be dumping a lot of money on one. I'll probably start off with one of those $125 cheapies you can get on Amazon or Ebay. As nick said, I'm not going to cough up a lot of cheddar for a 5-string only to find out I don't like the feel or fit. But if I do, I'm sure I'll upgrade to something of higher quality later.
Hey Loudlon, wow I've used so many of your tabs thanks so much for all your hard. Work. Yes your right after discussing it with the boss last night (wife) I've decided to buy a cheap 5 string to see if I'm feeling it or not. I might love it in that case I'll invest in a good one. Thanks stay safe.
Kronisk
Posts: 19
Every day, I wish I had started with a five string. But my main music of choice is doom metal, where a lower starting pitch is often the expected norm.

One man who plays bass on YouTube says that if you get a five-string, put the four-string away for a while and learn to play on it. There is literally no note on the four-string you cannot play on the five. What I have to say is that no, you do not have to permamute your B string if you have songs that “do not use” it. All you have to do is move your hand further down the fret board. If your song's lowest note is fret five on E, start at fret ten on B, and so on. Get creative.

I have had a four-string for decades and just out of the blue bought a five about half a year ago. I do not really care what note the song is supposed to be in anyway, so if the song is in E, I just play it in B. B is closer to the pitch of my voice if I feel like singing along, anyway.

There is a great video called Why you SHOULDN'T play a 5 string bass… at that explains a lot, and much of it might help guide your decision.

And do not tell yourself you need to buy thousands of dollars worth of bass. Unless you are playing in Poptallica or the backing band of one of today's teenybopper id(iot)ols, you are neither going to need it nor make enough money playing it to justify it. Unless you have money to burn, as long as it is comfortable, why pay more than you need to?
Wow what a great reply Kronisk, thanks so much buddy. Yes ive decided to get a cheap 5 string off andertons store here in the UK or trawl through Ebay looking for a bargin. At the end of the day ive played 6 string normal guitar all my life and only been playing bass for 12 months but I just love it to bits its changed my life, I just wish id of started sooner. yes the bands I love seem to only play a 4 string, Rush, Tool and opeth but I just rock out with tab and watch videos on youtube in my music room. Thanks keep safe.
Kronisk
Posts: 19
I tend to jump the gun a lot, so I am glad to know you got something out of my response. Truthfully, when I bought my new five-string, I was really not swayed by what the bands I enjoy play so much as just the fact that I gravitate to lower-pitched sounds anyway. Side effect of auditory processing disorder and having a basso profundo voice, I suppose.

One of my former favourite bands, their bassist played a four-string tuned down to C#, themselves. One of my still-favourite bands, their bassist/vocalist played a four-string, but he strung his bass to B-E-A-D instead of the usual. We all do our different things with pitch, so as long as you are happy playing, that is all that matters.

I often dream of making my own compositions, so five strings will serve me well in that sense simply because of the way I perceive low notes as having more authority. But as I have gotten older, the only rule I have now is “whatever works for you”. Middle-range guitar is a great instrument when you learn to play it well, and it appears you have already gotten over the step of learning that bass is definitely not “guitar only lower”, so you are already well along the road. I wish you luck in further progression.

Hopefully one day I will be able to tab out my favourite songs.
Kronisk thanks again buddy all the best to you too, I look forward to reading your tabs on here in the future. Rock on.
JMM
Posts: 1
A note on string muting. This is really important to keep the low end from becoming a mess with a band. You *do* need to mute strings you want to remain silent and you *should* already be doing that with a 4-string. The comment about the low B needing to be muted I take as just being one extra string to keep under control. Is it more work? Yes of course but you can learn it the same as learning to play 4-string.

How the guys with 8 strings do it I'll never fathom

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