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Re: 4 string vs. 5 string, it's a personal preference

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Posted by anonymouse on October 22, 2001 at 12:16:29:

In Reply to: Re: 4 string vs. 5 string, it's a personal preference posted by §žurious on October 22, 2001 at 04:39:24:

I think the other guys pretty much covered it, but .....

1) 5 vs 4 is primarily preference like Spurious said. And a lot may depend on the music you intend to play. Personally, I won't bring a 5 string to a standard jazz gig, but I would always keep one handy for a pop, Gospel or Hip-Hop thing, especially if you are doubling piano lines. For rock, I think i need the a 5 string for Linkin Park stuff and Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and that's about it.

2) The extra low string screws some players up (like me) - they confuse it with the E and kick off in the wrong key (very embarassing). If I switch to the 5, I always do a quick check on the songs I normally do on the 4.

3)Many 5 stringers (but not all)that I have tried out in music stores have B strings that sound like crap. I think it may be that the low B needs a 35" scale instead of the usual 34" to give it definition and the sound I like, instead of a thud.

4)Ibanez Soundgear and a few other outfits have 5 strings with narrow necks which works for me. My SG405 has a good wood sound but crummy factory std.pick-ups and electronics - must replace with Bartolinis some day.
: I started out on the four string as well, most of the people who influenced me play fours (McCartney, Jaco, Entwhistle, Dunn, Jamerson, etc) and some of them only played the four because that was the only thing available to them at the time. Look how well they did with those four strings; Quite well, for sure.

: Now I have a four string and a five string bass. The Low B, I rarely ever use. It's so low and discordant, in my opinion, that the low B itself isn't all that great. But the E, the D, and sometimes the C are great for emphasis and a way to break up the song pattern though and increase your range and flexibility.

: One of the first guys to get me hooked on bass was a local fellow, who actually lent me his four string for a while,and he was a six stringer. Haven't looked at that one yet, maybe the higher range will help me build my band's songs a little easier and will increase the range for solos? who knows? More then likely yes.

: So, to sum up, Five's nice, but four's a necessity.
: ________________________________________________________________________________
: : : I have played nothing but four string troughout the years.All the people that have ever influenced me has also played 4 string Steve Harris,Cliff Burton,Geddy Lee.I know its only got five lower notes but you can always tune the E down to achieve that.My qeustion is Am I missing anything by sticking with the trusty four or What?

: : I played 5 string for 2 years, but switched back to 4 because the tendonitis in my left hand bothers me more with the bigger neck of the 5 string, but there are plenty of times I would be better off with a 5 string. It not only gives you those 5 lower notes, but it gives you another place to play the low E,F,F#,G, and Ab, notes that only occur in one spot on 4 string. This can make some songs easier and more convenient to play. I also prefer the sound of the low E on the fifth fret B string to the open low E on the fourth string, it just sounds more solid. And if you play country like me, where you are often alternating between root/fifth, it allows you to use the low D as the fifth on the G chord, instead of having to go to the D above. To sum it up, it makes things more convenient, but you can certainly do just fine with a 4 string, especially if you have a Hipshot DTuner to drop the E to D without having to stop and tune. As you pointed out, most of the great bass players played 4 strings. My favorites are Jaco, Geddy Lee, John Paul Jones, Jack Bruce, and Allen Woody, all 4 string players.

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