Re: Pros and Cons of a 5 string.

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Posted by El Pájaro on July 18, 2000 at 12:30:22:

In Reply to: Pros and Cons of a 5 string. posted by Davidnssbm on July 18, 2000 at 11:22:25:

: Im about 80% sure that i want a 5 string. Some of you said the 5th string doesnt sound as nice. well i head this one song that used the 5th string and i really liked how low it was. if this is what you are talking about, that sound shouldn't be a problem, but anyway, if you could be so kind, please tell me the
: Pros and Cons of a 5 string. Thanks! You guys are awesome! i would have never been able to get this far with out you!

Hey there Dave,
I think the Achiles' heel of most 5 strings (especially wooden 34" neck ones) is both the sound and the response to the touch of the fifth string. This is no prejudice, it's just a fact of nature - that fat, low string simply needs a lot of tension to sound halfway decent and not to feel like a cloth rope. And there's where most 5 string basses I tried fall short. You can try compensate by installing an extra heavy gauge B string, but that has its shortcomings, too: the more mass a string has (and heavy gauge B's have A LOT), the less it acts like a real string and the more it resembles a metal bar clamped at both ends, thus ringing with weird harmonics that are further and further apart from being perfect multiples of the fundamental ...intonation hell at one's elbow.
Then there's the issue of the string's response to your touch: if you like to dig in like there's no tomorrow, forget about doing that with a 34" wooden neck 5 string bass. You'll need to lighten up your right hand technique considerably to avoid the B string from sounding like a mechanical fart.
Considering all of the above, I believe the ideal 5 string bass has yet to be designed and created. The best next thing, in my humble opinion (some of the fine folks who hang out here will disagree with me, and that's fine), wood be a 35" graphite neck bass. I had the chance to try a Modulus Quantum 5 once and was pretty impressed with its overall performance. Of course, such a beauty will set you back several hundred bills, but if you crave a great sounding five string, budget should be your latest consideration.
That's my two cents. Buena suerte and keep your bass up front in the mix,

El Pájaro

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