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Do you NEED a 5 string bass?

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2 hours ago, Manwithvan said:

A fiver usually means extra weight, uncomfortably wide fingerboard, uncomfortably narrow string spacing, even extra expense, and all for the sake of four extra notes!

A poor trade off, many would say.

But you can play R - 3 - 5 - 7 - 11 - 13 in one position. And if you want to do that, you NEED one.

Isn't it 5 extra notes? 😉

The only 2 basses I need to gig with are my 2 five strings, one fretted and one fretless.

I have many others, all four strings, that I mainly have for sentimental reasons.

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I don't need a 5 string, I could play any gig with a 4 , or probably even a 3 string. (Two strings would make octave parts a bit too challenging I think) . However I have 2 five strings, one strung b to g for the lower range and one e to c for chords. This is better for the bands I use them for, a four would do but wouldn't be ideal. I could use a 6 string instead of 2 fives but I've found them a bit heavy and I'm not too keen on the look.     

So ultimately I don't think you exactly need more than 4, but it may well be better to have 5 or 6.

 

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2 hours ago, BreadBin said:

Isn't it 5 extra notes? 😉

I was taught never to play an open string (but not much maths, clearly!)

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I am in the process of stringing a 6 string F#BEADG. I am looking forward to that "just got my 1st 5 string, why is everyone in the wrong key?" feeling for the first time in 30 years. 

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3 minutes ago, Manwithvan said:

I was taught never to play an open string (but not much maths, clearly!)

Funnily, I was never taught this (I’m 99% self-taught) but I always avoid open strings if possible. Unless using open strings makes playing the line significantly easier than fretting everything...but that’s not very often.

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1 minute ago, owen said:

I am in the process of stringing a 6 string F#BEADG. I am looking forward to that "just got my 1st 5 string, why is everyone in the wrong key?" feeling for the first time in 30 years. 

When’s your first gig? Just so I can be sure to stock up on Imodium in advance :ph34r:

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11 minutes ago, CameronJ said:

Funnily, I was never taught this (I’m 99% self-taught) but I always avoid open strings if possible. Unless using open strings makes playing the line significantly easier than fretting everything...but that’s not very often.

I LOVE those bouncy basslines that use an open as a sort of root or drone or whatever, the one that comes to mind is 'hey man, nice shot' by Filter:

nice grindy intro and a wild mathy kind of chorus. This of course is a ONE string song, done by down tuning to D which you couldn't play on a standard BEADG 5 anyway, so why do i bring it up here, oh yeh... open strings. I hate em, except for this.

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Yeah there are definitely lines where bouncing between the open string and fretted notes on the same string just makes sense! In those scenarios I’ll begrudgingly concede defeat and use the open notes, usually after spending some time attempting to do it using fretted notes only and failing miserably xD

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3 hours ago, BreadBin said:

Isn't it 5 extra notes? 😉

 

Yes but in every position - so 5 x # frets. Scales unfold so much better on a five and bloom across two octaves meaning an availability of options. Diminishing returns with a '6' though..

Edited by visog
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I definitely don't need (another) 5 string - I've already got four of them 👍

However ive also got 4 string basses - in fact far more of them than 5s.

My experience of 5s is they're great (well mine are) - if you don't have one it's worth investing in one and it's quite reasonable to use one as a main bass - I certainly did for years 😀

Edited by drTStingray

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Started using a 5 in 1996, and remember using a 4 once since then on a gig. Picking up a 4 and playing it feels really strange now, although I wouldn't mind getting a really nice 4 string J bass to have in my collection.

I watched the video the OP put up, and can honestly say that the Hipshot D Tuner wasn't for me (lasted on my old Yammy BB1100s for about a month before it got canned in favour of the original tuner). A 5 (for me) fits better, especially if I'm playing bass parts like Stevie's "I Wish". Still love the sound of a 4 in the hands of a great player though, and it still has a place in modern music.

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I've thought about getting a five string because some of the songs we do at church drop below my E string.  I usually just play up the octave and no-one is any the wiser!  I need a light bass and am used to playing short scale so finding a cheap five string that matches those requirements will not be easy.  "Up the octave" it will be then!

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3 minutes ago, LeftyP said:

I've thought about getting a five string because some of the songs we do at church drop below my E string.  I usually just play up the octave and no-one is any the wiser!  I need a light bass and am used to playing short scale so finding a cheap five string that matches those requirements will not be easy.  "Up the octave" it will be then!

Light and short scale is one thing. Cheap with a good B, plus light and short scale. Not so simple. Then you have to find a lefty. Good luck.

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8 hours ago, LeftyP said:

I've thought about getting a five string because some of the songs we do at church drop below my E string.  I usually just play up the octave and no-one is any the wiser!  I need a light bass and am used to playing short scale so finding a cheap five string that matches those requirements will not be easy.  "Up the octave" it will be then!

Ibanez make a couple of short scale 5ers, the TMB35 and the GRSM25, i was very close to buying a TMB35 during lockdown but have an alternative plan now (in my head at least, need to send an email or two to get it underway)

 

But if you need left handed then ii gets more difficult (or expensive)

 

Matt

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I don't really need one.... I play either originals or covers which were on four string.

Do I want one? Not really..... I have a mental list of the gear I'd like and a 5 string isn't on it.

If circumstances change, then maybe...... but it's unlikely given my playing ability that I'm going to join a theatre pit orchestra any time soon!

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22 hours ago, [email protected] said:

I don’t like detuning on the fly...

With you completely on this one Mark!

"Ladies and gents, please stop dancing while our bass player detunes for the next song. Oh and the same after this next number when he tunes back up. We apologise in advance to any disruption to the party vibe..."

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6 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

With you completely on this one Mark!

"Ladies and gents, please stop dancing while our bass player detunes for the next song. Oh and the same after this next number when he tunes back up. We apologise in advance to any disruption to the party vibe..."

I’ve played with a guitarist who often forgets to tune back up, the first chord of the following song is always an interesting one 😂

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1 hour ago, Al Krow said:

With you completely on this one Mark!

"Ladies and gents, please stop dancing while our bass player detunes for the next song. 

I would have ample time to do that while the guitarist retunes

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2 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

I would have ample time to do that while the guitarist retunes

Or in my case while he plays tap dance on his pedal board between songs, or restrings having broken yet another one...😁

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Just now, Al Krow said:

Or in my case while he plays tap dance on his pedal board between songs, or restrings having broken yet another one...😁

Also the last. Although he brings spare guitars now as he breaks strings so often.

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Just now, Woodinblack said:

Also the last. Although he brings spare guitars now as he breaks strings so often.

Yeah - that's the solution we ended up "enforcing" after the occasion that he broke a string just as we were about to play an encore! Absolute vibe killer! 

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Tbf one of the reasons why a quality multifx (e.g. IMO Helix or better, I wouldn't trust my Zoom to do pitch shifting well) or a decent pitch shifting pedal (e.g. Digitech Whammy) can be a great workaround for the 4 string player - allowing you to change key at the press of a stomp switch.

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Honestly if it takes you more than 2 seconds to change your E string to a D string there is something wrong, with or without a tuner!

I had a phase of bringing a couple of basses as there would be a 4 string I wanted to try but I could never play the entire set with a 4 string, so I would have to change, and our set list is never that fixed so too much of a hassle to change basses.

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I used to play with two 7-string guitarists. If I wanted to stay an octave below the guitars, I needed to go down to B as well. 

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