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Thread: 4 or 5 Strings?

  1. #1

    Default 4 or 5 Strings?

    Hi, Everyone;

    As I mentioned before, I'm a long time guitarist who is new to this bass stuff. So please forgive me for asking a silly question...but what is the difference between a 4, 5 and 6 string bass? Should I consider getting a 5 or 6 string model? Is it easier to learn on 4 strings and add additional strings later, or should I start out with 5 or 6 strings? Or should I stick with 4 strings. I look forward to your thoughts...

    Thanks in advance,
    Brian

  2. #2
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    Default

    I would love a five-stringer, but the bass I fell in love with had only four.

    If you're just starting out and have never tried one, I would recommend going to the music store and hanging a five-stringer around your neck just to check out that awesome B string. If she talks to you, think about it instead of the four.

    Just remember though, that Roy's lessons are done with a four-stringer, so you'd have some extra work ahead of you. The people here who already play fives will be better at telling you how the lessons go with a fiver.

    Six would be a bit much for me, though.


    - low life -

  3. Default

    I like the 4string myself and until i can make it sound as good as Roy im fine with it. theres really only 4 extra low notes although u can cover more range without moving around so much.

  4. #4
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    Default

    I play 4, 5 and 6 string basses.

    The four is my old 72 Fender P bass. Learned on it many years ago and still my go to bass for blues. Roy does use a 4 string for the TMBG lessons, but he certainly does not only play a 4 stringer.

    My 5 string is a 35" scale, MTD fretless and that is quite a different critter, but I love the sound and feel of a solid B string. Right, there are only four more notes below a 4 string, but it is so easy to drop down to a solid low D or even a thundering C if necessary. I don't go down there often during a song, but do use it for effect at appropriate points in a song (often near the end or the climax point in the song).

    My 6 string is a Tobias Killer B and the upper C string adds highs that are available by just walking across the neck instead of pivoting or sliding up the neck. With extended range basses it is important to make sure that the pickups are set properly to get a similar volume from each string.

    As far as the lessons go, you can play things on the middle four strings, just like Roy does in the lessons, but you need to extend the range of your scales, arpeggios, and chord work to include the upper and lower strings.

    Both my MTD and the Tobias have Michael Tobias' asymetrical shaped necks, so they are thinner on the treble side and are therefore very easy to play in spite of the width of the necks, but still difficult to reach across and play the low B string above the 12th fret (but there are many options for playing those same notes elsewhere on the neck that its not an issue).

    Extended string basses are not terribly difficult to play, but do give you a wider palate of places to play. If you want the mid neck tone, you can play the entire piece up there and that can be more difficult with only 4 strings.
    Last edited by TobiasMan; 05-12-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Great info, TobiasMan. Thankee!!!


    - low life -

  6. #6
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    four for me please
    Let's Play Bass!

  7. Default

    I play 6 myself, Ibanez SR506

  8. #8
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    Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
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    Default

    At this point, I'm good with 4 and don't anticipate going to more strings. You never know, though. I am not philosophically opposed to more strings.

  9. #9

    Default

    Right now, I have a 4 string and a 5 string. I play the 4 string pretty much all the time. I'm just starting out (less than a year) and when I play the 5, I found myself getting lost. But I will get htere.

  10. Default

    My main bass is a 5 string, with a low B. I'm just starting TMBG (lesson 1 so far!) so I'm also curious how the lessons will go with a 5er.

    Anyway, I appreciate the ease of being able to play without a whole lot of shifting hand position on the neck, and my band plays a couple drop D songs that I don't have to tune down for.

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