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Old May 16th, 2012, 07:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
Fugdup
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4 or 5 string bass?

I'm about to get myself a bass, but i have no idea if i should get a 4 or 5 string bass.

The thing is, i switch alot between tunings on my guitar.
Sometimes i'm in E standard, while sometimes i'm in B standard.

Would a 4 string bass work for songs in B tuning?

If i got a 5 string bass, can i just leave the thickest string alone when playing E tuning stuff?

What would you guys recommend?
I'm a big noob when it comes to bass, so any help is appreciated!
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Old May 16th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Buy a 5 string.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 09:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
Adrian Warren
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If you buy a 5 string it will probably come tuned to B-E-A-D-G which is the standard tuning with an additional low b. With this you will be able to play in e standard and b standard tunings.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 09:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If you want to use 120 gauge string for the B string, you can use a 4-string. If you want to go thicker than that, you must file the nut on a 4-string so might as well get a 5-string. But the fact is that 4-stringers are more comfortable to play (for me at least). I play in drop C and use only 4 string basses (including some vintage Fenders, I would never file the nuts on those) and it works great with no mods. Haven't tried BEAD though...
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Old May 16th, 2012, 09:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I would get the 5 in your case. Lots of good affordable options out there.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 10:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If a 5 string comes tuned with B-E-A-D-G, it seems like a good choice as i wouldn't have to change anything when switching between B and E.
Guess i'll start looking for 5 string basses then

Severu: How is 4strings more comfortable? Is it because of the neck, or?
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Old May 16th, 2012, 10:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
Loren Littlejohn
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I have both, the 5 is much more versatile.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 12:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A 5-string BTB
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Old May 16th, 2012, 01:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Old May 16th, 2012, 01:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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5 For me.
First of all it's better for low tunings,and secondly if you play fast/technical stuff it's much easier since the strings are closer to each other
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Old May 17th, 2012, 06:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The number of strings doesn't matter in terms of how low you can tune, it's all about the scale length. A 35 inch scale 4 string will hold lower tunings better than a 34 inch scale 5 string.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 07:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
Rex Rocker
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I play 5-strings and have for a while...

... and quite honestly, I regret ever getting a 5 string bass instead of a 4-string and having it down-tuned. I've tried to sell it and get myself a 4-string, but the used market's kinda shitty here...

I personally always felt a 5-string just has an extra string that I never use that's just "in the way". IMO, of course.

5-string sets are more expensive and you've got an extra string to worry about keeping quiet when you're not playing it. Plus I personally like the feel of the smaller necks on 4-strings.

Hell, if they made 3-string basses, I'd probably want one of those, lol.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 07:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The number of strings doesn't matter in terms of how low you can tune, it's all about the scale length. A 35 inch scale 4 string will hold lower tunings better than a 34 inch scale 5 string.
If you are just buying it and leaving it in a tuning that makes sense but since he's switching between B and E the 5 seems like a no brainer.
I don't know of any off the shelf 35" 4 strings. Is anyone making one?
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Old May 17th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Old May 17th, 2012, 09:12 PM   #15 (permalink)
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5 string is a no brainer for me.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 09:56 PM   #16 (permalink)
colonel kurtz
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i do the same myself with the whole changing tunings thing, and have a 5 string schecter i use for my bass tracks...glad i have it, life would be that much more a PITA with a 4 string!
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Old May 18th, 2012, 02:47 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: 4 or 5 string bass?

For both tunings, 5 is the best option by far. I've used a five string for years and I no longer play in any bands where I actually need the low B, I'm just used to it. But when I had two bands, one tuned in D and the other in A, buying a 5 stringer was my savior
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Old May 18th, 2012, 04:18 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I bought a 5 string bass mostly because I didn't want to feel 'second class citizen' with only 4 strings. Even though I use just the bottom two


Srsly though, 5 strings for drop tunings and such, as has been mentioned.
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