5 String Basses Suck for Beginners (7 Reasons)

Is it dangerous to learn on 5 string bass? Here are all the reasons you might wanna stick to a classic 4 string when you start out.

If you’re doing the Beginner to Badass course, this lesson would fit anywhere - just don’t get depressed if you’ve already bought a 5 string, you’ll probably be okay. :slight_smile:

For all you 5 stringers out there - how was it learning on the 5? What felt accurate in this video, or what did I miss?


I am only 20 seconds in and lololoooool Evil 5 String Bass!!!1! (falls out of chair)

(More later)


I agree and disagree with just about every one of the 7 reasons. I did the entire B2B course on a fiver with no problem. I think I’m all the better for it.
As far as muting, the floating thumb is the answer.

P.S. I do agree about slapping, but I’m not a slapper, and if i was, I’d play one of my 4 strings.
… and yes they are heavier.


The bass wasn’t your first instrument, right?


In addition to agreeing with all of the points made in the video (and very much appreciating the 2 point disclaimer at the end), I am constantly blown away by the level-up in video making. Damn. Kudos, @JoshFossgreen .

Also - I would watch a full you tube series of evil 5 string ruining different bass situations.

Shows up right before gig, bass player plays all the wrong strings.
Shows up at the classic blues/soul recording session and low-Bs everything
Goes through the express grocery line with, like, 25 things.

It would be great.


Totally, and a bunch of those 25 things would be produce missing the stickers, or UPC codes that don’t scan. And then…Evil 5 String Bass would pay by check.


It was my first since high school. Back then I failed at trumpet, drums, and piano.


I laughed my ass off. I like “The Joshman” voice.


looking forward to all the ‘evil 5-string bass’ Halloween costumes this year.




I would agree (and who am I to argue with Josh!?), but I think it benefitted me to fairly early on getting used to a 5-string. Later, I would go back to 4-string predominantly, but recently, I re-ignited my love for a 5er. String confusion is still occasionally plaguing me and, yes, muting is something to be aware of. (Like, @PamPurrs , I basically don’t slap, but if I were, it would be on a 4 string).

Something that gets mentioned only too rarely is that a 5er can potentially make some tricky passages easier to play, when you, e.g., don’t have to “fly down” to the F on the E string, but can play the F on the B string. Five strings allow you to more easily maintain your fretting hand position.


So… I have to know if Noob Josh stays with the Four Side, or gives in to his anger and hatred to join the Five Side and become Djent Josh? I suppose that will happen in “Bass Buzz Episode IX: The Rise of Fourplayer”.

For me, I love 5 and 6 string basses. I think they just look way cooler than a 4 string. Especially fanned fret 5 and 6 strings. So rad looking. That said, I’ve tried 5 strings twice; I really prefer the flatter, wider necks with the tighter string spacing. That, that said, I’ve gone back to 4 strings twice and sold my 5 strings (well, sold one of them… anyone want to buy a near-mint Carvin B5?) because I find that the music I want to play and see myself playing in future doesn’t cater to more than 4 strings. So, the 5th string just… hangs around and gets in my way. And it does require a bit of a mind tweak when you’re looking at tab written for 4 string bass… the E string on the tab is no longer the string closest to you on the bass.

So… I kind of agree that as a beginner, you should start with a 4 string. If you later want to expand to a 5 string, awesome. But if someone wants to start with a 5 string, or only has access to a 5 string, that’s awesome too.

Oh, and P.S.? Yeah, great video @JoshFossgreen, well done. I find myself watching your YouTube videos over and over again for the entertainment factor alone. That’s not to say they don’t have great content - they do - they’re just also very entertaining. :slight_smile:


That is the most compelling reason to play a fiver IMHO.


Great video, Josh!

For me the reason was I simply didn’t like the feel. The string spacing was just weird feeling and even after months I didn’t get in to it. It was’t my first instrument but I also didn’t really have any of the other problems with it - it was mostly just that it felt “wrong”.

The problem is, very few five strings I have heard have good timbre above the 5th-7th fret on the B string. Most sound really dull up higher than that. So yes, that works great in the money notes, but it’s still pretty limited, at least in my experience.


Do fretless next!

1 Like

Great video @JoshFossgreen as usual. Informative and entertaining.
I really stumbled as a beginner when I had my dalliance with a fiver. Still have the urge to try now and again but as I am not 100% happy with my fretting hand abilities with a 4 I will abstain for now.
To be honest, the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the title of the video was it should have the subtitle of “unless you’re a bad ass bass gal “ @PamPurrs


Great video! Lots of valid points.

I think the deciding factor for playing a fiver is need. If a genre(s) requires being able to play the notes a B string provides, it’s a no brainer to have one. But, if not, then not. Just my take.


LOL :slight_smile:


Sorry dude, everyone knows lists must be at least 10 things on YouTube.
Therefore, I give this video a 7/10. :upside_down_face:

Seriously, great video @JoshFossgreen as usual.
Two thoughts always come to my mind with 5/6 string basses.

  1. When IS the appropriate time to introduce more strings in your learning path (in general).
  2. If folks learned bass thinking about the G string as your 'home base" (no pun intended) vs. the E string, it might then make adding the 5th string easier then the 6th string (if ever) just follows the same path. Yeah, I know, bass learners want to work the low end, not the G string, but…if you flipped your thinking on where your “anchor point” is it might be easier to ‘float’ the next string.

Weirdly (I guess) but I never had problems missing strings - I would typically either move my thumb to rest on the B or curl my pinky under it to mute (warning - this is addictive, I do it on my 4 strings now too) when not on it.