I had a nice 5 that I liked a lot overall but the string spacing just bugged me. And that’s after adjusting them for width. I just didn’t like the feel with the strings slightly closer together than on a 4.
Everyone should try one though. Don’t let the huge fretboard scare you - if anything it’s easier to reach the EADG strings on a 5 than a 4; the strings are about 2mm closer together so you cut over half a centimeter off the reach for the E string with a 5.
I strung one of my 4-strings in BEAD tuning using the low part of a 5-string set for half a year and that was awesome too. One thing I noticed with the 5 was that for the music I like to play, it was really rare that I would need the range of the B string in any song that used the G string at all. And sure enough, with BEAD, I never missed the G string. Gaining those five semitones on the low end made up for losing the five on top. Cool tuning.
But in the end, I found myself pretty satisfied with just going to drop D instead. And a lot of songs in Drop D are easier to play in Drop D than in BEAD(G) - which makes sense when you think about it, the person that wrote the song was fingering it in Drop D, so their natural choices often translate better to that tuning than to having the D string shifted two frets back to “normal” tuning, even with the B string being there.
There’s a lot of great bassists that play 5 strings and a lot that play four .
I’m just not mentally able to play 5 strings for some reason. I still miss que on four strings so chucking an extra string in there is just a recipe for disaster
There is definitely a 5 string bass in my future - just not the immediate future. I want one, but right now I have my hands full just (re)learning 4 strings. Even now I’m having difficulty focusing on a single area.
Besides, if I had a 5 string I’d have to change basses every time I had a song that called for the low notes, or else make the 5 string my primary instrument.
With the Xtender I have my low D with the flick of a little lever.
Please be aware that constantly retuning / re-tensioning a regular, good-ol-fashioned wood bass is rough on the bass and the strings.
Constantly retuning through dropped tunings and standard multiple times a day can be tough.
I thought I retuned a bass more than anyone in the world with all my odd-tuning jams and songs, but it sounds like you’ve got me beat.
The ideal solution is: get another cheap bass, and leave it in the lower tuning.
Same for a 5 string.
It’s so lovely and comfortable to have each bass set up to play well, keep constant and regular tension on the necks, and be ready to go when you want it.
My 2 related stories:
In highschool I played in a metal band that tuned down a fourth (BEAD) but I also played normal stuff and took lessons, and I only had one bass. I had massive strings on the bass (to sound decent detuned) and detuned and retuned regularly. The neck got JACKED. It was warped, as well it should be after all that abuse.
The bass I did my most bizarre tunings on was a Modulus which had a graphite neck which didn’t care what you did to it and always stayed in tune. So that worked out.
The multiple bass solution is the most versatile and convenient (and labor/cost effective) in my opinion.
Anytime you need to rationalize a bass purchase, simply watch the news and find and area in the west with a wildfire, or an area in the east with a flood/hurricane. Then rationalize that your purchase from that area is saving multiple types of trees from sacrificing their lives for a replacement bass. By eliminating the lost bass, you are fighting global warming AND fighting insurance rate increases. Damn you should get a medal for helping all of mankind…If you are lucky you may get help from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Basses (ASPCB).
You want to buy a bass, then buy it…it’s not alcohol or cigarettes. It’s not cocaine or opiates. It’s not another woman while your wife and kids wait for you to come home. It’s a bass… Learning to play bass to the best of your ability will take your mind off everything I have mentioned and will save you the money so you can buy a super nice one you enjoy playing.
An oldish thread but I just wanted to add my two kopecks to the hipshot extender gadget for anyone searching for info.
If you can find the money get it. I often flip between songs that I feel like playing and I don’t want to kurb the fancy that takes me to a particular song to play next by thinking if it’s in standard or drop D, which a lot of the songs I like, are.
The hipshot thingy is brilliant, works as advertised- provided that you follow the tuning procedure - and seems to be a quality product .
Mine wasn’t a completely straight drop in for a sterling sub4, although it was recommended to be (bt1 short) by the vendor. However it was only two of the four screws that didn’t line up and they went it without any issue.
So far I’m well chuffed with it
I recently installed a BT1 on my Sterling Ray 4 and ended up re-drilling pilot holes for all 4 mounting screws - not a big deal. I think the BT1 is a drop-in for an Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray and the Sterlings are slightly different. At least the peg holes are the same size.
I ran into the same thing putting a BT7 (drop-in for MIM Fenders) on a Squier Affinity Series P bass (see my posts earlier in this thread).