4-String vs. 5-String Bass

Bass
Which one is right for you?

It's a personal choice so rather than tell you what you should do, I'm just going to list a few benefits of each. Brief note to beginners: a 5-string is the same as a 4 but it has an extra string on the low end that drops to a B note.

The 5-String

1. The clear advantage of a 5-string is the expanded range. That low B string really adds some bottom. It also helps you get beneath a keyboardist who is playing heavily in the mid to low range. There's nothing worse than a keyboard player trampling all over your notes.

2. More is, well...more. If you feel comfortable on a 4-string it makes sense to expand to 5. It just gives you more options and options are good when you know what to do with them.

3. The tension on the strings of a 5-string actually affectst the sound. Whether you consider that a positive or negative is up to you. Of course, you never want to purchase a bass without playing it first.

The 4-String

1. Keep it simple. A five string can give you more options than you are ready for causing you to muddy up the mix or simply play too busily. Beginner and intermediate players can really benefit from sticking to a four string for this reason alone. If you are focusing on modern worship, you'll have rare moments when you miss out.

2. Having only four strings encourages creativity. What do you do when you can't hit that low B? Fewer options can force you to think outside the box and grow your mastery of the bass.

3. It was good enough for The Police, Motown, and U2. Enough said.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it's all about preference. If you are just starting out, I'd stick with the 4-string. Even after a lifetime of playing I still prefer it and in lessons that have a 5-string bass, I will still show you what to do it on a 4 so you'll never be out of luck. If you haven't signed up for bass lessons on Worship Artistry yet, you should. Sign up here. Now a question to you: what do you prefer and why?

Try out your new 5 string on these lessons

Dance

A dubstep breakdown? No problem.
Put your seatbelt on and hang on!!
Get ready for some crazy fun.
Synthmania!!!
Album: 
Endless Praise
Song Key: 
E
BPM: 
130

Spirit Of The Living God

We added a tasteful acoustic part and really worked the dynamics
Fun tune with a great vibe!
5 string joy. If you have a 4 you can rock it too.
Simplicity is beautiful.
Album: 
Church Songs
Song Key: 
D

Overwhelmed

Simple finger picking throughout and a fully added lead part with bonus content.
Let's learn some 6/8!!
5 string stuff! (You can do it on 4)
A pump organ in 6/8!
Song Key: 
C
BPM: 
74

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Comments

4 string vs 5 string

I have played 5 and 4 strings. I am getting the best of both guitars by tuning my bass to D-Standard (D-G-C-F). I get the comfort and weight advantage of a 4 string and I get extended range. I can tune down to Drop-C or even to B if I use 110 gauge for the low string. A good octave pedal is another option for those few times you need to get really low or when you want to thicken your sound some.

5 string

I purchased my first bass a few months back and my worship leader suggested considering a 5 string. Up until then, I had only played 4 strings. I rented a 5 string for a while to see how I would like it and I found the flexibility of having that extra string to be quite valuable. It wasn't that much more difficult to play and opens up many possibilities. I decided to get the 5 string and have been quite happy with it ever since.

5

I like the extended range the 5th string gives me. There are a few songs that we play where we change the key and a low D, C, or B just fit the song so much better, giving the song more depth. Also, for a low E, I like going to the 5th fret better than playing an open string.

My upgrade failed and I want to cancel the upgrade.

I tried to upgrade my plan from individual to medium and it failed because of having to get a replacement card. It is stuck in individual plan with a pending charge in 8 months. I want to cancel the upgrade because the need to upgrade is no longer needed.

Do I need to totally cancel everything and give up on Worship Artristy? The sight has great info but the support is bad. I tried contacting support and one of the email contacts but didn't get any response :-(

I'm not expecting any response but hoping.

THERES A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX!

Hi Cathy. Thanks for reaching out here. Something has obviously gone wrong because our support guru, Bethany is amazing. She will reach out to you first thing in Monday morning. I'm very sorry you've had a poor experience and I promise you we'll get it right. Thank you for your patience.

Last year, I purchased a five

Last year, I purchased a five string. I had been playing on a four string since high school but it was a rock concert a few years ago in which the bass player for Eowyn was playing on a five. It had got me thinking of what I can do with a five string vs. a four string. I have played on worship teams at various churches and with a praise and worship band. Recently did a worship night with my band and chose to use the five string for Revelation Song. I got the effect that I was hoping for. But here is my dilemma, my four string has active pickups, where my five string doesn't. My volume knobs are all the way up on my five string where my four string is a quarter of the way. I leave everything on my amp set the same. Any suggestions?

A clean boost pedal might be appropriate

I've got a custom electronics that I get up to 20db of volume boost. I play guitar but I don't see why it wouldn't work for bass. Maybe some bass players to can speak to this idea.

Big Thumbs Up

"It was good enough for The Police, Motown, and U2." More bass players should know who James Jamerson is!

Thank you Daniel. I really enjoy your work and attitude on WA.

Thanks so much!!

Hey thanks for the comment. I agree. Maybe I will do a greenroom post on James Jameson! What you think?