4 String Vs. 5 String Bass – Differences Explained | Tone Topics - Dedicated guitar site with everything guitar gear, how-to guides, tutorials, reviews for all guitar players. (2023)

Have you looked at a 5 string bass and thought… ”Why do bass players need the extra string?” Are more strings better than a standard 4 string bass guitar?

Well, look no further. My valuable post will answer the key differences between a 4 and 5 string bass. These include the function, benefits, pros & cons, and how to decide if a 5 string bass is the ideal instrument for you.

Sound good? Let’s go…

What is the difference between a 4 string and 5 string bass guitar?

A 4 string bass has a narrower neck, wider string spacing, and is easier to play. In comparison, a 5 string bass has an extra string allowing an extended lower range to play notes in lower keys and the choice of more scales, chords, and arpeggios but has a wider neck and a heavier instrument.

4 String Bass5 String Bass
Standard TuningE, A, D, GB, E, A, D, G
Additional NotesLow B
Low C
Low D
Low Db
Low Eb
Note Range20% more
Neck Width33mm – 43mm44mm – 48mm
String Spacing19mm17mm
Weight8.3lb – 9.6lb8.5 lb – 12lb
PlayabilityEasier to playHarder to play
Hand Size SuitabilityEasier for small handsHarder for small hands
PriceCost 3% – 10% more than four-string version (same model)

4 String Vs. 5 String Bass

4 String Vs. 5 String Bass – Differences Explained | Tone Topics - Dedicated guitar site with everything guitar gear, how-to guides, tutorials, reviews for all guitar players. (1)

As we all know, all bass guitars in standard tuning are tuned exactly an octave lower than regular 6 string guitars.

So with a 5 string bass, what is the function of the extra string? And what are the benefits of this setup?

Five String Pro #1 – Extended Lower Range

If you didn’t know already an extended lower range means that you have more access to low registry notes on the same instrument.

To understand the function of a 5 string bass first let’s compare the tunings…

On a regular 4 string bass standard tuning is E-A-D-G.

Whereas on a 5 string bass standard tuning is B-E-A-D-G.

This means the extra B string allows for five additional ‘low notes,’ being the:

  • Low B (open)
  • Low C – (1st fret)
  • Low Db – (2nd fret)
  • Low D – (3rd fret)
  • Low Eb – (4th fret)
4 String Vs. 5 String Bass – Differences Explained | Tone Topics - Dedicated guitar site with everything guitar gear, how-to guides, tutorials, reviews for all guitar players. (2)

Now, these five additional ‘low notes’ mentioned above are absolutely critical to the function of a 5 string bass. Why? These low register notes correspond to the most common tunings including Eb, D, and C#.

These ‘low notes’ essentially ‘fills in the gaps’ that a 4 string in standard tuning can’t produce in a ‘low’ and ‘deep-sounding’ register.

Essentially a 5 string bass gives you these important low register notes while the other strings can remain in standard tuning.Allowing your memorized scale patterns, keys, and note positions on the fretboard to remain unaffected.

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Of course, you do have these notes available on a 4 string bass in standard tuning. However, because they are only available in a ‘higher register’ (further down the neck) they sound too ‘bright’ and ‘piercing.’ Whereas playing them in a low register they sound ‘deeper,’ ‘warmer.’ as a bass should sound.

On a 4 string, to achieve the desired low notes in a low register, the only option would be to tune down the strings to Drop D or Eb.

But as mentioned, you would then have to transpose your memorized scale patterns and key positions on the fretboard which is inconvenient. Therefore a 5 string bass gives you these notes in a lower register while remaining in standard tuning.

Five String Pro #2 – Don’t Have to Re-Tune

This ties in with the first point. With access to the important notes such as Eb, D, and C# on the low B String.

It means that all of the strings can remain in standard tuning as these notes correspond to the most common tunings in western music.

This is good because tuning to an unfamiliar tuning can skew your understanding of where all the notes are on the fretboard. This can be a bit complicated and frustrating.

Benefit 1# – You Have Access to Eb

For example, let’s say you turn up for some session work and the guitarist plays in Eb. With a 4 string, you would have to tune down to Eb. In comparison, with a 5 string bass, you have the Eb note on your 5th string meaning you don’t have to tune down your bass guitar.

Benefit #2 – You Have Access to Drop D

Another example, let’s say your band plays a specific song in Drop D. With a 4 string, you would have to tune down to Drop D or bring another bass guitar in Drop D.

In comparison, with a 5 string bass, you have the D note on your 5th string meaning you can avoid tunning your bass to a drop tuning.

The point is that a 5 String offers more in terms of convenience and flexibility. The lower extended range gives you two benefits – lower-sounding notes and more tunings on the same instrument.

Five String Pro #3 – More Note Coverage

The extra string also has another benefit. Instead of moving further distances across the neck to hit notes, you can simply move upwards on the 5th string to play the same notes.

Which some players argue is more efficient by decreasing sideways movement and drag.In simple terms, You have more note coverage under your hand in one position. Without having to shift your hand across the neck to connect notes. Which some argue is smoother and promotes less drag.

For example, let’s say you are playing a lick around the 7th fret and you need to finish the lick with an F (1st fret on the low E string.) With a 4 string bass you will have to move your hand a distance from the 7th fret to the 1st fret to hit the F note (a long distance.)

Whereas on a 5 string bass, you can simply move up to the 5th string to hit the same note on the 6th Fret.

Meaning you don’t have to move across the entire fretboard to hit connecting notes. You can simply move upwards on the extra string which some players argue is more efficient and decreases sideways movement.

Other Pros

  • Looks Badass
  • You can transpose your known bass lines to the lower registers
  • You can transpose songs to lower keys because you have more notes on one instrument
  • Low notes sound cool and vibey
  • You have more musicality on the same instrument
  • More musically versatile and convenient

Five String Con #1 – Muting the 5th String

Although the extra string offers so many benefits… it does bring a few cons. The first common drawback is keeping the damn 5th string silent while jamming on the other strings.

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Bass players unfamiliar with the 5 string commonly knock the 5th string causing it to ring out. Taking the shine out of their performance. It also ruins studio recordings on playback hearing the faint sound of a ringing B string.

Unintentional contact can happen during certain riffs, bass lines, or during certain bass techniques. Therefore, you need to identify what causes the unintentional contact in your playing and work on it.

This is very common with players who came from a 4 string background. This is another aspect to understand if you are thinking of transitioning.

Keep in mind, learning to effectively mute the 5th string is a separate skill within itself. It will require some practice to get used to when transitioning from a 4 string.

Knowing this, you will have to commit and master your own technique to keep the 5th string quiet. Obviously, this issue does not happen on 4 string bass so players prefer the simplicity and less fiddly nature of a 4 string.

Five String Con #2 – Playability

To accommodate the extra string, a 5 string bass’s neck is substantially wider compared to 4 string bass. Now interestingly, this affects playability for a number of reasons.

The first is that a wider fretboard means that the neck will feel much girthier in the palm of the hand. Now, this is a problem for players who have small hands and short fingers. As stretching for notes can feel awkward and unnatural.

For some players with larger hands, it will feel ok and easy to adapt to. On the other hand, some players find the neck too bulky to uncomfortable to navigate.

For some bass players despite the benefits of the extended lower range, they find 5 string necks too wide and ‘weighty’ therefore revert back to a 4 string due to better comfort and playability. Again, it all boils down to personal preference.

To accommodate the extra string, 5 string basses also have less space between each string (known as string spacing.)

This means that the strings are closer together requiring a touch more accuracy and finesse. The reason is there is more chance you can accidentally knock other strings creating weird contact noises and undertones.

On the other hand, 4 string basses have a wider distance from each string giving more room between each string.

Keep in mind, some players like tighter string spacing whereas other players prefer wider. The point is that it is something that sets both basses apart when it comes to playability.

Five String Con #3 – Heavier Instrument

5 String basses are commonly much heavier than 4 string basses. Why? well, thanks to the wider neck, bridge, pickups, and general size increase. It results in a heavier bass guitar.

But what is the weight difference?

4 string weight = 8.3lb – 9.6lb

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5 string weight = 8.5lb – 12lb

As you can see, the heaviest 5 string bass can weigh as much as 12lb. This is something to know if you have to play standing for long periods of time. Or have problems such as back and neck problems.

Although you can purchase lighter 5 string models and heavier 4 string models. Yet, the weight difference is very noticeable. If you transition from a 4 string to a 5 string you can notice the weight immediately.

Therefore, the weight does impact playability and how effortless it is to play for long periods of time. With that said, some players simply ‘man up’ and forget about the extra weight but enjoy the pros of the added range and musicality.

Other Cons

  • Some bass amp speakers struggle to transfer the super low frequencies of the low B string
  • Moving fretting hand positions across the neck helps memorize more fretboard notes
  • Moving upwards to hit notes instead of across the fretboard can be seen as ‘lazy’
  • Integrating the 5th string into your playing can be challenging for 4 string players

4 String vs. 5 String – Which is Best for Beginners

Many beginners ask…”should I start on a 5 or 4 string bass?”

On the surface, a 4 string bass sounds like the most obvious answer because side-by-side. It is lighter, easier to play, and less technical. Which sounds more appealing to a beginner.

Although it does sound plausible, the truth is that a 5 string bass is not a more advanced instrument than a 4 string. You should not view a 5 string bass as the next level up from a 4 string bass. They are both equal.

Being able to play a 5 string bass does not automatically make you a more advanced musician than a 4 string player.

A 5 string bass is just a different tool and a personal preference. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with starting to learn on a 5,6, or even 7 string bass if it is more inspiring than the other choices. It all boils down to personal preference.

If you want to learn on a 5 string go ahead, if you want to learn on a 4 string go ahead. It makes no difference.

The point is a beginner should either choose either 4 vs 5 string based on what instrument inspires them the most to play. And importantly, which instrument keeps them learning, progressing, and having fun as a bass player.

How to Decide as A Beginner

To help you make a decision between both instruments, here are some things you can do/ask yourself?

  • Play both basses in a music store and decide what feels more natural to you?
  • Does the 5 string feel too heavy?
  • Does the 5 string bass have too much of a wide neck?
  • Does the 4 string feel more comfortable?
  • Do you have smaller or larger hands?
  • Decide which bass inspires you the most to play?
  • Decide which bass looks cooler and appeals to you the most?
  • Do your bass guitar heroes play 4 or 5 string bass?
  • Are your favorite bass parts/songs written with a 5 string or 4 string bass?

4 String vs. 5 String – Which is Best for Playing Metal

4 String Vs. 5 String Bass – Differences Explained | Tone Topics - Dedicated guitar site with everything guitar gear, how-to guides, tutorials, reviews for all guitar players. (3)

On the surface, it would appear that a 5 string bass would be better for playing the ‘detuned’ sound of metal. Because a 5 string bass offers lower notes being B-E-A-D-G. Compared to a 4 string tuned to E-A-D-G.

So is a 5 string better for Metal?

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As a general rule, a 5 string bass is not a necessity ‘better’ for playing metal over a 4 string bass. The reason is that most players who adopt 4 string basses for metal simply tune their bass down to deeper tunings.

For example, some popular metal tunings on a 4 string bass are…

  • Drop D – D-A-D-G
  • Drop C – C-G-C-F
  • B tuning – B-E-A-D
  • Drop B – B-F#-B-E

So if a 4 string is sufficient and not better? Why do players use a 5 string bass for Metal? Here are a few reasons…

Range & Efficiency

It’s all about the range! As mentioned before, a 5 string offer an extended lower range. Meaning that bass players can hit lower notes without moving across fret positions on the neck. And this makes sense for some metal players.

A lot of metal genres such as thrash, death, and speed metal have fast, technical, and complicated licks across the fretboard. Therefore, instead of moving across the fretboard they simply shift upwards to hit the connecting notes without ‘drag’ and unnecessary sideways movement. Allowing them to play faster and more challenging bass parts.

No Need to Re-Tune

As mentioned above, there is a large number of bass metal tunings. Therefore, constantly re-tuning to different tuning configurations can bring playability issues. For example, going from Drop D all the way to Drop B means the strings will lose a ton of tension.

If you don’t have thick enough strings for that tuning it means that the strings will be too loose and limp. Also, the tone will lack, punch, and responsiveness due to the lack of tension. Furthermore, the truss rod will need adjusting making everything very inconvenient. Therefore, having a 5 string bass solves the issue of being able to play in a number of tuning variations without re-tuning.

Comparing The Price Difference

When it comes to comparing identical bass models with both 4 and 5 string options. Typically the 5 string versions are more expensive. This is handy to know if budget is a big factor when deciding which bass to choose.

How expensive? Well, my handy comparison graph below gives you an idea of how much identical bass models vary between 4 and 5 string versions.

Bass Model4 String Price5 String PricePrice Difference (%)
Squier Affinity Series Jazz Bass$299.99$339.9912.5% Increase
Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Jazz Bass$489.99$499.992% Increase
Fender Player Jazz Bass$849.99$949.9911.1% Increase
ESP LTD Stream Bass$601$6558.5% Increase
Ibanez RGB Series Bass$399.99$449.9911.7% Increase
Schecter Stiletto Extreme Bass$599.99$649.998% Increase
Schecter J BassSeries$899.99$949.995.4% Increase
Schecter CV Bass Series$749.99$799.996.4% Increase
Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay Special HH Bass$2499$2599$3.9 Increase

How To Decide – Key Points To Know

  • A beginner can start learning on a 4,5 or even a 6 string bass – it’s personal preference
  • It makes no difference what bass you start learning on
  • 4 and 5 string basses have their separate pros & cons –
  • Neither bass is better than the other – it comes down to preference
  • A 4 string bass is not a less advanced instrument than a 5 string
  • A 5 string is not the natural progression from a 4 string – it’s a separate tool
  • A 5 string bass player is not an automatically more advanced musician than a 4 string player
  • Do not transition to a 5 string if you have no use for the extra string
  • You can transition to a 5 string down the line to experiment
  • Choose the bass you feel most comfortable on

Why Choose a 4 String Bass

  • You dont require the extended low range on the same instrument
  • You don’t mind re-tuning your bass to different tunings to achieve low register notes
  • You typicaly utilize one or two tunings
  • You like playing across the neck to hit connecting notes
  • You prefer a lighter and easier instrument to play
  • You find 5 string necks to wide and cumbersome
  • You have smaller hands
  • You prefer the simplicity of a 4 string bass
  • You don’t want to master muting the 5th string on a 5 string
  • You like the idea of a 5 string but won’t utilize the extra string to its full potential
  • You feel more at home on a 4 string
  • You have multiple bass instruments in multiple tuninings

Why Choose a 5 String Bass

  • You need the additional string to hit notes in lower registers while remaining in standard tuning
  • You love the sound of the low notes
  • You need the extended lower range for certain songs and arrangements
  • You like to play in standard but also have the option to play drop D and Eb and other keys when you need them
  • You like to play and transpose bass riffs to lower registers
  • You like the idea of experimenting with different note variations
  • You are a session musician, that players for theatre productions and musicals
  • You are required to read and transpose music for session work
  • You prefer having a consistent tuninnig with more convenience and versatility

Why Session Musicians Need a 5 String Bass

If you are a session musician or aspire to expand into theatre/musicals or studio work in the future? A 5 string bass is a necessity and a required instrument (for good reason.)

First, sheet music in session work is typically written for 5 string bass. Therefore, turning up with a 4 string will not look professional. Of course, you can transpose the music adapted to a 4 string but makes the task difficult. Simplicity is best.

Also, theatre composers utilize the low B notes to mimic the sound of synths and organs. Meaning on a 4 string, you can not recreate the low registry notes unless you tuned down.Whereas, a 5 string bass will give you access to the low register notes while maintaining standard tuning.

The note versatility and convenience are also super handy for common session situations. For example, if a vocalist wanted to move the key of the song down to suit their voice. Then you have the low notes available on your 5 string meaning you don’t have to re-tune.

It’s pretty apparent that if you aspire to session work in theatres and shows? A 5 string bass is the more versatile instrument for theatre/production work.

Before You Go

Before you go, do you think a small guitar amp can serve as a good bass practice amp?

Well, you need to read my post: “Can You Play a Bass Through a Guitar Amp?” You will learn the 101 about whether it is dangerous or a good amp substitute for any learning bassist.

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Should I buy a 4 string or 5 string bass? ›

For most styles you'll probably be ok with a 4-string. If you're into heavier music that's popular today, you may want a 5-string bass where you can reach those lower notes without having to detune your bass.

What is the difference between a 4 string and 5 string bass guitar? ›

A 4 string bass has a narrower neck, wider string spacing, and is easier to play. In comparison, a 5 string bass has an extra string allowing an extended lower range to play notes in lower keys and the choice of more scales, chords, and arpeggios but has a wider neck and a heavier instrument.

What's the point of a 5 string bass? ›

The biggest advantage of the five-string bass is its extended lower range. From the fretted low-E all the way down to the chest-imploding low-B, that fifth string provides a gateway for exploration into previously uncharted territory.

Why 4 string bass is the best? ›

The four string bass is the best because it allows for a greater range of notes and is easier to play than a five or six string bass. It is also easier to transport and set up. Bass guitars can be made with four or five strings, and the idea of doing so has existed since the 1970s.

Is it harder to slap on a 5-string bass? ›

In general, 5-string basses are slightly harder to slap than 4-string bass guitars. This increase in difficulty is due to having to keep one more string muted, and due to narrower string spacing. However, these factors only have a minor impact on difficulty.

Is 5-string bass OK for beginners? ›

In general, 5-string basses are good beginner instruments. The low B string makes it easier for beginners to play in deeper tunings than tuning down and setting up a 4-string bass. As the neck of the 5-string is wider than a 4-string, it can however be a more cumbersome instrument for young bassists.

Is it easier to slap on a 4-string bass? ›

4-string basses are easier to play. This means that you can pick up playing techniques such as fingerstyle, slapping, and tapping on the instrument with more ease in comparison to 5-string basses.

Does a 5 string bass add a high or low string? ›

In most cases, the rationale behind adding a fifth string is to add more bottom to the bass, generally allowing a bassist to go down to a low B.

Can I play metal with a 4-string bass? ›

As a general rule, you do not need a 5-string bass to play metal and for most genres of metal, a 4-string is sufficient. In sub-genres that utilize deeper tunings, many bassists opt for a 5-string as it has more range and flexibility than the 4-string.

What songs use a 5-string bass? ›

10 Awesome Rock And Metal Songs To Learn On A 5-String Bass...
  • Korn - Got The Life.
  • Meshuggah - Rational Gaze.
  • Metallica - All Nightmare Long.
  • Alien Ant Farm - Drifting Apart.
  • Heart Of A Coward - Distance.
  • Between The Buried And Me - Condemned To The Gallows.
  • Polyphia - G.O.A.T.
13 Aug 2019

Is a 5-string worth it? ›

If you plan to play songs in these low tunings, just get a 5-string bass; you'll thank yourself and sound much, much better in the process. It's worth the investment.

Do basses get better with age? ›

OutToPlayJazz. The wood does mature over time yes, much like any stringed instrument. So resonance and tone can increase over an extended period. Some of it will also be down to playing - Actually passing vibrations through varnish and wood makes the instrument more resonant over time.

What is the range of a 4-string bass? ›

4-String Fundamental Range

The fundamental range of a 4-string bass goes from about 40Hz to 400Hz. To be more specific: low open E = 41Hz. The common high D# (20th fret of the G-string) = 311Hz. Many modern-design basses have 24 frets.

Why do old basses sound better? ›

Wood dries out and resonates more, pickups age and become warmer, more organic sounding. The entire instrument fuses as one whole entity instead of just a jumble of parts. These are just some of the things I've heard over the years about why vintage basses sound, play, and feel better than newer axes.

Which bass is better for slap? ›

If you want a great slap tone one of the best options is a jazz bass with an ash body and a maple fingerboard.

What kind of bass is best for slapping? ›

5 Best Bass Guitars for Slap
  • Fender Player Jazz Bass.
  • Squier Classic Vibe '70s.
  • Squier Contemporary Active Jazz.
  • Schecter Stiletto Extreme.
  • Jackson Spectra JS3.
9 Jan 2022

What kind of bass is good for slapping? ›

Common bass choices out there for slap bass are a Fender Jazz or a Music Man. There are of course various copies of the Fender Jazz bass on the market, these could also give you the sound you are looking for.

What are the easiest bass strings to play on? ›

Bass Strings Online suggests using a lighter gauge string set, either 40-100 or 40-95. These lighter gauges are more flexible and easier to press down with your fretting hand and more responsive to plucking.

What type of bass is best for A beginner? ›

For beginners we recommend choosing the scale length of your bass guitar based on your own size. In case you have small hands or you're buying a beginner bass guitar for a child, then a smaller short- or medium-scale bass is a good pick. For most other players, we can recommend going with a long-scale bass guitar.

Why do bassists slap their bass? ›

The slap on electric bass is widely attributed to funk bassist Larry Graham. Throughout his career, Graham has stated that he aimed to imitate the sound of a drum set before assembling his band. The technique is referred to as pluckin and tuckin by Graham himself.

Does slapping damage bass? ›

yes. It will destroy your bass. stop popping and slapping immediately.

How hard should you slap on bass? ›

Like any technique, just hard enough to get the sound you want. Don't make playing harder than it has to be.

How many strings is best for a bass? ›

The standard bass has four strings tuned to E-A-D-G, which corresponds to the four lowest strings of a guitar. However, bass strings are much thicker, because they are tuned an octave lower. Tuning a bass works exactly like tuning a guitar. Some advanced players use basses with five or even six strings.

Do thicker bass strings sound better? ›

As a rule of thumb, heavier bass strings sound more bassy, warm, and resonant than lighter strings. While many bassists prefer the sound of heavy strings, using them for their tone is ultimately a stylistic choice and lighter strings are often used both for their tone and playability.

What is a 6 string bass? ›

While a 4-string bass is tuned EADG, a 6-string is typically tuned BEADGC. This means that you have one lower string, and one higher string than a 4-string bass. Some 6-string basses are tuned EADGBE, just like a guitar. Basses that are intended to be tuned this way are commonly labeled as Bass VI`s.

What is the best bass for rock? ›

The best bass for all types of music is the Fender P-Bass. You can make it sound any way you want by just turning the tone knob back and forth and by varying the place on the strings where you pluck. This may not be true if you plan on slapping, smacking, tapping or whacking your bass.

Can you tune a 4 string bass to drop a? ›

What is Drop A tuning on a bass? A bass tuned to drop A is the same as a bass tuned to B standard with the heaviest string tuned down a whole step to A. For 4-string basses this results in an A-E-A-D tuning, Drop A tuning for a 5-string bass has the strings tuned to A-E-A-D-G.

Can I use 5-string bass strings on a 4 string bass? ›

If a song is in the key of Eb or D and is played on a 4-string, it can be a benefit to switch to a 5-string if you have the option. Notes that are on the A string can be played two frets down on the B string. Again, use your ears and see what works. Nothing will grow your bass guitar confidence like practice.

What is the hardest song to play on bass? ›

Let's get started!
  • Rush – YYZ.
  • Metallica – Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)
  • Primus – Jerry Was A Race Car Driver.
  • Rush – Freewill.
  • Led Zeppelin – The Lemon Song.
  • Primus – My Name Is Mud.
  • Yes – Roundabout.
  • Muse – Hysteria.
22 Nov 2021

What is a 5 string guitar used for? ›

The 5 string acoustic guitar is a versatile instrument that can be used for a variety of genres, including country, folk, and blues. While it may seem daunting at first, with a little practice anyone can learn to play this instrument.

What is a five string guitar called? ›

bass guitar, with five strings (also often with four or six strings)

Is bass easier than guitar? ›

In a band environment, empathy for both instruments is really useful. But is it easier to play bass than guitar? Well, probably – less strings and no chords. Remember though that both will require mastering the basic building blocks of left/right hand coordination and rhythm, plus technique and scales.

Do old guitars really sound better? ›

Older guitars often sound better than newer ones as they dry out over time which causes them to become harder leading to a more resonant tone with better sustain. The increase in age affects the tone more in acoustic guitars than electric ones.

How can you tell a good bass player? ›

  1. A good bass player understands what the song needs, not what their ego needs.
  2. A good bass player knows when to step up and when to hold back.
  3. A good bass player takes pride in a well-placed whole note.
  4. A good bass player understands dynamics and consistency.
  5. A good bass player has a decent grasp on music theory.
17 Jan 2018

Do bass players ever play chords? ›

Bassists don't play chords as often as guitarists or pianists do. This is because playing several low-pitched notes at the same time can sound muddy. Playing chords on bass can sometimes fill up too much sonic space competing with the rest of the band. It can be done, but must be done with care.

What color attracts bass the most? ›

Most expert night fishermen use black or dark blue lures. The theory is that these colors provide a more distinct profile when silhouetted against the lighter background of the water's surface. Thus, a dark lure is easier for bass to see and strike accurately at night.

What color does bass see best? ›

Bass apparently do see color. Their vision is strongest in the areas of medium-red to green. It fails rapidly moving into the blues and purples, as it does towards the far reds. If our picture of bass color vision is accurate, then color is meaningful to bass in some cases but not others.

What size bass is worth keeping? ›

For the best taste, stick with bass that is between 10 and 14 inches. Large ones will be more difficult to cook and have a pungent flavor, while smaller ones may be more trouble to clean than they're worth.

Can you play chords on a 4 string bass? ›

Finally, because it allows you to better understand harmony and to “hear” the chord progressions. You can of course play chords on any type of bass, whether it has 4, 5, or 6 strings, whether it is electric or acoustic, it doesn't matter.

How long does it take to learn 4 string bass? ›

Without prior experience with another instrument and about 2-3 hours of solid practice everyday, it should take you around 6 months to learn to play the bass decently (at a beginner level). After about a year, you'll reach the 'advanced beginner' level.

What should a 4 string bass be tuned to? ›


The standard tuning for a 4 string bass is E, A, D, G (the same as the four lowest strings on the guitar but one octave lower).

Why do basses sound out of tune? ›

Over time, strings will stretch and loosen, which will cause them to go out of tune more easily. If you notice that your bass guitar is going out of tune more frequently, it's probably time to change the strings. Another common reason for a bass guitar to lose its tuning is if the bridge is not properly set.

Do heavier bass guitars sound better? ›

Heavier guitars generally have better sustain, and more resonance than lighter guitars. This is often due to the wood type, and the body size. Thicker guitar bodies, cause the tone to be fuller, warmer and louder.

Are active or passive basses better? ›

In addition to greater tonal control, active basses introduce far less noise and interference than passive basses, as well as delivering a stronger signal with less degradation than their passive counterparts. This gives your amp a cleaner, much hotter signal to work with.

Is a 5 string bass better? ›

The biggest reason to choose a 5 string bass over a 4 string is the lower range available thanks to the 5th string. This opens a wide range of possibilities for scales, arpeggios, and chords that are not possible on a 4 string. Many also feel the wider fretboard is more playable than the long, thin 4 string neck.

Do you need a 5 string bass to play metal? ›

As a general rule, you do not need a 5-string bass to play metal and for most genres of metal, a 4-string is sufficient. In sub-genres that utilize deeper tunings, many bassists opt for a 5-string as it has more range and flexibility than the 4-string.

Is a 5 string worth it? ›

If you plan to play songs in these low tunings, just get a 5-string bass; you'll thank yourself and sound much, much better in the process. It's worth the investment.

Which bass is easiest to play? ›

Fender's electric bass guitar was easier to play than the traditional upright, fretless bass — and much easier to transport. Electric bass guitars also produced a more substantial low-end rumble that filled the room. If you want to play rock and roll, electric bass guitars are the best choice for beginners.

What are 5-string basses called? ›

(Low B) Five-String Bass

The low-B 5-string bass is the most common five-string bass. This is usually what instrumentalists refer to when talking about a five-string bass. This added string is tuned to a low B, a fourth below the four-string bass' low E.

How many inches is a good bass? ›

A Standard (Full-size) 34” Long Scale Bass guitar will suit most people 5'5” to 6'6”. A 36”Extra-Long Scale Bass for Taller People. The 30” Short Scale Bass may be better for adults and teenagers under 5'5”. And (3/4 size) 28.5” for kids or 25.5” Scale Bass for small kids.

How often should I change the strings on my bass? ›

So to summarize:
  1. Change your Electric / Acoustic uncoated strings at least every 2 months.
  2. Change your coated Electric / Acoustic strings at least every 6 months.
  3. Change your Bass guitar strings at least once a year.
  4. Change your Classical guitar strings at least every 4 months.

What kind of bass guitar is used for heavy metal? ›

While four-string basses (tuned E, A, D, G from lowest string to highest string) are the most common, since the 1990s, some metal bassists have used five-string basses for added lower range—a low "B".

Can you play a 5 string bass with 4 strings? ›

I play the first note, B, on the open B as it is a nice deep sound. If on the 4-string bass, I would play the opening B on the A string second fret. Or, the E string 7th Fret. So basically you can play 5-string bass song using a 4-string bass.

Should I play bass with or without a pick? ›

Truthfully, there is no right or wrong way to play a bass guitar. There isn't even a preferred way. Any method you use to get sound out of the thing—fingers, pick, thumb, those weird stick things Tony Levin uses, telekinesis, whatever—works just fine. It's purely a matter of personal preference.

What songs use a 5 string bass? ›

10 Awesome Rock And Metal Songs To Learn On A 5-String Bass...
  • Korn - Got The Life.
  • Meshuggah - Rational Gaze.
  • Metallica - All Nightmare Long.
  • Alien Ant Farm - Drifting Apart.
  • Heart Of A Coward - Distance.
  • Between The Buried And Me - Condemned To The Gallows.
  • Polyphia - G.O.A.T.
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