Start your next set of bass strings off on the right foot with this comprehensive guide to selecting 5 string bass strings. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro looking for an upgrade, this guide has everything you need to know about choosing the perfect 5 string bass strings.
From different types, brands and sizes, to care tips and advice on properly fitting them to your instrument, we’ve got all the info you need to get the most out of your five string bass sound.
Number of Strings
The most common type of 5-string bass strings is a set of four core strings and one additional low B string. This extra string sits lower than the other four strings and gives bassists the ability to play notes in a wider range.
While this is great for exploring different sounds, it’s important to note that some popular brands offer sets with only four or five strings.
Super Slinky 5-String Nickel Wound Electric Bass Strings – 40-125 Gauge
Super Slinky 5-String Nickel Wound Electric Bass Strings are one of the most popular choices among professional musicians. Offering amazing flexibility, tone and durability, these medium gauge strings are crafted using nickel-plated steel wrapped around a steel hex core.
The gauges included in this set range from 40 to 125, making them perfect for players looking for a more modern sound.
Why Materials Matter For Bass Guitar Strings
Let’s now take a quick look at how the materials used to electric bass strings shape the sound.
We’ll look at a few principles and know that these principles apply to every brand of electric bass string out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying Ernie ball, medium gauge DR’s, long-lasting performance Elixirs, steels GHS boomers or anything else.
Material will always shape tone. So let’s learn how that happens!
Nickel-plated steel strings are popular among bass players looking for a bright, clear tone with plenty of punch. This material offers a great balance of clarity and warmth, as well as being more durable than other materials.
It’s also relatively inexpensive compared to other types of strings which makes it ideal for budget-conscious players.
Pure nickel strings provide warm, full tones that retain their resonance even when played hard. These strings produce rich overtones with a mellow attack and sustain, making them perfect for rock, blues and jazz styles.
However, they do tend to wear out quicker than other materials so if you need longevity then this may not be the best choice for you.
Stainless steel strings offer an aggressive attack with lots of snap and bite. This type of string provides maximum durability and resistance to corrosion, making them a great choice for long tours or extended practice sessions.
The sound produced is bright but warm, with plenty of clarity and articulation – ideal for funk and metal genres.
Best Strings For A 5 String Jazz Bass
The best bass guitar strings for a jazz bass is a topic worthy of discussion because there are a few different schools of thought.
Some say that you first need to consider whether your jazz bass is active or passive and then get bass strings to compliment what type of bass you have as well as the music you’re playing with it.
For example, active basses that pump out a lot of low and high end might benefit from stainless steels in one style because they produce more low and high end. This would make them an ideal set for a style like rock or metal.
However, if you wanted to tame those lows and highs and have more clarity in the midrange then a box of nickel strings could be a far better purchase.
But doesn’t that just sound like a case of the materials used to make the bass guitar strings making all the difference? Not quite, no.
Consider the point that passive basses won’t be able to shape the EQ of a bass signal anywhere near as much as an active one.
So if you have an old fender P bass or fender jazz bass that’s passive rather than active, it may not be able to push out the extreme lows and highs anyway.
This could be a sign that the bass strings won’t make as much of an impact as the bass itself on your tone.
With that being said, many jazz bass players love bass strings made by Elixir because they make long-lasting coated strings.
As the name suggests, coated strings have a protective film around them which protects the bass strings from sweat and keeps them sounding new, for longer!
4 String vs. 5 String – Which is Best for Playing Metal
When it comes to playing metal music on a bass guitar, 4 string models are generally preferred over 5 string models due to their simplicity and reduced weight which makes them easy to maneuver during live shows or rehearsals.
However, if you plan on exploring different tones or riffs with drop tuning then investing in a set of 5 string bass strings is highly recommended as they offer more flexibility in this regard.
How to Decide as a Beginner
If you’re just starting out with playing bass guitar, it can be daunting to decide what type and size of strings to get. Before starting your search, consider the genre of music you plan on playing and the sound you want to produce.
Generally speaking, lighter gauged strings are great for classic rock while heavier strings provide better tone for metal music. Additionally, if you plan on exploring five string bass sounds then investing in a set of five string bass strings is highly recommended.
You should also keep an eye open for great deals that many online string retailers offer.
Many of these great deals last for a limited time but, if you play your cards right, you can really pick up some great deals.
The most obvious site is Amazon. They have every type of string from steel, short scale, nickel, chrome and much more and, thanks to Amazon Prime, they can ship almost anywhere with next day delivery.
And the best part is, if you’re strings aren’t a good match for your bass, or you just think they sound poor, change them. Returns are very easy!
The alternative is to sign up to a mailing list for a big online music store and keep your eyes open for deals during holidays and special calendar days.
This is a great idea if you’re looking to buy extra pieces of gear like new pickups, a replacement master volume dial or a replacement bridge.
The best deals are always sent out to the mailing list because that’s where to most loyal customers lie.
Why Session Musicians Need a 5 String Bass
For session musicians who are often called on to play various styles of music, having a five string bass as part of their arsenal is essential.
Having an extra low B string allows these players to explore different levels and tones which is invaluable when playing studio sessions or live shows.
What Strings are on a 5 String Bass?
The most common type of five string bass strings is comprised of four core strings (E, A, D & G) along with an added low B string.
This fifth string wraps around an additional tuned machine head and sits lower than the other four strings allowing for more range when playing.
What is the Point of a 5 String Bass?
The point of having a five-string bass is to give players access to notes beyond the traditional range allowed by four-string models.
This extra range offers great versatility and allows players to create new sounds without having to constantly switch instruments or alter tuning manually.
Can A Bass Guitar Have Five Strings?
Yes! Most modern bass guitars are introduced with 4 or 5 strings as standard options but many models now come with six or seven strings too so there are plenty of options available depending on your style and needs.
What is the 5th String on a 5 String Bass?
The fifth string on a five string bass guitar is an additional lower ‘B’ string. This fifth string sits lower than the other four strings and provides musicians with added flexibility in their playing. It also allows them to explore notes which are beyond the traditional range of four-string models and can be especially useful for metal and progressive m
What is A 5 String Bass Guitar Called?
A 5 string bass guitar is usually referred to as a five-string bass or just a five string. As mentioned previously, these instruments are often used among metal and progressive rock players who want access to extended ranges without having to alter tuning manually between songs.
Is a 4 or 5 String Bass Better?
This depends entirely on what type of music you plan on playing and the sound that you’re trying to create. Generally speaking, four string bass guitars are great for classic rock as they provide a more consistent tone whereas five string models are better suited for metal and progressive sounds.
Is It Harder to Play a 5 String Bass?
Not necessarily – although there may be an initial learning curve it’s mostly down to getting used to the additional low B string. To get the most out of your five-string bass, practice different scales and chords with both hands and vary the finger positions when playing single notes.
What Are the 5 Strings on a 5 String Bass?
The five strings on a five-string bass guitar are usually comprised of E, A, D & G along with an added low B string. This fifth string sits lower than the other four strings allowing for extended range when playing.
Are There Bass Guitars with 5 Strings?
Yes! Most modern bass guitars come in either four or five strings as standard options while some six and seven-string models are now available too depending on your desired style and needs.
Are 5 String Bass Easier?
It largely depends on the player and what they’re used to playing. While five string bass guitars provide increased flexibility in terms of range, some players may find them more challenging to play due to the additional low B string.
Regular practice is therefore recommended in order to become familiar with the instrument.
What are the Strings on a 5 String Double Bass?
The five strings on a five-string double bass guitar are typically comprised of E, A, D & G along with an added low B string. This fifth string sits lower than the other four strings allowing for extended range when playing and is usually tuned one octave below standard tuning.
What is the Standard Gauge for 5 String Bass?
Most modern five-string bass guitars use a light gauge set of strings as standard – usually .045-.105 for electric models and .50-.105 for acoustic varieties. However, depending on your desired sound you can opt for heavier or lighter gauges depending on your preference.
What is a 5 String Guitar Used For?
Five-string guitars are most often used in genres such as metal and progressive rock where extended ranges are necessary when playing certain notes or chords. They can also be useful if you’re looking to create a unique sound by exploring different note combinations which would otherwise be inaccessible on a four-string model.
Are 5 String Basses Worth It?
Five string basses are a great choice for those looking for more range and flexibility when playing. While there may be an initial learning curve, many players find them to be incredibly rewarding both in terms of performance and creativity.
Is a 5 String Bass Harder to Play Than a 4 String?
Not necessarily – it just depends on the player and what they’re used to playing. Generally speaking, five string bass guitars provide increased flexibility in terms of range, however there may be an initial learning curve due to the additional low B string. Regular practice is recommended in order to become familiar with the instrument.
Can You Turn a 4 String Bass into a 5 String Bass?
Yes – while this isn’t usually recommended as it can affect the sound quality, some players choose to do this by removing one of the strings and replacing it with another lower pitched one. However it’s important to bear in mind that doing so could void your warranty or even cause serious damage if done improperly.
What Note is the Top String on a 5 String Bass?
The standard tuning of a five string electric bass is B, E, A, D, G with the top string tuned to G. However, this is just the standard tuning and by no means is the only option. Many modern jazz and fusion players such as Tony Grey and Janek Gwizdala will go for a tuning of E, A, D, G and C.
If you want to do this, you’ll have to get the right bass guitar strings but if you want the extra high range then why not?
What is the Lowest String on a 5 String Bass?
The lowest note on a five string electric bass in standard tuning is B.
What Notes to Tune to on a 5 String Bass?
Most five-string bass guitars use a light gauge set of strings as standard – usually .045-.105 for electric models and .50-.105 for acoustic varieties. Depending on your desired sound, you can opt for heavier or lighter gauges depending on your preference. However, the tuning is often E, A, D & G along with an added low B string.
What String Is Extra On A 5 String Bass?
The extra string is typically a low B string which allows for extended range when playing notes and chords at lower pitches or frequencies. It’s tuned to B a 5th down from the usual low E on a four string bass which means it sits lower in pitch than the other four strings; this may require additional practice before becoming comfortable with the instrument.
What Is The Low String On A 5 String Bass?
It’s a low B tuned a perfect down from the E string. This fifth string sits lower than the other four strings allowing for extended range when playing notes and chords at lower pitches or frequencies.
What Are The Strings On A 5 String Guitar?
Five-string bass guitars typically use a light gauge set of strings as standard – usually .045-.105 for electric models and .50-.105 for acoustic varieties. Depending on your desired sound, you can opt for heavier or lighter gauges depending on your preference. Generally speaking, the tuning is often E, A, D & G along with an added low B string tuned one octave below standard tuning.