12 Fun 5-String Bass Tabs That Use The B string (with sound)

bassist playing a 5-string bass tab

While most basslines can be played on a 5-string, it can be hard to find 5-string bass tabs that make full use of the range of the instrument.

Sure, play songs written on a 4-string on it, and ignore the B string. However, sometimes you just want to feel those low notes and play a bassline that was made for the 5-string.

Therefore, I decided to make this list of some fun and varied 5-string bass tabs. All of them require you to play the low B string, and many of them make great use of the 5-strings` entire range. This way, you won`t have to spend time searching for 5-string tabs yourself. Instead, you can jump straight into learning the 5-string bass the fun way.

Skillet – Monster

  • Genre: Metal
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 135 BPM
  • Bassist: John Cooper

“Monster” by Skillet is a beginner-friendly song and it would fit right into my list of easy songs for metal bassists. Both the catchy main riff and the straight 8th note groove in the chorus make good use of the B string by playing a low C.

This makes “Monster” a great first song for metal bassists who have just picked up the 5-string.

Notably, John Cooper also manages to sing while playing the bassline on this song. Thus, while singing and playing the bass takes a lot of practice, this song is a great place to start if you are looking to give it a try.

Meshuggah – Obsidian

  • Genre: Groove Metal
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 80 BPM
  • Bassist: Dick Lövgren

Did you pick up the 5-string to enjoy the feeling of playing sustained and resonating low-notes? In that case, there is no better song for doing just that than “Obsidian” by Meshuggah.

This is because almost the entire bassline consists of notes that are sustained for the whole bar.

However, it is still a relatively challenging song to play. This is because it constantly switches between time signatures. Throughout its 4-and-a-half minute span, “Obisidian” switches between 4/4, 7/8, 1/4, 13/16, and 15/16 time many, many times.

Thus, while learning the fretboard on a 5-string bass is useful, this song is more a test of your rhythmic ability.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Funky Monks

  • Genre: Funk
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 88 BPM
  • Bassist: Flea

While mainly known for playing 4-string basses, Flea used a 5-string when recording several tracks on Blood Sugar Sex Magik. One of his grooviest tracks among these is “Funky Monks”.

Flea uses the deep range of the 5-string intermittently, which makes his deep chromatic descents all the more impactful when he brings them out. The main groove of the song is also quite simple, but there is an instrumental part in the song that can be challenging.

In addition to being one of the Red Hot Chili Pepper`s best basslines, “Funky Monks” is thus a great song for bassists of all skill levels. This is because while you will likely be able to play most of the song quickly, it has enough challenging parts to test your limit as well.

Alice Cooper – Poison

  • Genre: Rock
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 115 BPM
  • Bassist: Hugh McDonald

While possibly a surprising entry on this list to some, “Poison” by Alice Cooper actually makes great use of the 5-string Bass` low range.

The bass plays a deep D during the intro that leads into the main riff. It also shifts down to a low C, D, and a D# during the verse.

During the pre-chorus and chorus, the bassline takes on a more melodic role. It moves up to a high A and a high B, which makes this a great melodic bassline, that also showcases the full range of the 5-string bass.

Mark Ronson Feat Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

  • Genre: Funk
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 115 BPM
  • Bassist: Jamareo Artis

The centerpiece of “Uptown Funk” is without a doubt the bassline. A big reason this groove was able to stand out and propel the song to massive commercial success is that it makes full of the 5 strings’ deep range.

It`s played in the D Dorian scale, and the root note is thus played on the 3rd fret of the B string. The bassline also has slides that make use of the B string, which will sound deep and hard-hitting if you can nail them.

Sabaton – To Hell And Back

  • Genre: Power Metal
  • Tuning: A Standard
  • Tempo: 127 BPM
  • Bassist: Pär Sundström

While you generally don`t need a 5-string bass for metal, “To Hell And Back” is a great example of why a 5-string can be convenient.

The intro and chorus consist of a fairly straightforward galloping groove. However, the low A standard tuning makes this much more of a breeze to play, than a 4-string tuned to C standard.

Thus, if you picked up the 5-string for the convenience of it, this is a great song for learning how the 5-string can make certain basslines a lot easier to play.

Paramore – Misery Business

  • Genre: Alternative Rock
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 170 BPM
  • Bassist: Jeremy Davis

For a fast and upbeat 5-string bass tab, try out “Misery Business” by Paramore. To really make the bassline come to life, I recommend a gritty punk tone for this one.

The bassline makes use of both a low D# and C# in both the main riff and the chorus. The hammer-ons in the main riff, combined with the switch from straight 8th notes to staccato quarter notes also keep the song from ever feeling stale. Thus, this is a beginner-friendly song that is also a lot of fun to play.

Daft Punk Feat Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky

  • Genre: Funk
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 116 BPM
  • Bassist: Nathan East

Similar to “Uptown Funk”, Daft Punk`s “Get Lucky” is one of the most well-known hits of the 2010s. A big reason for its success is the funky instrumentation and in particular Nathan East`s deep bass line.

In addition to using the low range of the 5-string, this is also an incredibly fun song to play. If you are a bassist that tends to lose all sense of time when you really get into a song, this is thus going to be a perfect fit for you.

This is also a great song for slapping. Thus, if you’re wondering whether you can slap on a 5-string, “Get Lucky” will give you the answer.

Rush – High Water

  • Genre: Progressive Rock
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 124 BPM
  • Bassist: Geddy Lee

A big part of Geddy Lee`s bass tone comes from playing a 4-string Fender Jazz. However, if you have ever wanted to play some Rush on a 5-string, “High Water” is the perfect song to try out.

The song features a tranquil slow part with deep sustained notes, which includes a low D. As expected from Geddy, it also includes some high melodic grooves as well. Thus, this is a great song for making good use of the whole range of your 5-string.

To recreate Geddy`s sound on this song to a tee, you`ll want to play the bass with one finger. While this is challenging in the begging, it is a useful technique to master, which can also increase your plucking speed in the long run.

Linkin Park – In The End

  • Genre: Nu-Metal
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 106 BPM
  • Bassist: Dave “Phoenix” Farrell

If you grew up in the 2000s, chances are that you have heard “In The End” by Linkin Park countless times. While mostly known for its fusion of rap and metal, and its iconic chorus sung by the late Chester Bennington, the song also features a groovy and deep bassline.

Even though the song is played in Drop B on a 4-string, it lends itself well to being played on a 5-string as well. The verse has a D#m-C#-B-C# chord progression, which lets you make good use of those low notes. Thus, try this song if you want a deep, easy, and groovy bassline to try out on your 5-string.

Disturbed – Decadence

  • Genre: Alternative Metal
  • Tuning: A#-C#-G#-C#-F#
  • Tempo: 92 BPM (Plays like 184 BPM)
  • Bassist: John Moyer

One way to make great use of a 5-string is to save those low B-string notes for the chorus. This can add a lot of punch when the chorus finally hits, and John Moyer does just this on “Decadence”.

The song is also played in a unique tuning, which Disturbed uses in a number of their other songs. Simply put, it’s a Drop C# tuning with an added low A#.

This creates an uncommon minor 3rd interval between the two deepest strings. This might take some time to get used to, but it’s a fun tuning to experiment with once you get the hang of it.

Opeth – To Bid You Farewell

  • Genre: Progressive Metal
  • Tuning: B Standard
  • Tempo: 76 BPM
  • Bassist: Martin Mendez

Martin Mendez`s smooth tone is a great example of how well playing a jazz bass in metal can work.

If you are looking to truly show the full melodic and tonal range of your bass, this 11-minute beast of a song will do just that.

It has deep and sustained parts and it has groovy melodic parts. It`s also both tranquil and heavy and it’s among the harder 5-string bass tabs on this list. I thus recommend it for intermediate bassists for a fun and challenging song to showcase what the 5-string bass is truly capable of.

Ian Partanen

BassOx Founder. Passionate bassist for 15+ years across a vast selection of genres, currently into indie-rock and hip-hop. Bachelor's degree in Musicology from the University of Oslo.

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