Most Famous 5-string Bassists

Fender came out with the 5-string bass guitar in 1965. But it’s only after the frenzied era of the ‘British Invasion’ that the 5-stringed bass started being used by many rock bands and music artists. Now, do you know the most famous 5-string bassists?

Many rock bands and music artists prefer the 5-string bass over the old regular 4-string bass. Among them are the following musicians:

  1. Reginald Quincy Arvizu, a.k.a. Fieldy
  2. Aaron Bruch
  3. Traa Daniels
  4. Steve Digiorgio
  5. Tom Petersson
  6. Greg Lake
  7. John Paul Jones
  8. Jack Bruce
  9. Tony Levin
  10. Derek Smalls
  11. Chris Squire

Due to its extra string, the 5-string bass has a broader neck than the 4-string bass. That makes the 5-string bass more challenging to play than the 4-string. But that difficulty is worth it because of the extended lower range of bass notes that the bassists can play with the 5-string bass.

Read on to learn more about the most renowned 5-string bassists and some interesting tidbits on each of them.

Most Famous 5-string Bassists

most famous 5-string bassists
Reginald Quincy Arvizu, a.k.a. Fieldy

With its extra string, a regular 4-string bassist will need additional time to get used to playing the 5-string bass guitar. Firstly, adjusting to the wider neck of the 5-string bass will take time.

If your hands are so used to playing the thinner neck of a 4-string bass, you must practice a lot before you can play the 5-string bass guitar comfortably and proficiently.

The extra width of the neck means there’s also an added weight to the guitar. That will also affect your ability to play the instrument. First, a good Fender bass guitar weighs much heavier than a Fender strat or a Gibson Les Paul.

So, playing the 5-string bass at the start will be more challenging. But as you keep playing it, you will be able to play it more comfortably and efficiently.

That’s the same route our most famous – string bassists have taken before they could play it perfectly in front of their audience.

So, who are the most famous five-string bassists that we have today? Let’s get their names and their interesting details one by one.

Reginald Quincy Arvizu, a.k.a. Fieldy

Fieldy, whose real name is Reginald Quincy Arvizu, is the bassist of the nu metal band Korn. He is an American, born on November 2, 1969. He became active in music in 1989 and is still playing the 5-string bass but not anymore with his former band Korn.

His reason for leaving Korn was revealed by two of his former band mates, Brian Welch, guitarist, and Jonathan Davis, the bagpiper of the group.

Fieldy told his comrades that he had fallen back on some of his not-so-good habits and needed time to heal. Fieldy left the group in June of 2021.

You can see how Fieldy plays his 5-string bass in this video:

Aaron Bruch

Another famous 5-star bassist on our list is Aaron Bruch, the bassist of Breaking Benjamin. He also plays backing vocals for the group. Bruch is also an American, being born in the United States. His bio says he started playing the guitar when he was still young.

Not so much is known about Bruch because he wants to maintain a low profile. His fans don’t even know if he’s got a girlfriend, married, or has an affair with somebody. He only joined Breaking Benjamin in 2014. But he was dreaming of being a musician since he was a child.

The history of the ban Breaking Benjamin has many ups and downs. It had to fire two members for some reason. The band was forced into a hiatus at one time. But it became active again in 2015 with new band members, including Aaron Bruch.

The band is still led by its founder and lead vocalist, Benjamin Burnley. Perhaps you are interested to see how Aaron Bruch plays his 5-string bass guitar. Watch this:

Mark “Traa” Daniels

Traa Daniels is the bassist of the group P.O.D. That’s short for Payable on Death. P.O.D. is a Christian metal band based in San Diego, California, U.S.A. He was born on December 30, 1970, and resides in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.

The group was formed in 1992, and Daniels has continued to be a member. Aside from Daniels, the other P.O.D. group members include Marcoe Curiel, lead guitarist; Sonny Sandoval, vocalist; and Wuv Bernardo, rhythm guitarist, and drummer.

Daniels appears to be more than a 5-string bassist on his LinkedIn page. His page says he is a music producer, a mixer, a music engineer, a songwriter, and a composer who incorporates all music styles. He also says that he has already spent 20 years in this line of work.

As a music producer, he owns and operates Gorilla Bizkit Studio, which he started in February 2009. His studio is located in San Diego, California, U.S.A. He also owns Ryot Entertainment Group, which provides music artists with the latest trends in music promotions.

Steve Digiorgio

Another bassist who uses a 5-string bass for his gigs is Steve Digiorgio. He has played and recorded with different bands, including Testament, Autopsy, Death, and Sadus. He is playing with Sebastian Bach’s (a Canadian singer) band.

Steve was born in the United States on November 7, 1967. The other bands he has played before including Iced Earth, Obituary, Megadeth, and Control Denied. 

Nathan East

famous 5 string bass players

You have probably seen Nathan East play in so many YouTube videos playing his 5-string bass as a backup for prominent name musicians such as Eric Clapton, the late George Harrison (former Beatle), Beyonce, the late Michael Jackson, Boz Scaggs, Michael MacDonald, Daft Punk, among many others.

Nathan is a founding member of Fourplay, a contemporary jazz group that has repeatedly topped the charts. He was 16 years old when he got to play on the road with Barry White – his first ever break in the music scene.

His musicianship was even recognized by the U.S. government when he was awarded a Congressional Record for his contributions to the music community worldwide. He also played alongside high-caliber and commercially successful musicians in their hit records.

Nathan’s music style spans a broad genre from collaborating with the classical singer Andrea Bocelli and playing with Daft Punk on their studio album ‘Random Access Memories.’

Tom Petersson

Tom Petersson is the bassist of Cheap Trick, a rock group. He was born on May 9, 1950. Tom was not just a famous 5-string bassist. He is also the first musician to play a 12-string bass guitar. Some people in the know believe that Tom Petersson has not played anything but 12-string bass.

Tom was born in the United States on May 9, 1950. He is now residing in Rockford, Illinois, U.S.A.

Greg Lake

Another famous 5-string bassist is Gregory Stuart Lake, or simply Greg Lake. This musician is an Englishman. He is also a singer and songwriter. Greg became famous when he founded King Crimson and Emerson and Lake & Palmer, two progressive rock bands.

He was born in Dorset, England, on November 10, 1947. Greg learned to play the guitar at age 12. Unfortunately, Greg is no longer with us. He died on December 7, 2016.

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones is another famous 5-string bassist because of his association with Led Zeppelin, the English rock band that sang the mega-hit song “Stairway to Heaven,” a sort of a hymn to rockers in the early 70s.

His real name is John Richard Baldwin. J.P.J. is only his stage name. He was born in Sidcup, the United Kingdom, on January 3, 1946.

Aside from being the bassist of Led Zeppelin, he is also a songwriter, record producer, and the group’s keyboardist. Before Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin took him in to become their member, John was a session musician.

Jack Bruce

Another 5-string bassist born on the other side of the pond is Jack Bruce. Jack was born in Scotland on May 14, 1943. His full name was John Symon Asher Bruce. After spending his life mainly as a musician, he left the world on October 25, 2014.

He became famous when their band “Cream” gained popularity in England and worldwide. His bandmates include lead guitarist, singer, and composer Eric Clapton. After Cream broke up, he pursued his musical career. He also played with other bands after that.

Tony Levin

Tony Levin is also a songwriter and composer, aside from being a famous 5-string bassist. His music genre is progressive rock, jazz fusion pop rock. Tony’s main musical instrument is the bass guitar Chapman Stick double bass.

He became active in the music scene in 1968. Tony is still going strong with his musical career. He is best known for his collaboration with King Crimson, a progressive rock group they formed in 1968.

Tony also started working with Peter Gabriel in 1977. Peter is the leader of Genesis, another English progressive rock band with Phil Collins as its vocalist and drummer.

Derek Smalls

Derek Smalls is a fictional character who plays good 5-string bass. Harry Shearer played his role. This fictional character is a member of a mock British heavy metal group in the movie “This Is Spinal Tap.”

The movie centers on the self-contained world of a metal band trying its best to get back on the charts. All those who acted as band members, including Harry Shearer, were good musicians as they appeared and performed in the movie.

Chris Squire

Chris Squire is a different bassist from all the rest that I have already mentioned above. Why? Chris plays a particular type of bass guitar. It is a triple-necked bass guitar, with one at the top having six strings and the other at the bottom with four strings each.

Chris’ full name is Christopher Russell Edward Squire. He is also an Englishman, having been born in Kingsbury, the U.K., on March 4, 1948. He is also no longer with us, having died on June 27, 2015. Chris is a founding member of Yes, a progressive rock band.

Bands With 5-String Bassist

who plays a 5 string bass
Unearth

While we are on this topic of the best 5-string bassists, it is reasonable to discuss bands with bassists who almost always use 5-string bass guitars. Who are these bands?

1. Unearth

Unearth is a metalcore band based in Boston, Massachusetts. The band was formed in 1998. All in all, Unearth has released seven studio albums. Their bassist, who uses a 5-string bass, is Chris O’Toole. He also does backup vocals.

2. Incubus

Another American rock band, Incubus, is based in Calabasas, California. They were formed in 1991 by Brandon Boyd, lead vocals; Mike Einziger, lead guitarist; and Jose Pasillas, drummer.

Their 5-string bassist currently is Benjamin Lee Kenney. The band has produced and successfully marketed several studio albums.

3. Bleeding Through

Bleeding Through is another American metalcore band based in Orange County, California. The band was formed in 1999. Their kind of music was a blending of symphonic black metal, melodic death metal, and modern hardcore punk.

Their current 5-string bassist is Ryan Wombacher.

4. Between the Buried and Me

Between the Buried and Me is also an American progressive metal band based in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A. They formed the band in 2000. Daniel Hanford Briggs is their 5-string bassist.

5. C.K.Y.

Another American rock band, C.K.Y., is based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

The band was formed in 1998 by lead guitarist and lead vocalist Deron Miller, drummer Jess Margera, and guitarist Chad I Ginsburg. Their five-string bassist is Matt Deis. They also have a touring bassist, Chris Weyh.

6. Old Jamiroquai

Old Jamiroquai is English acid jazz and funk band based in London, England. They were formed in 1992. This group was prominent in acid jazz and funk music in London during the 1990s. Their music addressed environmental and social justice, hot topics during that time.

Their 5-string bassist since 2005 is Paul Turner.

7. Dave Matthews Band

The Dave Matthews Band is led by Dave John Matthews, an American singer, musician, songwriter, and record label owner.

He is the lead vocalist of his band. Dave was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but while growing up, he frequently moved to South Africa, the U.K., and the U.S.A. The 5-string bassist of this band is Stefan Lessard.

8. Protest The Hero

Protest The Hero is a progressive metal band from Canada. The group is based in Whitby, Ontario, Canada. Their original name was Happy Go Lucky. The band released their first studio album Kerzia in 2005. It was released by Underground Operations, an indie label in Canada.

Their 5-string bassist is Arif Mirabdolbaghi, who also does backing vocals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the topic of 5 string bass guitars strike a chord in your heart? You wouldn’t be reading this part of the article if it didn’t. This topic may have also sparked some questions in your mind that require some answers. Just keep on reading, and you may find your answers below:

Who Are the Most Famous 5-string Bassists Today?

Included among the most prominent and well-known five-string bassists are the following:

  1. Reginald Quincy Arvizu, a.k.a. Fieldy
  2. Aaron Bruch
  3. Traa Daniels
  4. Steve Digiorgio
  5. Tom Petersson
  6. Greg Lake
  7. John Paul Jones
  8. Jack Bruce
  9. Tony Levin
  10. Derek Smalls
  11. Chris Squire

Is It More Difficult to Play the 5-string Bass Than the 4-string?

Yes, playing the bass guitar with five strings is a bit more challenging than the one with only 4 strings. It takes time to get used to playing it. For one, its neck is wider because of the extra string.

But it’s worth learning it because of the extra range of notes you can play. Due to its wider neck, the 5-string bass guitar is usually heavier than the standard 4-string bass.

What Is a 5-string Bass Guitar’s Advantage Over a 4-string Bass Guitar?

With a 5-string bass, you will get an additional two lower notes. This means you can play music with B, C, and D root notes with more power and extra thickness than only low root notes can provide.

In Closing: Most Renowned 5-String Bassists

Some of today’s rock bands and music artists prefer the 5-string bass guitar over the old 4-string bass. The most famous among these 5-string bassists are the following:

  1. Reginald Quincy Arvizu, a.k.a. Fieldy
  2. Aaron Bruch
  3. Traa Daniels
  4. Steve Digiorgio
  5. Tom Petersson
  6. Greg Lake
  7. John Paul Jones
  8. Jack Bruce
  9. Tony Levin
  10. Derek Smalls
  11. Chris Squire

With its extra string, it is only natural that the neck of the 5-string bass guitar will be wider than the 4-string bass. That makes the 5-string bass a bit difficult to play at the start.

But that difficulty is worth it since the guitar offers an extended lower range of bass notes. This gives the bassist enough space to play a range of notes that the 4-string bass can’t provide.