« on: November 26, 2009, 10:01:48 PM »
I use 4, 5 and 6-string basses. I probably use the 4 string the most and detune the bottom E when I need to go low, mostly habit from growing up this way. When I use a 5, I end up using the B as a finger rest and use some of the notes maybe 1 out of 5 songs. It's nice to have that option to go lower but you lose a little edge. Sometimes I'll string up the fiver with a high C instead of a low B; particularly with a trio it helps when the guitarist solos to add some high end. The 6 I use for solo stuff and with a larger band. If I had to choose one I'd go with the 4 because no matter how wide the neck, more strings still equals tighter spacing and I'm used to Fender spacing for the most part.
I would start with a 4 string. You can get something nice used for that money. Any of the big names should do (low-end Fender and Ibanez). The online stores often blow out basses for very cheap so keep an eye out there. Good luck, we need more four bangers.