Post Number: 41
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 2:48 am: |
I recently switched to five string for the first time in 30 years and I am finding that my four string basses are sitting gathering dust. The thought of going back to four strings even after this short time is inconceivable to me at the moment. Just picking them up feels ....so wrong!!
I didnt expect to feel this way after so long as a four string die hard. Can anyone else relate to this type of experience???
Post Number: 574
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 3:09 am: |
To me a 5 string feels unnatural! I can't coordinate my left & right fingers to be on the same string! There are times when I would love to have the low B string, but right now I use a drop D tuning on my Jazz Bass for the low stuff.
Post Number: 31
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 3:53 am: |
Can I relate? Well,yes....and no.
When I got my 5, I put the others away and kept it at the ready for 30 days...in the stand and ready to grab. Every day play? No. But, when I DID play, it was "the mighty 5".
It's a 35" scale so, not only was I forcing my mind to rethink the 5th string, I also was working a bit harder due to the longer scale.
My only continued challenge is to THINK. That ain't a "E", that's a "B"! So even to this day,
when I'm flat out gettin' it on and on "automatic pilot", I'll lay into the bottom string and throw out a clam.
For me, the 5th string is more of an "effect", and the 4 string will forever be home.
Post Number: 53
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 4:56 am: |
I can certainly relate. I'm a 4-string player who plays 5-string basses sometimes. What really helped me was getting a wide enough neck to accomodate a string spacing "close" to what I was used to. Sometimes a neck will have the strings crammed in there so tight that there's a ridiculously small amount of space to get around in (with my right hand). I was used to string spacing with 19mm or so. Even a 1mm change is noticable. Hitting the B by accident when I wanted the E also played a part, because I'm used to resting my thumb on the E string. It's more difficult to slap on the E, so I generally use my 4-string when I'm playing funk stuff.
Post Number: 1852
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 7:53 am: |
Never liked 'em, never will...they became very popular in the 80's to combat the amount of synth basslines used on records.
Four was good enough for Jaco, Jamerson, Clarke et al, it's good enough for me.
Post Number: 578
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 8:06 am: |
I'm with you Terry! No disrespect to 5 string players, but I have always been a purist when it comes to my bass, 4 strings & no effects!
Post Number: 2485
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 8:14 am: |
Four Strings For Me Too ! I once strung my 71 P Bass BEAD to be able to play lower then the E for a gig.
Post Number: 50
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 9:38 am: |
i'm with white cloud on this... i sold my 4s after switching to 5s... and now 5s are all i'll consider.
Post Number: 2218
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 9:58 am: |
I've done the BEAD thing with excellent results, and often switch between 4- and 5-strings with not a lot of angst. Sure, sometimes I realize I've screwed myself fingering-wise, and other times I'll grab something that's a 4th off one direction or the other, but when I'm *just playing* I find it refreshing to have those limits and opportunities imposed and forcing my brain off of auto-pilot. I do also find that I don't play the low-B nearly as often as I once did, and pretty much limit it to an effect. Thus the 4-string is really where most of the meat is, for me at least and at this point in time.
Post Number: 42
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 12:08 pm: |
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I can totally relate to the four string guys that have offered their opinion - as only a matter of weeks ago I would have inhabited that same camp.
I also always used the hipshot DTuner fitted to my four strings to gain that little bit extra depth, but the 5th string now kills that stone dead (for me). All of a sudden my worn in comfortable old four string gigging stalwarts just dont feel right anymore.
But hey; music is art - there are no rules! Im having fun.
Post Number: 77
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 7:46 pm: |
I've tried 5-strings a couple of times and much prefer the 4-string thing. Sometimes I wish there was a little more range, but the 4 seems good to me. It still amazes me to watch a 6-string master like Alain Caron though.
Post Number: 263
|Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 - 8:21 pm: |
You know,it's funny how things go.Back in '86,I bought my first fiver,and fallowed it up 3 yrs later w/a custom built 5st fretless.In 2007 I bought a Fender Jazz 5 because I'd never had a Fender.Two years later I finally got a Stingray.I had intended to get another 5st,but this 4st just had that right feel.I sold the Fender in 2010(fine bass,I just wasn't playing it).24 yrs of 5 string playing,and I have strung BEADG and EADGC on my fretless.I never thought I would go back,but now I prefer the 4st.I'm not sure why ,I've never had a problem w/switching from 4, to 5 ,or 6st,but after all that time ,4 st just seemed to suit my playing more "now".I don't miss the Bst in my fretted playing, but to be honest, I use it a lot w/my fretless bass.There really is no right or wrong,just what feels right.And although I have nothing against 5's,when I build my custom,it will be a 4string.....at least that's how I feel "now"!
Post Number: 195
|Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 3:18 am: |
Interesting concepts here. I'm an ear/position/pattern player (*sigh*), so I never had any "note confusion" issues. For the most part I just switched my left hand position to the B string as my default or starting point and frequently pedaled on the open B like a mad man-- taste be damned!
I normally anchor my right hand by pivoting my thumb on the neck or bridge pickup edges, not on the E (and now B) string, so again, not really much of an adjustment besides being more careful with muting techniques. If you watch me play, I'm frequently moving my left hand all over the place to very quickly mute by lightly touching the string so that it's almost but not quite a ghost note -- though sometimes it accidentally becomes one!
One thing I noticed is how differently the B sounds on various manufacturers' basses and through different amps. I prefer my B to not sound appreciably louder or sustain too much longer than the other strings, if possible. In other words, as even as possible across the fretboard as opposed to sounding like a regular 4-string with a disassociated B without sonic continuity.
Luckily for me, my Alembic fits that bill perfectly!
I will say, though, playing my Line 6 Variax 4-string seems like child's play, neck-wise after my 35" scale 5'er. But the more I play my 5, the more the neck seems to "shrink".
Post Number: 410
|Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 3:24 am: |
I switch between 4, 5, and 6 between frequently without many issues. not to imply that i'm good at bass or anything, because i'm probably not. i just don't really have an issue with changing. i play a lot of upright (exclusively 4 string... any more on an upright doesn't work for me), but when it comes to electric i don't really have a preference. if there is a preference, it has to do with the bass itself, and not the number of strings.
Post Number: 2923
|Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 4:38 am: |
I have a light preference to 4 string basses, however, the reality is that my choice of instrument I use is purely based on the music I have to play on a gig. So if any song on a gig needs something below bottom E, then I use a 5 stringer for the whole gig unless it's a Stanley Clarke number. :-)
I have more navigation issues when switching between my Europa/Elan and any other bass because that bass is the only one I have with a narrow string spacing.
I doubt if I can ever see a need for me to have a 6 string bass but as was alluded to earlier its great to see some 6 string masters at work.
Post Number: 971
|Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 5:37 am: |
i breath eat and shit 4 strings!
Post Number: 2220
|Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 8:48 am: |
My earlier comment needs some clarification. I spend a lot of time, most of it right now actually, playing 5-string basses. I just don't use the B string very much. It's a wonderful option to add that lower octave from time to time, but most of my "playing" is 4-string stuff. And that's probably because I do switch between 4- and 5-strings fairly often. And like oddmetersam, I'm an ear/position/pattern player..
One thing I definitely do like about 5-string basses is that the E string usually sounds fantastic, like the A string does on a 4-string.. Might all just be in my head though..
Post Number: 539
|Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 10:36 am: |
I love my Rogue 5 string and played it almost exclusively for many years. The past few years I have migrated back to the 4 strings for the most part. I found I don't really miss the low B too much and when required I just detune the E. Remembering to tune it back up for the next song can be an issue though!
Post Number: 126
|Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 - 4:09 pm: |
My alembics are 5 strings and that is what i play live. Like all above , just playing the bass is what i love. i am finding newer musical theater scores are actually writing some bass Lines below E.
Post Number: 776
|Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 - 10:00 pm: |
After playing BEADGC for two decades, I feel limited when playing EADG. Of course, I play Jazz, Gospel, and Funk primarily so I have a chance to utilize the full range of the instrument.
Post Number: 1867
|Posted on Monday, May 28, 2012 - 12:01 am: |
I changed to fives in the 80's following cats like Nathan East and our Jimmy Johnson.
Coming to the bass in my 20's after playing keys all my life, 4's began to frutrate me as I suppose I was very used to thinking of notes in a very linear layout. I was used to the keyboard. 5's allowed me to play two octaves across the fingerboard: With a four, I always seemed to start a phrase here, then have to shift to finish it over there. Fives eliminated that for me.
I have friends like some of you here that seamlessly shift between 4,5, 6, and uprights. I'm not that smart. When I occasionally play 4's again, something's missing. So I'm hopelessly converted to 5's only.
J o e y
Post Number: 41
|Posted on Monday, May 28, 2012 - 5:27 am: |
To quote David Hungate, "That 5th string is a great thumb rest!"
Post Number: 3180
|Posted on Monday, May 28, 2012 - 6:15 am: |
I'm with John on this one. I changed to 5 string in 1995 and have very rarely even touched a 4 string since (george's series 1 being about the only exception). I don't feel comfortable playing a 4 string nowadays, finding the neck feels a bit like a toothpick. That said, I still have both my 4 strings and am unlikely to ever part with them but they're currently in the loft gathering dust.
To slightly hijack the discussion and without wishing to appear insulting in any way, I do find comments like Terry's above..."Four was good enough for Jaco, Jamerson, Clarke et al, it's good enough for me" ... to be a bit odd.
Firstly, whilst I admire all the above players, I'd like to think that we're all trying to advance what is after all, a very young instrument. Stating that it's 'good enough' suggests stagnation and I don't think any of the aforementioned players would see that as a good thing although in my own opinion (which will no doubt differ from a great many others)' Stanley hasn't done anything 'new' for years. (don't get me wrong, I love his music but the last few albums sound so much alike to me that I rarely listen to them)
Also, Jaco was a pioneer in the use of effects and loops for bass. I'd like to think that, had he lived, he'd have embraced each advance in the instrument if not actually leading the way. Who knows?, he might even have taken up the chapman stick or extended range instruments.
In short, I want to develop my own musical voice and I've found a five string works best for me. Some have the same feelings, some prefer to stick with a 4. I find it interesting that the bassists that get most exposure in the musical press, for instance marcus and victor, tend to use whatever instrument works for the song and in both these cases they frequently stray into 5 string territory.
Graeme (rambling slightly - it's the unexpected heat)
Post Number: 1855
|Posted on Monday, May 28, 2012 - 6:26 am: |
graeme..I am odd, don't you know that by now!!! LOL
Post Number: 1174
|Posted on Monday, May 28, 2012 - 10:34 am: |
I started playing a 5 (BEADG) in the early '90s, it quickly became my main bass, and now that's about all I play. I guess I'm just a creature of habit. I'm comfortable with a 5 and that's what I've stayed with.
I normally position my hand playing all my Es on the B string, 5th fret rather than on the open E string. I don't often go below the E. I go that low mainly for effect and definitely don't "live there".
Also, as Joey/Bigredbass said, I like the ability to jump up 2 octaves effortlessly, rather than having to think about repositioning.
To me, playing 4s 5s or 6s, it all works. If you're in the groove, making the song and band kick butt then you're doing your job.
Post Number: 183
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 9:27 am: |
I switch between my Elan 6 (BEADGC) & my Series Rogue (Custom) 4 (EADG) regularly.
I`ll spend about a 1/2 hour getting acclimated to each type of instrument if I`ve spent some time exclusively on one or the other. After that I`m pretty much OK.
I`m sure it helps having the Elan 6 since around `89. All my other basses are 4`s.
Post Number: 378
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 2:50 pm: |
All my basses are four's except for my seven-string...the fretboard on that one looks like a diving board.
I find it helps me to get out of creative ruts on the four's (which I play 95% of the time) by jumping onto the seven for a couple of days. Play around, run scales, play chords, etc etc on the seven.
THEN jump back to the four's and suddenly I feel like I'm holding a little toy...a toy that's suddenly relatively MUCH easier ---and more joyful---to zip around on.
Post Number: 314
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 3:15 pm: |
yeah guys but have you tried playing 5 string EADGC?
like my man steve swallow....
curious to hear what mr. jimmy johnson has to say about his time with 5 strings too.....
Post Number: 411
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 4:28 pm: |
I tuned all of my 5s EADGC until recently when I started playing some music that requires a low B. That's pretty much why I'm thinking about switching mainly to 6.
Post Number: 266
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 5:20 pm: |
I've gone both ways.When I still had fretted 5's ,I always strung my fretless EADGC,and the other 5's BEADG.Now that my fretless is my only 5,I've reverted back to BEADG on it.
Post Number: 1186
|Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 8:57 pm: |
I go for the sound of the bass and let that determine how many strings there are. If I could have all 6 string basses, that would be great, but my Starfire is a 4 and there it is. I love that sound and it doesn't come any other way. OTOH, my Modulus 6 is awesome, my fretless Dave King 5 is great as well as is my SI shorty. So, different numbers of strings, different string scales, all of them are awesome. Life is too short to limit myself to one thing or another because of an arbitrary allegiance.