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5's and 4's

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Funnily enough I have gone from 4 (my first 15 years) to 5 (for the last 13 years), to 6 (for a few years) and now mostly I am back to 4, although I do need a 5-er for some of my dep gigs and if I do not know what to expect I use take the 5.

In all instances I like 18.5-20mm spacing (so like a TRB :)...) regardless if they are 4,5 or 6. Less feels "cramped" (not that it really impact my playing though, but the muscle memory is very much geared towards those spacings.

Horses for courses right?

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1 minute ago, MoJo said:

What's a 5? 😉

1 up from a 4, 1 down from a 6 ...... 😎

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21 minutes ago, HazBeen said:

1 up from a 4, 1 down from a 6 ...... 😎

Is that a crossword clue?

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I'm to stubborn to play anything other than a 4. When I started playing bass guitar there was no such thing as a 5 string.

Plus, I play the more classic vintage bass guitars, German Hofners, Gibson Les Paul Bass,and the ES-335. All those basses are only available in 4s.

Blue

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On 13/11/2018 at 11:02, Muzz said:

I stick to the Holy Scripture, as outlined below:

A Reading from the Book of Bass, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20: 

'First enter thou the purveyors of the Holy Bass. Then thou must count the strings to four. Four shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be four. Five shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count three, excepting that thou then proceedeth to four. Six is right out.'

🙂

Revelation 13:18  Strings

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 6

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1 hour ago, Bluewine said:

I'm to stubborn to play anything other than a 4. When I started playing bass guitar there was no such thing as a 5 string.

Plus, I play the more classic vintage bass guitars, German Hofners, Gibson Les Paul Bass,and the ES-335. All those basses are only available in 4s.

Blue

They are rare but Les Paul basses come in 5s FYI

 

BAEDC822-E526-4BBD-8C1F-B7636BEE1663.jpeg

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Pretty well exclusively 5s, although I have a P bass, and ibanez sr1000 and a thunderbird. I generally don't gig any of those, but the P and sr I don't really want to part with and the thunderbird, well, its a thunderbird. If I could get a 5 like it I would but there doesn't seem to be one.

I tried a 6, but the neck was too big and when I gigged it I messed up a few times.

Having said that, when I was first playing live, going from a 4 to a 5 caused me issues, so I played only 5 for a while, now it doesn't cause issues if I play a 4.

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so...I previously posted that I'm now firmly a player of 5s...

I'm helping out a band who play stuff in two different tunings.  My main 5 is at the band's studio which I tune up or down between songs, leaving me with an acoustic 5 at home, and my old Ricky 4001 4-string that was my main bass throughout my 20's. I was at home last week learning some of the band's songs that were is standard (E) tuning, and lovely as the acoustic is, I thought I'd try the Rickenbacker as it's a much faster, slimmer neck, and the songs are pretty speedy.  Fell straight back in love with it - such a great neck to play.

Took it to the studio on Sunday, and the band are also in love!  Their original bass player played a 4003 on their first four albums (albeit for all of the songs in C that I use the 5 for) and were telling me how great the sound was...felt slightly bad for my Warwick 5, which has a much fuller sound, but the 4001 has so much treble and bite that it really punches through.

So for the immediate future, I will be playing both...does really make me want one of the new 5 string 4003s though.

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I seem to be able to hop to and fro without too much trouble, 4s, 5s and 6s

That said, because I swap a lot, I prefer my instruments to be in standard tuning at concert pitch. Drop tuning throws a spanner in the works, as it were.

It's when I strap the Chapman Stick on that it gets confusing!

( Really confusing!)

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20 minutes ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

I seem to be able to hop to and fro without too much trouble, 4s, 5s and 6s

That said, because I swap a lot, I prefer my instruments to be in standard tuning at concert pitch. Drop tuning throws a spanner in the works, as it were.

It's when I strap the Chapman Stick on that it gets confusing!

( Really confusing!)

I love the sound of the chapman stick , but they take a lot of co ordination, 10 or 12 strings is too much for me  to grasp 😀  how long did it take you to learn?

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On 15/11/2018 at 15:32, FinnDave said:

I love playing my sixes - to the extent that I haven't played my fours (including my Alembic Epic) since my first six turned up. Keeping my eye out for an Alembic six at a reasonable price, but am not optimistic! Something like a nice light six string Essence.

Good luck finding a lightweight one! I had this Elan for a few years, weighed a ton but sounded very nice.

1923353_13425725436_8453_n.jpg

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49 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

I love the sound of the chapman stick , but they take a lot of co ordination, 10 or 12 strings is too much for me  to grasp 😀  how long did it take you to learn?

I've only had it a month or so, but I'm making progress of sorts!

If you've experience of keys, it'll help. I don't.

I'm finding the bass strings being tuned in 5ths the most "unusual" part, though I understand why they're that way (range and ability to play chords vs. 4ths)

The other hard part is where does it fit in the music?🤔

 

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If you know your notes(especially notes) on a 4 string /scales etc. You should be able to switch between 4/5/6/7. The bass has the same notes/scales all the way up the fret board. If you don't know them you haven't practiced enough. Extended range basses are nothing to be scared of. IMO. In fact they are easier because your hand that plays the notes/ scales dont have to move as far. And they are better for your brain because your having to think ahead more. I will always be a 5 string player. Going to 4 is easier because of the pure physicality of the neck slimness, but I have to jump up the neck a lot more.  

Edited by bubinga5
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40 minutes ago, bubinga5 said:

If you know your notes(especially notes) on a 4 string /scales etc. You should be able to switch between 4/5/6/7. The bass has the same notes/scales all the way up the fret board. If you don't know them you haven't practiced enough. Extended range basses are nothing to be scared of. IMO. In fact they are easier because your hand that plays the notes/ scales dont have to move as far. And they are better for your brain because your having to think ahead more. I will always be a 5 string player. Going to 4 is easier because of the pure physicality of the neck slimness, but I have to jump up the neck a lot more.  

The main problem I had in getting used to my six strings is the width of the neck, which I found took some time as it used the wrist muscles differently. When i pick up a four string now, I find it difficult to use for the same reason. Nothing to do with the notes, just the physical process of playing them.

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I have several 5s but more 4s. I tend to have fads of playing 5s for a period and then 4s for a period. Not too much problem going from one to the other but to get the best out of the 5, I find I need to approach it slightly differently - that's apart from muting more effectively (the low B especially), and playing with slightly narrower string spacing - thus requiring a little more care and accuracy.

I've recently taken delivery of this 

image.thumb.jpeg.4701d73f497cf23820d347f84b420969.jpeg

to go with this, which turned up at the beginning of September 

image.thumb.jpeg.29434cec74c8ad239063899fe3058cb8.jpeg

The excellent thing about these, as well as being fabulous basses (and the same ebony board, roasted maple neck, lightweight ash body etc etc) is they sound more or less the same as one another - just the extended range on the 5 being the difference. I'm massively pleased with them. 

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12 hours ago, bubinga5 said:

If you know your notes [...] You should be able to switch [...] If you don't know them you haven't practiced enough.

Bit of a sweeping statement. Can you know them by ear or do you have to know the note you’re playing?

Edited by Ed_S
Mobile sent too soon! :-)

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1 hour ago, Ed_S said:

Bit of a sweeping statement. Can you know them by ear or do you have to know the note you’re playing?

I suspect that what Bubinga was meaning is if you know all the notes on your fretboard then shifting to a 5 or 6 or vice versa shouldn't be an issue - well for me there are issues, but these are overcome after a minute or two's familiarisation - however when I first learned to play the bass, as well as learning actual bass lines to play along with songs and developing (eventually) fluency with that, I also learned all the notes on the fretboard - the latter has helped me a great deal and I now take it for granted - switching (in my case) between a 4 and 5 is relatively straightforward - we all tend to look at the world through our own eyes and ears etc but I'd presumed (possibly wrongly) that everyone learns all the notes on their instrument - if not I'd recommend it as it helps greatly - especially if playing with other people 👍😊

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I have issues with 6s in the necks are too big, and also in the heat of a gig I can get the string wrong. Having had years of gigging 4s and 5s, I tend to reference from the G which is not so good when it is a C!

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1 hour ago, Ed_S said:

Bit of a sweeping statement.

Most switching problems come from players not being familiar enough with the note positions. Many of us, me included, predominantly use patterns when we play. If we use the E string as a base point, putting the B string in confuses a lot of people. Some blame the instrument or make silly comments like, "Jaco only needed 4" and some work though it. If we know the notes rather than just the shapes we might get through the  5 sting learning process with more ease. The "starting on the wrong string" thing caught me out a lot in the beginning. My solution was to switch to 5's exclusively.

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1 hour ago, drTStingray said:

I suspect that what Bubinga was meaning is if you know all the notes on your fretboard then shifting to a 5 or 6 or vice versa shouldn't be an issue - well for me there are issues, but these are overcome after a minute or two's familiarisation - however when I first learned to play the bass, as well as learning actual bass lines to play along with songs and developing (eventually) fluency with that, I also learned all the notes on the fretboard - the latter has helped me a great deal and I now take it for granted - switching (in my case) between a 4 and 5 is relatively straightforward - we all tend to look at the world through our own eyes and ears etc but I'd presumed (possibly wrongly) that everyone learns all the notes on their instrument - if not I'd recommend it as it helps greatly - especially if playing with other people 👍😊

Oh, I’m sure that for many people it helps no end to know the note positions by name. I’ve always been fine knowing where to find the sound that I want next in relation the the sound I’m producing now 🙂 that way it doesn’t matter how many strings (as long as the neck fits in my hand) or what the tuning is (as long as the intervals between string are ‘normal’) - I’m just as clueless but still perfectly happy!!

54 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Most switching problems come from players not being familiar enough with the note positions. Many of us, me included, predominantly use patterns when we play. If we use the E string as a base point, putting the B string in confuses a lot of people. Some blame the instrument or make silly comments like, "Jaco only needed 4" and some work though it. If we know the notes rather than just the shapes we might get through the  5 sting learning process with more ease. The "starting on the wrong string" thing caught me out a lot in the beginning. My solution was to switch to 5's exclusively.

Maybe that’s it - I went to 5s very soon after starting to play and stuck with them exclusively for years before reintroducing 4s into the mix, so I guess I approached it differently to many.

I suppose all I’m really saying is that it’s perfectly possible to play by ear without getting tangled up on different numbers of strings and not worry about the note names. I could go and learn them and it’d possibly help me talk about music but I genuinely don’t think it’d help me play music.

Whatever works 🙂

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3 hours ago, chris_b said:

The "starting on the wrong string" thing caught me out a lot in the beginning. My solution was to switch to 5's exclusively.

Me too, so I went exclusively to 5s. Then after a while I came back to it and found that 4s no longer presented a problem, as instead of a 5 seeming like a 4 with an extra string, the 4 now seems like a 5 with the bottom string missing, and as such I don't have a problem (apart from a couple of songs where I have to move everything around to play them) as it is obvious it isn't right.

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