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Does anyone actually use their B string?

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How many times in an evening's gig does anyone use their B? I had a five string once and I think used it in about three songs.

I quite honestly couldn't find a use for going down there except for Brick In The Wall and Summer of '69 (I know, but punters liked it) and maybe the fact that it was there and ought to be tried out now and again in a number for the hell of it. I've played a four string for the last ten years and haven't missed it at all.

Was it just a new fad once that has in all honesty died off and people still think they need it 'just in case' or 'look at me, I got a five string'?

 

 

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Yes all the time and all the way up the neck. It makes finger positioning much more efficient, playing ‘Master Blaster’, for example, is much easier using the B string 

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Yes. Use the open B in two of our original songs, and use a low D a lot. Also, as with @chaypup I use it a lot for finger position especially for E, F and F#. 

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Good point about efficiency. I think I ignored the real benefit of mine because anywhere on any fret it sounded like a wet rubber band. I imagine a decent bass made for a B would have made me use it more.

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I avoid using the E string, always seems to lack definition to me, so no point in me getting a fiver

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I originally got a five string as the band I was playing in played sets with 3 to 4 different tunings.  Rather than have multiple guitars and switch between them or having to retune between songs it was better for me to play it all on the one instrument .   We don't play those songs anymore so it's just So69 (which I'm trying to get removed from the set list).  

I''m looking to sell on the fiver as I don't need it anymore.

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All the time.

Playing a 5-string, for me at least, is all about playing across the neck rather than up and down it.

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Well if you're covering songs that were written and played on a 4, it's hardly surprising you don't feel a need for it. I use it a lot when making up my own lines however.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Jean-Luc Pickguard said:

I have an Epiphone thunderbird pro five string but don't play it much. The B string does work as a nice thumbrest though.

I had a friend who switched to Yamaha five strings solely to use the B as a thumb rest.  I don't think he'd ever played a single note on it.

Edited by PJ-Bassist
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Yes.  Even at my lowly level I see benefits from having to travel less with my fretting hand.  I think it is easier to transpose keys on a five too.

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I've never really felt the need for one. I've got enough on with 4 strings.

I get the convenience of being able to play the notes across the neck and move your fretting hand less, but where's the fun in that? It looks much more betterer if your hands is whizzing up and down the neck. I even do it when I'm playing an open E. 

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I use mine loads - the folk group I am in has songs in B, C and D so it makes sense.

Also as said above, it means less horizontal movement.

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1 hour ago, chaypup said:

Yes all the time and all the way up the neck. It makes finger positioning much more efficient, playing ‘Master Blaster’, for example, is much easier using the B string 

It certainly does, and it certainly is.

40 minutes ago, Skol303 said:

All the time.

Playing a 5-string, for me at least, is all about playing across the neck rather than up and down it.

This to some extent, but also I find I can move around the neck more without having to go a long way back to find a suitably high or low note.

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Posted (edited)

I will give a 5 or 6 a proper try one day.

I keep putting it off because I have a few bad habits which I know will cause me problems on a wider neck.

Not only do I play with my thumb over the neck, that thumb is also an intrinsic part of my muting technique.

Still I'll get round to it one day.

Edited by Cato

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Sometimes I use it loads, sometimes not at all...depends on the context. Options innit.

Si

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49 minutes ago, Skol303 said:

All the time.

Playing a 5-string, for me at least, is all about playing across the neck rather than up and down it.

^^ yup, that. I use the B string a hell of a lot. We have a big horn section, so the Eb gets a lot of action.

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I recently acquired a 5 for reading gigs- most modern shows are written for 5s now and the going across strings does make it much easier to read and watch the MD. 

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Nah. More than half our songs feature notes below E. Dropped my B to A and use that here and there.

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I like a very slim neck, which isn't gonna happen with a 5, plus on the few songs I might need to go below the Hipshot-dropped D, I've got Helix patches for Eb, D, C and B... Job done 😀

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Necessity was the mother of invention with myself. I've only played 4 strings since I were a lad but moving into the function band thing, I suddenly had to deal with different tunings.

I ended up carrying 2 basses to rehearsals and gigs, one tuned regularly but with a drop d extender and a bass tuned down a half tone. PITA!

Keyboard player said "get a 5 string", "no" I said but it made me think mmmmm...wash n go, why take 2 basses into the shower!

I've been playing a fiver for 15 months now, the function band folded but my new band play funk and soul and I find playing a 5 so much easier. Having the low E fretted rather than open is darn funky 😎. I may have to thin out the 4 stringers I own, I played a few of them for fun t'other night at home but I'm not sure when I would gig with them again!

In short, I'm a convert. Played 4 strings about 30 years, lightbulb moment then 15 months and upwards on the 5 😃

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3 minutes ago, Muzz said:

I like a very slim neck, which isn't gonna happen with a 5, plus on the few songs I might need to go below the Hipshot-dropped D, I've got Helix patches for Eb, D, C and B... Job done 😀

Slim neck, depth or width? (If you see what I mean).

The 5 string I have has a thin neck, very comfortable to play. Probably as easy on my left hand as my jazz bass.

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Just now, super al said:

Slim neck, depth or width? (If you see what I mean).

The 5 string I have has a thin neck, very comfortable to play. Probably as easy on my left hand as my jazz bass.

38mm nut, slim contour...not gonna happen with a 5, unless a couple of the strings are stacked... 😉

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