Jump to content

5 String "too niche"?


stingrayPete1977

Recommended Posts

The basis of the philosophy is completely flawed.

 

Most of the guitars sold are low end, entry level garbage which then spend most of their lives in the corner of a bedroom, out of tune with a missing string, covered in dust before finding their way on to eBay and the like, with some BS excuse why the seller couldn't be rrrsed to actually learn.

 

When I bought my first bass loads of my friends had crap acoustic/ entry level geeetars which are probably still in the same corner gathering dust. Some of them didn't even own a plectrum.

 

If this is your market, no wonder decent gear doesn't sell.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, stingrayPete1977 said:

This particular shop had decent quality guitars in stock.


Im surprised a shop 20 yrs ago didn’t have half a dozen entry level basses - including possibly a Vintage Stingray copy; Encore Precision copy etc etc. Even my local music shop had those. If they wanted to carry Squier instruments, they had to take 20 items at a time (and what the Fender distributor decided they should have - Fender’s business model worked on the basis they over-produced guitars and used retailer’s showrooms to park them all - hence the walls full in some showrooms). 
 

Now 20 yrs ago, you could go on a tour of several shops in Denmark St and the Bass Centre and find multiple left handed Stingrays, Warwick’s, Fenders - fretless basses, Stingrays, Stingray 5s etc etc. I think Guitar Guitar still does carry more than the ubiquitous Fenders. 
 

To pick up on @Chris B’s earlier post in this thread, to be honest, the only place I see 4 string Fenders being used are with professional acts (eg Adele last weekend). Not sure why some of them even bother as they’re often virtually inaudible - no doubt you can ‘feel’ the bass in the actual performance - heft and all that 😏 😩

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, neepheid said:

 

You went to the Guitar Guitar in Glasgow and it had heaps of basses/5s/fretless/lefties.  You went to quite probably the best place for physically looking at basses in the whole of Scotland and thought you'd extrapolate it out to cover everywhere?  Did you look in Kenny's or Merchant City?  That'll bring you back down to a more average experience, but both of them are still better than some.

 

Then come to Aberdeen.  We only have one shop now - a Kenny's which tries to squeeze everything (guitars, keys, drums etc.) in because of its geography and has a bass:guitar ratio of about 4:1.  This may seem healthy but there's less space.  There is no dedicated floor to basses, there's a corner - and for that we are to be grateful.  If there's a 5 or a fretless it's probably there by mistake.  There's a cool second hand instrument shop but it's even smaller and the ratio varies but it is invariably worse than Kenny's and of course it's pure pot luck what they have in at any time.

 

I enjoy a visit to Guitar Guitar in Glasgow when I'm down there but believe me, it's anything but normal!

 

I bought my fiver in Guitar Guitar Edinburgh.

 

It's definitely a niche instrument, fun and you can play differently, but for most people it's like having a pickup that they never put anything in the back of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 22/11/2021 at 23:58, Boodang said:

Just seems a bit weird that a 5 string wouldn't sell... maybe it doesn't sell because they don't stock it! I can't believe in this day and age a five is not a popular choice, unless of course you're out of touch with your buying public. 

As for fretless, just disappointing. As a fretless player it's always a bone if contention that there's never a good selection, both in a shop and from manufacturers. 

 

Indeed, you'd think manufacturers would be capable of not putting frets into all of their range. I must say though that Fodera take the biscuit (and it should be a soggy one) for charging $500 extra for a lined fretless - so instead of pushing 24 frets in, trimming, levelling, crowning, and polishing them, they just glue strips of veneer in the slots and sand them down, and charge extra for it.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I bought my fiver in Guitar Guitar Edinburgh.

 

It's definitely a niche instrument, fun and you can play differently, but for most people it's like having a pickup that they never put anything in the back of.

Shirley that depends on how people approach using the B string? I switched to a five a few years ago and I'd have to relearn a ton of stuff if I went back to a four. We played fifteen songs at our last gig - it was a two-band affair - and none of them had basslines that went below bottom E. Yet the way I'd learnt them had ten of them dropping down to the B string - they were just easier to play that way.

 

On reflection, that might have been because I hadn't been playing for all that long before making the switch so I didn't have a huge amount to unlearn. I couldn't go back, though. We have a few more songs we're working up - All Together Now in C, Another Girl Another Planet, where the bottom C and D adds a lot of fullness to the sound, plus others where I have to sing BVs - not having to jump up and down the neck makes it easier to get the bassline under my fingers. And it definitely makes it easier when trying to sing lead.

 

Horses for courses, I guess.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Hellzero said:

The cost is certainly due to the reprogramming of the CNC machine. 😉

 

These days if the design is done well with parametric CAD you should only need to change one variable to the appropriate number of strings and that should propagate to the dimensions for body and neck and even create a purchase inventory for all the other parts and dimensions for the blanks etc.

 

Possibly part of the reason why a Harley Benton Marquess-5 costs £2 less than a Marquess-4.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

 

These days if the design is done well with parametric CAD you should only need to change one variable to the appropriate number of strings and that should propagate to the dimensions for body and neck and even create a purchase inventory for all the other parts and dimensions for the blanks etc.

 

Possibly part of the reason why a Harley Benton Marquess-5 costs £2 less than a Marquess-4.

 

This was lined fretless vs fretted - I'm pretty sure @Hellzero was joking as the slots would still go in the same place and be the same width, as would the fret marker dots. They don't offer an unlined fretless on the price list so presumably they couldn't even be bothered to take the fretboard out halfway through and put the fret markers elsewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My local usually has two basses in stock around £300 each. He said he's tried stocking more variety of basses but they don't sell and he gets stuck with stock he can't afford to have hanging around. He's got loads of guitars, violins and ukuleles in stock. I guess bass isn't popular enough. 

He also doesn't have much stock of lots of other instruments so it's not just discrimination against bass

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 22/11/2021 at 22:02, Maude said:

The last time I went to my local shop I said I wanted to try some flats on my Precision. The owner said, "Why, they'll sound like sh!t".

 

At which point you should have played him any tune with James Jamerson on it...

silly billy!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They're extremely niche. I would hazard a guess that 80% or probably much more of basses sold are 4 string. 5 strings are a fun instrument to play, but when high street shops, already struggling, have to balance the books and consider what will sell and what wont, a 5 or 6 string is unlikely to be considered high on the list. They're more likely to get more of what will sell.

Edited by TheLowDown
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 22/11/2021 at 22:02, Maude said:

The last time I went to my local shop I said I wanted to try some flats on my Precision. The owner said, "Why, they'll sound like sh!t". 

Growing up we had two music shops in town: a snooty piano sheet music and violence n shop that had high end guitars and a rough n ready guitar shop that sold odds and sods and repaired breakages from shipping accidents but had a good stock of basses. I got my first bass in the latter and was offered ordinary or short scale. This is 20+ years back, before internet. Music megastores like PMT etc just hadn't made it out to the rocky outcrop I grew up in. 5 string basses were not offered, and why would they be? 

 

Anyhoo, I asked for flatwound strings once. The answer "sure, I'll whack em with a hammer for you".

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 25/11/2021 at 01:46, tauzero said:

Indeed, you'd think manufacturers would be capable of not putting frets into all of their range

 

Of course they are. This has nothing to do with production capability. The problem is that they have to factor in how much a product will sell, and if that number isn't high enough they will lose money making it.

 

Fender has the capability to make 4, 5 and 6-string versions of every bass model they've ever sold, along with fretless and left-handed versions of all of those again. But they then have to store them in their warehouse after production, sell them to retailers, ship them across the world and then hope they don't come back from the stores because they didn't sell. That's a lot of cost upfront, and then added risk over time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aren't all bass guitars niche? 

Who looks at rock bands on TV and thinks "I don't want to be the cool one shredding away and running around the stage, I want to be the the one at the back who plays root notes and only gets the girls (or boys) guitarist and singer rejected"?

It's not the most popular instrument. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, SteveXFR said:

Aren't all bass guitars niche? 

Who looks at rock bands on TV and thinks "I don't want to be the cool one shredding away and running around the stage, I want to be the the one at the back who plays root notes and only gets the girls (or boys) guitarist and singer rejected"?

It's not the most popular instrument. 

On the flip side of that:

 

Guitar players get students.

Bass players get gigs.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, TheLowDown said:

They're extremely niche. I would hazard a guess that 80% or probably much more of basses sold are 4 string. 5 strings are a fun instrument to play, but when high street shops, already struggling, have to balance the books and consider what will sell and what wont, a 5 or 6 string is unlikely to be considered high on the list. They're more likely to get more of what will sell.

Plenty of other high Street shops have five string basses, even ones much smaller. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Naigewron said:

 

Of course they are. This has nothing to do with production capability. The problem is that they have to factor in how much a product will sell, and if that number isn't high enough they will lose money making it.

 

Fender has the capability to make 4, 5 and 6-string versions of every bass model they've ever sold, along with fretless and left-handed versions of all of those again. But they then have to store them in their warehouse after production, sell them to retailers, ship them across the world and then hope they don't come back from the stores because they didn't sell. That's a lot of cost upfront, and then added risk over time.

 

But who on earth would want to buy a Fender?

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 24/11/2021 at 00:22, Woodinblack said:

 

I have never seen a chapman stick in an actual shop. I have only really seen one advertised in an actual shop and that was crazy money. 


I went into the Bass Centre in Wapping at some point in the late 80s/Early 90s and they had a selection! I think it was a pretty short-lived thing, probably driven by Tony Levin (not sure whether Nick Beggs was known for playing one back then). But as you say, since then it is direct from Stick Enterprises or private sale. I once bought a Rosewood model from a store in Texas, but the US is a bit different - more of every type of instrument available.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...