Open string, or fretted 5th which do you prefer?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by xdanxx, Jan 23, 2013.


  1. xdanxx

    xdanxx

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Theoretically they should be the same exact note, but ive found hitting the fretted 5th to be much warmer on my bass.

    Which do you prefer?
     
  2. Legault

    Legault

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    I would have to agree with that, gives a fuller sound to me ear and I also find it running through scales and stuff a lot easier then using an open.
     
  3. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

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    Apr 1, 2004
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I honestly never thought about it before as a "preference". I generally play the note in whatever position seems to make physical sense at the time, and am generally equally comfortable playing fretted - or open. :meh:

    Only time I might make a real point of hitting one over the other is when/if I want a specific tonal timbre for a specific portion of a specific musical piece. That's it.

    MM
     
  4. floppybass

    floppybass

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    In most cases, i prefer to play 5th frets, because the sound is indeed warmer, but if you start studying jazz, you will see/hear upright players often using open strings in their walking basses, comping, or even in their solos. For them it's much easier to stay in tune if they use open strings.
    I also found that if you want to play jazz on the electric bass, using open strings helps you to grasp that "upright fashion" style of playing.

    My two cents...


    Ps: First post on TB, yay!
     
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  6. fearceol

    fearceol

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    Ireland
    +1.
     
  7. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

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    Dec 21, 2012
    I generally prefer the fretted note, all things being equal, for the consistency of tone. But the open string is great for an expressive effect. They do sound different. The best one is the sound you want to hear.
     
  8. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

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    Jul 18, 2009
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    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    I prefer position playing. And seems like I have fallen into the trap of placing my position on the 4th string only. Do need to use the 3rd string more.
     
  9. Kmonk

    Kmonk

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    Oct 18, 2012
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    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I also find the fretted 5th to sound slightly different but my preference on whether to play the fretted or open note depends on what I am playing and where the next note is.
     
  10. Liam76

    Liam76

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    Dec 28, 2012
    I prefer fretted notes, but I do enjoy yanking an open string and letting it ring at the end of a verse.
     
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Depends where I am on the fingerboard on any given occasion. Nothing wrong with playing an open string in the interest of "conservation of energy". "Gimme 3 Steps" uses (or can use) open strings in the riffs & runs. I do find it a bit harder to mute an open string note but my righthand technique leaves a lot to be desired.

    Riis
     
  12. Depends on several things, mainly what effect I'm trying to achieve. Basically I try to keep both options in my "toolbox." Don't cost nuthin' so why not:)
     
  13. Bart277

    Bart277

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    Location:
    Perth Western Australia
    Both, depends on what I am playing and what notes are next
     
  14. JimK

    JimK

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    Dec 12, 1999
    Back in the day (for me, 1972)...about the only Electric Bass book available was the Mel Bay Bass Method. Somewhere in there, it sez, "...the advanced player will not use open strings...the reasons are obvious". Or something to that effect.
    There was no explanation, though. So, for years, I just ran with that.

    Eventually, though, I realized open strings could be used...and should be used in certain circumstances. A great example is the walking bass mentioned above by floppybass.
    I used to kill myself trying to play the bass breakdown from "All Right Now" without using the open "A"-string.
    Another: Try playing "Liberty City" without open strings.
    For a chromatic climb A-A#-B-C... back in the day (by the gospel according to Mel Bay), I woulda played a fretted "A" on the E-string & then shifted down to the "A"-string for the A#-B-C...an open "A" works great in lieu of "the shift". ;)

    Anyway, yes...an Open "A" & vs. a 5th fret/E-string "A" sound different...but so does a an E-string/8th fret "C" & an A-string/3rd fret "C", etc.
     
  15. RadioRob

    RadioRob

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    Dec 15, 2012
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    I like an open string sound but I found that moving to country music with my side band, its easier and makes more sense to play fretted for two reasons. One is key changes and the other is country uses allot of the same paterns.
     
  16. kevteop

    kevteop

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Location:
    York, UK
    On bass guitar I usually prefer an open A but prefer to fret the D and G. On double bass I use open strings a lot more, although I prefer to stop the G on the D if it's practical. My open G seems to ring a bit.
     
  17. backup

    backup

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    Oct 21, 2011
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    Saturn, Solar System
    most of the time i play in the first five frets.
    i always prefer open strings as it makes 16th runs easier and they sound more special. i like having more colour in my playing.

    but if i need consistent tone i dont hesitate to use fretted notes.

    also it depends heavily on the style im playing. i wouldnt really use open strings for reggae or funk (except the low e) but i for jazz, soul, latin i always prefer open strings to fretted ones.

    i realized, the more you practise incorporating open strings the better they soudn and the less negative difference there is to fretted notes. ie more consistency
     
  18. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

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    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    N.H.
    Fretted 5th. Opens are OK once in a while for effects,i.e. Red Barchetta riff,
    but a lot to control when being played in faster sections.
    Jim K's comment on "...the advanced player will not use open strings.
    One reason for that is recording, i.e. over ringing.
    Studio cats have to play very clean.
     
  19. TigerInATrance

    TigerInATrance

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    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    NW New Jersey
    Open for bombs, fretted for everything else. Having a low B helps!!
     
  20. kleinenenten

    kleinenenten

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    Jan 30, 2012
    Location:
    Florissant MO
    It all depends on what's happening in the song, and what's easier for me. Often, I'll try both, see which is easier/sounds better to me, and go from there. I also have a 5 stringer, so if it's in a standard tuning, I'll try different positions and see how it feels.
     
  21. iovar

    iovar

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    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    Chania, Crete
    Most of the time I don't think about it at all and play whatever requires less motion. As complexity of a song goes up though, my preference starts gravitating towards fretted notes. That's mostly because it seems that open string notes interfere with my memorization process.
     

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