5+ String Basses

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Roark Haver, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. I was wondering the other day, while sitting in traffic, where did the 5-string (and beyond) bass come from? When did it appear on the music scene? Who was the first player to bring it into main-stream music?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    5-string double basses were very common in the 1700s - in fact all the Double Basses produced in Vienna at that time, were 5-strings!

    As to bass guitar history I would recommend reading "The Bass Book" by Tony Bacon.
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    In 1974, a few week after Stanley Clarke ordered a Piccolo bass from Carl Thompson, Anthony Jackso went to Carl and asked to have a six string bass built, but that's the story of the six.

    Around the same time, Jimmy Johnson, whose father played double bass in the Minnesota orchestra (and had a c-extension on his upright) was playing a detuned 4-string bass.

    Jimmy and his dad tried to develop a similar concept for the electric bass (made a reality by Philip Kubicki in 1980), but they gave up on the idea because GHS (Whom they approached to make an extended E string) told them it would be easier to make a thicker string that could be tuned at a lower pitch than to make a longer E string; so in 1975, Johnson contacted Alembic and had them make the first five string bass, which they already offered with a high "C" option, like the Fender Bass V, but Johnson modified it to accept the then custom GHS "B" string. His bass was finished in 1976.

    All this info courtesy of The Bass Book, by Tony Bacon.