# 5 string theory and practice

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by drewphishes, Apr 19, 2017.

Tags:
1. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
Philly
hey,
before you ask I read almost ALL of the going from 4 to 5 string sticky. Although it was nice to hear peoples experience doing just that it did not really help me with any of the technique involved.

any of you seasoned vets have any exercises or other helpful info on making the switch over and to how to incorporate it into my playing.

2. ### dinoadventuresFeets don't fail me now!

Jul 10, 2015
Dallas, TX
You are going to looooooooove how simple songs can be to play without all the shifting. It's definitely worth messing with the songs you already know but playing them up on the low B instead. It's a beautiful thing.

kkaarrll, andruca, Chinchano and 10 others like this.
3. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
Philly
is there an easy way to transpose them for the low b? like a formula?

4. ### dinoadventuresFeets don't fail me now!

Jul 10, 2015
Dallas, TX
I think I just learned what the notes were. Usually what I use the B string for is playing the notes I'd play on the A. So if I were going to grab a fifth I'd just go up to the same fret on the B instead of down to the A string and up two frets. Once you have your scale degrees on the string figured out relative to a given root note it's smooth sailing.

bassbully, osonu and drewphishes like this.
5. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
Philly
can you explain that a little more

6. ### IJBurns

Apr 14, 2015
Dallas, TX
I'll add to go through the cycle, ascending and descending, using only the B, E, and A strings. Say the notes as you play them for that extra memory boost(especially for the notes on the B string.)That'll get you pretty comfortable pretty quickly.

noeinstein, Gnal and drewphishes like this.
7. ### paulears

I think that this is what I did. When you learned on a 4 string - you knew the open string names, and you now have one more. I play more by patterns and shapes I think. Most of what I play seems to find a natural location where I don't have top move much - so in E, I'll perhaps have 2nd finger on the E on the B string, then first finger goes up a string and one fret down, then little finger on the same string but two frets above the starting E. Most of my stuff then falls in this area - going up a fifth then pops me up to the next string set. From time to time the song might have key changes in it, and I just ,love up or down the neck. Very often I'll be holding a note and somebody asks what it is - I never know till I look at my fingers. I seem to approach my playing when there's no music as just fingers in the right place, hearing it in my head. The addition of the extra string is no big deal - it just means that you have more places where you can play the same note - giving you even more scope for playing the same thing more easily, or playing harder things than perhaps you could have without the extra string? What I do know is that I cannot go back to 4 strings, because I constantly search for the string that isn't there - and playing nearer the nut is not what I wanted to do.

8. ### DiabolusInMusicFunctionless Art is Merely Tolerated VandalismSupporting Member

When I first switched to a six string I looked for some "six string theory" but I quickly realized that it is the exact same stuff, just with two additional strings. If you are struggling with how the B string works, I would highly suggest going back to your basics. You will most definitely find that the B string is a totally different animal when it comes to playing though. It requires a lighter touch, the right strings and the right rig to actually get it to sound decent. You also need the right scale length if you want the B string to be clear with sustain up the neck but you can get a good open B at 34". You will get wolftones with a 34/5" B string but they come up the neck so you may never notice them (or be impacted by them.)

9. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
Philly
So just play the normal major "box shape but use only the first 3 strings"

10. ### IJBurns

Apr 14, 2015
Dallas, TX
Yeah you can start there but make sure and run the cycle/circle so you confuse yourself enough to learn the string.

Also, and what will maybe be better first, is to play all of your one octave major and minor scales just on the B. Really force yourself to focus on just that one string until you know it backwards and forward.

Another cool little trick which might sound ridiculous is to make flash cards with single note names written on them. Shuffle them up, lay them face side down on your stand, then flip them over one by one and make yourself find just that note on the B string.

comatosedragon likes this.
11. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
Philly
not sure what you mean about run the cycle

12. ### dinoadventuresFeets don't fail me now!

Jul 10, 2015
Dallas, TX

Saetia and IJBurns like this.
13. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
Philly
so just play the b string chromatically B C C# D D# e etc

14. ### dinoadventuresFeets don't fail me now!

Jul 10, 2015
Dallas, TX
I had the wrong image at first, sorry. I fixed it.

IJBurns likes this.

Apr 14, 2015
Dallas, TX
16. ### IJBurns

Apr 14, 2015
Dallas, TX
Honestly man, definitely study the cycle. It will make you a better musician overall I promise. But to just get familiar with the notes on the string, starting with the flash cards is quickest route to memorization. After that go with one octave major and minor scales, and then when you're ready to crush it, learn and run the cycle. If you can run the cycle all over your bass, which will take some time but I promise will be worth it more than I can describe it in words, you will be waayyyyyy ahead of the game. Trust me

17. ### dinoadventuresFeets don't fail me now!

Jul 10, 2015
Dallas, TX
This man speaks true, and I'm not saying that just because we're from the same town, of roughly the same age, and both like Yamaha instruments.

drewphishes and IJBurns like this.

Apr 14, 2015
Dallas, TX
19. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
Philly
So on the circle of fifths on a 4 string would you play it like:

G:
D: 5 7 5
A:3 5 7
E:

and so on?

20. ### dinoadventuresFeets don't fail me now!

Jul 10, 2015
Dallas, TX
Try playing a simple pattern on whichever location of the correct notes you feel like and move through the cycle until you get a feel for the relationships. Switch it around a bunch. That's how you get familiar.