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5 String Upright Acoustic Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by allTimeFavorite, Feb 23, 2006.


  1. allTimeFavorite

    allTimeFavorite

    Dec 2, 2005
    Iowa
    I'm sure that someone in this group is playing a 5 string upright. What are the benefits and drawbacks of the 5 string acoustic upright? Are there any benefits in playing jazz, rockabilly, and bluegrass? Is it more difficult to slap? Are there disadvantages playing arco?
     
  2. I'm sure there are many w/more experience, but I've heard that the added tension of another string can diminish overall volume, for one thing. I know nothing about slapping but on slab, 4 is easier than 5; 5 is easier than 6, etc.(for me). Not sure if this 'rule' applies to 'real' bass.;) I imagine arco would be a tad bit trickier to do cleanly. One advantage would of course be more range; also more available notes in a given position, thus less shifting. Hope this helps.
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I will answer only the Arco/Orchestral type playing question as I have not yet and don't plan on ever using it for Jazz.

    I had one of my 4s converted to a 5 after testing one out for a month before hand. For Orchestra, I like playing the Lower notes when written and when I can sneek it in without hurting, play a few extra Low's as well.

    I also Play Basses with C-extensions as well. I have found that some passages may be easier on a 5 when the notes move fast but not when jumping crossing strings.

    Most Orchestras in USA use and Extension and only a few players use a 5. In Europe most all use the 5 string for the Lows where Extensions are not that popular. It is as hard crossing strings from the B to the A or D as it is difficult to play fast descending or ascending lines up and down on an Extension..

    Pick your Poison.. It's a 'Double' Bass and when you are playing the Cello part @ 8va, have your pick or play it up.

    Heres my 5; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Mystery2/Hungarian.htm

    my Previous Bass with Ext. (now sold); http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MorelliBass/MorelliBass.htm

    My current Bass with Ext.; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/martini_bass_2.htm

    My soon to be Bass with Ext.; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Prescott/prescott_preview.htm

    and another Bass of mine to get an Ext. after restoration.; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/GilkesBass/GilkesBass.htm
     
  4. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    how is the slapping on the five string as opposed to the four stringers :smug:
     
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    ;)
     
  6. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    thats friggin funny :D
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    If you know me, that would be a dangerous thing to try. :ninja:
     
  8. :)
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    Hi buddy, feeling better now? Or was it the 5er in Jazz that got you out of bed?

    Guys, if you want to know about 5-string DB in Jazz (Low B), this this is the guy to ask, PW.

    See you latter bro.:hyper:
     
  10. I notice the way your tuners are set up on your 5 stringer that it is suposed to have a high C. I am guessing that you have a low B on it. If you had the extra tuner on the other side then it would be for a low B.
     
  11. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    In the 19th Century the French started to reverse the Tuners to lessen the Angle of the E bend and extend the after length. On 5 string Pollmanns and all Pollmanns now the tuners are all reversed.

    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Mystery2/5str_imgs/m2_pr.JPG
    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Mystery2/5str_imgs/m2_pl.JPG

    Recently I did this on my Martini. Will you call me a lefty now?

    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/extE.jpg
    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/extG.jpg

    I like the way the Bass feels and sounds with the tuners reversed. Slightly deeper and smoother with a tad less tension.
     
  12. enyapj18

    enyapj18

    Jul 23, 2005
    Asheville, NC
    For the most part its going to cost more to replace strings on a 5 string bass. I know I'm really oversimplifying this, there are a lot of variables I left out. However, at some point in time it probably will be cheaper to go with the C extension. That point in time could be in one year or in 150 years, depending on the specifics of the situation.

    John
     
  13. I've played a 5-string Pöllmann for about 6 years. I've posted the pros and cons on my website:

    http://www.billbentgen.com/bass/5_string-basses.htm

    I also posted some exercises I wrote to get used to it at:

    http://www.billbentgen.com/music/music_menu.htm
     
  14. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    An accountants perspective?.. Very interesting.. Can we see some numbers for comparison please?

    As a player, the last person I consult is the accountant.
     
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Hi Bill, love your site.. Never saw the excercises. I will print them out and put them to work. All I have for 5 is the few notes in the Bille, the excerpt books with some Lows like in the Brandenburg and the Music I get to play on occassion that need's a 5 if too fast moving for fingering the extension..
     
  16. enyapj18

    enyapj18

    Jul 23, 2005
    Asheville, NC
    I’m a player (amateur of course) and an accountant. No matter what decision I make there’s, always an account present.

    For a decent cost analysis there are a lot of factors I’d have to consider. Is an extension being put on an existing four string? Are we selling the 4 string for a 5 string or a 4 string with an extension already on it? What brand of strings are being used, and how often are they changed? These are the types of questions I need answered for good numbers.

    I agree with you as a player you really shouldn’t consult and account when buying an instrument. I however have no choice.

    John
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    I am not a CPA but I have run my Business for almost 30 years pretty well so I feel comfortable making financial decisions.

    If an extension is already on the Bass then it's a no brainer. Either work with that or get a similar Bass with 5-strings or keep both if you can afford to. That's easy math for the buyer. The cost of Strings is not a factor at all. Lunch money at most plus the strings last so long who even remembers how much they cost per day to own.

    The next thing really is what you need musically vs. what you can afford. Some 5s just don't have the low end happening on the B. Some Scrolls can't take an Extension withour cutting into the head and that can hurt the Value of the Bass. Depending on what extension you are getting and from whom figure on spending from 1-2k or maybe more. If you are buying a new Bass on the low end carved (under 10k) and the 5er is really what you need, then there are a few out there for maybe 1-2k more if that much of a similar model 4-string. If you just want some occassional Low notes and don't want to have that 5th sting on there 24/7, then get an extension.

    Now, if the tone you get on the bottom is just not what you want and you need to move into the high end Orchestral bass, then add a 'banker' to the list of people to consult!..lol

    I think the main decesion of what you need is mainly Musical. Financial comes into play as the means to your needs.
     
  18. I bass player from Austria sent me an email a few years back that had 36 classical orchestral works that used the low B. I misplaced the email before I could list the works on my site. The only one I remember is the Respighi "Pines of Rome".
     
  19. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Bill, my computer wont download your files. I will have my son/comp. wiz try to fix that.

    I did the 'Pines of Rome' in my first Orchestra concert when I returned to playing. I remember my left hand killing me at rehearsals playing BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB..

    For about 10 minutes non stop for an hour while the conductor rehearsed the Brass. In Concert without stopping and repeating I did fine. I played the upper Part as the Bass part in that is split. I don't recall much below the 'F' in that piece but I was on top so I could have missed it.
     
  20. Ken,

    Those are just generic pdf files. If you don't already have the viewer, there's a link to get it (free) at the top of the page.