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A curious question for 5 & 6 stringers.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by cassanova, Apr 30, 2002.


  1. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I know it depends on the situation and particular passage, etc., but Im just curious to know how you other 5 and 6 string players fret a low E note.


    I myself prefer to fret it on the B string most of the time, I prefer the warmth, fullness, and depth it gives compared to the open E string.
     
  2. oddentity

    oddentity

    Nov 20, 2000
    Philly
    It depends on the song; if possible I prefer open E. I find it rings better than a fretted note on the B string.
     
  3. the great one

    the great one

    Jan 25, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    I totally agree. It pretty much depends on the vibe of the song, i.e. how many notes per beat ...etc...etc. I can play faster and longer without having to move my fretting fingers as much if the open string sound applies.
     
  4. xax712

    xax712

    Dec 25, 2001
    Northwest Arkansas
    You have much better control over a fretted note than an open. That's why I usually fret, but depending on the song opens do get played. Mostly for slides and transitions where I'm nowhere near second position, but I prefer to play the fretted for the control (tone, vibrato, pitch, etc.)
    But that's just me.
    Brad
     
  5. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Whichever way is most comfortable. Having small paws as I do, I usually prefer second position, if there is a choice involved.

    If I had to quickly drop to the low C or C# afterwards, playing the open E would be more economical in terms of movement. That's usually how I think about it.
     
  6. pigpen02

    pigpen02

    Mar 24, 2002
    i've got small hands as well, and while i'd rate my manual dexterity as being higher than that of most people, i do go in for a lot of economy of movement stuff, simply to keep from taxing my poor fingers too much; so the closest/easiest low e is where i'm headed, unless i have something very particular in mind.
     
  7. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I try to play it on the B string, because I think fretted notes sound better and the heavier guage string makes a difference, too. I generally try to avoid open strings if I can. There are times when it is more convenient to play the open E, but most of the time I play the B string.
     
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Depends on what sound I'm trying to get. For instance if I want an E with vibrato...

    Plus some patterns are easily to play on open strings, much less work than reaching to fret the same note.

    One thing I work on is matching the tone of my open strings with the same note fretted on the string below. It's in the hands;)
     
  9. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I totally agree with you Brad about it being in the hands. I try and match the two tones myself, but it bothers me because I can never get it identical.
     
  10. MaxC85

    MaxC85

    Aug 22, 2001
    Michigan, USA
    Well on my bass i can get them to sound identical so sound isn't the issue. But if i'm playing like a 12 bar blues in E then it's sooooo much easier to use open strings
     
  11. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    What kind of nut do you have? Because I don't believe it is possible to get a string resting on bone or plastic or graphite to sound exactly the same as a string resting on a metal fret. Also, the E on the fifth fret B string is a heavier guage than the open E string, giving it more low end, and a more powerful sound. You can't change that with your fingers. You may get them to sound similar, but I don't believe anyone can truly get them to sound identical. Just my opinion, I don't mean to offend anyone who believes they can make them sound the same.
     
  12. Dirty

    Dirty

    May 9, 2002
    Golden Colorado
    I come from a blues and jazz background. It seems to me that open strings do sound differently and that change in sound accents them. Because of the accent I try only to play open strings when they are the root note.
     
  13. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    I like fretting the E. But, of course it depends on the situation.
     
  14. BlacksHole

    BlacksHole

    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    If I want the sound of an open E, I use the E string. If I need the sound of a fretted note, I use the B. This is most frequently driven by how I want to mute (or not) the note.
     
  15. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I agree with you. They sound similar, after all they are the same note. But the open E doesnt have the depth that the fretted E does. I dont think you can get them to sound identical either, one will always sound a little bit different than the other, at least thats been IME, and on every 5 string Ive played.
     
  16. ldiezman

    ldiezman

    Jul 11, 2001
    Nashville
    hmm.. I guess it is about half in half for me. There are times when the open low E just rings out and begs me to pluck it.. and others the more soothing warmth of the fretted E calls my name... its all about the groove ;)