Ad on Craigslist: NO 5 STRINGS!

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by smurfco, Jun 21, 2021.

  1. smurfco

    smurfco Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Norwalk, CT
    Dude has a band and they need a new bassist as their regular guy left. Looks interesting, lots of the same influences as me, but then I see this:

    "NO 5 strings. 5 strings is one too many."

    I'm not even primarily a 5 player but *** is that all about? What's wrong with 5 strings broseph?

    I didn't respond to the ad based just on that.
  2. Tim Skinner

    Tim Skinner

    Nov 6, 2018
    And the LORD spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the bass. Then shalt thou count to four, no more, no less. Four shall be the number of strings thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be four. Five shalt thou not count, neither count thou three, excepting that thou then proceed to four. Six is right out."

    (credit to Monty Python ... )
  3. Shlabotnik

    Shlabotnik Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2019
    4-strings has a certain connotation. 5-strings implies something else about the player just as 6 strings implies even more about the player. Not necessarily good or bad... It just means that they know what they're looking for. Or what they're not looking for. Just like they might prefer someone show up with a Fender as opposed to a Steinberger or a Dingwall.
    ga_edwards, Bolsyo, RocknRay and 14 others like this.
  4. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    That kind of attitude is a reactionary, traditionalist(maybe even luddite)outlook towards bass; that the original layout of four strings, adapted by Leo from centuries of upright bass for his new-fangled instrument in 1951, and subsequently sufficed for several decades, should be the only configuration for electric bass guitar, and we should like it!

    We should know our place with only four strings, and not be so highfaluting. This, ironically, overlooks the fact that the Fender bass itself was initially met with scorn, and was considerered to be some sort of illegitimate bastard instrument in the first place. The growth of the 5-string coincided, or perhaps was a reaction to, the prevalence of synth bass in the 80’s and beyond.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
  5. Verb the Noun

    Verb the Noun

    Aug 1, 2018
    San Diego
    There are a lot of average guitar players who jump to bass. Playing music with and for people is the goal of most musicians, and that instrument jump might just mean some stage time. I figured that out early.

    What took me a bit longer is to realize there are guitar players out there who prefer those root riding former guitarists on bass. I'm picking up that vibe from the author of this add. To me, that it screams "Nothing fancy please" more so than an anti B string musician.
    Mr_Moo, lordradish, smurfco and 2 others like this.
  6. electracoyote

    electracoyote Supporting Member

    Well, to the band's defense, it's possible they've had bad experiences with those five-string players who work that low B just a bit too much.

    As a guitar and keys player, I've tried to work with those bass players flexing on string five every chance they get. It's no fun.

    And I play both fours and fivers all the time as a bass player. Some bands want a stay-in-your-lane bass player, and that's well within their rights.

    If I liked the project, I'd audition with one of my four-bangers. After I got the gig I'd have a chat about bringing a fiver to a rehearsal and not over-doing it, keeping it within the musical goals. But I wouldn't pass on an audition for a great project over it.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    big whup! :laugh:

    wait until the ads clearly state: "no gray-hairs or anyone over 50." :wideyed: :jawdrop: :facepalm: :banghead: :dead:
  8. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I'll show up with a 1-string washtub bass and play quarter notes, that'll fix 'em
  9. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    I’ve played with groups that demanded that I use a five string
  10. David76112


    Feb 19, 2012
    What about a four tuned to BEAD? Lol!
    Thorny1, Mr_Moo, zenrad and 23 others like this.
  11. Holdsg

    Holdsg Talkbass > Work Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    I suppose Dingwall are "right out" as well?
  12. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    I never had so much fun as the day I showed up to practice with a Fender VI.

    The band full of traditionalists didn't know what to think of it.
  13. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    The only way to respond to that add is to send a picture with you and a P bass but then show up with a 6-string, fanned-fret, headless, coffee-table bass. "You said no five-strings."
  14. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Transpose this dynamic to auditioning drummers: I've been in bands with drummers who prefer a kit with 2 bass drums. You can correctly infer a couple of things about those drummers, and you'd be within your rights to prefer that or not prefer that. It's not a thing to take personally.
  15. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    You'd think that, at that point, they'd just specify exactly what they wanted, and more importantly, why they wanted it. Example - "We are an Iron Maiden tribute band, and as such we prefer our bassist to play a four-string P-bass with flats." Something like that. But then, maybe I'm expecting way too much.

    There might be some truth to this. (Then again, maybe not.) To the OP - it'd be interesting if you found out why the former bassist left, and it'd also be interesting to find out how the drummer operates. What style of music is it? If the guitarist is the type of person who is hell-bent on playing through all of Watermelon in Easter Hay to a bar audience, then he's definitely looking for a live backing track.

    I'm in agreement with this. Audition with a four, see how the fit is. If you bring your A game and they're really impressed and want you, tell them that you plan on playing a five-string. If that turns into a thing and there's an impasse, you can walk - you're both free to make the choice to pass on that relationship. (You can always say that you borrowed the four-string for the audition and you only own a five. I actually almost did this once for an audition, since I didn't want to take my custom six-string figuring it would look too flashy - my Ibanez was in the shop. Luckily, or unluckily, it didn't come to that.)
  16. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    It amazes me how the four extra notes bothers anyone. I’ve know several traditionally-minded guitarists who drop their low E to D, or otherwise do a full open D tuning.
  17. dangevans


    Mar 26, 2014
    Just someone a little too big for their britches.... I don't care WHAT anyone plays if they join a band of mine/are hired for a gig or session with me, as long as it sounds good and the person is not a complete a-hole.
    Some people wonder why they can't get any kind of break in the business of music. This is why! :)
    Mr_Moo, Lenny JG, Joedog and 4 others like this.
  18. BassToGoGo


    Jul 14, 2018
    Here in Nashville fives are okay as long as they are a FSO (Fender Shaped Object).
    bignc, smurfco and Esteban Garcia like this.
  19. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    C’mon, when you were in your 20’s, did you want someone your dad’s age in your band? I’ll bet not. This “dad band” or “old guy in the band” thing has been a phenomenon only in the last 30 years or so, as baby boomers got old(and continued to play the music of their youth, which was obsessed with youth). When the Stones hit the US in ‘64, 28 year old Bill Wyman lied about his age.
    Mr_Moo, Dynacord, JRA and 2 others like this.
  20. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    I'm not gonna buy a bass just to attend an audition ;-)
    -All- my basses have at least 5 strings -- even the electric upright.

    Do you suppose these guys would prohibit an 88-key keyboard since 73 is clearly enough ?
    I've seen the no-five-string thing and the only takeaway is "You're right, I wouldn't be a good fit."
    If they can't trust a professional to play only the appropriate notes, they're not to be taken seriously.

    MAYBE if it's some kind of tribute band and they are going for a specific look...
    In which case, I probably wouldn't fit in anyway...
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