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Advice Needed Moving from 4 String to 5 String

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by mickeyw3340, Jan 28, 2003.


  1. There probably a lentgthy thread on this subject here somewhere, if you know of one, please direct me to it. Shelled out for that 5 string Ibanez SR405 last night. I know. practice, practice practice, and I have been woodshedding most of the night. What was your hardest obstacle to overcome when moving from 4 to 5 wires? What I'm dealing with is that the strings are closer together, and my fingers on the left hand seem to have a mind of their own. "Hey I know where the third string is, so I'm going to press it. "WHAAAAHHHHHH" "No, that's no longer the third string!!!!!"
    Also...how do you use your new low B string. My direction seems to be to play as I have using the old EAD & G and use the B on the fifth fret as such as the second note of a two beat A chord, instead of using the A string on the 7th fret. I tend to use the B as an occasional effect, rather than trying to change my thinking and playing to use it constantly. "Love the low growl"

    Any input will be appreciated.
     
  2. My biggest obastacle was getting used to the b-string being the lowest string. The strings are definitely closer, but I got lost for a week or so b/c it was so completely different in my mind (going from an ibanez ergodyne 4-string to warwick corvette 5-string.. completely differen't in almost every way).

    I use my 5-string just as much as any other string. I love the growl of the lower notes. :)

    Good luck! :)
     
  3. Went straight to a 6 from a 4. Did alot of scales to re-coordinate my fingers (had same problem as you- but got over it in a week or so).

    I use my B-string to keep from detuning. Sometimes it makes a bassline harder to play by having to change the fingerings, but I like busy basslines.
     

  4. Heh, I have the exact same bass, an SR405 (yet I barely use the 5th string so I should have just gotten a nice 4 string instead). But the best technique to learning how to manage the 5th string is just time. It only took me about a week to finally get my brain to figure out that there is a new string. Just dont play it as much as the other strings at first and just keep your thumb on it and after awhile you can start to use it... I know this probably wont help much but hey, I gave it a shot.
     
  5. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2000
    It's a matter of conditioning yourself. My biggest hurdle when I had a 5 was, as it was said before, getting used to the B-string being the lowest string. Your hands do develope a memory of sort and are conditioned to certain patterns. If you're practicing as much as you say you are then you shoud be up and running in no time at all.
     
  6. I found in my transition to a 5-string that using a floating thumb technique came in very handy. I only have smalls hands and fingers, so reaching the higher strings with my thumb on the pickup was very difficult. If you play with your thumb on the string below (note-wise) the string or strings you're playing on, I think you'll find that adjusting to the extra string isn't overly difficult. It will take you a few days to get used to the extra thickness and feel of the b-string but it is worth the effort.

    Good luck.:)
     
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Floating thumb also helps a lot with muting.
     
  8. greywolf

    greywolf Guest

    Dec 20, 2002
    Wichita, KS, US
    As far as getting used to the string spacing, the only way is to run scales and arpeggios till your fingers learn the spacing.

    As far as what you do with the B string, it depends on the song. For music in church, sometimes I use the low note for just the last note, sometimes even an octave "chord" -- like first fret on the B plus third fret on the A to give a C octave. Other songs use the range of the regular bass line, but played one string lower and five frets higher for a fat tone. And for playing in a jazz band with horns, I have that Eflat without detuning. Or sometimes I get to be the organ pedals. Just depends on the song.
     
  9. Yea......when I got my first 5 string in August, it took me a week to get the feel of the bass(3 hours a day practicing) but like almost 2 months before I could neatly slap with the B string in the way.

    I think the most important thing to play 5 frets Higher(starting on the E on the B string) and just play some tunes, scales, and anything you can come across. Try to avoid the G string just for a bit, so you can get acquainted with the BEAD strings and feel.

    I really think the size and tension of the B string is what makes playing 5 string a bit more challenging. The difference in size and feel and how to touch it(plucking,slapping) is what most people need to work with.
     
  10. as has been said, you'll get used to it the same way you'll get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice.......