Back to four?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Blackbird, Nov 25, 2001.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Have any of you multiple string owners decided to go back to the four string? I played a gig yesterday in which I used my Tokai Jazz instead of my 5 and didn't miss the B at all. I know I'll always have a 5 around but there are some things about a 4 that just don't feel right on a 5 or 6. or 7.

    Has anyone else gone through a "back to 4" phase? Anyone returned permanently?

    <font size=1>I know there's an older thread about the same topic, but I couldn't pul it out of the mothballs, so, hey, New thread!</font>
  2. i haven't been playing a 6 string for that long (about 3 months now) but as i stated in my other thread, i don't think i could ever go back to a 4 just because of the neck feel. i'm now so used to a huge neck that i feel like i could break a 4 string.

    i'm just wondering, what doesn't feel right on 5,6, or 7 string that does feel right on a 4?
  3. I've gone back more than once... it was very hard for me to get used to 5. I have in the past bought 5's that just sat in their case until I sold 'em. This time around I really want the 5 to stay so I've gotten rid of all of the 4's. I may go back still though... something about a good Jazz bass is just like being at home.
  4. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I do it all the time. Right now I'm in 4 string mode. Had a gig last nite & I used my Spector NS-2.

    For me, It's what I'm in the mood to play @ that moment. I usually don't play the same bass on back to back gigs. I have alot, so I might as well get some use out of all of them.
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Maybe I should have said "don't feel right to me".

    I have been playing fivers for over two years now and one thing I have found is that I use the B string way more discretely than the other four. It's just a really subtle feel thing.

    Nino, check your e-mail.
  6. i personally feel that that's how the B string should be used anyway... with great care about the timing and situation which you use it in. the honest truth is that almost everything out there in pop, country, jazz, r&b, blues, and latin can be played just as well on a 4 string bass as on a 5. my reasoning for this is that the B string, as stated above, should only be used for subtle emphasis. Now, if you happen to play in a band that does a lot of new rock type of covers, etc, then a 5 may be needed.
  7. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    It depends on the bass. I like playing 5, and even dabble with 6 sometimes, and have gone for long stretches without even owning a 4-string. But I'm sorta in 4-string mode by default at the moment, because I recently picked up a Wal 4 that I love, so I'm spending a lot of time with it.

    There are also certain basses where I really prefer the 4-string versions, usually because of the string spacing. Warwick and Spector would be good examples--I love the basic design (Ned Steinberger got it right with the NS shape!), but find the spacing on the 5's to be a lot tighter than I like.

    Since I'm not in an income bracket that makes it practical to be custom ordering a wide-spaced NS5 or Streamer Stage II, I'll just enjoy the 4-string versions. (Note: I don't currently own either of those, but a SSII 4 I picked up recently is what convinced me I could get by with 4 strings when I was hunting for a Wal...then I had to sell it to pay for the Wal!)

  8. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Portland, OR
    I find myself gravitating towards 4s occasionally. Mostly because I was weened on them. But, I really honestly feel better on the more extended range ones, i.e. 5+ strings.
  9. XavierG

    XavierG In Memoriam

    I bought a 6 back in February (or thereabouts) and went back to 4 a month later. 6 just didn't feel right for me. I recently ordered a custom built 5, and I am again thinking I should have stuck to 4 (haven't even received my new 5-string yet). :(
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i don't know if that will ever happen for me. probably not. every time i pick up a 4 it doesn't even feel like the same instrument anymore.
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I have the opposite problem. I guess it's called John Turner syndrome.:D My 4 stringers just don't feel right to me anymore. I have to make myself play them. I just feel more comfortable on 5 or 6.
  12. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    My opinion of 5 strings is this: The less you use the B, the better of a player you are. Ive noticed that people like P-nut from 311 and Dirk Lance from Incubus both use 5 string basses, but in their songs, there isnt much use of notes below E. They use it very tastefully.

    People like Tobin Esperance from Papa Roach use the B string constantly, and that guy SUCKS. The song "Last Resort" is pretty much all on the B string. What do you guys think about this opinion?
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I broke out my P-bass four string tonight and played for a while. Nope. I can't go back.

    As for lo-end, I play only fives, and seldom use the B string for low notes. I use it to play further up the neck. The frets are closer together up there, you know. I must confess, though, that the endings of some of the country stuff like a low C or D now and then. Yum.
  14. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    So what you're saying he's a sucky bassist because he playes alot on the B? So if he played the same exact notes an octave hicher, he'd be a good bassist? Sounds kind of silly. I think Tobin is a GREAT bassist. He has a great tone & his B is VERY tight & focused.
  15. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I think it has nothing to do with the original question.
  16. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    once i get some bread, i'm gonna reorganize the stable to have a fretted and fretless 5 (looking like a warwick SSII and a bolt on streamer or fortress fretless), and fretted 4. (gonna slap a moses neck and a bart pickup on my sterling..mmm)

    i've been getting into some extended slap technique, and i need room between the strings to pull it off. BUT, my hands are too small to be able to play a widenecked 5 string (the close spacing of my warwick is PERFECT). BUT, i need a 5 string for most of the stuff i play. AND i need a 5 string backup bass incase i break a string. so i've gotta have at least two 5'ers.

    but i DO feel like i can do stuff on a 4 that i can't do on my warwick, so i'll always have one.

    on the other hand, i hate having only 4 strings on my UPRIGHT....having to read stuff written for basses with low C extensions SUCKS when you don't have one. a 5 string upright would make the stable complete :)

  17. when I bought my first 5 I played it like crazy. then, it seemed that (in the bands I was in) I just didn't use the B enough to justify the tighter spacing and fumbling over the B that I was doing. so I went back to the 4 and have pretty much stayed there for about 4 years now.

    looking back I realize now that my problems with the 5 were a combination of my tecnique and the bass.

    so, I have now had some lessons to clean up my tecnique, and have ordered a DP custom with neck thru construction and wide string spacing. a lot of the songs I'm doing now would benifit from the extended range of a 5, so I'm excited waiting for my 5 to be built.
  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    This has happened to me,too. I played 6's exclusively for about 10 years, then 7 for a short period, then bought my Fender Jazz. It really felt like coming home. So I've been using that mainly (I've also added the doghouse to my stable) for some time. I'm also building a 5, because I do miss having that extreme low end once in a while.

    I also figured out that it's not what instrument I play, it's how I play it. The biggest challenge for me is to play something true.
  19. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I've been playing 5's for about as many years now, and lately have been jonesing for a 4...mainly due to a flurry of gigging on upright. I want some real specific things in a 4, though. No high-end, active, mega-quilt stuff...I want primitive. Actually, I wanna build a P-bass.
  20. Ya know it's funny, i played a 5 string exclusively for 6 years, and when i first tried a 4 again it kinda freaked me out for a minute. I didn't like that freaked out feeling a bit, made me feel like i'd gotten lazy or spolied or something. And i agree with many here, it's not like i use the B string alot, to me it's like garlic, a little goes a long ways. I do like to play off the E note on the B string in songs in E. Well anyhow, i got a 4 string acoustic bass, and pretty quickly got used to playing both 4 and 5 strings on the same gig. I then got a Fender P. I still use my 5 string more, but ya know, i think it's somehow more fun to play the 4 strings. Kinda hard to explain. Some of the newer country stuff, which i generally hate anyhow, you sorta need the low B to duplicate it like they did in the studio. So my choice of 4 or 5 somewhat depends on what the songlist is, my group plays 35 diff songs every week. This coming week is def a 5 string week, last week was 4. Trent