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Beginners: Please start off with a 4-string....

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by scatman, May 13, 2004.

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  1. scatman


    Jun 12, 2003
    My mother always says that you have to crawl before you walk. Please buy a 4 string and learn the fundamentals of your instrument. If, after a period of time learning fundamentals, you are ready for the jump to 5, then by all means.....

    I know a cat who's just starting out, and bourght a five-string! And I met a cats who played a Ken Smith Burner 6, and had only been played for ONE YEAR!!!!!!

    Just remember, you must learn 2+2 before you get to calculus! Peace.
  2. Mazinger

    Mazinger Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2002
    What exactly would the difference be with learning on a five or six?
  3. Hurley


    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    There have been many posts about this. You don't need to "master the four" before you can get a five.

    Who's to say what you should be allowed to buy? It's true that newbies wouldn't be able to use a 5+ string bass to it's full potential right away, but that's still not a good reason to confine yourself to a four. If you wanted to play the lines of your favorite bassist or make similar music, and (s)he played a 6-string, why would you hold yourself back? From one of my earlier posts...

  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    There have been a few threads about this before, but I have never posted. But your thread title I find to be alarmist enough that I'm sticking my head in here.

    I disagree completely.

    Again, I disagree completely.

    Anything that can be played on a 4 can be played on a five. The fretboard is not that wide as to cause too much problems. In fact, if you ignored the B string, it would feel pretty much like a four.

    So, newbies, fear not. If you want a 5, (which by the way is a much more versatile setup than a downtuned 4), get it.

    (No need to "master" a 3 string before "learning" a 4, is there? Didn't think so.)

    Actually, I'm surprising myself by responding to what was probably just a trolling post.
  5. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Agreed. If you've got the choice, get a bass that you find inspiring - the number of strings is irrelevant to that equation.

    If your choices are limited, then make the best of what is available. Good reasons why a four might be better are if there's more choice in your price range and if money will limit your choice of amplification or even affect your purchase of new strings from time to time. However, if the music you like is made by people playing basses with 5+ strings and you can afford the equipment, go for it.

  6. lsu921


    Jun 6, 2003
    Port Allen, La
    I agree with you guys. Whatever floats your boat. Wanna start on an 8 string? Knock yourself out. You don't have to start on a 4 then graduate to a 5 and so on...

    If you know you want to play a 5,6,7,8, 9 string from the begining, then get one. You learn a 4 then you get more stings, and there's a learning curve. If you just starting out with a bunch you don't know any different.

    I think the only reason I'm posting this is I don't want to do what I'm supposed to be doing.... :meh: Back to Visual Basic I go... :crying:
  7. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada

    i dont like the use of that word. but i agree with you. its all about what the person wants, for me it doesnt really matter, i own a kubicki 4 banger right now that just rocks, but maybe some day i might grab a conk 7 stringer. But for i beginer i wouldnt recomend anything over a 5 just to start, FACTS when i started i didnt even know there were 6 string basses and usally ur first bass sucks.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    Play what makes you happy, music is supposed to do that. :hyper:
  9. Blademaster Dez

    Blademaster Dez

    May 12, 2004
    Wulf- affordability is a good point. And nowadays, it's much easier to find a quality affordable 5-string than it was, say, 10 years ago. So making the jump won't bust a beginner's wallet. Even such boutique companies like Warwick and Spector have fivers that the everyman can afford.

    Back when I was in high school (1992-1996), I started out on a 4-string but a year later switched to a 5, because the 4 didn't give me enough range for the type of stuff my teacher was doing with me (particularly transposing from treble clef to bass clef). So I traded up to a 5, and back then there weren't that many options for affordable 5's. Not many people in my area were playing them (so forget a used 5), Ebay wasn't around, and Ibanez was one of the only companies that made 5's that I could afford. (EDIT: Nothing against Ibanez. They make some awesome instruments. But if I had the type of options then that a newbie does now, I'd have probably gone for a Spector Performer or a Warwick RockBass or something.)

    However, I agree with those who say whatever you want to start out with is cool. Do what you feel is right. Starting on a 5 can be a great thing. I didn't know I'd hit a 'glass ceiling' so quickly with a 4 when I was learning. My mom actually encouraged me to start off on a 5. But me being the stubborn teenager I was back then, I didn't really listen. At least she didn't say, "I told you so" when I switched up to a 5 a year after I started taking lessons.

    4 vs. 5 for beginners debate aside, I think the bigger issues are those unwritten "hafta" rules that are just plain silly sometimes [i.e. You 'hafta' (have to) do it THIS way...]. I never understood "hafta" rules with regards to bass playing that some elitists espouse. I like to play my fiver with a capo sometimes and some elitists think it's some kind of sacrelig to play bass with one.
  10. Hurley


    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    I wrote my post quickly, and looking back, I would've phrased it differently. There's no style of music that can't be done with a four, and there's nothing wrong with playing a four your whole life. (Also, insert "Jaco/Jamerson only needed four stings" quote). But, if you stick with a four because you think that's all you should have, when you really want more strings, that's when you're limiting yourself.

    Right on.

  11. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    That post is the most laughable, short-sighted, moronic and imbecilic tripe I've read on here in a long time...

    You must be proud.
  12. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Should a beginning guitarist remove a couple of his guitar's strings while he's a beginner?

    The "start on a four" thing just doesn't make any sense to me.
  13. do you need to learn on a five speed before you can drive a six speed transmission? (i'm almost old enough to remember 3 and 4 speed cars too!)

    i'm sure i used this reference before but this thread just made me laugh. :D had to bust out one of my old references.

    according to this theory we should all learn on upright basses before electric. (not that it would be a bad thing) ;)

    i kind of understand where the original post was going, and i hate to slam the person. no offence. :)
  14. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    Would make more sense to say understand music before you try and play any thing with strings on it.

  15. Yes!!! :hyper:
  16. let's be reasonable. noobs should start with this:
  17. Hurley


    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
  18. jkritchey


    Jul 23, 2002
    Northern Va.
    I started with a five (at age 41) and knew absolutely nothing. I can not for the life of me figure out how it hurt my development.

    That said, something must be hurting my devlopment.... :p
  19. rusty


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sweet mother of... what in the world is that thing??? It looks like some Zarthonian WMD!! :D Perhaps it shoots out beams of energy like major 4th death rays, minor 3rd stun beams, octave dissipators.... :D
  20. dave_clark69

    dave_clark69 Guest

    Jan 17, 2003
    You say its easy to stretch the 5 strings. Think how long you have been playing, when i picked up my bass i found it dificult to play. Thats alright now because i am used to it. but trying to learn on a 5 string i suppose is better, then when you go to a 4er it will seem very easy. Like athletes who do long distance running, train on sand

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