Changing back to 4 string playing

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jcburn, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. Hey guys - whats your opinions?I have played 5 string basses now for many years but I constantly find the basses I am really drawn to are 4 string only basses.My favourite players (Billy Sheehan,Steve Harris,Geddy Lee,Pat Badger,Jason Newsted,Cliff Burton) are generally 4 string players.I own a great 5 string bass but it doesnt do everything I want it to and Im thinking of converting back to 4 strings - buying 2 or three and tuning them differently (BEAD, EADG etc?)
    What are your opinions guys?
  2. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    anyone have his own considerations for pick a new bass,my own opinion is the i love 5 strings,is easy to play in LB and no need tunning and tunnig.....ah sure the 5 string punch hard in my chest.......... :bassist: :D
  3. Mark Moss

    Mark Moss

    Feb 28, 2005
    Redmond, WA
    Alot of guys play both 4 and 5 strings for a variety of reasons, one of them being that they pull out the 4 when they are playing a tune that requires tricky or fast fingering that otherwise they could not do. I am one of those guys.

    Try your ideas, will cost a few bucks, but if you dig the results you are further down the path.
  4. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo Music Man/Upton addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I made the switch back to 4 from 5 also with no regrets. I had just not found myself using that low B enough to justify keeping it around. I don't remember missing it at all. If it seems like its just not your thing anymore I'd recommend going and renting a 4 from your local music store or borrowing one and just try playing it for a little while to see if you'd miss the B at all. Don't sell your 5'er until your really sure going back to 4 is for you. :bassist:

    Just for the record though most of favorite players and the people that have influenced me also come from the school of 4 also. :meh:
  5. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    i need a new bass and i considering buying a 4 string,because are kess expensive and i like the 4 string for reggae,ska and jazz ensembles.
  6. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I own both 4's, 5's, and considering a 6 or two in the future. It's good to have a variety.
  7. For me a 4-stringer is the more natural way to play. All the greats played this way. I also have considered alternate tunings on the 4 but just haven't had the need to do so with my band(s). I'm already gear ready with four 4-string basses....The 5-string I have usually sits in it's case because it just doesn't feel right. Go for it!!
  8. RunngDog

    RunngDog Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Another 4-string convert.

    I was never really happy with the sound I got out of the B string on a 5, I greatly prefer the thinner neck of a 4, and (I know this sounds stupid) I always found the 5 just more "complicated" to play -- like I'd lose track of what string I was on from time to time. (No flames please -- I know that if I'd stuck exclusively to 5's I would have gotten accustomed to the 5 strings, but switching between a 4 and a 5 made that more difficult for me.) I also found that I didn't really like the longer 35" scale on my 5's (a Roscoe and a couple of Laklands). So in the end I sold off all the 5's except the Dingwall (whose B I can tolerate) -- which I keep "in case of emergency."
  9. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    if you choose for an 4 string.why gauges you put in the strings?(guys my english is bad..excuse me0
  10. Dirty Dave

    Dirty Dave

    Oct 17, 2004
    Boston, MA
    After almost 20 years of playing, I've never had a bass with more than four strings, nor the desire to purchase one. D-tuning has always gotten me as low as I need to go.
  11. alembicfive


    Jan 17, 2003
    About a month ago I picked Fender Jazz 4-banger. The first 4 string bass I owned in over 15 years (been playing 5-strings).

    MAN, I am having a ball with this bass. I forgot what it was like to slap on a 4 string compaired to a 5. It is so much better!!

    I have said for many years I would never get a 4-string again....what a fool I am! Now I really kick myself in the ass for getting rid of two '62 Jazz Re-issues (one fretted and one fretless) I had bought around 1988. I would love to have thoses basses today....and if I remember right they were under 1K when I got them!! :crying:
  12. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    I play 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12 string basses.

    I don't discriminate...I just play BASS.

    I've played a 6-string original Tobias signature as my primary bass for well over 15 years, but I just got a new (new to me, anyway) 4-string bass just this past week. OK, so it was an original Steinberger L2 (all graphite!)...but I don't love it any less than my other basses (I wouldn't wanna make it feel sad).

    That said, as soon as I can find someone willing to build me the 21-string (tripled 7) bass of my dreams, I'm sure I'll love that one just as well.
  13. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    in jazz festival here in Puerto Rico i see one guy playing bass with only 3 strings,and he was awesome techinally bassist,and i see others with 5,6 ,7 or even 12 strings but not impress me,is all about the player not the numbers of strings or the bass understand me. :bassist:
  14. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    My GOD, man! Think of the string bill you'll pay!!! :eek:
  15. I'm another 4 string convert. I started bass a bit more than 10 years ago on Fender stuff and in '99, started the move to 5 strings. I did OK with it and actually utilized the B string(Contemporary Christian music uses that B string quite often). It wasn't until I was playing a 6 string Alvarez that I realized I had no clue what I was doing. So the past couple years has been a slow transition back to 4 stringers. Best purchases I made were an SX and Flea bass. The Flea really opened up my technique, as the bass just begged to be played. I guess that's the crux of it - I never had a extended range bass that I felt intimately connected to and wanted to play day and night.

    Now I've gone even simpler, moving from those cumbersome long scale basses :) to medium scale (32" custom Shamray bass). The shorter scale really helps makes technically challenging parts easier.

    I do miss the low B string sometimes but, in general, I get more positive comments about my playing now then when I had 5ers and 6ers. Bottom line, if I think you'd like to drop a string, give it a try. I didn't sell any of 5 strings until I played 4 strings for awhile and was comfortable with the decision to "downgrade".
  16. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    I've kinda come full circle as well. I started out on a 4, switched to a 5 (because my teacher had me transpose a lot of stuff from treble clef to bass clef, and the low B gave me some extra notes so I wasn't fretboard jumping), moved to a 6 (to more easily grab high notes while playing children's music), and my main player is now a 4. It's so much fun to play and I now find sight-reading and stuff easier on my 4 than on my 5 or 6, where on those (the 6 especially) I get confused unless I have oodles of time to shed- and those oodles of time often don't show themselves.

    I still keep my 6 around, just in case, but I hardly play it these days. My 5's a crummy bass so I could care less about it. Both my 4 and 6 have nice necks that are easy for me to play. My 5's neck and I have battled since day 1.

    But for that pure intangible mojo lust, a 4 just feels like home to me, now. I love ERBs and the possibilities that come with them, but right now they're a lot more than what I really need- which is good ol' EADG and a good sense of groove when playing with others in an ensemble setting.

    Sometimes you really need to take a journey before you realize "home." I value everything I've done thus far on my bass journey and will value everything I WILL do on future bass journeys. And my main companion right now is my Warwick Corvette 4.

    EDIT: And sometimes physical stuff doesn't allow folks to play certain sized necks. I mean, my fretting hand gets a sharp pain in the wrist if I play ANY 6-string other than my Fairlane; those puppies have wide necks. With a 4-string, I can sling it jazz high, punk low, or my preferred in-the-middle, and my hand feels fine. And for many, a 34" scale may be too much but a 30-32" scale length is ideal for comfortable playing.

    I think it's fine to have multiple 4's in altered tunings. Sure someone might say "why not just get a 5 or 6 and have all the tunings in one bass?" But for some, the neck size may be an issue of physical comfort, so the multiple 4's may be a way to go.
  17. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Go for it. I bought a 4 because I can't hang with the indie crowd on a 5.

    Sadly, some people do discriminate based on range.
  18. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder: Wing Bass
    I started on a 4 and played them for years. Since I've switched to 5's and 6's I find the B-string indispensible. The wider necks are more comfortable. I recently played a 4 for the first time in months, and it felt like a baseball bat.
  19. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Get a four and tune it in 5ths. D-A-E-B....Covers a lot of ground there! Or C-G-D-A...
  20. Well, I have always played on fives. Just happened that way I guess. I was gonna switch to fours casue I was frustrated with the uselessness of the low b, specially with what it does to string spacings etc...BUT THEN I discovered EADGC tuning, and that changed everyhting. I LOVE THAT HIGH C, its just delicious.