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does anyone play a 4 string reprise

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by john turner, Oct 5, 2000.

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  1. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    as i was about to respond to this thread it disappeared, i can only imagine that the original poster, indie-visible, pulled it.

    first off, i didn't post the pictures of my basses to flaunt how great my basses were and how bad everyone elses are. i get emails daily asking me about my basses, and how they are made and what they look like. i know of at least 10 people who have had custom conklins built after they saw mine. this isn't because _I_ am so great, this is because the instruments are so great. they are beautiful, hand-made, organic works of art and i am compelled to share them. i am sorry that there are people on the list that can't come over to my house and try them out, and i guess i post pictures of them to substitute for that.

    secondly, to answer the question, my 10 favorite bass players all play 4 strings. the # of strings doesn't matter, except for the fact that everything that one can do on a 4 i can do on my 7 and 8 strings, but most of what i do on them would be difficult or impossible for me to do on a 4.

    thirdly, i for one was not offended in the least by the original post and the "piano" comment - i have heard much worse before. i for one wished that i could speak Ukrainian as well as indie-visible speaks english - then i could talk to my woman's father in his native tongue.

    i just wanted to say those things.
  2. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I pulled the thread...I greatly enjoyed its premise, but there was too much misunderstanding that seemed to be leading to unnecessary personal debate.

    It needed a fresh start...thanks John.

    I have a 5 and I've played 6's and 7's, but I do prefer 4's. Rather surprising, even to myself, seeing as how I write lots of instrumental bass-oriented music..one would believe that that would lend itself well to a nice 7 string, no?...It's just a personal thing, but I really just prefer 4's for what I do. I like the feel, I like the "limitations" and that's it. Doesn't mean I'm right and John's wrong, or vice-versa.

    Just get an instrument and play...

  3. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    In the immortal words of Aerosmith bass player Tom Hamilton: "I used to think five-strings were for eggheads. Now I think six-strings are for eggheads." ;)

    I don't know who that means seven-strings are for.

    No sweat, John. Just keep being who you are

  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I, for one, appreciate John's collection of basses! I think it's tremendous, albeit rather expensive! But, it goes to show how far the bass guitar has evolved in the past few years! Bass guitars are now seen as melodic, rythmic, harmonic, AND aesthetically beautiful! I also think that people naturally prefer the frequencies of a bass guitar over other, higher-pitched instruments...my opinion, anyway...it's just that the bass guitar has gotten lost behind all the muck on top of it!

    John's 7-string collection prove my point to the hilt! That is, bass guitars ARE viable instruments, not just something to add an occasional tonal quality to what the bass drum is doing!

    I can't tell you how many times I got frustrated in high-school (which was hundreds of years ago), when all my friends who played guitar would want me around because I played bass, but would never allow me to be heard OR felt! :(Now, those same cats have different attitudes about the bass...:D:D

    And, to paraphrase Jack Bruce, "The guitar is a bastard instrument...the bass is REAL"

    John: you go, dude!!! :D:D:D:D:D:D:D
  5. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    heck yeah! thanks :D
  6. Acacia


    Apr 26, 2000
    Austin, TX
    before the thread got nixed, did you see my post John? it was for you :D

    And I do like the shape and looks of the conklins, just not my bag at the moment. my main focus is finding an amp that I am satisfied with.

  7. I think your bass family is beautiful.I'm too chicken(and poor) to play anything more than four.However,when I get a chance to collect more Stingrays,I'll be more than happy to show everyone at Talkbass.
    Sean,ooooooooo,you're a Senior Member!!!???? What's this world coming to.HA! HA!
  8. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    I'm still perfectly content with a 4 string.
  9. I switched from 4 string to 5 about 5 years ago and have never had a reason to go back. In fact, I even went so far as to convert my 4 string jazz to a 5. As others have said, everything possible on a 4 is generally possible on a 5. (unless that B gets in your way!)

    That's not to say that 4 stringers are at a disadvantage. In all probability, I'll never reach the technical and musical levels of Jaco or Victor Wooten no matter how many strings I have.

    It's just a matter of taste, style and preference. I love the low notes, so a 5 string is the obvious choice for me. Not being much of a soloist or chordal player, a 6+ stringer is not in my immediate future. My g-string goes high enough. :eek:

  10. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    uh, stingray, that's called buttfloss. :D

  11. Buttfloss?!


    I think I'm gonna have to change my "least favorite word"!
  12. Here I am, the instigator ;)
    Thank you, John, this needed a restart.
    I want to say one more time that though my posts might be not irreproachable, I didn't mean to offend anyone personally. And I don't think that owning 10 basses itself makes one bad, I just explained bout my profile.
    So, not to start this again, I'm gonna just shut up and read the posts in this thread ;)
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    That's OK - we need debates, feel free to post what you like as long as you allow everyone else the right to reply! Actually talking about profiles, it might help if you did fill out your profile, then it would easier for people to see where you're coming from. As John says, most people do play 4-strings so you are part of the heretofor "Silent Majority" ;)
  14. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    One of the post that got deleted in the former thread was this....
    We do NOT use profiles to judge a person...but rather, to help us understand them better. :)
  15. GM, I'm curious, please tell me a bit about how you own a five string, yet with the positional flexibility offered by the extra string you prefer to use a four? I just got a five a few weeks ago, and there is some weirdness even now when I switch to a four...I miss that B string...even if I don't necessarily go to it a lot right now.

    Thanks, GM! You have been a great mod :D
  16. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH

    I got the 5 to use for pit orchestra shows that kept having those darn low D's and C's, and I do still use it for shows that call for that. A lot of modern electric bass charts assume the player is using a 5. It's a tool to me...useful when necessary, but not my preference. It's my tuxedo bass...my 4's are my t-shirt and jean basses.

    I like doing weird things with capos, half capos, etc...and the fours just seem to lend themselves well to that. My 5 sits in my studio and occasionally gets pulled out for a track or two, but more because it's my only active Jazz than for it's extra string flexibility. More often, I use my passive J or my active P deluxe for writing.

    I did play a 7 string Conklin a few times...you know, the ones that Guitar Center always has sitting out...I did like it and was able to come up with some cool chord things on the upper strings in the upper register, but there are other gear lusts that I have that would place a 7 string way down on the priority list. Just not for me right now.

    This is probably way more of an answer than you were looking for...and thanks for the kind words on the mod thing. :)

  17. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I'm actually one who not only prefers 4-strings, but I think others also prefer me using 4, as well...

    Most of the music I've written and cowritten with bands has been pretty straight-ahead pop/rock. And, with the influences I've grown up with (Geddy Lee and John Entwistle are my biggest heroes), my playing ends up on the busy side of things...

    I've actually had drummers comment on how I should not move outside the first position. Perhaps they don't understand how I add counterpoint to the texture of a break in a song. Perhaps I don't like to be limited within the context of a song. But, 4 strings does force me, to some extent, to limit the range of my melodies. It also forces me to concentrate on the rhythm more than I otherwise would for the same reason.

    So...is the 4-stringer a blessing in disguise? For me it is! But, I will always contend that it is exactly because of the 5's, 6's, 7's, 8's, 9's, 10's, 12's, that my range is more appropriate today than ever!

    It is therefore necessary for me to appreciate what I cannot do myself: people like John Turner, who play these beautiful instruments with obnoxious amounts of strings! I've never heard him play, though I'd love to, should he ever be in the Chicago area!

    I therefore thank and applaud anybody that has the expressive need and affectation to stand up and boldly play beyond the boundaries previously set by the same music that I grew up admiring!

    Go forth and set new boundaries! Go forth and play! Rock on!
  18. trainyourhuman


    Apr 12, 2000
    Having recently purchased not one, but two five strings, I can honestly say that I was born to this instrument. I took to the low B almost instantly. I cannot understand how I ever palyed without one. It even makes my upright feel strange, but they DO make uprights with a B...

    Conversely, I played my first seven stringer the other day (a Surine). It felt totally alien to me, like an entirely new instrument. Not a bad thing, but not at all natural. I did enjoy myself, however. It was fun to play 4 octave runs barely having to move my hands. And now that I think of it, that bass was fine to play, good action and a suprisingly even string response. Good B. Just not my bag right now, but maybe sometime down the road... I refuse to pigeonhole myself, my playing, or my creativity as a player and a writer.

    But you have to have an appreciation for the players and the instruments regardless. I think that the music JT hears in his definitely warrants a 7 string doubleneck bass. THat is just the person JT is. That does not make that music any less good, or creative. And the same can be said for the guy in the bar who plays a beat up P. The basses and their players (not owners, for basses are as alive as you and I) are all works of art to me. Just different kinds of art. Some people like Monet and some people like Dali. More power to them.

    John Turner, your basses are some fo the most beautiful I have ever seen, but only because they are YOURS. Get it?

    Sorry for the rant and the exhaustive length.
  19. Thanks for the detailed response, GM. Actually, that was the kind of answer I was looking for. Your specific needs explain your choice of bass...

    The five string concept makes a lot of sense to me. In the context of bass guitar, another lower string is sensible; the whole contrabass idea. A bass that is able to go lower than a regular bass. Now I can appreciate the utility of a high C string on the six and + basses, but in the purist sense of a bass being a BASS instrument, this seems to me to be the point where you are venturing into treble clef/guitar territory. I have heard a six truly played like a bass guitar...I'm thinking specifically here of Primus "Sailing the Seas of Cheese" and even more specifically on that album, Tommy The Cat and Jerry Was A Race Car Driver. Tapping little chords out while simultaneously doing weird things and even slap on the lower strings. But Les never really did any extended noodling involving the C string. I love Claypool but he's a freak in a freaky band designed around HIM, so to me he's an exception...at least on that album. I'm just trying to understand exactly what the 'average' player gains in a six, and why six stringers on up are needed for bass playing in general. So many great players have done awesome work with just 4 strings in every imaginable context. I can't feature Geddy using a six in the context of Rush music, as he would collide with Alex's stuff and Neil's busy drumming. Entwhistle using one on say, "Won't Get Fooled Again?" Bruce in "The White Room?" Mac in "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds?"

    Does anyone understand where I'm going with this? I'm sorry...I'm meandering. Over and out :D

    PS I'm not slamming sixes, just questioning their relevance to bass guitar as a BASS instrument when they can take up a lot of real estate in the treble clef. As opposed to a five which only offers more bass to the bass guitar (tuned standard). I'm not talking about the positional benefits of 5s and 6s cuz that's an obvious positive aspect shared by both types. I'm just talking purely of range.
  20. PSPS Just because I'm questioning relevance of sixes DOESN'T mean I want to start a bonfire and burn all sixes as heretic instruments! Let's just have a discussion about this, and share your point of view...Not trying to cause misunderstandings like in the other thread or get a flame war going ;)

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