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does the low B on 5 strings get uncomfortable?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bchamorro, Feb 24, 2008.


  1. bchamorro

    bchamorro

    Nov 13, 2007
    Miami, Florida
    I'll be playing a lot of songs with a 5 string bass and will will not be using the low B string. I wish I could get a 4 string but unfortunately I will not be able to for that gig.

    Does the low B get in the way or uncomfortable when playing a 5 string like a 4 string?
     
  2. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Use it as a thumbrest. You may find some songs that benefit from an occasional sub-E.

    Lonnybass
     
  3. bchamorro

    bchamorro

    Nov 13, 2007
    Miami, Florida
    hmm interesting. So its not a bad idea to tune that low B to an E?

    E
    E
    A
    D
    G
     
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    Not for me ... use is as a finger/thumb rest ...

    I find that a 5 string bass is great for songs in the key of C C# D D# E and F.

    It took some hard work to retrain my brain and fingers to play a 5 string bass but now 4 string basses are uncomfortable to me and they are missing a string.

    :bassist:
     
  5. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    No. It will give you additional options if you want to play lower notes higher on the neck. For example, low F in 5th position. It's nice to have the option to go lower than E, even if it is not very often and if you ever play songs in flatted keys (Eb), you won't have to de-tune your bass to cover it.
     
  6. fullrangebass

    fullrangebass

    May 7, 2005
    Europe
    +1
     
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Not in the least. But then, it would never occur to me to play 5 string like a 4 string. Doing so restricts the full potential of the instrument even when staying above low E.

    As noted by Smallmouth_Bass, the low B string has a lot more notes to it than the five below low E. By staying above the 5th fret, you can use all five strings for songs that remain in 4 string territory. Even if you're not used to playing this way, I strongly encourage you to do so. It'll help you think outside the box, and find new ways of playing songs you've played for years on 4 string.
     
  8. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    Well Put. You are a gentleman and a scholar
     
  9. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    :confused: Who said anything about tuning the low B to an E? That IS a bad idea! Lonnybass just meant "Think of the low B as a thumbrest when you're not using it".

    Mike
     
  10. Nope. Never had that problem.
     
  11. MrLenny

    MrLenny

    Jun 10, 2006
    So. N.H.
    If you can get use to the five a bit and incorporate a few notes
    on the low B on some tunes you'll never go back to a 4 string.
    I started on 5 strings in 1991 and now feel lost on a four.
    If you have a tune that finishes in C, try hitting that low C
    on the B string. Once you hear and feel that you'll want it all the time.

    Also the low B makes an excellent thumbrest as mentioned by Lonnybass.
    Good luck & good drummers!
     
  12. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    +1

    IMO/IME, this is the best aspect of playing 5'er.

     
  13. I too use the Low B as a rest for my thumb but relish the opportunity to dig into the low E, having that extra string just seems to open up many possibilities. Also, once you fall in love with a 5 playing a 4 string is like driving on the left side of the road for us Americans, it can be done, but not very comfortably.
     
  14. bassbrock

    bassbrock

    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    Agree with what has been said so far. I often use notes higher than E on the 5th string when playing songs I'm used to. That 5th string becomes very versatile when you get used to it being there. Once I switched to five, I never desired to go back.

    In fact, if I had to play a 4 string, I would probably string it up BEAD and lose the high G.
     
  15. tycobb73

    tycobb73

    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    I like to swtich back and forth, sometimes midset. I prefer a 5 to play things in a higher positon. But I prefer a 4 on songs that I have to ride a note on the E string a lot (Crazy B***h, White Wedding). All others, I don't care which I play.
     
  16. Mayers

    Mayers Guest

    Sep 28, 2007
    I have a four , a five and two six strings bass and I don't feel lost. B strings is very cool. nice thumb rest , you can play your song in one position , you have lower note , you don't have to move a lot to get all the notes you want or use. You can do some chords that wasn't possible before.

    That's why I love so much my two sixers I can do thing that aren't possible with 4 strings. But my 4 strings has that funky feel , easy to slap.
     
  17. ped

    ped User Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2006
    York, England
    Try it, the you tell us. Everyone is different, and no matter what anyone else here says about it being comfortable or not, at the end of the day it is down to your own posture, stance, hands, muscles, bones and attitude! :bassist:
     
  18. mantelclock

    mantelclock

    Jul 19, 2005
    If you're comfortable playing a five string, then the B string will simply be there when you need it, that is, if you don't use it as a thumb rest. As has been stated, there are more notes on the B string above the fifth fret than there are below. Using them will make your playing much simpler and smoother, and there's no rule that says you have to play below the E just because you can.
     
  19. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    The low B only gets in my way when I agressively slap on the E string.

    That's why I use 4 strings for funk/slap and 5ers for every thing else.
     
  20. Bottom Feeder

    Bottom Feeder encridublee smatr

    Nov 22, 2004
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Sometimes when going from 4 to 5, I forget and hit the B when I should be hitting the E. I do notice on my EBMM Sub 5 that the string spacing is even narrower than my Jazz. Sometimes don't finger the string as precisely as I'd like. Usually after playing it a bit, it's not a problem. Just when switching back and forth.
     

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