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Dog House 5 string?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Toneman, Oct 28, 2002.

  1. Toneman


    Jun 6, 2001
    Long Island
    I saw a Kay pre war bass for sale online and its a five string. I never new five string bass went back so far. Whats the deal is it a low B or high C or something else all together. excuse my ignorance but I'm a elec. bass player who's getting instrested in Upright latley. Also for a guy like me who's been playing fender bass for thirty years should I go for a 3/4 bass? thanks Tony F.
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    The Kay five strings had a high C, though some players have since strung them with a low B, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.

    I would suggest a 3/4 size bass; probably 99% of the basses on the planet are 3/4 size, it is the "standard". While it will take some work to become used to the longer (41-42 inch) scale, it will be a worthwhile effort.
  3. Toneman


    Jun 6, 2001
    Long Island
    thanks Bob. I play in a eclectic Blues/jazz/country band and the frontman always wanted me to play the doghouse but what finaly convinced me was when I bought a CD by the Blind Boys of Alabama title "Spirit of the Century" even though there playing blues/gospell in every track its a double bass which is recorded so well the tone is just toooo sweet its callin me.
  4. The bass player on that album was Danny Thompson,terrific guy,amazing player.
  5. jugband


    Jan 16, 2001
    Well, just wait until you play one, especially a good one, in-person, un-amplified. I'm not talking about grabbing one and picking out a few notes in a shop, with a bass that may or may not have been set up well already, but actually playing it with people playing other instruments, especially acoustic guitars.

    You'll feel like you're swimming in the sound & tone.

    No amount of electronics & stage position will ever give you exactly the same thing with a bass guitar.
  6. Toneman


    Jun 6, 2001
    Long Island
    Jugband I hear what so sayin!! electronic instruments dont produce the harmonics of an acoustic instrument.I think any elec. instrument is compressed I've even seen this demonstated on occilascopes. I'm not worried about the scale nearly as much as no frets. holy quarter tone batman where am I.
  7. jugband


    Jan 16, 2001
    Intonation probably won't be as bad as you think, if you just leave Fret Concept behind you, and find the notes with your ears.

    You'll develop muscle-memory, just like with a fretted neck. However, you can't check that "memory" by looking to see if you're between the correct two frets. You have to hear whether it's right, or not. That, too, will come, though.

    You just have to get used to more exact positioning than on a fretboard. If you put your finger down anywhere within about 3/4 of an inch of the right place on a fretted bass, you're going to get the same pitch, since the string touches the fret in the same place, anyway.

    With no fret, you will get a small but noticeable difference in pitch if your finger's out of place by even a quarter of an inch.

    Actually, instead of your fingers using frets, your fingers ARE the frets... It's just that nobody has stuck them in the fingerboard and intonated them for you beforehand. :D
  8. 5 string basses have been around for hundreds of years in fact.

    The Viennese 5 string basses around 1760-80 were often tuned to a D major chord: F# (or f), A, D, F#, A. or up a half step to an E flat chord.

    The more modern 5 string tuning with the low B (or C) was encouraged by Richard Wagner in the mid/late 1800's.
  9. rablack


    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Toneman,
    Than are dreamt of in [y]our philosophy. ;)

    Literary allusions aside, there is a wide world of music (and musical instrument) history out there. If you are thinking 5 strings...hmm... what about 6? There were 6 string bass viols, big brothers to the viola de gamba, pre-dating the basses Rob W speaks of.

    Careful, once you're bitten by the DB bug nothing else will really do.
  10. Toneman


    Jun 6, 2001
    Long Island
    my electric basses are five string (low B) but as for my venture into the doghouse four strings will be more than enough. I decided to rent one for a while & take iy from there.I can see a elec. man can learn a lot from you guys. Its a whole new world to me even though my first lessons were on DB but that was too many years ago to mention. As far as the long history of five string bass I guess its like Solomon said "there's nothing new under the sun" just new to us when we discover it. thanks guys I'm all ears.

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