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Exotic basses - always 5-strings and up

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Velkov, Aug 27, 2002.


  1. Velkov

    Velkov

    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    Why is it that exotic basses always have more than 4 strings?

    Let me explain myself for those that don't know what I'm talking about. By "exotic" I mean basses that look really pretty, have active electronics, and in a lot of cases are custom made, not bought at Musician's Friend. I'm talking about MTD, FBass, Conklin, even the Warmoth Gecko only comes in 5 and 6 strings. I don't mean to generalize, I know that some of these luthiers make 4-string basses. But overall I feel that when it comes to custom made, expensive basses, there is hardly any 4-strings.

    Is this because 4-string players are happy playing their fenders and don't really want to bother with custom made stuff...

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Here's a theory I've held for many years:

    Nice four strings are easier to build and easy to find.

    IME it's always been easier to find a nice four string than a nice five and up. Getting the lower strings right while not screwing up the uppers isn't as easy as making a straight EADG bass.

    That's my take on things.
     
  3. Velkov

    Velkov

    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    I would count Zon as exotic, and your 4-string as an exception. :)
     
  4. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Only expensive. ;)
    I'd say any bass with a graphite neck is "exotic" seeing as they aren't all that common. JMPOV
     
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. I think it's because the guys who are willing to drop two grand on a bass generally want the extra utility provided by additional strings.
     
  7. Velkov

    Velkov

    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    Ok, I guess a thread title saying "who makes exotic 4-strings" would have been more appropriate. :) Although I was not asking that...
     
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Here's one: Look harder. There are plenty of exotic four strings.
     
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    They're both Conklins..

    Sadowsky
    Lakland
    Warrior
    Zon
    F Basses
    A Basses
    Ken Bebensbee
    Roscoe
    Xotic (SP?)
    Curbow
    Brubaker
    Alembic

    Do you want me to go on?
     
  10. Velkov

    Velkov

    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    I am not looking for an exotic four string bass.

    I am just noticing that most of the people that play exotic basses play more than four strings.

    How come Michael Tobias' american made stuff only comes in 5 and 6 string versions. Probably because there isn't enough demand for expensive 4-string MTD. And why is that?
     
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    It does come in 4 string versions too. I think that people buying exotic basses have a mindset different from the, eh, "traditional" bassists. Many (if not most?) bass players who play four strings do so because they feel fivers and up are, well, "gay" ;) (or the jedi mind tricks played on them in their environment (guitarists?) are too severe for them to handle). So exotic basses for "exotic" minds? And 4's for the traditionally boring or weak? ;)

    BTW, I like fours.
     
  13. oddentity

    oddentity

    Nov 20, 2000
    Philly
    TB's own Mike Dimin plays a 4-string MTD...

    EDIT: You beat me to it, Oysterman!
     
  14. Velkov

    Velkov

    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    Ok, I was wrong.

    Nevermind. I am not sure how to rephrase my question so that the replies will have more words and less pictures of 4-string exotic basses. So, just forget about it.
     
  15. Dammit man, I had just gotten rid of the GAS for those things. :mad: :p
     
  16. And me for this one:
    [​IMG]
     
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Believe it or not, I brought up the market disparity between 4's and "basses with more than 4" almost 2 years ago. I was noticing the same phenomenon.

    The reasons that occur to me are -

    - beginners typically have less of a budget and, besides lower prices for 4's in general, they perceive 4-stringers as inherently easier to play (if only they knew!)

    - the used market is glutted with 4-stringers because....4-string basses have been made since the inception of the electric bass (there's way more of them numerically).....unless you are a known-name or a bass monster, multi-stringers are practically "required" by many bands these days. You come to an audition with a 4-stringer and there's a good chance you'll be passed over for a multi-stringer. Justly or unjustly, some bands perceive multi-stringers as "better" bassists....(please don't fall for that!)

    - the whole nu metal "detuning" thing has made 4-strings "the kiss of death" for many bassists. How else are you going to play a low D to accentuate that D chord the guitarists are playing???

    - today's bass amp technology is allowing we multi-stringers to sound decent when we play our lower notes

    In short, the makers' effort goes to where the big money flows.
     
  18. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
     
  19. Velkov

    Velkov

    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    Ok, I guess I was basing my statement on the fact that I've never seen a 4-string MTD other than the Kingson, Grendel, and those other imports. So, I take that back.

    Ok, I've never been at a NAMM show. I've only seen "exotic" basses at the store or on pictures and most of the time they are 5-strings at least.

    See, this is the thing that I'm talking about. Why does it have to be a 5 or 6 string to get attention?
     
  20. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i think that that's the public's preception of "exotic" at work. not saying that i agree, but that's the way it seems to be, like it or not. i have no idea why, other than maybe the fact that the extended range instruments still are sorta new, and therefore "exotic".