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Fours and Fivers ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by seansbrew, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    I am not sure if this is the right forum for this question, but here it goes. How many of you (when playing live) switch between 4,5,and 6 sring basses for certain songs? Lately, I have found it easier to play certain songs on my 4 string as opposed to playing them on my 5 string and some things on my 5 as opposed to my 4. Is this a bad idea, should I be able to play everything on one bass? There is a part of me that thinks I will not master my fiver if I keep doing this, what are your thoughts?
  2. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    When I moved to a five string many, many years ago I had bass players telling me not to ever switch back and forth between them because I would make to many mistakes. Well, I didn't listen, I never had a problem and I still do it to this day. When I go to a gig I bring at least one four and two five string basses.

    I am pretty much a five string player but there are times where I do want to play a four string. One of the main reasons I go to a four string is because of the drop D tuning on some songs. There are some of these songs that are easier to do on a four string if they were written on a four string. Other reasons are, sometimes I want a certain tone on a certain song, and one of my four string basses may have that tone, and the other reason is sometimes I feel a little more free on a four string.

    Play the bass you want to play as long as you are comfortable with it and it gets the job done right.

  3. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    Yeah. I am playing a 4 right now, and I just was thinking about reasons to switch. I can totally see why you like to play drop D on a 4 more than a 5. A lot of people don't like to have to either tune the B to an A, or just have it sit there. I want a 4 and 6 string. But i've been using the B a lot lately.
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I don't switch for specific songs. But I do switch between 4,5,6 and 12. No problems for me, other than the 12. It is physically much harder to play, and high speed riffing is out of the question. So I usually only play it for a song or two. But if I bring two basses to a gig, it is usually a 4 and a 5, and I will switch them out every set.
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I like the new avatar. ;)
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I don't have any problems switching back and forth. If you are fairly new to a five, it may help speed up adapting if you stick exclusively to it, but ultimately it won't matter.

    I eventually got so used to the five that I dropped playing four string altogether. I don't even own one anymore.

    It may or may not happen to you.
  8. Like most of the "old timers "here , I've done the majority of my playing years on a four string. When I moved to 5-string , I didn't DARE pick up a four string for over a year - I guess everyone adapts differently. Currently I play sixers , and now that I have more experience with it I can go back and forth between 4's , 5s , and 6's relatively easily. I do just about all of my regular gig work with the 6 , but I do alot of fill in work for other bands , and they often tune down either a half or full step on certain songs (@#$%& SINGERS !!!!!) , so I will learn the songs on a 6 then tune my 5 a half step down and my 4 a full step down , keeping my 6 in 440. I found this to be very helpful when I have to learn a full night's material with 3 days notice - definitely faster than learning a song from a CD , then having to transpose everything to allow for the tune - down.
  9. I don't have problems switching back and forth, but I don't do it just because I just bought my 5er 3monthes ago:)cool: Fbass!!!:bassist: )and I have a lot of pleasure playing it.
    Another reason is that we don't have too much space in the van when we go to gig(drums,bass and guitar amps, complete PA.)So I let my Geddy Lee at home:bawl: .
    However, I admit that some songs would great with a 4 strings.
    It gives you another approach of playing, as well as a 5 strings does.
    If you don't know, try both basses on every "bass switchable" songs and make up your mind.


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I like slapping on a 4 string better, but I like the extra range and "space" available to me with a 5 string. Usually I just bring one bass to a gig though. Generally a 5.
  11. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    Thanks for your insight fellas, I have had my Q5 for six months and it is finally fitting like a glove, this is my first fiver. I think that I will keep playing both the 4 and the 5 now that I am used to the 5. I do notice that my approach to a song is different on each bass, almost as if each bass wants to be played a certain way.
  12. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I used to switch off between a 4 and a 5, but now I play 5ers exclusively. I used the 4 string with a Hipshot D-tuner for all of our drop D songs, but now that we only do a couple of drop D's, I didn't have much use to keep the 4 string around.