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Going back to a 4 string...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CTC564, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. CTC564

    CTC564 Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2011
    Toms River,NJ
    I've been playing 5 strings exclusively for about 15 years and lately I have the urge to own a 4 string...

    Some of my bass playing friends claim it's real tough to go back to a four string

    Any thoughts or experiences???
  2. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    I was just like you, 10 years strictly 5'er, got the itch for Fender Bass and have not looked back since. Its an easy transition IMO, i use an Octave pedal to get the super lows, rarely do i miss the low B.
  3. I play both, and I don't think the transition is difficult. Given how long it's been for you, it may take a few pratice sessions to get the feel back, but you should be fine.

    BTW, I love playing fours as much as fives. I like a 4 especially when playing in Drop D and I'm singing lead. It makes it so nice to play the open strings.
  4. totallywink

    totallywink Gold Supporting Member

    10 years + of gigging with a 5'er and I too felt the urge to go back to a 4 stringer. Got myself a 60s Classic Jazz and a Geddy and now play 4s all the time (I do keep one 5'er around just in case my band situation changes but for now, she sits in the case).

    I equate it to riding a serious road bicycle with a ton of gears and skinny tires and then getting back on a single speed beater bike - hence, it's like riding a bike. You'll be ok.

    Got practice tonight with my classic rock band and the Jazz bass is all I need.
  5. I've been drifting back to 4-string after playing mostly 5 for the past couple of years. I got the 5 for a band that did a lot of drop- and down-tuning, but now all my group playing is in standard tuning. I don't have any problems switching from 5 to 4 and back. I'm finding it's more a matter of preference. I really got used to having that B string, and for certain songs, I still need it. Sometimes you want to get underneath everyone, and sometimes you can just plow through the middle. Plus, I like the extra heft of the 5. YMMV, especially after 15 years. I say get a 4 and keep the 5. It's cool to have both.
  6. CTC564

    CTC564 Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2011
    Toms River,NJ
    Thanks...now I gotta figure out if I sell off a 5 or save for a four
  7. I prefer ERBs but I wouldn't completely rule out a 4. I wouldn't mind owning a fretless 4 string jazz bass. Mim versions are a really good deal used. My band is writing our 4th album and I have used at least a 5 string on everything we've previously recorded. So it would mainly be just to get a fretless sound for certain parts in the studio or maybe one or two entire songs. I used the low b string and the upper octave of the g string so much I wouldn't be able to pull off much of the older material with a 4 so I probably will never buy a fretted 4 string again. Even with fretless I'd probably tune Ddgc or aadg with the lower two strings being an octave apart to extend the range.
  8. Igotsoul4u


    Nov 3, 2011
    I did the same thing about 12 years ago. I have been playing 4 ever since. I find using power chords can replace the thickness of those low b string notes. I can't say I found it that difficult to transition. I do end up playing around the 5th-9th frets on the E string for more warmth and thickness. Its sort of my center of playing on the 4 string. Definitely use the E string alot. I don't find myself going for the open A or Bb or B on the A string.
  9. Skygoneblue


    Nov 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    I just did the same thing... Went from a 6, to a 5, and down to a 4. The 4 feels like a toy, but I got sick of neck dive and speakers farting out on the low B. So, meh.
  10. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Depends on the gigs you do. I did 10 years of only 5-string, then went back to 4 and it has been great. I did add a 5 back but string E-C instead of B-G. There were some bands where I needed to rearrange some parts where I had the B-string but all doable in my case. As others have said, D-tuner and Octamizer give me the lower frequencies when I want them.
  11. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Because of the shows I do, I switch back and forth between five and four stringers every day, and starting to incorporate upright as well. The switch, once you get accustomed to it, takes only a moment to adjust. It's not a big deal IME.
  12. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Both are cool - I had a five once, many years ago and have been thinking about getting one again. Not that I particularly need it - only one song I've played in the last decade where I missed that B. That song features a slide down from an F# to another really low note - can't reproduce that on a four.
  13. I too have been gradually going back to a 4. Even though my main 2 basses are 5's. I love using a 4 for slapping. Not having the B string in the way makes it so much easier.
    Because of the cover music I play I don't think I will ever be able to go back to a 4 exclusively. I agree with another poster on this thread who said it was easy to switch back and forth. I have no problem with that. But I have noticed that a lot of the younger generation are using p basses and jazz basses. Just like in fashion the classics always make a comeback.

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