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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

    RedMoses

    Jul 4, 2012
    NYC
    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 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. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    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

    Igotsoul4u

    Nov 3, 2011
    Princeton
    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

    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 Supporting Member

    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

    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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