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help with getting used to 5 stringers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by pbass1, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. pbass1


    Dec 8, 2004
    :help: How would one go about getting used to having a 5th string? i have never played one at length and i cant seem to get it...i only play 4 stringers so how do i get used to it?

    i may be getting a 5 string ibanez for FREE thorough my teacher who is coaxing his bro to let go of it for free...so i wanna use it and evreything

    thanks for any input

    (mods feel free to move)
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Play one all the time. It'll come to you.
  3. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Yep, that's pretty much it. Right after I got my Modulus 5, my 4-string (and my only other bass at the time) went into the shop, and I didn't get it back for 7 months. By the time I did, I was pretty much used to the 5...

  4. pbass1


    Dec 8, 2004
    thought so....

    any special ways such as exercises ?

    i play alot of slap so how to learn to slap the E and not hit the B??

  5. Incubus


    Mar 28, 2005
    not hitting the B when slapping is like not hitting the E when slapping the A string. Mute the string. I dont have a fiver yet but i am looking into one and ive played a lot of them. this might help... but i dont think you will want to buy a VHS lol... http://musicbooksplus.com/product_info.php/products_id/777

    or this book

    ill get back to you if i find any online exercises. still looking. :bag:

    EDIT: here is an article that might help http://www.glennletsch.com/taming5.html
  6. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Yeah, there are some special exercises to do that will help you get used to and comfortable with the 5 string. They're the same ones you would use for a 4 string. They're scales. Playing the scales will help you quickly familiarize the fretboard and get you up and running on the 5 in no time flat.
  7. pbass1


    Dec 8, 2004
    sounds good thanks guys :D

    this is unrelated but i got two count 'em two hot dates to prom and i get to take both :D :hyper:

    i know i know i got skills
  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Congrats on both the possible five string and the prom...they both sound fun.

    I very recently switched over...and my strategy was to *gasp* ignore the low b for the first day or two...I used it as a thumb rest, and didn't really try to 'hit it'. Then after a day or two, I started to get used to playing it a bit...restructuring how I thought of lines, so I could stay in one position rather than having to dive down an octave to hit notes. I practiced on it pretty relentlessly though...I upped my practicing from 2-3 hours a day to around 4+ hours. 3 days later I played it on stage...
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    What worked for me:

    1) I put down my four-stringers completely.

    2) I learned a bunch of new songs on five-string, rather than re-learning ones I'd played for years on four. I didn't think about what key I was in... I just found the root and took it from there. Scale patterns remain the same, they're simply extended by one string.
  10. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Maybe because I'm a young'un, but I've only looked at it as "another string." I've never thought about the mechanics, the technique differences, and just play. I'm equally as comfortable on a 4 string as I am on a 7. Don't let the number of strings or notes psych you out: swithing is only an "issue" if you let it be.

    I regularly switch between a 5 string, 4 string, and a 4 string strung BEAD without any ill effects.
  11. pbass1


    Dec 8, 2004
    i think i shall go with relentless practice and complete 4 string depravation....seems it should work...

    i hope this dude gives in i want that fiver now... :hyper:
  12. :cool: Let's see. Start with practice. Then add practice. Once you're through with that, practice. Then of course, you could always practice. And, just to add a little variety, gig with the damn thing, while your doing all of that practice. Oh, yeah, don't forget, practice!
  13. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    Make sure you play plugged in or at least through headphones. That will keep you honest and help you build the essential skill of dampening the extra string. It's too easy to cheat and leave an open string ringing if your playing unplugged.
  14. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I agree with all the above tips.....however it occured to me it might be weird and possibly worth trying by taking the B string OFF the bass, and start practicing with it for a few hours or days, then put the B string back on. I call it a "gradient approach" while getting used to the new geometry of a 5 string instrument even though your only confronting 4 strings at first.
  15. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    On a 5er, you have to remember that you don't need to slide up and down the fretboard as much as on a 4, as you have all the notes you need in just about any section of the board.
  16. +1, damping has been my primary problem going 4 to 5.
  17. The low sonic rumble of the Bstring can be a problem if its not muted. Your right hand can accomplish this if you use it correctly. The thing with the five string is to actually utilise those higher positions effectively and not just use the extra low notes as add ons, which of course is perfectly OK as well.
    One way to really get a hold of the amazing range that extra string can give you is play walking lines to a jazz blues or standard or any jazz form for that matter.
    Take the time to write out a line say to Donna Lee or Giant Steps or a blues that incorporates the full range of the neck.
    Also play a walking line where you don't shift, and start to explore the extra interval options available to you. Make it difficult for yourself. Jazz guitar books are an excellent source for challenging lines that can utilise the extra range without seemingly impossible position shifts on the 4 string.
    Simple stuff like starting your walking line in a Bb blues way up there on the 11th fret rather than the first or 6th forces you to explore. Enjoy.
  18. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    For me, it was really all about attitude... I just decided that I was going to play a 5 (after 30 intermittant years of playing 4 strings).

    I've found that the B string is a god send...not necessarily to go below E but it eliminates some serious stretches.

    Just decide that you're going to do it and you will... Now, 4 strings feel weird...
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I imagine this will make me unpopular, but if you can't get used to playing 5's, what's wrong with sticking with a 4? About 10 years ago, I switched back to playing 4's after a 5 year period of playing nothing but a 5. I got pretty good on a 5 but never felt comfortable. And I've come to the conclusion that there is nothing I can do on a 5 that I can't do on a 4, save for 4 extra low notes, which other than a low D, are pretty much useless in my book.

    As for this business about not having to make position jumps with a multi-string bass, I just don't get it. Well, I get the concept, but I don't get why it bothers people to make the jumps. Is it that difficult and painstaking that you need a neck the size of a baseball bat with more strings? I would think any gains by not jumping positions would be more than offset in the lack of playing ease.

    Not trying to put those of you with 5's and 6's off by my opinion. I'm just saying that it's not necessary to play a 5 or 6 if you don't really want to. I've never been thrown off a gig for showing up with "only" a 4.
  20. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Nothin' wrong with playing 4 strings at all...

    As for baseball bat necks, the beautiful neck that Karl Hoyt carved for my FrankenHoyt is anything but that...it's wonderful!!! Even the neck on my Squier P Special 5 is comfy..wide, but thin and easy to play.

    My first 5 (that almost spoiled me on the subject) was a Warwick Masterman 5. Now that, to my eyes and hands, was a baseball bat.

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