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How many strings for a Beginner?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BigKahuna13, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. BigKahuna13


    Nov 21, 2004
    LI New York
    My 12 year old daughter, bless her heart, has decided that she wants to learn to play bass. I've got a pretty good handle on the neck length and thickness issues -- she does have little hands -- but am wondering if there are any advantages or disadvantages to 4, 5 or even 6 string basses for learners.

    I've only played 4 string, heck for the past 25 years I've only played one bass -- a Ric 4001, so I'm not in any position to have an opinion on the subject myself.

    For those of you who have played various string configurations,
    what makes the most sense for someone just starting out?
  2. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    take her to a store and say how many strings do you want on your bass? tell her the pros and cons, let her try out a few. I started on guitar.. quit, took p 4 string, took up 5, hated it switched back to 4 and now I'm converted to 6. The only problem I may see with a 6 might be the neck width may hhurt her hands/wrist. I can't powercord around the 3rd fret on my Spector without a pulling sensation in my wrist.

    If you aren't sure she will be dedicated a 4 would be cheaper, but make sure the bass is at least decent cause it will stunt her growth and make her not want to play if it cuts her hands/ feels terible!

    Just my $0.02

    Good Luck
  3. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yep, agreed. It should be up to her. Usually, small hands equate with a small neck, but not always. She might be a real go-getter. :)
  4. If i were to put in my opinion if shes comfortable going with a 5 string i would do that. Many people beleive 5 string is the future because there is a lot more potential.
    Good luck!
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Five, of course. No more, no less.
  6. you could start her out on a fender Mustang jazz.

    30" scale neck, should be good for her, since she has small hands. Tell her she made a wise choice on learning to play the bass :)
  7. BigKahuna13


    Nov 21, 2004
    LI New York
    Not only that but when she starts asking for big ticket items, like a car, I'm not going to be able to say no. :)

    Final choice will be her's but being a confirmed 4-stringer myself I don't know what the pros and cons of 5 and 6 strings are, though given the width of the typical 6 string neck, that's probably going to be out of the question.

    Thanks again.
  8. stamman5


    Aug 10, 2004
    If she finds a 5 that she likes I would say go with that. I wish I had started on five, but I converted soon after and now I play 5's exclusively. I think that 5's are the future. But again, if she can't find one that is comfortable then go with a 4. She has to like playing it for it to matter at all. ;)
  9. I recommend the 4.

    Learning on a 4 is easier since the board is visually more inviting to a beginner's eys and hands. The mustang bass would be cool or a short scale essex jazz bass or P bass.

    I love 5s and they have been my main axe since 1990. The truth is, they are really unnecessary in most playing situations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a four, even if you are advanced. She will not be capped in her ability as a bassist if she starts on a four.