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I give up, I'm not a die hard 4-banger any more

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by xyllion, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I tried and tried and tried to believe that 4-string basses are the only thing to use in a band, but that has been changing over the past half year for me. Last spring I took delivery on my custom built 6-string bass (32" scale, strung EADGCF). My plan was to only use it at home for solo bass noodling.

    Well, the bass has infected me and now I'm talking it to nearly all of my band practices. No, I don't NEED the extra strings, but every once in a while the opportunity presents itself where the extra strings are a serious benefit. Yes, I used to say 4 is all you need which is true, but now I realize that it goes beyond need. 6 strings equates to convenience.

    Actually, the freedom even extends beyond just me. In my three piece band, we are finding that I can use chords to fill out the sound when the guitarist plays a solo. I was even noodling around on the F string tonight at practice at the opening of one song and my friend the guitarist asked me to leave it in because he liked it.

    All I can say is, wow, this is really fun and I don't know why I didn't try it sooner.
  2. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    Well I hardly knew basses with more than 4 strings existed once upon a time. Not so long ago. Now I have a 6 string which sometimes I don't know how I did it on my 4 banger. And now when I go back to my 4 string, which is about half the time, I feel so clever for pulling off songs with where I thought I couldn't survive without the other 2 strings. Although my 6 string IS tuned BEADGC. I LOVE the sound and feel of those low notes.
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU

    I went over to 6 after 2,5 years of playing.
    I already wanted a 6 before that and I thought 'at least I get used to it faster if I get one earlier'.
    My 4 has seen the light of the day only very rarely since my 6 arrived...
  4. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    I've been playing 5's for about 12 years now and I just bought Ric 4 and have been playing it alot, to me 4 or 5 its all the same
  5. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I still love my 4s. I have a '78 P bass and a frankenjazz that kicks...

    Anyway, don't want to get rid of my 4s, but my 6 will be seeing more gig time.
  6. 6sixx6


    Oct 2, 2004

    4 to the death :bassist:
  7. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, my fours have been staying at home in favor of my new five. I still have a long way to go to be able to slap on it with the same abandon as on a four (string muting issues) but I don't really slap much on any of my current gigs anyway.
  8. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    I just recently became addicted to six strings. Years ago I played a Yamaha John Myung signature and was not impressed either the bass or my ability to play it (although in fairness to Yamaha, my opinion of the bass was probably influenced by my inability to use it well). In the last few months, I've fallen in love with an MTD 635 as well as a Peavey Cirrus, and now I love the feel of them. One of these two basses (or a comparable 6'er) will definitely be among my upcoming purchases.
  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I use 5's presently. Sure, I can do ANY job with a 4, but its nice to have that low B string convenient when the song calls for it, especially tunes recorded with drop-tuning or that use synth-bass tones.

    I used to play a 6, for ultimate versatility, it was nice to be able to slap high octaves without having to move up the fretboard. However, the muting was a bit more effort, so after about two years I settled on 5's and haven't looked back.

    YMMV, and its ALL good!
  10. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    That's a particularly fine instrument.
  11. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I got into 6-string about 3 years ago.
    Put my 4-string in the closet.
    After 3-years of 6-string, went back to my 1966-percision.
    Now have gone to 5-string Pedulla-Rapture.
    All are great, but can do any gig with 4 or 5 string.
    What ever makes you happy.
  12. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Thank you, Karl did an amazing job building it.

    Yes, I agree with everyone about 4s. 4s are great for gigs. In fact, my '78 P is one of my gig favs, but I am really have fun with the 6 right now.
  13. blaire


    Jul 15, 2003
    The land of Rice
    I started with 4's then bought a 5, about a year later sold the 5 and kept with my stingray 4. Im thinking about tuning to BEAD but thats not so good for slapping. Keep it simple . just my 5 cents.
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    And that's fine, of course. The whole point is to use whatever works best for you, regardless of the number of strings.

    Preference is one thing: I don't understand having an allegiance to a particular number of strings! The problem is the closed-minded mentality some people have: "more than 4 strings is a gimmick, not a real bass. Jaco only needed 4 strings". They refuse to consider anything else.

    After 20 years of playing four exclusively I tried five and realized it's best for me... I sold/traded all but one of my fours. I can get around on sixes and sevens, but I find them uncomfortable and unwieldy and I simply don't need the additional range. But hey, I gave 'em a fair shot... and by doing so I was simply being fair to myself.
  15. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Couldn't have said it better. I played sixes for a while, since for some reason I find them easier to adapt to than a five, and now I've gone back to four. Decided that that's what I want to play, and I'm diggin' it. I might put a Hipshot de-tuner on my Jazz, but so far I'm able to live without it.

    BTW, didn't Jaco have a custom six-string acoustic bass guitar?
  16. Stinkoman20xx


    Oct 19, 2003
    For me I started playing 6 string bass when i was about a year into playing and played that for awhile. I went back to 4's cause i wasnt happy of the tone that my 6's wasnt getting me. I never was big in to 5 strings and they always threw me off cause I used to own two 5 striing thumbs. I recently bought a fender jazz 5 though as a backup and feel in love with it and now have a curbow International petite 5.
  17. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Wasn't trying to start a war. Music is all about fun for me. I have a great day job and play music for relaxation and fun. I've tried several 5s in the past and never got comfortable on them. The 32" scale 6 was the ticket for me. It made all the difference in the world for me.
  18. Question 1 - If you are used to playing a song with your band with let's say a 4string and then switch to a 5string, does it mess you up? It did for me, so I sold my 4strings and now have two 5strings so swapping between basses and bands and songs is never an issue any more.

    Question 2 - Do your band mates give you a hard time about having a 5 or more string bass? Mine do (very jokingly, just poking fun) but to me it's almost like I am more of a bass player for the band because I can go lower on that B string. I usually play soft/quiet passages down low (say low C) and when we kick into the chorus, slide up to that C on the E string and bam! talk about driving the band,... energy and dynamics. I'm sure my band mates would mis that if I played a 4 string,... I know I would/did.

    Question 3 - Sort of a different one, but do you guys miss the look of a standard 4 string fender? For example, my band has two guitar players, 1 Fender Tele and 1 Fender Strat and then there is me standing up with this Ken Smith 5 string pounding out the original alt/rock music. ? I love my bass, and will never get rid of it but sometimes when I'm at the local pawn shops I look around for a Fender Jazz 5string (has to be inline tuners on the head stock so it doesn't stick out too much). I kinda feel guilty, but realistically image is part of a band, right?

    Just some thoughts
  19. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    1: Not any more. It is all about practice. I can move smoothly between my 4s and my 6 now. You need practice time on all your instruments if you want to be smooth with them.

    2: F*** em. ;) Seriously though, it shouldn't matter to them what you play as long as you do a good job of it.

    3. I'm lucky there. I have my 6, but I also have a '78 P.
  20. Robear22

    Robear22 Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    Beach Park, Ill
    I started out on a 4 and eventually went to a 5. Took me a couple of weeks but like xyllion said it is all about practice. I then went to a 6 and eventually bought a 7. I can now pretty much go between any of the instruments but I have a little trouble with playing a 4. I have gotten accustomed to that low B and find it hard to play without it. In gospel you sometimes end up playing with a Hammond B3 organ and you need that low B to hold that bottom. I can go without the high C but that bottom has got to be there when I need it. You don't need to have an extended range bass to play a lot of music but it helps to have the extra playing field. I really would rather have more than enough than not enough. To each his own though. If you can rock it with a 4 or a 12 just keep the groove moving. :cool: :cool: