I hate it, but it makes me a better player

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by LBS-bass, May 25, 2021.

  1. Hummergeist

    Hummergeist Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2020
    Ableton Live tutorials and product reviews for Computer Music magazine.
    It's a good argument for having more than one bass. I have a 5 string fretless and a 5 string EUB. I prefer playing the EUB, but when I pick up the fretless (about once a month), I'm suddenly 10x faster and more accurate.
    chaak and LBS-bass like this.
  2. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Some people are getting the spirit of this thread, and some want to fix a problem that I never thought needed fixing. I'm female and my husband and I are the same height; his hands have a full two inches on mine. So maybe just believe me when I say that's maybe a part of the issue. I have adapted plenty already just to play a four string well. I'm more than competent on the five string. It's just not my preference. Like I said; it doesn't feel like home. I'm ok with it, but I'm happier with the four.

    While I do appreciate some of the advice here, the point I was making is that struggling through discomfort has advantages. I'm a better player on the four due to my struggles to play the five well. There are many ways this comes into play and I'm sure many other examples. Thanks to those who did provide other examples; you get what I'm trying to say :). Thanks also to those who provided tips; I'll take them all into consideration :)
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
    Jim Kernan, SteveCS, 31HZ and 3 others like this.
  3. Ggaa

    Ggaa Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2018
    Wicks have pretty decent 5er necks.
    LBS-bass likes this.
  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Something Challenging that pays off:

    Reading music!

    And I learned to sight at an early age. Musical notation is fully stupid and confusing. How many notes in octave? Ok, got it. Now how many lines on the staff? Wait, what? Different staves for different instruments? Is it flat or is it sharp? Ok. Etc. Nutso.

    But do it. Learn it. If you think it won’t matter you’re mistaken. It’s not intuitive but with practice it makes you a better musician. Do it.
    LBS-bass likes this.
  5. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    I was gifted a 5-string fretless this past Christmas and I feel a bit guilty that I never play it. The reason is that it's just pointed up how difficult it is for me to stretch to the degree I need to stretch in order to intonate with precision. I've relied on frets too much on these larger necks.
    Hummergeist likes this.
  6. chaak


    Apr 25, 2013
    now here
    when I first got a 5 strings bass it was after strictly playing 4 strings for some 13 years. it was weird but it was necessary as all my band's music (original progressive rock fusion) requires a fiver. took me a while to get used to but it became my only go to bass. it has been 8 years now. However, back then I never thought that string spacing was something to consider as the 5 strings bass I got had 16.5 spacing, and right now I'd love to get a 5 strings bass with 19 mm spacing, but I can't afford it at the moment. i love my 5 strings and it definitely made me a better player at least with the way i interact with the instrument and my attention to playing as clean as possible
    LBS-bass likes this.
  7. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    My expensive Fender has 19 and I do find it a little easier on my right hand.
    chaak likes this.
  8. chaak


    Apr 25, 2013
    now here
    it's perfect for chords and fast runs and fills, but the spacing is too close for advanced slapping double thumping, and for tapping. at the end of the day, basses are tools that enable us to express ourselves. granted we might prefer some over others taste wise.
    izzysane and LBS-bass like this.
  9. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    For the last year and a half I've been playing bass in sweatpants so at my first gig of 2021, when someone asks why the hell I'm wearing speedos onstage, I can tell 'em because they make me all comparatively shreddy. :bassist:
    Portamenti, Jazzdogg and mikewalker like this.
  10. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I'm also in camp opposite, since my natural stage is playing a 6 string. I brought a 4 string to a session a few days back because I was playing with some old chums and I figured they'd appreciate me playing a Fender P instead of one of my modern axes.
    I feel a bit restricted when playing a P bass because quite often, there is only a single way to play a certain line. I'm used to being able to take the pattern and move it five frets and one string up or down and play it there, but on the four you often run out of strings doing so.

    On the other hand - when you're used to the six string neck, the simplicity of playing a four string bass is staggering. In terms of muting, you feel like you get away with murder. Whenever you play octaves, you either play the string on the bass end or treble end of the fretboard which makes it quite impossible to fumble with your plucking hand. I enjoyed that.
    The funny thing is, that when alternating between 5 and 4, I often messed up because I confused the E and A with B and E and would play a C on the 4 string when I wanted a G. Alternating between 6 and 4 is a lot easier for me for reasons unknown. I practiced on my 6 the entire week, then grabbed the P bass as a last second decision and did not mess up a single note (at least not because I confused strings).
    Kubicki Fan and mikewalker like this.
  11. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    It strikes me as odd that when I post a thread like this, the first instinct of many is to tell me what I need to do, rather than consider the actual message. Every. Single. Time. I'm not sure why this is, and for a long time I wouldn't post threads on here because of this.

    I don't necessarily see this being done to the other experienced players on this forum, so I'm adding a little message to my profile which I hope will help.

    Short version is that I've been playing bass since before a lot of you were born. I'm not resistant to advice, but I really just want advice when I'm asking for advice. If I'm not asking for advice, it's a safe assumption that I've already considered a lot of what's going to be offered, you know, sometime during the 40+ years I've been doing this.

    In this thread, I didn't ask for that. I merely shared an experience that I hoped some folks could relate to and perhaps expand upon.
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
  12. Holdsg

    Holdsg Talkbass > Work Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    I struggled some, early on, with adapting to 5ers.
    In 2020, right before the lockdown, I joined a new (modern country) band and as aforementioned, I needed to play a fiver to keep up.
    I bought a 5er just for this band, and so I was learning the songs on the five string, many of them for the first time, so it was easier just to say - this bass - this band. At least in my mental accounting that helped me get thru. I don't bother bringing 2 basses, just play everything with the one bass.

    maybe it also helps that the bass (L-2500) sounds awesome. there is that.
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
    LBS-bass likes this.
  13. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    That's what I was hoping to do with this band. But I realized that the number of songs I really needed the fiver for was so small that it was silly to play the whole show with that. Maybe I'll adapt with more time, but right now I'm struggling to see the need for it.
  14. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    I had a couple of 5s over time and I’ve never been able to quite bond with them either. I just can’t get myself to stick with it, however I have noticed that after playing them my 4 seems so much more effortless to play and it’s like I’ve been doing practice boot camps for a little while lol
    LBS-bass likes this.
  15. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    That is exactly it!
  16. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Years ago I attended Victor Wooten's bass camp. He said something that always stuck with me.

    "I always learn more from things I DON'T like as much. If I just stay in my comfort zone, I'll never learn anything.".

    Glad you're making lemonade with your little bit of lemon. :D
    JimmyM and LBS-bass like this.
  17. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Unsolicited advice and pedantic one-upmanship from less experienced musicians who never fully read the OP's opening premise? That's the bad that's (usually) outweighed by the good on Talkbass.
  18. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I started on 4-string. After about 15 years of playing I transitioned to 5-string; then a few years later I transitioned to 6-string.

    My competency as a player took a hit during both transitions. IMHO you can get fairly competent on an extended range instrument in a relatively short time, but I think it takes 1-2 years to get your competency back up to where it was before the transition.

    Also in my case it took me about 10 years before I felt like a natural 6-string player. As a natural 6-string player, you adopt patterns of fingering and shifting that are not possible on a 4-string or 5-string. Specifically a 6-string player allows to cover a lot of range by playing across the strings, rather than shifting up and down the neck.

    I transitioned to 6-string around 1995. I own eight basses, but only one is a 6. I play the 6 -string regularly and take the other basses out approximately twice a year. Now if I play 4-string or 5-string, I might have to stop and think about how to play a technical pattern. So I miss the C string and B string when they are gone. Also, if I play 4-string or 5-string too long, it degrades my skills on 6-string. When I play 6-string exclusively I have natural tendencies that I do not have to think about. When play a 4-string or 5-string for an extended time I have use different fingering and shifting patters, and this introduces uncertainty. I have to make a choice instead of just doing what comes naturally. So I don't have any interest in switching back and fourth; and if songs don't need the B-string or C-string I am fine with it.

    In the event you wanted to be a natural 5-string player, I would suggest that you play 5-string exclusively for a really long time. Then you would eventually adopt fingering and shifting patterns that you can't use on a 4-string.

    I am not saying you should do this, but I am suggesting that if did, you may eventually find that is easier and more beneficial to play 5-string exclusively instead of switching instruments. It's unlikely you will ever develop a preference for the 5-string if you keep on with your current approach. But that's okay.
    twinjet and LBS-bass like this.
  19. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Yes I’m sure you are right about this. Given that lately I struggle with the wisdom of continuing to play at all at this stage, I’m torn between wanting to advance my skills versus enjoy the time I still have. Sometimes I think one way, and sometimes the other.
  20. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 17, 2021

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