I hate it, but it makes me a better player

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

  1. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    If you learn proper technique, there is no reason to struggle. One of my teachers had small hands and stubby fingers but he earned a masters degree in performance on the string bass. He could smoke on the electric bass too and he played a Precision.
    TexasThunder likes this.
  2. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Mile High Bassist Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State
    I played fivers for many years & owned more than a few of them, and I never enjoyed a minute of it.
    Tuning one of my fours to BEAD allowed me to play 99.9% of what the fivers covered, while still "feeling right".
    BassFalcon and eriky4003 like this.
  3. BassFalcon


    Nov 18, 2020
    I kind of stumbled into that one myself. I was playing in roots blues group, and get like I had to have the labella 1964s or whatever they are calling the old James Jamerson set now, to get the sound I wanted. They put a mean hurtin’ on my little jazz bass neck that the truss Rod just couldn’t contend with because the gauges are just so big. Not wanting to take them off because the sound was perfect, I was listening to Mad Season and remembered an interview in which their bassist talked about stringing his 4 BEAD. That was what let me keep those strings on that bass, the bonus is that we were doing a lot in Eb and D and my active Ibanez 6-string just wasn’t the right tool for the job aesthetically, or sonically. That’s my journey on how I got to that tuning. I really liked it, kept it like that for a few years and definitely would go back if I had the need for a Low B that my Ibanez 6er wouldn’t be stylistically appropriate for.
    zie and superdick2112 like this.
  4. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    It depends on what the fight is about.
  5. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    There's no money after the fifth fret anyway. So I wouldn't know.
  6. drumvsbass


    Aug 20, 2011
    I played top 40 country for a hot minute and never had to get a 5 due to this little hack. (click bait title)

    This hipshot solution to a 5 string.
    Double lever hipshot.
    Use a slightly heavier E
    First stop good ole drop D
    Second stop low B
    When in low B you can play a 'power chord' shape to get octaves on the A string.

    BT2 Bass Xtender

    DoubleStop Lever AddOn
    LBS-bass likes this.
  7. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    I'd say stick with it, it's awesome once you get the hang of it. I'd never even consider going back to a 4 at this point.
  8. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Well gosh, I didn't know it was my goal to prove anything to you, and clearly you didn't read my other posts here because the exact benefits I achieved are hardly even germane to the point I've been making, but you seem to feel good to show that to the world.

    Now, you may call me a liar, if that makes you feel better about yourself. Certainly not the first time someone puffed himself up at my expense. I do hope you have a nice day.
  9. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    The only "issue" I have with BEAD is that I have a few songs that play octaves or fifths using the G string fairly high up the neck. I could move those octaves and play them on the E and D strings but that'd mean repositioning which, of course, means I have to think harder about where I'm at on the fretboard and where I need to go just after. But with practice that would work.
    BassFalcon and superdick2112 like this.
  10. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    That makes perfect sense and it was the first issue I had to overcome when I first started with the fiver a couple of years ago. I kept wanting to see the B string as the E and play a G on that string at the third fret, etc. Same as you, I eventually managed to wrap my head around thinking from the G side which more or less took care of that.
    /\/\3phist0 and TreySonagras like this.
  11. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    This is correct. But there's always that one guy :)
    Portamenti and Shorelinegold like this.
  12. I've spent the last fortnight finishing the world's slowest epiphany regarding 5-strings, which has yielded some unintended benefits.

    The backstory, in short, is that I owned a 5-er for years and never got on with it, so I gave it away and returned to 4s again. Earlier last year, I started thinking that maybe I hadn't given it a real chance and until this last weekend I hadn't realised just how true that was. TBH, I'd never been playing the things I needed a 5-er for; it had just been a vanity exercise.
    Going back to last year, I picked up an Overwater by Tanglewood J5 in blue burst; a real looker. I had it about a week and Covid came along, so the gigs stopped, as did the impetus to practice, so the J5 just sat there. I mean, there was still something in there that told me I needed it, so I figured I'd just sit it out and maybe it would just come to me.
    Fast-forward to two and a bit weeks ago, when I got a call from a local girl singer who had a gig booked and needed a backing band that could knock up a 30 song set in two weeks with one rehearsal. Luckily, drummer, lead guitarist and me have all worked together before, so we were immediately able to bring half the set. The rest was made of songs from the singer's previous band, none of which I'd played before. Bit of a challenge to learn 15 songs in a week for the first rehearsal but one thing was immediately clear. This was going to need a 5-er. "Whenever, Wherever" by Shakira, "Summer Of 69", Cher's "Walking In Memfus" and more. So I knuckled down - and that's when it started to click. Now I had real purpose.
    So we played last Saturday and it was good. As a band, no train wrecks and some moments that were really not bad at all. Personally, I played a few bum notes but nothing horrendous and I was finding switching between 4 and 5 five no real problem. Sure, I'd spent the last fortnight practicing the right songs on the right basses, so the muscle memory was getting pretty ingrained but the real benefit was the confidence it gave me. The more confident I felt; the more relaxed I felt and the more comfortable I felt. So, not sure if playing a 5 made me better on a 4 but it did make my mind more open.

    Oh, and as a postscript, singer has just announced 5 new tunes to learn for the next gig (in August, thankfully) including "Nothing Else Matters", so it looks like I'm going to have to dig out the fretless and knuckle down with that too now. :-D
    LBS-bass likes this.
  13. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    This makes all the difference. When I first picked up my fiver a few years back, it was because I'd agreed to back up a singer whose original material was very heavy on the B string notes. The moment I sat down and played the first track on her album, the very first note (an exceedingly emphatic low D) made it crystal clear that I needed a new tool for that job. So I did it; I bought a five-string and learned all of her songs on it and I played all of her shows with that bass.

    At the same time, I was still gigging with my regular band and playing all of their stuff on the four string. For a while I had the thought that I'd just move to the fiver for everything, but it never felt good enough to make that leap. If I'd never had a real reason to pick up that 5-string to begin with, I'd probably never have bothered to buy one. Now I own two :)
    /\/\3phist0 and Paul Corrosion like this.
  14. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    I am quite surprised to hear that you played a 5 for nearly 20 years and feel this way. for me .. there is so much more than Eb down to B as far as 'usefulness' when I grab my 5. I feel this way because currently the 5 string is 'my voice' (at least on my ESP LTD B105) and there is ALWAYS the four strings if you get a 5-6 anyhow..so there is that too.. you can cover anything on a 5 (or 6 +) that any 4 can do.

    This is so false and so one sighted (and IMO a terrible stigma the Bass has -at least - as it relates to this particular forum).

    @ LBS I am kind of the opposite of you, I am tall skinny and have gangly large hands (I can cover that 10" stretch a fella noted earlier in the thread) But what really opened my mind (and basically moved me forever to the 5) was the 8th-fret-G on the B string being the 'new G' on the E-string) aka 3rd position. only now I can get TWO full octaves in a scale. AND the spacing is tighter so my comfort level skyrocketed. my box got 4 more notes where I dont need to shift more than a whole tone to cover two octaves...priceless.

    I will admit that there was initially a transition from 4 up to 5 is a pretty rough learning curve. (B is NOT E: E no NOT A.. I have felt this pain live:smug: mean I could already play the 4 pretty competently (slap and pop much easier on a 4 yes, but style over substance with this tech).

    but I am a complete convert, not just because of the 4-5 extra tones. because the overall versatility -for me- increased so much I never play my 4...

    Stay low LBS, even if its your 4;)
    Mastermold and LBS-bass like this.
  15. Kubicki Fan

    Kubicki Fan

    Oct 3, 2014
    Smallish hands here as well. The G&L M2500 neck is heaven. I think it is a #10 but not sure, too lazy to check unless requested. The first time I tried it - the first fiver I've tried up until then - all apprehension left me and I was smitten.
    I liked how the left hand felt and my right hand found the tighter string spacing comfortable
    If I had to ditch my basses and keep only one, I'd keep the M2500, weight and all.
    LBS-bass and 4stringfarley like this.
  16. 4stringfarley

    4stringfarley Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2015
    Cajun Country
    My 2500 actually weighed less than my mim 4 string jazz. Only reason I got rid of it was the fact it had these horrid metal bars down the fretboard.
    LBS-bass and Kubicki Fan like this.
  17. Yep I find many things are easier on a 5 than a 4 but I still play 4s more.
    TrevorG likes this.
  18. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) mmm Woody! DHDIK? Supporting Member

    I was going to make the same analogy!
    Former swim team here too.
    Our coach also had us put weights on our ankles.
    Paddles on our hands small plastic clipboards with sandal tops glued on :)
    LBS-bass likes this.
  19. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) mmm Woody! DHDIK? Supporting Member

    I love and primarily play 5s but I feel the same way when I get on a 4 speedy ,:)
    BUT I need those few low notes often enough. That and less shifting, so I stick with 5 :)
    A man should not admit this, ;) but I'm 6'3" but small boned and handed.

    No jokes !

    The arthritis has started to rear it's ugly head, but it only limits me occasionally (so far)

    I'm doing a lot of building on my shop and basses . Wearing gloves . It seems to help, wearing gloves, the warmth.
    Groove Doctor and LBS-bass like this.
  20. Splash7

    Splash7 The Determined Bass Player Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2019
    I know that I am posting to this thread a day late and a dollar short. :) I just wanted to post a thank you to @LBS-bass for this thread. Sometimes I get a "clarity of thought" when I am thinking about bass playing. This thread added another one to my slow and uneven thought process.

    As I accumulate my bass collection (yes, I did say that), I at least want to try to think of some justification for owning a certain bass. Money is no object, of course, because I don't spend a lot of money on my basses. (It's OK, it's only a hobby.) :) I knew a 5 string bass would be acquired sooner or later, because there were some songs I wanted to learn that would require it. And that was justification enough for me to get one later. However, I think sooner would be better because I didn't factor in that practicing on a 5 string would help to make me a better 4 string player. Ta da! Off to Sweetwater!

    Likewise, I was thinking about a fret less. Thought I should wait until I got better on the fretted first. Seems I can learn to be a better fretted player if I apply myself on a fret less. Hhmmmm. Right now my fret less acquisition is part of my bass mechanics learning curve. I bought a cheap Rogue bass to upgrade. (Thank you to @JRA for inspiration.) Good body and neck, lousy hardware and electronics. Got the hardware and electronics up to snuff, now I am going to convert it to fret less. Wish me luck.
    JRA and LBS-bass like this.
  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.

    Aug 2, 2021

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