Ignorant but curious

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AlLomax, Jan 18, 2002.

  1. AlLomax


    Jan 18, 2002
    Mansfield, OH
    I haven't played bass since 1972. Back then 5 string basses were unheard of. What is the advantage/purpose of a 5 string bass?
  2. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Hi AILomax,
    Welcome to Talkbass, man. My elementary answer is:
    1) 5 more notes
    2) less hand movement
    Check the search and you will find a buttload of
    4 vs 5 threads.
  3. I don't want to insult anyone, so I'll leave out Flea's comments on 5 stringers.:eek:

    However, here are two opinions:

    Roger Sadowsky's Thoughts:

    This is not quite what I said in the interview which can be found at www.sadowsky.com. The actual quote is as follows:

    "What I've noticed in researching my own five string is when you put a five string in a bass players hand, they don't relate to it as a four string with a lower register. They relate to it as a soloing instrument as opposed to a rhythm instrument. Part of it is because the slap isn't the same on a five string as a four. I think the presence of the fifth string alters the way they attack the fourth string. They just don't nail the strings on the five because they're avoiding hitting the fifth string. Subtle things like that may contribute to this sense that they can never get their E string to sound the same on a five as on a four. Regardless of the reasons, I see when they've got a five string in their hand, they're thinking
    soloing and when they've got a four string, they're thinking rhythm section."

    This is not so much my opinion, but more the feedback I received from the players when I began to R&D my 5 strings about 14 years ago.

    Roger Sadowsky

    Jeff Berlin on multi-string basses:

    Did you use the 5, 6, or 7 string basses on your new record?

    I only used one bass on this recording, my Dean "Jeff Berlin Standard". I don't play anymore than 4 strings (I might use a five string if required on a session). For my own musical purposes, I am strictly a 4 string player because I believe that more strings will not make me play better. I believe that whatever I can't play on a 4 string bass needs to be investigated by me. All you can do on a 5, 6, or 7 string is play higher or lower, not necessarily play better music.

    What I have found by limiting myself to a 4 string, 3 octave bass is that I am constantly called upon to re-evaluate what I do. I'm better because I'm using the same three octaves in new ways. I have actually grown to a place where I don't think I have ever played as well as I am playing today. This is due to the fact that I put a concentrated effort into a lot of practicing this year. I wrote this new record in 90 days. Any time between classes I was writing, anytime between giving lessons I was practicing.
  4. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm...

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Well, in my case it is a need for the B string. Some songs which my band plays use the first five notes on the B string. I don´t want to have a four stringer which I´ll have to tune down, so a fiver was the obvious choice. I don´t belive it makes me a better player, it just gives me what I need.
  5. AlLomax


    Jan 18, 2002
    Mansfield, OH
    Thanks to all for answering. Iwas thinking it was for solo or as we used to call it, 'lead' work because that made sense. I'm glad to see logic still has a place in the music world.:cool:
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Typical bass solo is up high
    Typical five string is one more string, down low.
  7. My friend uses the low B for ballad type of song, but rhythm heavy rock works too.
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I don't solo, but I prefer the flexibility of a 5, and for my church gig, a 5 is essential, because a lot of the music is in Eb, D and Db.

    Roger S normally knows what he is talking about, but I think that he is off bass;) on this one. Now when I pick up one of my 6 stringers, soloing does come to mind, even though I don't solo. Great for playing chords, too.
  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I want the low B for Eb, D, and C tunes.
    I want the low B for speeding up a few really uptempo patterns.
    I want the low B beacuse it is easier to find the notes (weird, but I got used to the 5er in two days, now I had to leave it for a while and find it very hard to go back to 4...bad...)

    Bottom line: 5er helps me play better.:rolleyes:
  11. Bass18

    Bass18 Guest

    Jul 21, 2001
    I see what a five string is good for, but I dont need those low notes, so I dont need one. But they are useful if that what you want.
  12. To a lot of bassists, the 5 strings are now considered the "standard". I have two, to me it makes perfect sence because it increases the lower register ability of the instrument. Hey, it is called a BASS, right? :D

    I don't think I approach the E string any differently and I certainly don't use it to do any kinds of wank-wank solos! I think Roger Sadowsky is off his rocker.

    It can be hard to find a 5 string that has a tight sounding and playing B string on it. You have to play around.
  13. Si-bob


    Jun 30, 2001
    Amersham, UK
    Focusrite / Novation
    i just got my first 5, with a high C, and i still don't solo on it!!!!
    i definatly want a 5 with a low B to....soon ;), purely for transpositional needs and playing in different positions on the neck.
    I think the concept of a BASS solo is evading some people....even with my high C, which i only use for chordal work, if i get called on for a solo, i won't use it...the band leader wants a bass solo, not a solo which sounds like the guitar...but in the same way, soloing on the B would just sound muddy and often the notes will be lost due to the low frequency.
    I love 5's, necks jsut the right width for me, but some poeple have go the wrong idea methinks
    just my 2 pennies

  14. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Booger Guy

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Only Jeff Berlin could manage to sneak self praise
    about his hard work and practice in answering
    a question of the number of bass strings he used
    on his new album.. :D
  15. 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.

    May 27, 2022

Share This Page