Interesting statement, but, I don't agree.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Michael Jewels, Mar 3, 2003.

  1. On page 36 of the current (March,2003) Bass Player mag, there begin a pretty good article on Stanley Banks, bassplayer with George Benson for 27 years among other things he's done. Then, on page 40 the interviewer asks the question, "What are your thoughts on the present state of music?"

    Stanley's response, "Somehow we've lost a generation of music between the late '70s through the '90s. But the young cats today are going back and figuring out what it is to make a groove. Ten years ago I used primarily my custom Fodera 5-string with George; now I hardly ever use it because the music is coming back to the groove, and we don't do those tunes anymore. The 5-string bass was created to emulate the keyboard bass. Unfortunately not everyone has the discipline to play 5-string with taste and stay in the 4's "in-the-pocket" range.
    Everything so far was cool; the next sentence is the one I do not agree with at all:

    "The 5 today finds itself an outcast, like organ in a mainstream situation. But I do play the 5 when I'm home and playing in church; there it matches and answers the organ's intensity."

    Okay, I always liked this guy's playing on George B's records and I probably couldn't play half as good as him, but, the 5 finds itself an outcast?

    I do not agree.

    BTW, in another thread not too long ago (can't remember which one) I said that I was a die hard 4 string guy. Lately I find this to be less and less true. I find myself reaching for my inexpesive 5 string OVER my Stingray and it has nothing to do with tone - I'm getting hooked on havin' that B string there. I don't over use it, but, I almost expect it to be there.

    What's your opinion?

    How many of you found the same thing happening: Almost abandoning your 4s for a 5 or a 6?

  2. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    It can happen, it does happen, it did happen to me! :cool:
  3. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I know that Carol Kaye has said that the 5 is disappearing from studio work in LA. I don't know if that is mainly Jazz players she is referring to or not.

    From my POV, I think 4 strings is a lot at the moment. However, I don't think you should limit yourself by the opinions of others.

  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Fives and sixes are popping up in regular production lines more and more everyday; Groove Tools even has sevens on their production line. If anything I think fours are becoming a little more rare.
  5. I think it's a relative thing.

    A few years ago EVERYONE and their mother was buying five string basses, you couldn't keep the things in stock. Now the tide has ebbed a little. With everything that's been going on in music the past 2 or so years (Shadows of Motown etc.) people have started getting more into the 4-string and leaving the 5-string. At the same time though, some 4'ers are going to 5'ers and some 5'ers are going to 6'ers.

    I think it varies depending on the player, for the time being I'm sticking with 4's, but I'm starting to soften up to 5's. We'll see what happens.
  6. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    6 months ago, I wouldn't be caught dead with a 5. I NEEDED one! Now, I mainly play 4 string Jazzes!
  7. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i haven't played a 4 string in 10 years. :spit: :D
  8. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI disrespect but who cares?

    I personally do not. Everyone is going to use what is most comfortable to them and is most fitting in the situation. No one (I hope) is going to change thier opinion or view on what is best for them because what someone else said.
  9. John Giblin (numerous sessions with Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Annie Lennox, also Simple Minds) was saying something about this in the current issue of Bass Guitar Magazine- "although my fretless of choice is 5-string, I still curse the fretted 5.........fact is, I hear very few 5 players who maintain the open dynamics and sound of traditional 4 string playing".

    he almost regards the fretted 5 as a necessary evil for session work- for being able to cover the extra low range when the written part given to him goes below 4string territory.
  10. Stringcount means nothing, absolutely nothing, in terms of grooving, being 'in the pocket', regardless of trends, or the like IMO. Nothing, dangit.

    The bass guitar is an instrument that happens to be widely available with extended ranges, above and below the traditional EADG tuning. The extended range simply gives the bassist


    I sure wish people could let it be what it is, and nothing more. Play whatever suits you.

    I get soooo tired of preconceived notions and false typecasting based on the "number of strings on the dude's bass". I think, with all due respect to Mr. Banks, that his statements are missing reality somewhat.

    A groovy bassist will do groovy things, I don't care if he has 1 string or 9.

    This isn't directed at any one person, I'm just making a statement about the whole stringcount thing that people get so hung up about.

    Don't mean to offend anyone.

  11. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I thought it was interesting when I read that statement in the mag. I didn't think that's what I was used to hearing from the majority of folks. Wonder what makes him say that?

    Personally, I have been leaning towards my 4's lately, I just seem to enjoy them more. That's just what suits me though, I wouldn't try to get dogmatic about it...
  12. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    Well I like five string's for a fretted bass so I hereby declare the 4, 6 and 7+ string fretted basses of this world as outcasts. :rolleyes:

    I guess I didn't realize that the instrument being used determines how good the music is and not the person playing it. :rolleyes:
  13. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
  14. Stingray4Christ


    Jan 28, 2003
    Play whatever you feel you can best express yourself with. Isn't that what's most important?
  15. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    This tasty bit of sarcasm says it all. :)

  16. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    My current main axe is a mid-quality 5 string. While I don't use the B excessivley, I do love it for a certain things. For example, it just recently came in handly when I had to learn a bassline that was orginally recorded with a keyboard. (I had to play a low Eb, and a low Db) It's also nice when playing classical music. My next bass I plan to buy is a Carvin. I was orginally going get a LB70, but the more I thought about it, I have started to really enjoy having a few lower notes so I decicded I'm going to get an LB75.

    The thing I don't get though, is the 5 string is just a 4 string with a few extra notes. It seems like he was saying it was a totally different instrument in his interview. The truth is, I can go and play a whole gig without even touching the B string and it wouldn't be a problem. I just like knowing it's there if I ever want to use it. Or what Carol was saying about 5's disappearing from recording. If my best bass was a 5er or 6er and the part that was written for me doesn't call for a high C or low B, I'm still going to bring that bass because it still has all the same notes that a 4 string has. To me, worrying about how many strings a bassist has is as pointless and trivial about judging a bassist who plays with fingers or a pick. My favorite quote are guys who always say "If your going to play a bass with more than 4 strings, why don't you just buy a guitar". In which I always respond "So if a Tenor Sax player wants to play a Soprano Sax, he just get a Clarinet instead".

    All in my opinion of course.
  17. My reply can be found in the quote by Jamerson in my sig.

    \ /
  18. Me too! I no longer own a 4-string - I have four 5's and a 6.
  19. Firstly, I'm strictly four. Probably will never go five. I hear arrangers and producers say they think the five tends to be controlling or overbearing if not used judiciously, or if at all. That's not why I don't play five. I simply don't like 'em because they differ to much from a string bass and I don't see a point in the extra string. Plus I've never had anyone say, "Can you bring a five?"

    Unlike Carol who points out that fours dominate in the studio, Stanley "might" have meant that fives are like an outcast in his current situation with George. He may also feel that their newer tunes remind him more of the groovy good 'ol days which he may additionally associate with the 4-string.
  20. Wolfehollow


    Jan 21, 2003
    Pensacola, FL
    I have tried to go more than 4... but... I cant do it. I will play guitar if I need 6 strings... :)