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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Jared92, Dec 7, 2007.
Tips for a bassist new to five strings?
Right hand is the thing that takes getting used to. The left hand maybe a little, but all in all, after about 2-3 months (Depending on your daily practice time), you will be used to it. Practice, practice, practice.
muting strings is more difficult. thats probably the main thing. i use my left thumb alot
more for muting with a 5, plus i float my rh thumb over the strings as opposed
to thumb on pickup like on my 4 string.
also play the B string with a light touch for at least 2 reasons; keeps the volume
in range of the volume of your g string, and so it does'nt get too floppy & slow to
recover. the note also takes longer to develop if you are whacking it.
From your question, it sounds like you've been playing 4 string bass, correct? It's best to treat it like you're learning a new instrument. Have fun, explore it. See where it can take your playing, see where to stop doing things only because they are new and cool. Don't over-use the B string just because it's there. It's much more dramatic to hang out higher in the registers for most of your playing and then use the thunderous B as a powerful accent. It really makes the basslines more interesting than just droning on the deep notes.
2-3 months...really not for me and i was a noob. More like a few weeks if you put the time in. First thing is use that B use it alot dont use it as a thumb rest and play the bass like a 4. A great tip is to center all your songs on the E on the B string. On most music you can stay their all night and hardly move your hand and play tons of music. transcribe songs to the B string and use scales from the B string. Also listen and play song using the low notes and running the other 4 strings off of it. In time it will be easy...really if you use it right from the start that is.
Hey bassbully - I like the tip for centering the songs around the E on the B string. Top idea.
I too have just entered into the world of 5 strings (after almost 10 playing 4), and have found the transition so far to be not too bad (only had it for 3 days too!!). was wondering if you, or any others out there, might any ideas of songs that are played on a 5 that those of us new to this wonderous beast could take a stab at. I play basically any style, so any song ideas would be great...
Humm on songs alot of the nu metal has 5 strings in it....not really sure thou.I liked the E as a center and when i was in my old calssic rock band i could stay there all night since so many of those songs are in a 1,4,5 patterns and those notes are right there at home . I could stay on the E and use open strings or do runs off the E so i was using the E on the big B alot. My old rock bands did several songs using C and D and sometimes B but i liked the string spacing of a 5 the most nice and tight. You wont find the move to a 5 that hard if you use the B. I talked to guys who dont use it and wonder why they are having problems ...that is the problem use it. I now only play 4s and sold my 5 but used to switch off in gigs from 5 to 4 all the time...practice so will you.
practice practice practice!
I also find that when I'm not playing my b string I rest my thumb on it to mute it and also help guide me until it becomes 2nd nature. Also playing what you already know helps if you can incorporate the lower notes onto the b string. So for example instead of playing drop d.. just move the lower notes onto the B string. It'll take some getting used to but once you've got the hang of it it's great
Yeah, I have been working a song we just wrote last week in drop d, before i picked up my 5er, on the 5 and trying to get used to playing it with the b instead of 4 string in drop d. Fingering was probably a little easier in drop d on a 4, but the sound is better with the d played on the b string!!
scales for incorporating the extra string
floating thumb for muting
As you can see, this is one of those things for which everyone has different (and often contradictory) advice. Some say to start out using the B string as a thumbrest; others say to incorporate the B as much as possible from the beginning. Some will suggest focusing on re-learning all your old songs on the fiver, and others will tell you explicitly to avoid that and focus on learning new songs. And so on. Obviously it's one of those things where different approaches work for different people, and that's fine, but I think there are at least two factors that might help you decide which approach is likely to be best for you.
First, I think the answer depends at least partly on the particular five-string bass you've got. In many cases moving from 4 to 5 also means moving from 34" to 35" scale, and/or from a wider to much narrower string spacing. My first fiver involved both of these changes, and I had a terrible time coping with the physical adjustment. I spent most of my time simply trying to re-teach my fingers where the notes and strings were and never got far beyond that. Also, narrower string spacing means a greater need to work on muting techniques, which several people have noted; this isn't as much of an issue if you have wider string spacing. I've since replaced that fiver with one that maintains the wide string spacing of a typical four, and this has made it much, much easier for me. It feels like a regular four-string, with an extra string that I can choose to use or not, and I don't have to make any significant changes to my technique.
Second, the answer might depend on whether you are planning to switch completely to five, or want to be able to go back and forth between the four and five on a regular basis. If the former, you probably want to incorporate the B string right from the get-go, and re-learn all your old songs on the new bass. If the latter, it is useful to sometimes treat the B as a thumbrest, in which case it is like practicing with a four. I like trying re-learn old songs using the B-string, but then go back and forth between practicing them the "old" way as well as the new way. And given the particular fiver that I have, as noted above, I can do this switching easily without changing basses; I just mentally switch from thinking of it as a four (with a very long, skinny thumbrest) and a five.
Lots of Collective Soul uses a low B string - Shine is one tune in particular.
Definitely use the B string tastefully. Playing in the upper registers and hitting the low b as an accent says so much more than abusing the b string the whole song.
this is an instrumental song i recorded with my band, I use the Low B string to hit a low C and low D on the main riff.. in the slower middle piano driven section around 2 minutes im hitting an F on the A string and a low D on the B string.. theres other B string sightings throughout the song.. i really dont think this song would have as much oooomph if i had used a four string to record it with.. you be the judge give it a listen.
recorded with a Korg Multi mixer i got on clearance from GC
Bass is a Lakland 55-01 with the stock barts..
file is in mp3 format for ease of listening
For me I find that by incorporating the B when playing below the 12th fret makes for faster playing and a great sound. My Ibanez 5 has the ultra thin neck so I never had any problem with the transition and rarely notice the difference in string spacing as opposed to my Fender Jazz.
Learn songs that incorporate the five string a lot. There have been two Bass Player magazine transcriptions that helped me. Move Me No Mountain//Chaka Khan (Anthony Jackson played a detuned four string, but they wrote it out for five) and their new transcription of Stevie Wonder's Boogie on Reggae Woman (synth bass arranged for fiver).