Low B String How do you use it?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Jsun_Tyler, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. Yes

    27 vote(s)
  2. No

    164 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Jsun_Tyler


    Oct 22, 2014
    Stafford Va
    I player several instruments and I started with a 5 string bass when I was a teenager but went away from it for years to play keys and drums. I have now gotten back into playing bass for a band I am starting so I begin to study other bass players and noticed that most of the pro's either played a 4 string or played a 5 string like a 4 string using only the low B string just for taste. Because I learned on a 5 string I am use the B string and use it as often as possible because I feel comfortable with it. So I am curious how others who are playing a 5 string as to how much do you use the low B string. I feel like I am cheating because I play as low as possible but when listening to records I can hear the 4 string tones which are higher. Thanks in advance
    Louie Cevasco likes this.
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    So you want to adjust your playing style so you look more like a pro?
  3. Jsun_Tyler


    Oct 22, 2014
    Stafford Va
    Great question not so much to look like a pro but what sounds best I am after. To me the lower notes sound better but there are more 4 string bass players from what I can see.
    Sixgunn and Killed_by_Death like this.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I use it two ways.

    1) To be able to stay in second position and move vertically. In other words, I can play anything you can on a four string in the first two positions while staying in one.

    2) Big low notes when I need them.

    Playing extra low all the time just because you can isn't a sign of a seasoned player by itself. Like any other aspect of playing, if done well it can add to your overall sound.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  5. I use b string quite often, not only for accenting certain passages with the heavy low notes, but also in second position to have more notes under my fingers at any given time
  6. Jsun_Tyler


    Oct 22, 2014
    Stafford Va
    This displays what I was thinking about my playing!
  7. Jsun_Tyler


    Oct 22, 2014
    Stafford Va
    For clarity can you explain what second position
  8. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    This. Period.
    arrowsun and two fingers like this.
  9. Past the fifth fret to the 12th

    Edited to say this is incorrect information. While I probably learned the correct information in theory class years ago, it appears I modified this to something that I used to make sense to me, which is an incorrect description as defined by actual theory.

    Thanks to Jimmy M for pointing this out, and well, I feel a little embarrassed right now. Funny thing is I practice scales using the actual second position all the time....
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
    Jsun_Tyler likes this.
  10. Lol beat me to it...
    elkkid2 likes this.
  11. The bottom string puts out some nice bass and sounds cool but a 4 string bassist who knows his scales will do fine on a 5 string.
    Fight4Bottom, elkkid2, chaak and 3 others like this.
  12. pbass2

    pbass2 Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    As for camping out on those low low notes on a B string . . .
  13. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    In any given musical arrangement there are choices. Using a b string is part of that. If you are playing (low) notes on the b where tasteful, appropriate, and musically supportive, you're there.
    Uncle Jibber, Oddly, G RICH 5 and 2 others like this.
  14. kittywithabanjo

    kittywithabanjo Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2014
    Coquitlam. BC
    A pro plays appropriately which has nothing to do with how many strings you have. That being said I use it more in 2nd position as well than just for low notes I don't really think of it that way
    Sixgunn, Jsun_Tyler and RolandMHall like this.
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    Low B String How do you use it?

    Like any other string
  16. The majority of 5 strings I have played had a really weak b string so it's taken me years to find some b's I can rely on. I don't think makes me a better player, just able to afford better instruments.
    Anders Barfod likes this.
  17. T Bassman

    T Bassman

    Dec 13, 2010
    For me it has so much to do with musical context,and overall range of any other instruments present in the moment. Low C's and D's etc can be really dramatic when used at the right moments, and help create a dramatic musical point. Also as others mentioned, being able to hang in 2nd position is really handy as well and offers many note choices with efficient left hand movement. Granted some new country and pop material has an abundance of driving low notes as well, so that can be loads of fun too, especially with a big PA and a deft technician!
  18. nonohmic


    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Thumb rest. First!
  19. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    I play with a band that tunes their guitars down a whole step, I just play everything on a standard tuned 5 string. I also opt to play notes on the B string instead of the E for the fatter, rounder tone it has. That and nothing ends a tune like that low bass note sustaining out under the final chord especially in the Keys of B or C.
    arrowsun, jwilson67, Bassngtr and 3 others like this.
  20. QweziRider

    QweziRider Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    All the time. More for real estate above the fifth fret than for the notes below fifth fret.