My 5 versus 4 string dilemna ...first gig

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by basscentric, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. basscentric


    Feb 22, 2005
    I have been playing in a jazz/funk/blues jam trio for three months now. Two months ago I bought a Peavey Millenium 5 Plus 5-string. I think it cuts through better than my PRS 4 string when playing with the band.

    Here's my problem... for the most part my transition to the 5 string has been pretty good but sometimes i find myself fumbling to find the right string, not often but it does happen. My first ever gig is in 4 weeks. I'm thinking of playing the 4-string as im much more proficient on it and would like to do as much as possible to control my nerves. I would bring the 5 - string as a backup.

    Does anyone have any experience to share or thoughts?
  2. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    Charleroi, Belgium
    take both bass, one as backup.

    But use the one you feel more confortable with, I presume the 4's.

    If you don't need the low B ...
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I think you should practice exclusively on the 5 in the upcoming month, and take the 5 to the gig. 4 weeks is a lot of time, hopefully enough to get even more familiar with a bass you already have for two months.

    Or another approach: restring your 5 as EADGC, and you'll have no problems mistaking the B for the E.
  4. Ostur


    Dec 21, 2004
    take one or the other,in my experience its a sure thing to mess up under stress,maybe if I was a better player?but I have found its better to just take the one you are the most comfortable with on the first few gigs,I use a 5 the most,most of the time I don't use the B string much, but its a consistant thumb rest for the other 4 strings,it may sound stupid but it works for me.
  5. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification

  6. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I'm experiencing something similar adjusting from a 5 string to a 6 string. For me the transition from 4 to 5 was much tougher. In my situation I'm really just working in the 6 string since my other 3 basses are 5's (and they aren't going any where). For the first couple weeks I played the 6 on songs that I was comfortable on and used the 5 for the others. I've had the 6 string for 5 weeks now and on the last 2 gigs I've brought only my 6 string and just went for it! I've found the more that I do that, the more comfortable I feel. I'd say in your case, continue using both the 4 and 5 until you're comfortable with the 5 string in all situations. There's no reason to rush things and you certainly don't want to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. ;)
  7. Im another vote in the "play the fiver exclusively" camp. When I started on five I played it exclusively and adapted very quickly, when I got a fretless I ended up doing the same thing and also adapted quickly. And FYI it didn't hurt my four string playin at all, but I must admit I had a hard time going back to frets when necessary... but thats more cause Im in love with the control of fretless.
  8. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    When initially moving to 5 string, it's easiest just to treat the low B primarily as a thumb rest. You'll probably mistake it for your low E more than once.

    Trying to reference the notes intuitively on at first can be quite vexing. I found it was easier to play notes on it only when they were an octave down (two frets, two strings) from a note on the A string initially.

    The move to 6 is definitely easier.

    Don't let anyone tell you that you need to give up the 4, though. Some of my favorite basses are among my 4-stringers, but I own and play 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12 string basses.

    Once you become comfortable, it's no different than switching from driving stick to automatic, or from bicycle to motorcycle (which remaps the left lever from brake to clutch). You do it inuitively, and without any concious thought eventually.
  9. flange


    Feb 22, 2005
    Cochrane Alberta
    In my opinion just take the five.
    sink or swim and the added benefit of
    a whole lot of motavation to swim
  10. souled_out


    Jan 4, 2005
    I found myself in a similar situation to yours when I made the transition from 4 to 5. Basically, what Frank Martin said above worked fine for me. I suggest that you play your 5 A LOT in the 4 weeks you have then use it for the gig. With the 2 months you already have under your belt, if you practice your 5 every day for the next 4 weeks, you'll be comfortable enough with it to use it for the gig. Good luck. :bassist:
  11. basscentric


    Feb 22, 2005
    I have been playing the 5 almost exclusively. I play my 4 once a week now. And surprisingly, I don't ever mistake the Bstring for the e. Although sometimes during fast songs i'll flub a transition to the A or D strings. I have tendency to be nervous any how and i'm worried about having that happen on stage. It's still 4 weeks away and I'm going to keep practicing and practicin with the 5 but I'm leaning to using the 4 as my primary.

    Thanks a lot for everyone's input. Keep it coming!
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Another vote for playing your fiver exclusively (for now). That's what I did. My first gig with a new band came just 2 months after I got my first fiver... I wasn't yet 100% comfy with it, but was comfy enough to get through the gig. I'm sure you'll do fine!
  13. yet another vote for playing the 5er exclusively.
    When i bought my 5 string i lent my only other bass (a 4 string) to my girlfriend and was only able to use the 5 string. I adapted really quickley. THe only way youll get used it is to just use it. I had a gig only a couple weeks after i bought it and i was just fine.

    Just practice your songs over and over on the fiver. youll feel at home in no time.
  14. basscentric


    Feb 22, 2005
    Fiver was used...everything went great!!! Thanks for everyone's input! :bassist:
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I was also nervous about my first gig with a fiver, but the result, while not perfect, was as good as I could've hoped for. Sounds like you did even better than I... congrats! :)
  16. Rich600


    Nov 22, 2004
    I started out playing basso n a 5 string then bought a 4,I prefer the sound of the 5, the feel, the sound so i use that.
  17. :cool: Just because you've started playing a 5-string is no reason for you ever to feel that you must give up a 4-string. That said!

    I'm transitioning to a 5-string again, my second foray into the 5-string world. I just sold one of my 4-string instruments to cover the cost of new 5-strings (my other two are safe from any sales ideas). To ensure that I make this a successful transition I've been using the 5-string exclusively for the last month or so, practices and gigs.

    So what if you make a mistake on the gig. It's live, not memorex. No one is going to shoot you. Your band mates, if they're also your friends, will probably laugh a little if you flub, you should too. The VAST majority of the audience will never notice it. And any musicians that do most likely won't worry about an occassional flub either, none of them are perfect.

    If you're going to play a 5-string, play it. Once you're familiar with it, then change back and forth from 5 to 4 to 5 to 4, etc., as you see fit for the mood you're in, the songs you're playing, or whatever phase the moon's in. Don't wait until you feel that you're as good on the fiver as you are on the four, or you might not ever really take the plunge.

    Good luck on this one. I know, really know how you feel.
  18. basscentric


    Feb 22, 2005
    I am basically proficient at the 5er now. No big flubs like the beginning. It actually made me a better 4 stringer as I was forced to reallly really learn the finger board even more. I use it as a primary but still use the 4 for certain songs. I think the 5 total immersion plan was a good one and now I play both well and can switch back comfortably.