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Number of strings and first impressions

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by kurkomat, Jul 17, 2005.


  1. kurkomat

    kurkomat

    Aug 28, 2001
    Austin, TX
    hello all-

    was curious to get some peoples feedback on whether their first impressions of a bassist are affected by what type of bass he or she has / what # of strings it has? In other words if you're at a club checking out an unknown band and the bassist shows up with a 6, what first goes through your head? Are your expectations raised in terms of the bassists capabilities, etc? I find that this is the case with me-- it's almost all subconscious but when a player shows up with an old fender 4 string and turns out to be a monster I'm really impressed, but if someone shows up with a really nice 6string I find I almost expect them to play a certain way. Anyone else? I'm pretty interested in why people play certain basses and what we think they say about us / our image.

    thanks much-

    kurkomat
     
  2. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Eh, I'm usually pretty open minded about someone until I hear them play. I've seen too many instances of 4 string players being badass, and then have this tool on a 6er, who sounds like he hasn't touched a bass prior to that. I do always take note of the bass, and amp the person is using though, and try to glance at the pedalboard if there is one. I almost always let the first few songs show me how capable of a bass play he or she is. I do remember one gig I was at, the bassist pulled out a Conk 7 stringer, but all night, he only used the normal four strings.

    -Ray
     
  3. truckin88

    truckin88

    Oct 18, 2001
    Newburgh, NY
    I look at the quality of the gear, but in all honesty, I judge a player on how good they are, I have seen to many guys on a good old reliable fender 4 string just kick ass, there is a reason the design has been around so long, and still sells a crap load today.
     
  4. I sometimes do that with my six string. I was playing in a jazz/swing group doing mess dinners (military). Dingwall 6 string it was, even though I really only played at most 4 of the strings, and mostly only 3. I wasn't going to get another bass just so I could use all of the strings all of the time. I can see your point if that's all the guy did, but if you don't know what other groups he plays in or what he plays on his own, then it's hard to judge.
     
  5. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    That is true, but this guy was playing in a country, southern rock, SRV cover gig where he had a ton of room and opportunity to open up, and just didn't. Granted, maybe he didn't want to, or something, I don't know his situation as mentioned, but I just thought he could have used more :p. That's me.

    -Ray
     
  6. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    In all honesty, I love seeing a nice old four string, and a six string impresses me if the player knows how to play it. But five string players, they really have to wow me.

    Dunno why.
     
  7. ras1983

    ras1983

    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    to be honest; i have similiar expectations as yourself. if i see 6+ strings, i just assume that this bassplayer knows how to groove like hell. i never really associated 6+ stringers with incompetant players, since basically all of the videos i have seen on TB of 6string players have shown TB'ers kickin a$$. but hey, i still expect a ripping performance from a 4 string or a 3 string player, because guys before them have kicked a$$ on 4 strings.
     
  8. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    I guess it's a bitunfortunate, but especially with the amount of rampant emo, and screamo and hXc and emoXcore and indie and what not if I go to a gig and I see someone with a 6+, I'm expecting him to throw down. I'm also expecting him to play just a little more, if not a little different than your average bassist, not to just stand there and pedal 8th roots...Thats said if I go to a gig and I see a guy get on stage with a 4 or 5 I don't expect him to suck either...in fact I hope they'll throw down just as much.
     
  9. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    ha,ha,ha true man,you see this little guy with a monster bass with 7 strings,4 pedal,two megoliath amps and he play like a novice,lol :p
     
  10. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    After years married with a five,i go to buy my new one four,Why? because is the bass i need,i like 5s too but now the 4 is the best bass for me and i can kick any 6 stringer at any mommnet ;) to be honest,Jaco kick any ass even after his dead,four stringer never died.
     
  11. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I expect a guy with six to have some ability. With fours and fives, I look at the type of bass and the type of band. Generally, people who have more expensive basses are more "into" their instruments, which may or may not translate as superior musicianship. Budget fives so common that it really doesn't phase me if some kid shows up with one.

    As for type of music, I expect a person in a fusion/jazz group to be able to play. Ditto for prog type of player. Prolevel r&b or gospel requires some serious chops too. This is not a complete list, just some of my impressions.
     
  12. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    For example,if you go to John Myung forum you have this kids,they love John Muyng and they want a 6 stringer because John Myung use one,but they can,t play the bass at high potential,many of them ended with for sale 6 string..........and remember,the 4 string in a 4 bass is more deep that the same 4 string in a 6 string bass,for that reason i take my 4 back again. :cool:
     
  13. I have that same quirk going too about 5 stringers. I play a 6, and to me, a 4 is by far all you need, so a 5 to me kind of gives me the impression of a half-assed 6, which should be used for its range below AND above all in one position.
     
  14. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    I would attribute that to many of them not wanting to invest the time required to handle the instrument, and many just not having the dedication...The E on a 4 is lower than the E on a 6?? Did not know this...The B is lower though :smug: I've seen some crazy R&B and afro-Cuban and reggae people blow me away on sixes, and 4s alike. I guess what I meant by my first comment was really it depends on the band and genre... If somone is gonna get on stage for a fusion/prog/jazz gig I'm going to expect them to thrown down no matter how many strings they've gots! Likewise I don't expect an emo kid on a 7 to impress me too much (no offense Toasted, :p I'm generalizing) and starting to babble so thats enough for me!
     
  15. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    the true point is,you are than good as you practice,not good relative for the numbers of string,maybe i am the worst player in a 6 but maybe am one of the best in a 4,pick the right bass for you.
     
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    That's because it's not true.
     
  17. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    lol :p
     
  18. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    my bad, but is it deeper? I'm going to assume not :D
     
  19. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    No. Same frequencies.
     
  20. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I could answer the question, IF I had ever seen a 6+ string instrument live. I have seen a 5 or two, but most bands I see still stick to 4 string basses.

    By the by, mainly blues and rock.