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People who play 4 string upright 5+ string electric.......

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by ceeprm, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. ceeprm


    Jul 15, 2002
    Edinburgh Scotland
    I play 5 string BG exclusively and am wanting to start playing upright (4 string). The reason I don't have a 4 string BG is that I find it confusing going between 4 and 5 but im wondering if this would be a problem with upright? Do upright players who also play BG tend to prefer 4 strings or do most people not find this a problem?


  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I have a 5-string electric upright bass, as well as 2 5-string bass guitars - so no problem there!! ;)
  3. ceeprm


    Jul 15, 2002
    Edinburgh Scotland
    Would you consider it a problem if you wanted to get a 4 string acoustic?
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think you have to treat real DBs as a completely different instrument - if you apply BG techniques or approaches, they simply won't work very well.

    Most DBs I've seen have much wider and thicker necks and right hand DB technique, quite often involves anchoring your thumb against the side of the neck - a B string could well be in the way?

    I'm probably not the best person to talk about this as I'm still avoiding proper DB technique and method - having spent 20 years playing BG, I'm loathe to start from scratch again.

    But I think that's what you have to do.... :meh:
  5. ceeprm


    Jul 15, 2002
    Edinburgh Scotland
    yeah when I say upright I mean EUB which means that 5 string is an option although for some reason Id prefer a 4! -Just to make life difficult... :D
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, actually I sometimes wonder whether my B string on the EUB is just "in the way"!

    So - on BG, I tend to use the B string a lot to get a rounder tone more like DB - so I will play lines starting at around 8th to 10th frets using the B string to get that bassier tone when needed.
    Also I tend to try to avoid open strings as they sound different and are harder to mute - unwanted sympathetic vibrations.

    But on EUB, you get a much bassier tone all across the bass and open strings sound pretty good and the shorter decay means you don't have to worry about muting.

    So on EUB, I don't use the B string as much and I will play lines at lower positions and incorporating the open strings a lot more.

    Whereas on BG the G string just sounds twangy - on EUB it sound much bassier and I use it a lot more - but when doing this the B string often gets in the way, as your right hand thumb wants to anchor on the side of the neck nearest you for leverage - then when plucking the G with your fingers, it is quite a stretch and I find my hand brushing the B string.

    But playing a low C or D on the B string can be an awesome sound - epsecially to finish a tune!! ;)
  7. ceeprm


    Jul 15, 2002
    Edinburgh Scotland
    I suppose i'l just have to try a few out and see what feels best although im just about to buy a new 5 string BG and will only have minus money left...
  8. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Lately I've been playing five string electric bass steadily, and still play four string URB. But I'll also move between four and five string electric (fretless/fretted, usually) on a gig-- I think you'll get used to it.
  9. sean p

    sean p

    Mar 7, 2002
    eugene, oregon
    i'm with bob. i don't have a problem switching 'tween five string bg and four db. but it took a little getting used to the fifth string. for a while i was still thinking of the strings in terms of 'top = E, second = A' and i'd mess myself up if i didn't take the time to make sure i was in the right place. after a year of playing the bg though, my natural tendencies are to play the correct string w/o confusing it with the four string version i'm more familiar with (on db). i think they're so technically different that i'm able to think of them each very distinctly.

    sean p
  10. ceeprm


    Jul 15, 2002
    Edinburgh Scotland
    yeah what I thinking is that a 4 string upright will feel totally different to a BG anyway so it would just be a matter of getting used to switching between them...
  11. Bruce's comment on treating it as a separate instrument is right on. You just can't play a DB like you would a BG...believe me, I know. :)

    I don't get confused when I switch...I dont think I really did at first either. I play 5 string electric exclusively, and started playing DB about 2 years ago. It was harder for me switching from 4-string electric to 5-string...I always wanted to hit the B like it was an E.
  12. mikeln

    mikeln Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2003
    San Diego, CA (Poway)
    To revive this old thread...

    I play 5 string BG exclusively now for 5+ years (4 string before that for too many years)... and 4 string DB for quite a long time... no problems switching.

    They are both almost completely different animals with different techniques and playing philosophies.
  13. I've not had a problem. I play 4 and 5 string BG and 5 string EUB and 4 string DB.

    You can easily get use to the switch, you just have to train your brain a bit. I find it easiest to go from 5 BG to 4 DB. It's a different instrument to me, so there isn't a big problem.

    I agree on the 5 string EUB. I don't get a lot of use from the B. But it's nice to have to add a luittle flavor here and there. B on BG if a different animal.
  14. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I am now down to one EBG, a Modulus Quantum 5. When I double on a gig or am practicing, the mental gear change needed to go from one to the other is so severe, it never even occurs to me that one has one more string than the other.

    BTW, would an intense desire to flee from your electric bass guitar and instead play the DB be known as "the eebee geebees?" Get it? The "E-B-G bees?" Oh well, just a thought.
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Dunno about that, Chas, but I do know that when I play too much slab, I find myself in need of some URBan renewal. :bag:
  16. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I fear what I might have started :)
  17. Sharp


    Jan 27, 2002
    Artists Relations, KMI
    upright and electric... they really are two different animals in the same cage. i play a 5 string electric and a 4 string acoustic, and i never find myself wishing i had it any other way. its definately possible, but playing 4 vs. 5 is not going to make a noticeable difference in how an acoustic bass FEELS. just my .02

    best of luck with that though, i love both 5 string electrics and 4 string uprights :cool:

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