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Playing five string compositions on a four?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by HeavyDuty, Feb 25, 2002.


  1. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    My guitar bud wants us to start on a few pieces that are written for a five. I have a slew of fours. I figure I have three options:

    1) Tune one bass to BEAD - probably my fretted Steinie Spirit, since the zero nut makes it easy to change string gauges.

    2) Play up an octave, or something similar.

    3) Buy a five!

    Any comments about option 2?
     
  2. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    It depends on the song, but unless you're playing songs that camp out on the B string, you should be ok just playing up an octave. Most players who use a 5-string tastefully (Of course, I don't know what songs your guitarist picked ;)) only dip below occasionally E or D for a dramatic effect. This is usually just an embellishment that can be done an ocatve up. Perhaps playing the octave further up the neck as opposed to across the fretboard will give it more girth? So, in conclusion, it depends on the song. :D
     
  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I'm very lucky to have Tom as a friend and a guitarist - he used to gig way back when, and is quite talented.

    His musical tastes are as eclectic as mine. For instance, these are some of the songs we do or that we're working on:

    Collective Soul - December
    Train - Drops of Jupiter
    Pink Floyd - Mother
    Smithereens - Blood and Roses
    Blue Rodeo - Trust Yourself
    Del Amitri - Stone Cold Sober
    Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta
    Goo Goo Dolls - Slide

    When you're as old as we are, you tend to be more openminded!

    So, I never really know what he's going to suggest next. He has said that he's passed on certain songs in the past because of the five string.
     
  4. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    I must say, I'm jealous. My bandmates (specifically the guitarist) are VERY specific on what they want to do. It's pretty much split between the rhythm section and the guitarist/vocalist in terms of desire of songs to cover. But I digress. :) What are the specific fiver songs you were looking at doing?
     
  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Don't have any yet, but I'll ask Tom which ones he passed over. Any suggestions?

    Oh, yeah - he has no mongo ego, either. He knows he's pretty good, but never rubs your nose in it. And he knows the value of silence in music!
     
  6. Intrepid

    Intrepid

    Oct 15, 2001
    Maybe you can just get a really big A string, that we you can play Ds on the 5th fret and it'll still sound thick....most tasteful 5-stringers really do only go to the D...
     
  7. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Yeah, I've noticed that - the low B is there for spice, not the main course!
     
  8. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    That's how I've always looked at it. Anywho, the dude from Alien Ant Farm uses a sixer, but a lot of songs, like Movies, can be played on a four. I'm pretty sure that he doesn't dip below low E, so I'm not sure how that's going to help you, but it's a good song! :D
     
  9. My bandmates are also very specific:

    "Let's do Deftones!"

    "This Linkin Park tab is 100% correct"

    "I just learned this Papa Roach riff..."

    Basically you wouldn't hear the difference if I all of the sudden stopped playing. And I'm the guy who wants to be good enough to play jazz someday.