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Problem(s),problem(s)....What to do??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by millsbass5, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Let's see.I started playing bass guitar Christmas of 1978.I was in the 6th grade.

    Ever since,I've been dead serious about learning all I can about the instrument,and bass-related gear.But,not so much the tech-side of things,(Freq. response,harmonic dist. in an amp,etc.,etc.).I just can't make myself privy to that stuff.

    After 12 years of solid "stick my nose to the ol' grindstone playing/practicing," (9 of those first 12 years gigging in bars,yes,at age 15!/practicing),I was left with "wanting more".SO,ENTER THE 5-STRING BASS!!

    I'm proud to say that pretty much everything that I've desired to accomplish on the instrument,I have.Well,with the exception of the "fantasy-laden" multi-million dollar record deal,roadies,and mucho groupies (that ALL US GIGGING bassists wish for at a 3:00 a.m. load-out!!).I'm WAY past that,at age 43!!I do it now for the sheer love of music and,the instrument that "chose" me.

    Don't get me wrong now.I'm not claiming to be a "complete,master/be all,end all,bass-guru".I just consider myself a solid,versatile,bottom-dweller (by choice,you shredders!!I can slap'n'tap w/confidence),groove-oriented player,that can pretty much "fake" his way through just about anything thrown his way.All without batting an eye,if the situation should arise.That's from a LOT of improvised/off-the-cuff jams and club gigs over the years,kids.I don't care what anybody says:IT HELPS!!!.Debate me all you want on that.I'll win that debate every time!!

    BUT.......(There's ALWAYS "that" word when a problem is presented to a player!!).After all my years of dedicating myself to my instrument,there's a problem that I can't seem to overcome:My problem is SO SIMPLE,yet so difficult!!But(See?There's "that word",again!!),one thing I do know.It's a mental block.I know,I know,"Get on with what your problem is!!"

    PROBLEM:Being able to switch from my 5-string to my 4-string without "thinking too much,while playing".Why??I think it's because I've been playing 5-string so long (my mistake),since 1988-89.
    Also,I've just implemented the B-string into my playing-style so much.But,not too much,mind you,IMHO.
    I can find myself locked into a tight,kick-ass groove,and then,I'll start looking for that low-B (dammit!!)....THE RESULT??:A "MICRO"-TRAIN WRECK!!I recover quickly!!
    Bottom line??On my 4-strings,I don't play as "fluidly" as I do on my 5-string basses.My playing is very "hesitant".I'm "thinking too much".Constantly reminding myself that I'm playing a 4-string.

    QUESTION:What was your "cure" with this problem??That is,if you were unlucky enough to have this problem.
    I have some really,really nice 4-strings that are just BEGGING to be played more.My most noteworthy 4-string basses are:'61,'71 Jazz Basses,and (my personal favorite),a '75 Jazz bass.

    So,what was your "cure"??This is killin' me.I'm very hard on myself when it comes to my playing.

    ***My apologies for the long,rambling post.***
  2. Turtle71

    Turtle71 Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    Madison, WI
    Just a thought...If you don't mind losing the "G" string you could string one your 4-strings "B-E-A-D"

    I did this with a P-bass and it was hoot to play, however there were times I missed that G.

    I did have to "file" the nut to accommodate the .135 B and .105 E string, (Obviously not recommended if it's a super valuable or collector bass) but the A & D sat in just fine. (I had a local guitar shop do the final set-up).

    I still have a Traditional strung 4-string too, and I know exactly what your talking about when transitioning between the 2.
  3. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I'd say you have 2 options. 1)If it is a 'micro' train wreck, and you recover quickly, just keep playing the 4s and enjoy. The train wrecks will come less and less often. 2)If you are truly bummed, see a shrink.
  4. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I'd say just stick to the 5. Get a 5 that does what you like in your 4 strings so you don't have to use them anymore.

    I've gone down the same slippery slope myself having gone to the 6 string. I'm beginning to adapt to having the extra range and have begun refingering stuff I've always done on 4 and 5's using the extra strings on the 6. The last time I picked up one of my 4's I found myself reaching for the extra strings rather than shifting like I used to do.

    But my current 6 string (carvin bunny brunel) does everything I need tone-wise that my other basses did and has better fit as well. so I pretty much just use the one bass for everything. That way I don't have to worry about switching back and forth.

  5. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    I go from 4 to 6 more than anything and I always think/play differently on each instrument (attack, technique, etc.).

    Haven't played my 5's in a while.

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