Question For Studio/Theatre Players Regarding # Strings

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Daniel L., May 23, 2007.

  1. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    I've played a couple of musicals here in Vegas and have found a use for my lo b many times. Many charts specify " 5 tring bass "
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I'm the local school system's first call bassist and always arrive with a four. Never had a problem.

    Hit my Xtender for pedalling some low D's, but that's about it.
  3. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    90% of my theatre work has been on upright, so, yeah, I did it on a 4 string. I've been out of that scene for 4 or 5 years now, so I'm not up to date. All of the musicals that I did have been older. I would imagine that alot of the new composers are writing for what's available and since 5 string basses are very common now, they may decide to take advantage of that.

    There is a big difference between the gear required for theatre gigs and studio gigs. Alot of the modern shows that I've seen, the bassist is playing a 5 or 6. That's not to say that you can't have a great career with a 4. I'd say, get both!!
  4. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000

    I'm quoting Adrian because IIRC, he's played in some really hip Vegas shows in addition to being a monster player. Hair Spray is the most recent one that sticks out in my mind, and i forget [this is drawing on reading on here a while back] if it was Cirque Du Soleil or if that was someone else from a few years back.

    The other sentiment that is coming out in this thread is something that i feel is worth noting. Depending on the time frame in which the musical was written will dictate a lot about what basses to use. I played for our school's production of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" this past year-all DB and about 50/50 arco/pizz. The guys that play for Wicked [at least Chicago cast] use 5s [Sadowsky Modern 24-5 string & i think Tom was using a Gary Willis Ibanez fretless for the EB parts]. So for the more modern rock/pop musicals-i'd say a 5 is handy. For older musicals-playing DB is a major plus/requirement. For me, i need to spend more time shedding my arco chops.

    I alluded to this in my earlier post-every chance i've had to ask a person that plays for musical theater what gear they use [there's at least 3-4 on the boards here that i can think of] the main sentiment that i get is have basses that you know well and can get a variety of sounds out of. For me, that means my Ray5 for the modern/rock sounding, a Fender [5] w/flats for old school electric, and my New Standard Cleveland w/Spirocore Weichs for the DB work. I want to get a nice fretless before too long as i am not much of a fretless player at this point.

    Having a good modern sounding bass, a good vintage/older sounding bass, and a DB are what i'd consider the 3 must have basses for musical theater work. The fourth bass for me would be a Fretless w/rounds (quoting the Wicked bass book "get your Jaco on").

    take it easy and enjoy.
  5. I spent several years in the studio/live arena, and found having a 5 and 6-string at my disposal a great positive. From playing a variety of music ranging from Industrial/Dance/Rock to Dave Matthews-esque "progressive acoustive" to cover bands, both the low-B as well as the high-C came in useful in all of the genres. Recently I've found a "love" of passive 4-strings. but I can't imagine my main bass not being an active 5-string.
  6. Wolfehollow

    Wolfehollow Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2003
    Pensacola, FL
    The most recent might have been zombie prom... and bat boy I think... it wasnt always written in the part... but a song might be in D for a male voice and you need that low sound. The guys in the pit "tuned" my E down to an A for the last show of best little whore house in texas... but I certainly didnt need those low notes... and they didnt sound great either.