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Rant that ends up asking about 5 strings.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by spencer, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. spencer

    spencer Guest

    Feb 22, 2006
    Ok ever since I played two gigs just improvising on bass. When useing their b1r and 15" sealed ampeg cab. I had a problem hearing myself on the low frets. So of course I moved everything up the neck to around the 7th-12 fret. There I could hear everything. And I liked it and stayed up there. After that when I was thinking about it I was just like why would anyone play below there? It had soo much puch and cut through so good. Then just now I realized that I don't need to be cutting through the whole time. I remeber when I would be in the audience how if the bass player went up past 5 how much louder and punchier it was. But I could still hear him when he played at the lower notes.

    Because of this I thought to myself why would ANYONE want to use a 5 string. But now realizing I don't have to be over everything all the time. Im wondering if the low B with a band can still actually be heard.. I don't mean like loud, Im just wondering if you can even tell its there?

    Still not sure wether to get a SR4 OR 5 I like the tone of the sr5 more but Im more of a 4 string guy however the tone is soo hott.

    By the way I didn't know where I was going when I wrote this.
  2. Flintc


    Aug 15, 2006
    Of course, the low B string isn't just for playing low B on. It's just like any other string, with a useful range of at least an octave for normal purposes. At a minimum, you can think of the 5-string as playing exactly like a 4-string except from the 5th fret up, which might be easier.

    And you still have that low 5 notes below low E if you should ever want to use them.
  3. spencer

    spencer Guest

    Feb 22, 2006
    I know but If I ever did get a 5 string it would be for the LOW B.
  4. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    I got mine mainly for playing at 5th position. Really saves my shoulder.
  5. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    Yes there is a tone difference when you play the same notes elsewhere on the bass... ie... open A compared to 5th fret on E string... etc...

    But, for your issue... I would sugest some EQing and a Compressor before you jump ahead of your self and get a new bass... That may solve your problem,

    But also, it sounds like your set up is more resonant with midrange frequenceies... if it was a open cabnet, it would have more low end response...
  6. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I haven't been playing all that long and I will have to admit I am already having thoughts about a 5er, mostly out of mental laziness on my part. I know a bunch of movable scales and blues/rock patterns based on a 3rd finger root. I love playing in A and pretty much anything in F through C is a simple matter of moving it around, though C is getting a little high on the neck for the best sounding bass lines. Playing in E is physically simple because of so many open strings, but I either have to memorize a whole different set of shapes or do mental gymnastics to map over the movable stuff I know. Don't even talk to me about D.

    BTW, I watched a video of an interview with Billy Sheehan the other day. He plays a standard tuned 4 string most of the time. He bends the neck to get some lower notes, but says he also loves his octave pedal.

    I think the best answer is to learn to play the stuff on my 4 stringer first. I just got it and it's what I will be using for some time to come. Besides, I shouldn't upgrade to address my failings to learn the fretboard better.
  7. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    I think this problem might be more related more to how you equalize your b1r.
  8. spencer

    spencer Guest

    Feb 22, 2006
    well since it was the churches system I couldn't really mess with it. And Im not trying to buy a new bass to solve my problem since going even lower would not help me. I was just simply asking if a low B is even audiable in a live situation.
  9. metalguy2


    Dec 26, 2004
    I am in a heavy metal band called Ravage... There are tons of parts where I throw in the low B and the notes below a standard E..... It can be heard.
  10. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    I really dont understand your rant, it would be great if you could reword it.

    As for your question, of course you can hear a low B. Think of Jaquo III-X and Jean Baudin among others, who use a C# string, which is almost a full octave lower than a B.
  11. it shows...lol. read the first few 'sentences' aloud.
    i playa six string, and i use the low b quite often in a band. i play mostly a lovechild of jazz, funk, blues, and jam all together, so i dont use the low b the same way a metal bassist would.

    most of the time when i use the low be, it is at the climax of the song, that extra low can really get the intensity going and it boosts the feel of the song greatly.
  12. get a 5 strings and make it E-A-D-G-C
  13. i myself thought of this, but when i got my then new five string, and i started playing around and saw all the new possibilities that opened up, i couldnt make the switch.

    granted, all of the new transpostion that was avaliable with the low b, would still be there with the high c, but it would be a little less practical(for me), just because it didnt have the capability to go down to those 5 new notes, nor would it get the more boomy and bassy response of the low E string notes played higher up on the B.

    even tho i like the b string more than a c string in a band context, i still bought a 6 because that higher register is so fun to play in, but i do that stuff more on my own.
  14. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    All good, good advice here. Pretty-much everything I'd been thinking has been covered already.

    I guess the main point to me is that using a fiver can be for "thinking across the neck" instead of "thinking up and down the neck". I don't very often play below the fifth fret.

    You can think about it like that if you extrapolated the idea, you could use a ten string bass with only five frets on it and play everything ACROSS the neck, in ONE position!

  15. Wraithwrider


    Nov 8, 2005
    Kendal UK
    Yesterday I restrung my Bongo 5HS from EADGC to BEADG (Ernie Ball super slinky nickels).

    Why? Mainly so that I can play in low E without using open strings.

    If you think in terms of chords and roots it just gives you more options when the singer says 'I can't make it in that key' ;)

    I'm relatively new to 5 string and it's working out:bassist:

  16. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I didn't mean to imply you were. I mentioned that I thought in my case, I was thinking about going to a 5 just to make the notes I already have easier to play, though I probably would start doing they keys of C and D starting down there in the new territory. I play mostly blues and classic rock and don't play all that well yet. I have played rhythm guitar (long ago) and mandolin (recently) in the past, so I know the chord patterns and I tend to think of bass lines as movable chord shapes relative to the root. I should be thinking about the intervals (like one string higher, one fret lower is the 3rd) but I usually don't. And I know that in some keys it makes more sense to play the I chord from the octave above the IV and V but I hardly ever do that either (but I am starting to). My problem, which I think has far more positives than negatives, is that I play with others a lot. The first time I tried playing the bass was in a live jam, just thumping the root note for 12 bar stuff. So I take some mental shortcuts to keep up. I have learned quite a few lines since then, but they are variations on the same theme. Everything is relative to the root of the key and if the shape won't fit on the fretboard, I am in a world of hurt. I can remap it, but not on the fly yet.
  17. happyslapper


    Sep 17, 2006
    Hereford UK
    you shouldnt hear the low b...
    you should feel it shaking the floor and punching you in the gut
  18. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    the lower you go, the more juice you need to be heard... that's why a 50 watt Marshall head will easily give a guitarist enough volume to compete with a 400w bass amp

    believe me, with enough power, those low notes on a 5-string can sound like nothing on earth, but you still have to use them wisely and sparingly for maximum effect... you usually can't chug away 180bpm 16th notes at low C# without it sounding indistinct... but drop a low C or B bomb every once in a while... and if you have enough power it can sound incredible

    I don't use a 5-string to gig much any more as my Fender Jazz V weighs too much, but when I did those low notes were seismic.... but it took me 800 or so watts to get it

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