So, Fivers With a High C

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tiredman9, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. tiredman9


    Aug 15, 2005
    New York
    So do we have any people here who use/ prefer a high c string on there fivers other than myself?
  2. I actually did... temporarily. The problem that I found, was that in context with other musicians, such as keyboard players and guitarists, they would often give me dirty looks if I went to that register.

    Eventually, I learned that the crowd I ran with would have much preferred to hear more low-end thump.

    Since then, I've dropped fivers entirely. Sad but true story.
  3. DRZ400Bassman


    Nov 6, 2005
    If i ever went back to anything more than 4 that is a logical choice, it is certainly more practical and musical. The B string phase is something that usually occurs with many players from all the marketing hype. But I think as most bassists mature they realize there is not really a need for more than four, and certainly not that awful B, at least all the players I know. I can honestly say that in all my decades of gigging i have never felt the need for more than a good basic 24 fret 4 :bag:
  4. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Oh I frequently manage to compose stuff that goes off the fretboard in both directions, hence the answer for me is a 6 string. Or maybe even a 7 with a high F. I definatley go off the top end a lot more than the bottom though. I find the C more attractive than the B, maybe because most 5 strings have bad feeling Bs to me, I think I've found the answer in 35" scale though.
  5. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I've got one of my Bongos set up with TI Jazz Flats tuned EADGC. I also have a BassMute installed. I love the sound I get with the JFs, and the high C doesn't get lost in the mix.

    I still have two of my 5 strings set up with low Bs, but I don't ever see not having one bass tuned like this at any given time. My hands simply don't like 6 string, or higher, necks.

    I use the high C both for eliminating position shifts, and also for chors and solo work. With the Mute engaged, and playing with a pick, the bass has a superb lead voice.

    No modifications to the nut were needed.

  6. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Lately I"ve really been considering getting a 5er and tuning it E-C.....personally I don't find any practical use out of the low B with the music I play, but that's just my opinion.
  7. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder: Wing Bass
    It's not really marketing hype, but a combination of peer observations (geez... everyone else has them, maybe I should check 'em out) and the definate need for the "B", depending on the music you play. I'd say that for 50% of the tunes I play, I'm playing at least a low "D".

    I definately feel the need for the "B", as the music I play calls for it. Having basses that produce the low-B incredibly also helps. I believe having a low "B" has also helped tame wrist pain by being able to play higher on the neck.
  8. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I have to admit, that's a hip looking bass.

    Where'd you get the bass mute? I really want one of those. I can't fit one on my current Roscoe as the bridge pickup is too close to the bridge. My next bass'll definately have one though.
  9. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    actually I just played a six string with a high C and F. I found that for me, it was way better then a low B string. That might just be for me though, because I'm always striving to get more and more melodic with my bass playing.
  10. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Not at all. For me, it's not about the B as such, but much moreso about being able to function more effectively musically. Leading to:

    We have had very different experiences then. For me as a full time player, few things are more practical that being able to play a low F in the middle of the neck and have about 2 octaves worth in my immediate reach. Or ending a tune with a big fat Eb, or Db. If you don't like the 5 or the low B, that's certainly your right, but to suggest it's not practical or musical doesn't really stand up to scrutiny.

    99% of the time, bass players get hired to play...well, bass. That tends to mean lower notes. Are there situations where a high-C 5 is cool? Certainly, and I have one myself, but it possesses much less practical value than having more "bass" notes at my disposal.

    OK, why not a 6 then?

    1) I don't like big necks
    2) I don't like to timbre of the high C string compared to the rest. Any of them. I've heard a lot of them and never like it.

    The bass is really the only instrument that is also a musical function. The "bass" is a musical role to be played, just like the melody or the harmony. The role is bigger than the instrument playing it.

    A keyboard player friend of mine was doing a gig a while back with a bass player that was playing all kinds of chordal stuff, walking high on the neck...lots of stuff in the upper register of the instrument. After about 3 tunes, he turns around and says to the guy "So, are you gonna play bass, or do I have to do it?"
  11. I'm having a high C on my fretless 5 just because i'm more likely to use it when playing fretless songs....however on my fretted five it'll be a low b because i use that WAY more often.
  12. MrWalker

    MrWalker Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    I've played a fretless 5er since mid-80, and always tuned E-C. Until 2-3 years ago, I also tuned my 5er fretted that way, but I've lately changed that, as I see a big need for that low B. I'd love to have 2 fretted 5ers, one for each tuning, and a fretless 5er tuned E-C. Unfortunately I only have two, so there's one fretted B-G and one fretless E-C. (but I do have a GT7 as well).

    The high C is great for solos and for chordal work. When playing with small jazz groups (such as guitar/bass/drums), it's very valuable, especially when backing up the guitar players solo. :)

    It's also useful when playing solo stuff, especially classical pieces.

    I laughed hard about the joke above "...or should I do it?" I guess it's about finding the balance. Playing a C-string doesn't mean you should play it ALL the time... :D
  13. DRZ400Bassman


    Nov 6, 2005
    That is what i was trying to say, i have a six, but when i play it i just like to solo, do chords, be a guitar wanker etc. I do enough flying on the board with a 4. The 4 puts me in a more musical mental framework with regard to the song. My standup even more so, even with just a fretless 4 acoustic it keeps my groove on. It is certainly fun to chop/chop, but in the context of the basses role (which can also still be very musical) i just rarely see the need for more than 4. To my ear, even D is straining musical credibility. B, C and C# are below the groove threshold. For perspective, I also find subs very unmusical.
  14. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I would say that you're just talking about a need for focus and musical maturity. You play less when you're given more restraint. The key is restraint when you're given more.
  15. High C and high F....... ;)
  16. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Clearly, DRZ400Bassman has never been in a band with downtuning-crazy guitarists.

    I eventually got a fiver because I joined one. But also before that, it always kind of bothered me that I had to downtune to hit the occasional low Eb or D (I hate dropped D tuning).

    I can't say I use the low B string often when I'm not doubling downtuned guitar riffs, but it really does come in handy in some occasions, you simply have to use it musically and not hit those super-low notes all the time.
  17. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    I kind of agree with this. In the sense of an active bassline (especially a walking line), those lower notes can be a bit much. This is why I use a 4 for jazz gigs, or when I'm gonna be blowing over changes a lot. The D is about the lowest note I use with any kind of regularity. However, for having those lower notes for dramatic moments (endings, just as an example), and for having lower notes further up the neck (makes reading a lot easier), the 5 wins hands down, IMO.

    I've still got a couple 4's and I like them for what they are, but IMO for a working pro; never knowing what kind of situation you might find yourself in, like I said 99% of the time, you'll be good with a 5. In recent years, I've even started seeing professional charts with basslines written with notes below the E. I would not want to show up to a gig or session and have to make excuses about how I can't play that line as written. Detuning (to me) is more a band-aid solution and can affect the tone too much. Plus it can be a real pain reworking fingerings sometimes.

    But to each is own; if a 4 is all you need, by all means go for it.
  18. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    + like 1,000.

    I've often compared music to cooking. To me, those low notes are like a very potent spice. Like a hot pepper or something. Used in moderation, and not in every item on the menu, it works wonderfully. Use it all the time, and it gets old.
  19. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Word. Here's something I almost forgot: whoever thinks notes below E "aren't musical", listen to Mr. Wooten's solo on "The flight of the cosmic hippo". And no, it doesn't contain any double-thumping madness.
  20. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I prefer the higher register. I guess it's the flute player in me.
    I'm actually getting used to the Low B now. I'm talking to a buddy of mine about building a custom. I couldn't decide on the Low B, or High C, so I just decided to get both. :D