switch back to 4?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nostatic, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    los angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Has anyone switched back to 4 from 5? I was a dyed in the wool 4 string player until about 4 years ago when I found a Zon lightwave fretless 5 that I fell in love with. That led to me getting rid of all my 4 strings, and a search for a 5 fretted I like (going through Lakland, Sadowsky, and finally settling on a Zon Sonus Custom). After playing straighthead jazz for the last bunch of years (and almost never playing fretted), I got into a new situation about 9 months ago that is an eclectic soul type band. While I still play fretless on all but a couple of songs, I find that I want to do a bit more slapping and fretting things on the songs I do play on the fretted. This has led me to thinking that maybe I want to "go simple" in those situations and pick up a nice 4 string fretted.

    When I've picked up a 4 string in the past, I've been confused, as I key off the low string, and moving between B and E there throws me for a loop. But I'm thinking that some practice would fix that.

    So, has anyone else dropped back to 4, or switch between 4 and 5? I tried a few searches as I though this has been discussed before (and is a bit of a religious war), but I couldn't find any threads on it.
  2. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I played almost 5 exclusively for about 3 years and now Im back to mostly 4 strings.

    They make me work more and are more inspiring while at the same time they are easier to really go nuts on stage with in hard rock bands since the strings are spaced wider.

    I still use 5 strings though and would always want one as a backup.
  3. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Ok, here's my deal... I used to play ALOT when I was a younger, & my ex guilted me into dumping all my gear quite some time ago... (This happened w/ ALOT of the elements of ME, snow skiing, motorcycles, etc....)

    So, she's gone, & music is back. YAY! Anyway, I stewed over whether to go w/ a 4 or 5, & bought a 5-stringer. I love, its great, its awesome, it slices, it dices, it'll polish your silverware!!!!

    That said, My project bass is a 4-banger... Sometimes, I just don't want that string there.
  4. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    los angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I like my 5-string fretted, but I have to admit that slapping is a challenge, mostly due to trying to damp the B. I have slapped the B fretted, so that is a plus. But with a 4 I don't have to worry about some of the technique quite as much.

    When I'm playing jazz I definitely like having the B, as I can grab a few extra notes in one position...a plus when you're playing a fast tempo bop tune. But in this situation playing more soul-oriented stuff (where I still do some small solos), I find I'l like to experiment with ryhthmic slap/chording when I grab the fretted (and I even do it some on the fretless, but it doesn't give the same effect).

    Or maybe I just want to buy a new bass after having the same stable for the last 4 years ;)
  5. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I worked my way up to 8 strings at one point. I went from 4, to 5, to 6, skipped 7, and went to 8 (a Chapman Stick, which sort of counts). After killing a ton of kittens, I picked a 4 string and WOW! I discovered that I was much more efficient and creative with less strings. So I sold off all my kitten-killing instruments, and now I play 4 exclusively. I haven't bothered picking up even so much as a 5 string in years.

    I find that this simplification process works for me in many aspects of my life - the less stuff I have, the better off I am, and the more creative I can be.
  6. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
  7. my first bass was a five. i bought a six a few years ago, and after a few months i realized it was causing serious pain in my woosy little hands. sold it. my fiver fell apart. i went looking for a bass, with no idea what i wanted. ended up getting a four. love it. never owned one before. it's all silly and little.
  8. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    kitten-killing instruments? I don't get it :eyebrow:
  9. everytime you play more than four strings, jaco kills a kitten.
  10. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    My last 2 basses before my current one were 5's. Then one day I just got tired of them. The B string is nice but it brings so many problems with it. It definitely made picking out new strings more of a hassle.

    So I traded my SRX705 in for a MIM Fender P and haven't looked back. I've found my groove is much better on the 4.
  11. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    >>>> I hereby order the immediate destruction of all
    extended range basses. 8 string octavers

  12. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    los angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Thanks for posting that...I figured this had been hashed over before, but I couldn't seem to pull it up on a search.
  13. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    I hearby order the immediate destruction of all kittens!

    Hey, no use trashing good instruments, right? :bassist:
  14. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    No problem.

    It helped that I was the thread author. ;)

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    I go back and forth from 4 to 5 but since i started playing Sadowsky 5 strings i dont think i would ever play another 5 string bass other then a Sadowsky.
  16. fozzy


    Jun 21, 2001
    Riga, Latvia, EU
    I had a 5 stringer time ago, Ibanez SR305DX. Couple months ago switched to Warwick Corvette 4 stringer, have no problem with that. It's a real challenge to my creativity.
    Now i must beat those multistringers :bassist:
  17. hammer2748


    Feb 22, 2002
    Hartford, CT
    Early in 2003 I started dabbling with a 5-string that a friend of mine kept in his recording studio. He didn't use it a lot and offered it to me to use as I needed for a while to see if I wanted to move up "permanently" to a 5-er. Fell in love with punctuating songs with the low range notes and having the flexibility and range above the 5th fret. So last January I went out and bought a Spector Q5 Pro and has been my main bass since..........Ah, but the I missed playing my P-Bass........I miss the old-school sound. It just sits so nice in the pocket so now I find myself using it more and more. I even started using the J-bass more. I hate to say it, but there are times I wish I never picked up a 5-string because I constantly feel torn. I guess I'm fortunate enough to have all 3 at the ready on stage. There are a number of songs we do in my current project that I just have to have the 5 string, but I'm increasingly using that just for those songs, the rest I'm coming home to the 4. It's just more fun......at least for now!
  18. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Despite the fact that I regularly gig with 5, 6 and 7 string basses, I never left the 4. If I have a really long, grueling gig (5 hours or more), I usually take a 4 because the neck is less of a strain over the duration due to its narrower width. And I play a 4 string EUB, also. For some strange reason, I don't have any problems switching between the various numbers of strings...thankfully! :cool:

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    I am the same way, i know what i need to play for each song so i dont get triped up going 4 to 5.
  20. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Wait, let's distill it further to the core idea...

    I couldn't agree more. I think I have a new mantra.