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the B string..

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by BassGirl1122, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. :ninja: NOT FOR ME! :(
    band that played at the club I went to first tonight, he had a 5 string Ibanez. He wanted to hear me play some..not being used to that band, I didn't want to fill in on a song, b/c I am not THAT good to adjust to if they played on a different key..
    anyways, before they went up on the first set, he took me up on stage and we both figured out a song together that the DJ was playing and darn it, that B string..so not used to it!! I kept thinking it was the E string and the E the A and so forth! :bag: but once I got that one song we figured out down and got into the groove I was fine..but grrr..how do ya 5++ stringer players do it???? :confused: Kudos to ya!!
  2. stingray5dude


    Jun 18, 2007
    Hey, Just like all good things it take time :) Being able to play a 5 surely helps in some situations. I'm sure if you ever get a 5er and stick at it you will be awesome
  3. If it makes you feel any better, here are two stories of similar issues...

    1) I sat in at a friend's gig once, he only played 4 bangers (I only play 5's & 6's - no B, no ME :D ), but I figured, what the heck, can't be that bad...well...yeah, it was. I kept playing a 4th too high on everything, because my muscle memory is tuned to that B string.

    2) I studied with Dave LaRue for several years, and got to know him pretty well during that time. Dave is almost exclusively a 4 string dude. He finally got himself a 5 to try, took it on a local pickup gig, and spent the whole gig playing a 5th too low, because his muscle memory was tuned to the E string! ;)

    So, moral of the stories, it's all what you're used to, even if you're a semi-pro almost decent weekend warrior like myself, or a full-on bas@$$ pro like Dave. If you want to use a 5, 6, or more, then go get one, put the 4 in the case, put the case in the closet, and don't touch it for a few weeks or months until you're USED TO the 5+ strings. Or, stay with the 4, if that is what makes you happy! :)
  4. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    It took me about 3 months of full-time playing to get used to the 5-string. At first I was always fingering the right note, but plucking the wrong string, or vice versa. But it was worth it! Now I use a 4-string tuned in E, a 4-string tuned in D, and a 5-string tuned BEADG. Not all on the same gig...
  5. It took me about 15 minutes to get used to the B and when I had a 6 it took about the same to get used to the C.

  6. RiseAgainst


    Jun 4, 2008
    this will sound ignorant to most people but I personally don't know what kind of music the B string would really be needed for, I mean are we talking harmonizing lower, or what?

    Forgive me <3 I've just always listened to music where the bass has 4 strings and my mind isn't open to the capabilities or possibilities of the B. So whats the deal?
  7. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    1) You can play lower notes.
    2) You have a wider span of notes available over 5 strings than 4 without changing left hand position (if you're right handed, that is).

    That's it really. Having said that, I'm a 4 string player through and through and never really felt the need to get a 5er. I just get a smile on my face with a 4 string that I never seem to get with a 5.
  8. crimson_basser


    Jul 9, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    i have a 5 string cuz i like having the lower notes to really make people feel what im playing

    but as stated above, practically its just so you dont have to move your hand to reach some of the other notes

    but for me, nothing feels better then rocking out on my low A (i tune to drop A).

    the B has to be my favourite note ever, its got BALLS
  9. crimson_basser


    Jul 9, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    and there is LOTS of music where the lower notes are called for
    i mean come on, the guy from nickleback plays a 5 string (and has his own signature spector model, and is, in my knowledge, the only one with such an honour)
  10. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    LOW D is the best note on the entire fretboard! :bassist:

    i started playing 5ers when the band told me that our 'sweet spot' was Eb (which turned out to be a lie :p). and being too lazy to tune down and all that, i got a 5er.
    now, i don't think i can ever play a 4string again. unless i had to, like in a studio setting or at the request of an engineer (which i've done).
  11. I cheated,... I bypassed the 4 and got a 5 as my first bass cos I knew I wanted one to learn on...

    weirdly enough I have never had any trouble adapting to a 4 string the few times I have picked one up except that I missed my thumb rest as most of the time I use the B as a thumb rest until its needed,... can't do that on a 4 stringer especially if your playing metallica songs that pump the E! I also find 4 stringers like a grand canyon in between strings cos my 5's have thin necks with small string spacing... they feel nice to slap on though!

    my biggest problem is I don't think I could EVER adjust to a 6 string,... I tried my teachers and it was so hard to stop the strings ringing and the neck was so wide it made it an aweful experience,...

    actually thats one thing I will give 4 string players, they don't have to care too much at trying to stop extra strings from vibrating when theyre not meant to! that B string always seems to ring in the background if I don't pay attention to it!
  12. Revvv


    Oct 31, 2007
    I play both, a 5 and a 4.
    I spend most of my time on the 4 strings at the moment, but I do switch back and forth from time to time.

    It takes practice.
  13. It took me literally one gig to get used to it. After I screwed up in front of an audience those first few times by thinking it was an E string, I was so freaked out and embarrassed that it just burnt the experience into my head. I did need to concentrate a bit more for the next couple gigs, but I didn't hit any wrong notes or lose the groove. It was a very effective way to learn.
  14. bassaficionado6

    bassaficionado6 Something about gumption

    Jan 7, 2008
    Napa, CA
    So far, it's been only an excellent thumb rest for me.

    Never had a situation where I needed it yet.
  15. ZonGuy


    Sep 2, 2007
    I started on 4, but now bring a 5 to every gig. The B string doesn't get a lot of use, but some songs require it.

    1) Where do you use the B string?
    a) to get below E without retuning. Low D is used frequently in all music - pop to country. Low C is Black gospel and Bach. Low B is headbanger territory. The low notes really stick out, so they should be used sparingly unless you want to appear like the kid who just got his first 5 string.

    b) Transposing and using established patterns
    The B can really help when the singer wants to change a key on the fly. Also, playing with the root in E on the fifth fret allows you to use the same patterns you learned for the key of G and A.

    c) High neck B. Using the B around the 7 fret or higher has a certain tone color associated with certain rock and contemporary christian styles.

    Is the B string different?
    The B string behaves differently than the other strings. It doesnt speak as fast and it needs a lighter touch if you are playing D or lower. Also, the B string can be muddy due to the sonic qualities of the instrument which is bad. A lot of lower priced basses are very exceptable in 4 string but not in 5 string. Listen carefully before buying.

    Is playing a 5 string harder?
    Initially yes. There is the inveitable confusing the E and B strings for the first month or so. The neck is wider and/or the strings are spaced closer together which may be more difficult to slap. More hand strength is required.

    Do you recommend starting on a 5?
    Anthony Jackson recommends going directly to a 5 or 6. I don't. I think there are certain approaches to the fingerboard based on 4 strings that teach the bassist to become more fluent in shifting and playing up and down the neck. I think a bassist should be reasonably proficient with a 4 banger first.
  16. Hey girl, it took most of us more than a ten minute intro to get it right! And yes, if I;m jumping around too much I STILL can make a string boo-boo live. :(
  17. Likewise here. And I can grab a 4 and play it no bother.
  18. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    5 set me back a year in slap technique...aside from that I've grown to love it...I haven't touched my old 4 since I got my GT-5 and that was 5 years ago.
  19. Switch between basses of different strings, and hell even guitars when u practice, it will help you be ready for any situation.
  20. derelicte


    Dec 25, 2007
    +1, Man, we Zon guys think alike!!
    However, I first started on a 5 b/c I knew I wanted to play a 5+. The biggest advantage is being able to use the low E. The lead singer of a band i'm in is a female who mostly sings in E, so needless to say, it's been more convenient.

    As to the last point that Zonguy made, true.. i would agree that being able to learn to play up and down the neck is vital, i still think it's easier to have 5 string layout as your initial knowledge of the bass and learn to play up n down frets later, than it is the other way around. I see this b/c I feel playing up n down comes more naturally as slides, octave jumps, doublestops, etc become more integrated into your playing.

    I guess if you've learn to do things a certain way, never having needed another string, you'd be hard-pressed to find reasons to make use of it naturally. just my .02

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