The "Jaco only needed four strings" discussion thread.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Blazer, Feb 4, 2005.

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  1. Blazer


    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    Okay then, after reading the posts about Extended Range basses, I frequently saw the quote "But Jaco only needed four strings" come up and it was speculated that if he had lived longer (or were still alive today) that it wouldn't have been impossible that he'd pick p a five or six string bass.

    Another thing mentioned was that many of the premier bassplayers in history picked up an extended range bass and stuck with it, in the case of Anthony Jackson, Chris Squier and Tim Bogart that's true.

    But people like Rocco Prestia, Sting, Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke, Bob Bogle, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Jack Bruce and Paul McCartney are all premier bassplayers and all of them are still proving that a normal four string bass can still be a force to be reconed with.

    In my own case, I'm a born again four string player. I owned several five and Six string basses and experimented with their sonic possibilities but in the end I sold them off because I couldn't get used to them.

    and guys: please keep it friendly!
  2. mashed potatoes

    mashed potatoes

    Nov 11, 2003
    i'm a jazz bassist, and i used to be a die-hard 4-string guy, but lately i've been considering getting a 5-string stringing it with a high C. still, i just don't reel like it's worth sacrificing string spacing and neck shape/width.

    but who knows what jaco would do? he was always one for trying new, different things. for all we know he could have turned out to be a 3-string guy :D
  3. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  4. I wouldn't mind a sixer one day. I've never seen the point of fives. I had one for over a year. Sold it as soon as I could afford a new bass.

    Nobody needs any more or less than what they have. Extended range basses were around when Jaco was rockin' da house. He probably owned a couple. Billy Sheehan does, and I've never seen him play anything but a four.
  5. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Yup! This should be fun! :bag:
  6. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I don't get why this is such a huge deal for some people. I play fours, I'm happy with it. But I also understand that other people playing different music may need/want something else. Can't we all just live and let live on this one?
  7. I think the technological advances of synthesizers in the 1980s and the use of keyboard bass, helped popularize extended range basses.

    I occasionally play along with a Madonna "best of "CD :eek: and to duplicate those synth bass lines I need my 5 string to reach the lows.

    But I'll always have a 4 string because that's what I feel most comfortable with.
  8. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    People play what they want and can warrant for their music. You need a low B, you get a 5, you need a high C get a 5 or 6. There's some greats on 4, that's a no-brainer, but there's also some greats on 7+++ strings as well. Instead of saying "Jaco only needed four strings", we should be saying "Jaco only used four strings".
    Play what you're comfortable with, play with what your music calls for. Don't be closed minded, and let other's play what they choose to play. Really, it doesn't get any simpler than that, and there's no need to get in a pising contest over which bassist used how many strings.

  9. Actually, Ray, I think the phrase "Jaco only needed 4 strings" works better, since he did have a couple of 5 strings (a Morch bass was one of them, I believe), but was able to play such amazing stuff on his fours. And that's the key... he only needed 4 strings to get his point across. That doesn't work for everyone. I don't really need a low D, or C, or even A, because I have the higher octaves and they work for me. Someone in a gospel band probably does. Jaco didn't.
    For Jaco, the strings were probably overkill. Maybe he didn't want to put up with a wider, "slower" neck to play the odd low note or something. Again, he did play 5 strings on the rare occasion, and it didn't do it for him. Just like 4 strings don't do it for JT. And he uses every damn string :D! It's what's comfortable and gives you access to the music you want to make.

    "Jaco only needed four strings" is a cool quote that puts things into perspective... the "greatest bassist of all time" got it done on a beat up Fender four through old Acoustic amps. In a sense it proves that you don't necessarily need a huge rig with a million effects and pres and a 7000$ boutique bass. Hey, Jaco didn't. I personally like the quote as a retort to those who think ERBs are for everyone, that four strings are beginner basses. It's just saying, I don't need 4 strings. But it's kind of lost meaning on this board, hehe. It's just a quote that kind of helps you through GAS and tells you that you can become famous playing an SX through an Avatar. If it's your tool, it's your tool.
  10. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
  11. Everyone has their own inner groove guiding them. That's what makes the world go round. Some bassists are 4 stringers, some are...12 stringers.

    Let it be.
  12. I read that Jaco paid $90 for his Fender Jazz.

    Of course, thanks in part to him, those pre-CBS Jazzes are worth more than alot of boutique basses.
  13. Exactly. Why is this even an issue?

    Ooops, I'm getting sucked in :meh:
  14. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Does it really matter? :rollno:
  15. I have four 4 strings, and I love them :D

    I'm thinking maybe one day I'll try a fiver just for fun, but I don't feel like it yet.

    Kudos to all the guys playing ERB's and Kudos to all the guys playing fours as well.

    We're all playing bass, and having fun :D

    Do what you feel you should, and most of all - enjoy it ;)
  16. Yeah, but Jaco would have been more happy with a butt load of heroin too.

    Play what suits you. Jaco did.
  17. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    I think there should be some decree:
    No more 4-banger vs. ERB threads.

    I'm going to start questioning people for only playing fours everytime there's a new p-bass thread...

    Dude, Bill Dickens plays more than four strings. Why limit yourself to a wimpy four-string.

    Jaco played Hartke stuff in the end too. Should I only play through their cabs too, because Jaco did?

    I respect what the man did on and for the instrument, but honestly, there are only about two Jaco songs I can even bring myself to listen to... Find a better jab to throw.
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Exactly no one needs to justify the number of strings s/he uses.

    Five is the perfect number for me. I don't care what you think, nor should you care what I think. :p
  19. ^^ I would not find a four string wimpy. Thats like saying because Jerry Garcia was missing half a finger hes a wimp.

    I play a four and a five, the former fretted the latter fretless. I don't really need the lows but i play them occasionally. I usually use the low be for extended range in the upper frets.

    I do what i have to do and what i want to do on fours and fives. I agree that if you need more, buy more. Do what is comfortable, its not a competition to see who can have the most strings, its who can play the best with what they have
  20. I gots 37 strings if you count em' all up.

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