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Transistion from four to five....

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JoeyZ, May 27, 2005.

  1. JoeyZ


    May 9, 2005
    How long does it generally take to for the transition to be complete?

    Also is it hard to go back to fours when you've become familiar with five string basses? Im thinking of selling my Epiphone EB-O and purchasing a 5 string bass...Good idea? No?

  2. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    If you play a lot, about a week (at most.)

    You gotta get the mind set that you have one lower string.
  3. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Ad-B C C#/Dd D D#/Eb

    Honestly. Just practice. You'll nail that open B, thinking it is a E a few times, then you'll learn your mistake when everyone looks at you funny.
  4. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    A week, two weeks, depends on the time your practice. Switching back is very easy, takes a couple of hours at most.
  5. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    I did a live show the day I received my first 5 strings.
    I did visualize myself playing that show using the instrument in my head. It helped.
  6. jadesmar


    Feb 17, 2003
    Ottawa, ON
    I found the transition trivial.

    I used the 5th (B) string as a glorified thumb rest for my picking hand. It's huge and, it's everywhere you would want to play.

    Once and awhile I will even use it to play a note. Mostly a dropped fifth of whichever root I am playing on the E string or a D.

  7. Vysous


    Mar 29, 2005
    I think switching back to 4 from 5 is easier for your hands then for your head. It's because low B is very useful thing, especially for playing D or E on low B, because it has got hell-deep sound....
  8. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    About 10 minutes. It's really not that complicated. Whoopeee an extra string. It took me about a day or two to transition from 4 to 7. I'm not superhuman or anything, nor am I claiming to be. But it's all in your head. Once you see the bass for what it is and stop thinking "wow, this is confusing, there's more strings!", It'll all come to you.
  9. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    I put off making the switch for a long time, just because...well, just because. Eventually I was hearing lines in my head with those low Eb's and D's, so I just did it when I had a week off back in '95. Best thing is to force yourself. I got a 5, and within a week had to play 5 nights a week for a few months. Didn't even bring a 4, so I had to make the adjustment. It's not too bad, tho there will be a few times when you're off a 4th.

    Funny thing is in terms of right hand spacing, I immediately liked the 5 better (I went with a narrower-than-most spacing), and I felt I could get around the instrument better (with the right hand at least) than I ever could on a 4. Result is that now, while I play my ol' P bass once in a while; the strings feel miles apart. So much so I'm having a 4 string built with my 5's spacing (16.5mm). Ends up being a small neck, so we'll see... :confused:
  10. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    What? a week? 2 weeks?

    i got used to a 5string before i even played one..
  11. JoeyZ


    May 9, 2005
    really.....how'd ya do that?

    yer crazy man.......yer crazy
  12. Just went 4 to 5 myself about 4 days ago and I agree that adjusting to the
    different layout comes fairly quick (still hits the B string instead of the intended E sometimes).

    What really buggers me is the dampening, with 4 strings each string can be totally
    covered with either left or right hand with no chance of ever ringing, with the 5 (RB5)
    I am having a little trouble with either the A and E string ringing with the played note, ever so
    slightly but still rather annoying...
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't know...I honestly never got used to playing 5 string, and I played it exclusively for about 4 years at one point in my life. I adapted to it quickly...took about an hour to get used to the B. But after 4 years, I still kept banging the B accidentally when playing slap, still kept trying to force low notes into the music where they didn't belong, etc. I still have my 5 and trot it out rarely, but for the most part I switched back to 4's and never looked back.
  14. Except for my "in-production" ergo eub, all of my fiver's have highC strings, so it really didn't take much to adjust. :) I'm not a big fan of the lowB, having owned two six strings and played countless others, perhaps a dingwall with it's extended range, and hopefully my 3/4 scale ergo eub will have tighter sounding b strings.
  15. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    How long it takes depends on whether or not you look at the neck or the audience when you play.

    I've seen people that look straight ahead just pick my bass up and play it without much problem at all.

    I personally am a neck looker and the transition beat me to death for about 3 months.

    The change back is not bad but a 4 string neck will feel like a pencil.
  16. eldave777


    May 24, 2005
    I found a 5 I really liked and did a gig the same day with. You've got to only play the five for a while to really full on aclimate to it
  17. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    After playing a 4 for 15 years or so the transition was a bit rough, especially the first couple days. Nothing like dropping a fat low C at the beginning of a bridge instead of an F, yea it may have been harder on everyone else than it was on me. Like Marcus said, just force yourself. As far as going back to 4, why would you? What does the 4 have that the 5 doesn't, unless your 5 is a lower quality instrument. The reasons I have heard for people needing both instruments either don't add up, or have more to do with the basses themselves, not the number of strings they have. I could see not wanting to show up to a Traditional Blues or Country gig with a natural finished "boutique" bass that has 7 and a half knobs, but there are plenty of 5 strings that still have pick guards on them, and that is what alot of people are playing. I know many people don't like to hear it, but 5 and even 6 strings are becoming more the "standard" these days for many styles of music. I may have opened up Ye Ol' Can-o-Worms, but I think it's the truth!
  18. If you can play without looking at your hands its probably easier to transition. All the patterns you're used to hearing apply to the extra string. I noticed at first I'd only throw myself off when I looked at my hands.

    At first, I'd instinctively think the B was the E string (and so on across the neck). You soon get used to correcting your first instinct. Then came the hard part, when I'd instinctively think I was going to get the strings wrong, and "correct" only to find out my instincts were finally starting to be right in the first place! LOL THAT was frustrating....

    At some point you'll have to break down and learn the differences in the fingerboard, but that comes naturally a little at a time.

    Eventually before you realize it, you're not thinking about it, you're just playing it. Helps if you play every day. I don't play as much anymore and I find the 6 string is taking a while to feel comfortable on.



    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA

    I agree. My first bass was a 4...not bad, but I traded fror a 5 and I can't picture myself going back to a 4 unless it was and old school type of instrument (ie '66 Fender Jazz)...and even then I'd keep my 5 and work towards a 6 or 7.
  20. ewarren88


    Nov 21, 2002
    Medina, OH
    Just got my first 5 string a few months ago after a dozen years on four string. It's not hard at all to start playing right out of the box, but it will take more practice for me to get as comfortable as I am on the four.

    The difficult part at first (for me) was while sight reading or playing very unfamiliar tunes. I can usually keep the B and E straight in my mind. But it's tougher to convince my hands that the A string is now third in line instead of second. So my most common mistake is grabbing something on the E string thinking it's the A string.

    I think I sort of reference the G and D strings from the other side of the fretboard, so no problem there. Until I get a 6 ...

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