What does it take to get through to people?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Hategear, Nov 13, 2001.

  1. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    My daily driver took a dumper on me a few days ago, so I have been driving my "band van" to work at night. Anyway, this evening, one of the guys I work with noticed all the gear in the back of the van and asked, "Are you in a band or something?" I told him that I was in a band and that I play bass guitar. He asked if I played a five or a 4-string and I said with a grin, "You only need four, man!" Then he says, "Well, the bass player that plays at my church says that to play Gospel-type music and sound good, you really need a five-string." I said, "I don't know about that. I think the only reason one would need a five string is so that you wouldn't have to move up and down the fretboard as much." Finally, he thinks for a minute and replies with, "Yeah.....maybe."

  2. BigJH


    Jan 20, 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    A baseball bat and a grin :):eek::D
  3. I suggest you rent or buy this movie.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Hey HG,

    I played four string for 15 years before I started playing Gospel/comtemporary Christian music. After just a few weeks, I felt that I really NEEDED a five string to do this correctly.

    You have to play in keys that people can sing. You have to be able to change keys on the fly and it is VERY common to work in Eb and D. IF you are playing a four string, the lowest Eb on the bass is only 1/2 step below guitar register. The last thing I want to do is get up in the same range as the electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboard, piano and horn section. I'd get washed out in a heart beat.

    Sure, you can detune, but It very common to walk in, look at a chart, play it once and then perform it. A worship service isn't scripted, you have to be in touch with the worship leader. If he modulates, he is going to change keys and if you don't go with him, it sounds pretty bad.

    I found that the only way I can keep up is to structure the progressions out of classical hand positions and when he changes keys, I just move up to the right key and play out of the same positions. That way I can still follow the charts. It would be a struggle to do this out of alternate tunings. Especially since I am attempting to sight read far enough ahead to paint in the passives and transitions.

    Literally you are right that I don't NEED a five string, but in fact I could do it with one string. But I would argue that the five improves my ability to do what I do as a player and therefore allows me to "sound good"

    I don't think there is any sort of elitism with the five-string. But in Comtemporary Christian settings, it has become all but a standard for this reason.

  5. That' weird. Most of the stuff that we do is in E, F, or G. We only have one song that's in Eb, and I don't play it (I don't like the 4 fret rech that it requires)

    Besides, it's easy to keep from being washed out by the guitars. PLAY LOUD!!:D

    Rock on

  6. Yeah what he said !!!:D

    Also in worship music a lot of flat keys are used with horn sections. So be versitile and expect key changes. As for the low B string it does have its advantages.

  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    I think it is probably the keys that the worship leader can sing in. I know ours at least, works in f and Eb a lot because he sings well in those keys.

  8. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I've played in churches before, and the wierd thing was I only needed the B string for the chorus. No way around it. You NEED that B.
    Hey Gruff, Buford Pusser rules!!!:)
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    If you really think that's the "only" reason... cool.

    Or you could consider that in addition to that, the ability to play much lower than E while utilizing the same pattern might be advantageous. Or the fact that a Db on an A string doesn't sound the same as a Db on a B string. It can make transposing without losing bottom much easier, too... I play behind lots of vocalists and it really helps me maintain the low end, no matter what key.

    Truth be told you only need one string but if you're going to play music that contains lots of lower than E content, like some Gospel, there's an easy way to do it... and a hard way.

    We seem to spend a lot of time on this board trying to convince people what they "should" be using or what "should" be enough. I don't really care, for me it's always using the right tool for the job. The right tool for you for every job may be a four.

    Victor Bailey, a monster on the 4 string, had the same sentiments about 5 string basses... he hadn't mastered the four, didn't see the need for a five... then he got the gig with Madonna...
  10. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    As long as you don't use a pick, it's all good.

  11. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Honestly Brad, I don't care what someone else uses. I guess that was kind of my point when I posted my original post. What does bother me, is when someone questions what I play and why I play it (especially someone that doesn't play at all) :(. I would never say that you don't need a five string, but if you couldn't get done what you needed to get done on a four string, I think they would become obsolete and I don't see that happenin' any time soon ;). As far as "mastering" the four-string before moving on to a five, six or more string -- right or wrong, that's how I feel. There are hundreds of musicians that play four string basses, all they play are four string basses and all they'll ever play are four string basses (I'm probably one of them).

    Also, as far as using the low B in Gospel or Choir type music: I guess when I hear "low B," I think of bands like Type O Negative and the like. That's some low sounding sh*t and it is kind of weird to think of that same kind of sound in church. :D
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Another reason that the 5 string is real useful in gospel and worship music is that a lot of it is written in flats. Piano players hate keys with a lot of sharps(I don't understand keyboard well enough to know why) and some of the ones that I have played with automatically transposed anything with more than 1 sharp into the nearest key with flats, the more flats, the better.

    You wind up plaing a ton of music in Db, Eb, etc, and like Chas said, being able to move the patterns/scales to the right key takes a lot of the transpose on the fly problems out of the equation.
  13. But FiElDy uses a 5 string, therefore anything less is obsolete :D
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    The main reason you'd want a five-string would be if you wanted to play a bass guitar.
  16. I dunno man. Sharps or flats, no matter, I think. Not to me anyway. Of course, I rarely play anything with a keyboard these days, except to teach my kids music.

    As for the main thrust of this thread, who cares? 4- or 5- or 10- strings....can you make music? Do you enjoy playing it?

    For me, I'm a four string guy. I've often gone to B-E-A-D tuning to get that low end.

    And, you know, Jaco only needed.....:D:eek::eek::eek::D

  17. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    i need a b string on an upright.