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What style you experienced 4 stringers play and what bass you use to play it

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by steve_man, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. steve_man

    steve_man Supporting Member

    May 15, 2002
    What style of music are you guys who play ONLY 4 strings:rolleyes:

    also what is the bass you're playing for that style

    and yes I know there are going to be many fender jazz's but tell me why you stuck to 4 strings
  2. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I've stuck to four strings basically because my first bass was a four string, and it is what I learnt on, and my current bass is a four string (just because it happened to be a four string that my friend was selling, and I liked the bass). I don't really have much of a desire to go lower than E, so it's not really worth switching. If I wanted a D or something I could detune, but I don't even find myself wanting to do that, really.

    As for style, I'm playing a variety - pop/rock/soul/funk and anything in between. I'm looking to get into Jazz bass playing, something I've not properly ventured into (though I do listen to a lot of Jazz, and play a lot of Jazz on the piano).

    BTW this probably doesn't belong in the Basses forum. I imagine a mod will move it.
  3. tomtom


    Jun 17, 2002
    Philthy, PA
    I switched from 5 to 4 about 7 years ago partially because of tendenitis and because I can get around 'em a lot faster. I was using a Pedulla MPV 5- now I use a Musicman stingray 4 with a hipshot detuner. I play mostly avant-funk music (with G. Calvin Weston's band...former Ornette Coleman/Lounge Lizards drummer) but I do a good amount of rock/jazz/blues/RnB gigs.

    when I absolutely need something lower (usually for a particular tune) I just use the hipshot. The only thing that would make me want another 5 would be more trance/drumandbass type gigs...which I'm fine with using an octave pedal with for now.
  4. I stuck to 4 strings because I was too lazy, unskilled and impatient to put in the time to learn properly how to play a 5 or 6. And when I did have extended range basses, I never really found enough use for the B string to justify having it (and having to mute it!) I cheat a little and get some low notes by tuning down a whole step to DGCF. I had to do that because in one of my bands, all the songs are in that tuning. The other band has some stuff in drop-D so I just went ahead and learned all their material in DGCF. I dig having the D and Eb. Stylistically, one band is straight-ahead, bluesy rock 'n roll, and the other one is a little more "exploratory" if you will. They describe it as Rush meets Heart.
    EDIT: Duh.. forgot the basses. Custom-made Curbow Jazz-style bass and a Reverend Rumblefish. Hoping to add a Fender Geddy Lee Jazz pretty soon.
  5. hibeam


    Oct 16, 2002
    I've only played four, and while I'm not part of the 'play four because I have not yet mastered it to move on to five' camp, I've just never felt the need to go lower. Sometimes I think about having a high C, but I have yet to play a fiver strung EADGC. Oh yeah, MM stingray for me.
  6. Secksay

    Secksay Guest

    Sep 6, 2002
    New York, NY
    learned to play on a four, been playing on a four ever since, don't see a reason to switch.

    i like to rock.
  7. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    I used the B string on my five for a thumbrest most of the time. Plus, Ive got fairly small hands, so I feel alot more comfortable on a 4 string.

    Style of music is pretty much rock- currently we play stuff ranging from Elton John to Iron Maiden.

    Current Bass is a 98 MIA P.
  8. I have 7 basses one is five string..I hardly ever play the 5er. It's a nice bass and all, but I just find myself using the low B as a thumbrest..If I wanted to I could tune down one of my other basses....4 strings are all I neeed. I think I am going to sell the 5er.

  9. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I've stuck to the good ole 4-stringer because I've only been playing bass for just over a decade and I haven't mastered it yet. Granted, by now I've pretty much got it down, but as long as there are better, more inventive, more technically proficient, and more creative players than me who play 4-string bass, I figure I should keep at it! ;)

    Another major reason is because I just don't like the sound of a B sting...it just doesn't sound natural to me. I was talking with the owner of a company who virtually made its name making one of the best and most respected 5-strings around, and s/he told me, surprisingly, that s/he didn't like 5 strings either and, like me, didn't play them. S/he also said that the low B didn't sound "natural" and that s/he could do all s/he wanted with a four.

    I also don't like to be moved from my comfort factor when it comes to imprivising. I play mostly 60's and early 70's influenced blues/classic rock adn like to improvise my bass parts...nevery playing them twice the same way, if I can help it. I like the familiarity of the 4 to be able to do this. Also, the bass players that were major influences all played fours, and images of these players and the time period they played in are what I visualize and use for inspiration. A 5-string just wouldn't fit in that context.
  10. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Like some others, I have a fiver and it sits around the house. I really like the 5 in theory, it's a blast to play and having a wide note range in one hand position is really cool. It's just not worth it in practical terms to me, though. I see guys all the time playing fivers and they venture down below low E on like maybe 10%-20% of their material. I'm not saying that's universal, just common. I'm afraid I'd find myself in that boat, given the material I"m playing - 10%-20% use is not enough for me to give up 20 years of familiarity with my trusty four, and not enough to induce me to get 'over the hump' of hitting some wrong strings at gigs for a few weeks or months (not a problem playing at home, but under pressure, yes). Now I might eventually bring the fiver to gigs to play on songs that would really benefit from the extra string, but keeping one bass freshly-strung (change 'em every 2-3 weeks) is expensive enough right now. ;)
  11. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    30+ years on the 4; just can't feel a 5- I would have to focus hard, & adapt, But to me the natural feel of the 4 is where it is for me, and I have never felt unchallenged by 4 strings.
    I have (3) basses- A '69 P-Bass-passive, for great R&B fat woody sound as well as when I wish to play in the style of Upright-i.e. walking bass, pedal, etc.I find that the tone/timbre of this instrument
    with the treble rolled off give a dark and acoustic sound.
    For more of an attack, I use my new Tobias Renegade, as it can get a nice punch from the Bartolini circuit and pickups-great for fusion and slapping too.
    I also own a modified 70's-something Mustang Bass to which a P-Bass pup was added. The short scale
    makes this bass a kick to dig into, and as I have shown my bandmates at times-It is not a toy!!
  12. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i just got a fender jazz 4 mim.
    put flatwounds on it and like the way it sounds alright.
    but i prefer the sound of a nice upright.
    i tend to play mostly funk or jazz more on the improved side of things.
    tomtom....i am really surprised to see the bassist for calvin weston on here, how badass.
    i have his and billy martin's duo cd, and listen to alot of mmw, don't have any of calvins band recordings though, i'm gonna have to check it out.
  13. I had a 5 for a while but never used the 5th string. I did not mind playing it, I thought it was just as comfortable to play as a 4 I just never used the B string. well mabey once or twice. but not enough for it to be any use. I see a lot of people play fives these days but rarely use the 5th string. unless you are in a band like korn or something or really need the extended range per had position. I don't see much of a use for it. I play blues rock and just don't have a use for anything below E sometims a D, and if I need that I can go to drop D easily.
  14. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    I play a mix of rock, country, and am in a church praise band also. I have a Fender MIA-P 4. For the praise band, I found that I sometimes needed a low D or Eb to fit into the mix properly so I had been on the verge of moving up to a 5 string. In the nick of time however I discovered the Hipshot Extender. A flick of the switch and I'm in drop-D tuning and have the low notes I need another flick of the switch and I'm back in standard tuning. No muss no fuss and very happy to keep my 4 string for quite awhile now.
  15. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm not sure if I count. I use a 4, but it's strung BEAD, and I use it for metal, with a little bit of dub tinkering every now and then.
  16. I play mainly Rock and Metal and a bit of Funk
    And I tune my Yamaha BB1500A bass EADG
  17. steve_man

    steve_man Supporting Member

    May 15, 2002
    Yes 4 stringers are still out there:D

    I'm kinda wondering what your favorite 4 string is so I'm going now to set up a new message

    be sure to answer
  18. FatCity


    Apr 30, 2002
    Lexington, SC
    Endorsing Artist: Howard's Crispy Fried Chicken Skins
    The band I am in plays basic blues/rock, originals and covers. I play a Carvin B4 and a Fender Mustang. I am also the lead singer, so 4 strings is probably a string or two too many for me anyways, never mind 5 or 6! :)

  19. I play in a blues band that plays about 50% West-Coast swing/jump blues and about 50% Chicago blues. I use a Rumblefish XL, a MIJ fretless Jazz and a D-Basses P-Bass clone. I need a bass to be able to emulate an upright for the West Coast stuff but also be able to give me electrified thump for the Chicago sound. We generally open each set with an instrumental that is a little more "modern" sounding than the bulk of the material we do, so I need to have something that'll handle that also. I've owned 2 5-strings (Korean Hamer Cruisebass and a Yamaha RBX-7) and the B-string was never any more than a thumb rest and source of confusion for me...I played a lot of...um..."unusual" harmonies (lol).
  20. All 4's for me b/c it's what feels right, I can't explain it more than that.

    I play mostly jazz, and avant music.

    The only time I would play 5 is if I was getting paid to do so, and it was absolutely necessary for me to.

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