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When does it stop being BASS?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by 4-stringB, Jul 18, 2019.

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  1. 4-stringB


    Jun 10, 2010
    I have seen several vids recently where the bassist is way up the neck of a standard bass the whole time. I prefer low frequency rumble, kneeshaking bass that you might get from a fiver. Not necessarily loud, just deep. While up the neck is interesting, it's just not bass to me. It is a voice, to be sure, but not bass. I know everybody has their own thing, but somewhere between open D, and open G, it stops being bass. Occasional excursions North of that line are cool. The only time I need a G string is for Hatchet's "Dreams I'll Never See" intro.
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    A lot of those guys are playing a 5 string as an ultra-short scale at and above the 5th fret.
  3. ...When there are more then four strings!

  4. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    When I am playing 40's era big band swing, a lot of notes fall on the G string. I prefer to play this style on string bass, but that is not always practical. My #1 electric is a 6-string. I think it sounds a bit weird and out of place to play notes below the open E with this style. With other styles I love playing notes on the B string.

    It's all bass in my book, but various styles definitely emphasize certain ranges of the instrument. So if your playing way up on the C string when the song needs a big, fat low B, you are doing something wrong.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  5. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    When the scale length is under 30".

    It is high time for the bass community to accept the fact that the bass guitar is now a full fledged instrument in its own right, and has been for quite some time now.
    The bass guitar now encompasses not only its "traditional role" but has transcended that role to include melodic/ lead role or any other role that the player/artist envisions.
    And before anyone starts with the "serve the song" BS, ALL instruments are supposed to serve the song, it whatever "role" each particular song requires.

    Tradition is fine....up to a point.
    Wisebass, Thorny1, BigDrew and 47 others like this.
  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    One of my friends bought a Kala U-Bass. It looked like a toy or some sort of joke, but it actually sounded fabulous.
  7. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    If bass can only be bass in the lower register, there would be no higher frets on the instrument. I've had to transcribe synth that can only be played around the 12th fret. Am I not still a bassist during these songs?
    Artman, 4-stringB, HolmeBass and 4 others like this.
  8. Why don't we all just have our own opinion, and not feel the need to bash others choice of musical expression? Respect that they are doing what they want - it's no skin off of your nose. It's a crazy concept, but it just might work!
  9. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I agree that there are exceptions.
    4-stringB and Wasnex like this.
  10. I've only just recently started playing a 4 string after decades of playing 6ers and it's the first time I've needed to play anything below the 5th fret. Even now I avoid open strings unless I'm looking for some kind of very special impact. There's one song we do where I don't play much below the 12th fret, and even then nothing on the E string.

    It stops being bass when you move to a shorter scale instrument with skinny strings. I mean, middle C is way up on the 17th fret of the G string so on a 4 there are only 7 notes available falling outside the bass clef (on a 24 fret bass).

    Oh, and Dreams is a Greg Allman song...
  11. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I play a 5-str.. never a 4, as I've got so used to needing those 5 notes from low B up to Eb playing Top-40 [and other] Country. Since I have [relatively] small digits, I often find the need to play my walking bass lines "up" the neck, as I need what's left of my left hand to play the next song if I play them down near the nut.
    Plus, in that genre, there's quite a few walk down "riffs" that start up above the 12th on the G string.
    I'd bet there's also quite a few notes up there in the Jazz world. There's more to life than rock - and I grew up on rock n' roll! :meh:
    4-stringB likes this.
  12. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    A lot of country bass lines go up the G string. Especially some of the crazy fills.
    4-stringB and s0c9 like this.
  13. zubrycky


    Aug 22, 2011
    All the strings and all the frets are there to be used. The sky and the last fret are the limit.
  14. Pork_Chop


    May 11, 2012
    Boulder, CO USA
    When there are more strings above G than below E.
  15. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    This is my opinion, not a hard and fast rule.....................

    I still play guitar. Started on guitar almost 50 years ago, been playing bass for thirty.

    I have no issues with basses that go lower than the traditional E as the sound is foundational and not competing with the guitar.

    Now throw on a couple of strings above B and we have an issue.

    Multi strings like 8 or 10 or even 12 or 15, no issue, but the bottom needs to be pronounced.
    One_Dude and 4-stringB like this.
  16. ELG60

    ELG60 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    True, but I think that he was referring to the harmonics used in the intro of the Hatchet version.
    4-stringB likes this.
  17. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I would submit that the 10th-17th frets on the E string have that big fat sound you can't get anywhere else on the neck... :)
  18. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Not this again!!!

    Open G is the same pitch as E at the 15th fret. Some of you 'no-money above the 5th' guys oughta give it a go up there some time you might find you like it. Just be warned, you can't just fumble around up there if you want to make it sing. You might have to spend some time in the shed...
    JRA, Admiral Akbar, Artman and 8 others like this.
  19. Remoman


    Mar 14, 2017
    Once you pass the 5th fret on the G string or 10th on the D. No treble!!

    For me, I'll spend my time fumbling around the first few frets of the B string. :D
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    teh-slb and 4-stringB like this.
  20. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Ugh. Another one of these?
    Thorny1, Artman, rtav and 17 others like this.

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