who actually uses the b string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rheumatism, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. rheumatism


    Feb 5, 2005
    i see people playing 5 string basses as much as i've seen em play 4 string ones.

    but the people who play the 5 string basses just seem to ignore the b string.

    are 5 strings just for looks?
  2. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    no they use them. and when your not, they make awfuly nice thumb rests
  3. rheumatism


    Feb 5, 2005
    yea they use them, but in a way that doesn't necessitate a 5 string. i want to see someone who can utilize the string, dangit
  4. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    P-Nut of 311 utilizes his B string for a number of their songs, I use mine a lot and basically have to have a 5er at this point... they're not just for low notes bro.
  5. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Yeah, I use my B string.

    A. most often I use it to be able to reach lower notes in higher positions. This isn't usually necessary for the usual bassline, but in places where melody is played on bass, it can be really helpful. For example, lets say a piece makes a run from a high d to a low F within a few beats. With a four string, you would be forced to change positions somewhere in there(unless you have really long fingers), on a five that wouldn't necessarily be true.

    b. it does make an exceptional thumb rest.

    c. every once in a while I do get that urge to drop below the low E. Like on bachs cello suite for example. Or, right now the jazz band at school is playin a blues in Db, and it's nice to be able to get down to the Db on the B string.

    d. not all fives have B strings ;)
  6. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    You're right, there are a lot of 5+ string pretenders ... it seems an awful lot of players buy them but don't use them properly.

    BUT, there are a lot of players who use 5, 6 , 7+ string basses to their maximum advantage .... a load of players here at TB use 6 & 7+ strings as their main basses. I see you're kind of new here, so a word of friendly caution :) Read through the old posts, do a search on extended range basses, and be a little careful about this subject ....

    Check out John Pattitucci for some smoking 6 string play :cool:
  7. That's for sure! I'm listening to Chick Corea's new one with JP on it right now. Wow! :eek:
  8. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
  9. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Yeah Bernie, Pattitucci is cooking on that album ... I spent most of the afternoon listening to him on it .... :cool:
  10. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    Maybe if the player is covering a song originally done with a 4 string the B won't be used as much. But I think it's really different if you write with the 5 string because then you're utilizing the extended range and the lines you come up with will include that lower range in their overall shape.

    I had something like that happen on a couple of bass lines I wrote on a BEAD tuned Rick. It sounded great when I finally did them on a 5, but when I tried them on a 4 (normally tuned) there were several jumps that interrupted the smoothness of the line.

    I think if you have a 5 you'll eventually start thinking and writing for a 5 and it doesn't easily convert back to a 4. It's an obvious statement, but when you're thinking melody in the bass (rather than root-fifth), it's something to consider, especially if you're trying to capture the style of a certain era of music. Right now I only play 4s because 5s weren't used back when the songs we do were created.

  11. I just picked up some more JP stuff on eBay. Akoustic Band and one of John's real early albums should be in the mail now!
  12. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I use the b string.

    I see plenty of 4 stringers who use only the E and A strings, are there D and G strings only for looks?
  13. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    The B string rules, whenever I play my 5 I tend to use it quite a bit! Although I've been detuning my 4 string to DGCF lately, just because it sounds better detuned.
  14. I use my low B string very often. Not just for the notes lower than E. There is a different timbre higher on the neck. For instance my G on the 8th fret of the B string has a different sound than my G on the 3rd fret of the E string, and so on..

    I do LOVE the low D on my Bongo 5. Good clean fun!!
  15. I use mine all the time! Great invention! :)
  16. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

    Amen to that! :bassist:

    I probably use my "B" string on close to half the songs that we do.
  17. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    My 2c is that a lot of your inclination to use the B will depend both on the material (whether the part is written or calls for lower notes) and on how playable a particular instrument's B string is. Many B strings tend to be either flappy or not balanced with the rest of the strings. However, when you find an instrument with a tight, balanced B, there is nothing more natural in the world. For example, straight Chicago blues lines in D can be anchored down on the B, if the response is there.

    Technique is a matter of personal opinion, and I am sure there are some monster players who anchor on the B. However, using the B as a thumbrest, for me, is bad form for at least three reasons. The first reason is that anchoring the thumb on the B takes notes on the B out of the equation; I can't get off it fast enough to incorporate into a fluid line. Second, anchoring on the B with a 6 is awkward for playing figures up on the C string. Third, both the B and E can resonate when lines are played on the upper strings; and that is a definite no-no, if you want clean lines. My solution has been to lay my thumb across the B and E as a soft, but moveable anchor which also serves as a mute.
  18. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    I'll be honest, mine don't get much use...
  19. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I definitely used the B (and C) strings on my 6 before it met its untimely demise. My next bass will be at least a 5-string.
  20. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    I think the low B string is great for when you're sight-reading and transposing stuff from treble clef to bass clef. When I was taking lessons, my teacher had me do a lot of transposition so I would learn to read treble clef, but making some of the back and forth jumps on my 4-string weren't too comfortable and I couldn't make the jumps quick enough to keep my timing on point...so that's when I switched to a 5-string, because the low B gave me the added range I needed for transposition. I use a 6 now because I need the high C when playing higher melodic stuff (i.e. Disney tunes) and nowadays, I just can't see myself without an ERB.

    One need not use the low B all the time, but tasteful and practical use is cool. I can live without the high C, but these days, I need my low B.