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Who's gone from 5 to 4 strings? Are you OK? Will I get over not having a B string?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by SteveC, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Not sure if this should be here or in basses.

    I have been having some pain issues playing a 5 string. My 34" scale, thinner neck Yamaha 5 string isn't too bad, but when I play a 34" scale skinny 4 string at the store I barely notice that I am playing.

    Yeah, there's a little GAS involved as I really like the 4 string (blue with maple board and matching headstock, HS pups and 3 way preamp) Sterling but id does have a wide variety of tones and the neck is sweet.

    I don't overuse, but do make use of the low B for church and smooth jazz stuff like Yellowjackets, Spyro Gyra, etc. I think some tunes really "need" the low stuff. Some things you can take up an octave. I'm guessing that a 4 string would make m echange my approach to playing - which may not be all bad, right?

    What are your thoughts? Did you miss the low B if/when you made the switch?
  2. D Rokk

    D Rokk Banned

    Feb 19, 2009
    Delta Quadrant
    i miss it every once and a while.. but i'm very happy to be back to only 4 bangers.. but it also depends on what u are playing..
  3. Montsegour


    Apr 1, 2008
    Well it really is about you and how frequently you use it, so, calculate that and make a proper decision. As far as I can tell if I were you i'd swap it, you'll find someway to compensate those lowers + you'll get your playing easier - making your sound "noticeable" & prolly better
    Just my oppinion, gl =)!
  4. bhernco


    Mar 1, 2008
    I tune my 5 string E-A-D-G-C.
    Try that it might help.
  5. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    What's interesting is that it sounds like you started on a 5-string and have never owned a 4-string... which is the opposite of the vast majority of us around here. (Especially relative old-timers like me.) :D
    Anyway, my guess is that, yes, you'll miss it somewhat. Only you can say, of course.
    Why not do your part to boost the economy :rolleyes: and have both?
  6. Montsegour


    Apr 1, 2008
    It will still be a 5 stringer that's a bit harder to reach, no point in that..
  7. noxweb


    Apr 6, 2008
    Almada, Portugal
    Yes You will miss it. I played today on a friends' bass and it was a 4 stringer, it was an amazing player, but the 5th string made me not play a lot of the things I play nowadays
  8. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Which would you miss more, your B or you G? You could ditch either one with the four banger.
  9. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I started on a 4 and have had them before. Didn't mean to mislead.

    I have a 5 string, and may keep it for "essential" tunes, but I really don't want to keep a 2nd bass for half a dozen tunes.

    I know I'll miss it, I'm just wondering if I'll get over it. Did you all?
  10. JmJ


    Jan 1, 2008
    You will miss the B string. You will drunk dial it after one too many.
    You'll tell your friends all about the Low B's attributes & they will tell you
    Snap out of it", You'll want to but won't see the point.
    You'll drown your sorrows & flirt with Ms. D'addario, Ms. DR even that Hartke set but
    They will only remind you of what you lost.......
  11. themarshall


    Jun 26, 2008
    cochrane wi
    If you're as slothful as me about open strings and playing in the key of "D", you'll miss it. I started early on 5 & have to think too much to play in E or D on the rare occasions I'm stuck with a 4.
  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    In my cover band we currently do 2 tunes where the original has a low Eb and a low C. I also use a low Eb and D in a couple tunes - Superstition and Jack and Diane. Other tunes I use it for the last note, things like that - same in church - not really necessary but is fun to add. Keys could do it just as easily.

    That's why I wonder if I'll get used to not having lower notes available to me.
  13. BananaKing

    BananaKing Supporting Member

    May 15, 2008
    Vancouver, B.C.
    If you really want to try something with a 4 banger, perhaps a Hipshot D-tuner? you can actually make those go down to a Low C.

    I have my 4, 5 and 6 and they all have their place, but I keep going back to my 4 more and more.
  14. Limpingbass


    Sep 19, 2008
    I love how you say there's a little GAS involved and you suddenly dive into details like color and pup configuration. :smug:

    I thought the whole point of 5-string was the convenience of extended ranges in one position. I do not think you'd miss being able to hit a couple of lower notes part. It sounds like D-tuner will take care of your situation half of the times.
  15. the engine

    the engine Guest

    I go back and forth really. Right now I'm back in a 4 string all passive stage (kinda old school) so I'm not missing it at all. But there have been times when I would feel like my left thumb had been cut off if I didn't have the 5. I think that you will get over it and keep going. I wouldn't "push through the pain" and keep playing the 5. You may do enough damage that you won't be able to play at all. I don't think I could get over that. Also, try raising your strap. I know it sounds crazy but if you jack up your bass, the five may not hurt as bad. Good luck either way!
  16. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Lubbock, TX
    Personally, I'd miss the B string.

    Maybe BEAD tuning would work for you.
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I give details because I know people will ask. A D-tuner would probably do the trick - or just tune down for those tunes. I have actually done this before.

    I already have my bass pretty high.
  18. HogieWan


    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    to me, the beauty of the fifth string is when its not used often but only every once in a while for effect. Most people won't recognize that you're going to a note lower than the standard low E on a bass, but it is different in a way they can't describe.
  19. kxt


    Nov 21, 2008
    mesa, az
    you could always tune your 4 BEAD - i have a friend who does that (yamaha TRB-4) and it sounds great.
  20. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    The BEAD thing isn't really for me. I need/want/use my G string.

    Is it big deal if you don't play the lower notes when you cover tunes? To me, there are a couple that really need the low notes.

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