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Will I find it more difficult?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by fev, Aug 30, 2008.


  1. fev

    fev

    Jul 21, 2008
    Hi all, I have been playing around 2 months and am loving it, I started on a £20 4 string base which suffers from some fret buzz etc... but has been perfect to learn on. I have just bought a washburn T25 5 string. I was wondering if I will find life any more difficult using the 5 string or is it just a case of getting used to it?

    Also, any comments on my new baby?

    Cheers
     
  2. I went from a 4 to 5. Let me start this off by saying I am not that great a bass player. I got the 5 because our singer shifts down 1/2 and a full step frequently and I figured it would be easier to change postion than to keep 3 basses on stage with different tuning.

    Anyway, it was tough at first because my feeble mind kept associating the top string with E when it's really a B. I worked hard to change my position on the songs I needed to and on the songs we play in normal tuning I have learned to ignore the fact that the B is there.

    I'm still working on the width of the neck and string spacing (it's wider than my 4 and the strings are closer together). I didin't realize how many reaches were just 2nd nature (particularly with the right hand) until you add the extra string. My right hand naturally goes the distance to the second string when I want to play A. I had to fight that for a while.

    I find it harder to slap and pop (strings are slightly closer together). But that's been good because it forces me to work on my string muting (I had gotten lazy on the 4).

    To sum it up:

    1) I worked position first.
    2) I worked my right hand exercise by reworkign sight reading with a metronome.
    3) I worked my string muting for slapping and popping.

    I'm still a bad bass player, just not as bad as a I was when I first got it. :bassist:

    I make fewer mistakes during gigs as time goes on but I practice alot. I made the switch about 2 months ago.
     
  3. fev

    fev

    Jul 21, 2008
    Cheers for that, I really wanted the 4 string to keep life simple but it was a deal I couldn't refuse. Look like some more work on finger positioning but hey, thats part of the fun.


    Cheers again
     
  4. DudeistMonk

    DudeistMonk

    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    People think 5 is hard cause it has an extra string but thats really not true...the truth is that extra string makes a lot of things easier...

    So you just added 5 notes to your range and in doing so also added 5 new playing positions, and expanded on your other playing positions. For example you can drop a 4th from Bb (6th fret E string) to F (6th fret B string) without shifting your hand up 5 frets.

    That low range addition means you also have more options for connecting chords

    Tight string spacing means easier/faster rakes and runs and stuff like that, I grew so accustom to it that spacing on 4's bothers me.

    The downside:


    Slap and pop is a whole lot harder (cause of the spacing) especially something like slapping the A and popping the D

    Your bass is heavier

    You have to spend more money on strings
     
  5. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    If this myth were true, then beginner's basses would have one string, then you would graduate to two strings and so on ....
     
  6. deggial

    deggial

    May 27, 2008
    Athens, Greece
    I've been playing the bass guitar for 3 months now and just switched to a five-string. Only thing that was actually more difficult was muting the strings, but this got me to try out the 'floating thumb' technique which works great and I now find it more comfortable than anything else. Other than that, it was easy to get used to the string spacing, etc.
     
  7. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    excellent post:bassist:
     
  8. Scot

    Scot

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Since you've just started playing (4 string) bass 2 months ago, I would say that going from 4 to 5 is a complete non-issue for you. If you start playing a 5'er exclusively, in theory, you should be just as comfortable on the 5'er in 2 month's time.
     
  9. Scot

    Scot

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Actually doesn't seem like a bad idea to me. There's a lot to be said for knowing how to play the instrument and knowing it well "horizontally".

    Adding a string increases complexity in terms of managing the instrument as well as adding additional notes to have to commit to your fingerboard knowledge. Taking away strings can also add complexity. Ever break a string and have to get through a setlist. On a gig where you might normally be on autopilot you suddenly have to start thinkin' and resorting to your fingerboard knowledge and playing horizontally.
     
  10. fev

    fev

    Jul 21, 2008
    You guys are stars, thanks for all the opinions and info. I can't wait till it arrives next week now in order to get started.

    Anyone played one of these and got any comments on it?

    Cheers again
     
  11. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA

    I do wish to state that the implied simplicity of my answer does not give proper creedence to opinions such as this. Scot's answer is more detailed and fleshed out, and I completely agree with it. There is subtle complexity in playing in less strings, (harmonically), and yet complexity in playing in more strings, (technically); yet, what I hope to convey to the OP is that these are subtleties. Because 4 strings is the standard should never stop one from trying other styles. This is similar to the question of beginning of fretless versus fretted. It's all possible and what should guide one's decision is therefore what their desire is. Do you want to learn a 5 stringed bass? Do you want to learn fretless? Etc. Because if you look at the gamut of instruments out there, from brass and woodwind to percussion to non-western instruments like this: Er-hu, you'll see that it's possible to begin on something with no frets, (like a violin), or something that demands greater physical prowess, (like brass perhaps), or greater coordination, (like percussion perhaps), or something with only two strings, (Er-hu).

    Are their differences in beginning on one style of bass versus another? Yes. Those differences are not prohibitive, is the important message. Play what your ears and your hands tell you you want to play. And along the way, if you encounter obstacles because of that instrument's slight variation from the mainstream, ask your teacher or us for help, and we'll be there.
     
  12. DudeistMonk

    DudeistMonk

    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    There was a prog band at college called "Tsu-Nami." The front man played one of those, it was actually a rather cool band.
     
  13. motoman

    motoman

    May 8, 2008
    Ontario canada
    i went from a 4 to a 5 did not take to long to adjust
     
  14. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    with washburn, just make sure you get a setup from someone who knows what they're doing, and while you're at it, get new strings.
     

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