From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby Bassman » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:09 am

Wow, I wrote that in one breath....lol. Just thought I would share a recent epiphany-moment of clarity type of thing. Around 20yrs ago I switched to the 5-String bass and sold a really sweet 1978 Fender Jazz bass, which would be worth a decent amount of cash today. My immature thinking was I need something to make me play better....maybe that added B string will do it......a couple of years ago I switched the B to a high C....to "make me play better" be more creative etc.....
Then I joined a Grateful Dead Tribute(which I love by the way)about a year ago and had to have a Modulus Q6 to sound like Phil, which I recently purchased. I then got a Fender Marcus Miller 4-string as a back up bass and for some Classic Rock R&B projects. This is what I learned through all this. I love the 4-string and it is comfortable for me, I am able to express myself in the music language more fluidly and within my capabilities. Thats the deal man...music is a language. Improvisational genres such as jazz and Grateful Dead are languages that I need to speak as if I am having a conversation with one of you. Its not about the external things...Modulus Q6...Eden etc...its about learning the language internally to the point of being able to express freely myself in the live music context.
I am selling the Modulus Q6 and getting a Q4.Because I do dig the graphite neck and Modulus tone. Maybe in the future I will add strings but trying to master the 4-string is enough work for this bass player.
Time to get back to BASSics. Peace.
What a journey aye?
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:37 pm

Bouncing between 4 and 5 here, sometimes on the same gig, and I've played 6 in the past. Hadn't touched a 4 in years, but a great one landed in my lap and it's been interesting... it does make you think differently in terms of how you come up with ideas. I find myself using the whole neck more fluidly now, rather than just staying in position and repeating ideas up or down an octave.
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby Bassman » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:29 pm

Thank you for the input Rusty....I can relate. On the 4-string I can play in a more linear/horizontal
way. I remember studying with a jazz cat who said i needed play more across the fretboard because I seemed to be playing in a 'boxed in" way, lacking ideas. I feel freer and more relaxed on the 4-string.
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby zott » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:05 pm

I have tangle with a 5 string and have always gone back to the 4. But I do play in a Jerry Tribute band so the 4 is the tool that make sense. Great idea. see you at the next show.

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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby mkaufman » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:34 pm

Hold on a sec - who's playing with David Bromberg?

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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby strumminsix » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:57 pm

mkaufman wrote:Hold on a sec - who's playing with David Bromberg?

mk

Good catch! And nice gig, Zott!
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby zott » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:14 am

That would be me playing with Bromberg.

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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby Phil Lesh101 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:36 pm

I use a 4 for acoustic, but for electric the 6 is my thing. :lol:
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby zambiland » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:47 pm

I think it's all good. These days I play mostly 4 string short scale ('67 Starfire), but time was I would bring that to the gig with a 35" 6 (Modulus) and a 34" 5 string fretless (David King) and play all of them. It all depends on the sound and feel you want. I wish I still played the fretless enough these days to be in tune....
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby Octal » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:48 pm

How about a 12 string bass?
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby seanc » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:07 pm

I have been playing 6s for over 20years now, I get all screwed up trying to play a 4..

It is all about what you are used to and what you are comfortable with. It doesn't matter what anybody else does, it is all about what works for you and makes you happy.
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby tigerstrat » Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:29 pm

Played a 5-string Alembic Epic for 15 years (sporadically, since I have spent far more of that time being a lead guitarist)... it's always been a very nice instrument but I just got an inexpensive 4-string Precision knockoff and I am digging it hard! My shoulder especially likes the lighter weight. I'll get to drop some heavy ordinance tonight- my buddy's prac space has a very sweet Mesa bass combo, circa 150 watts. Jackstraw is going to get ripped a new one...
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby Walknbluez » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:12 pm

I'm really glad you posted this Bassman. Sometimes I feel insecure wondering if people are going to think "hey the bass player is in this Grateful Dead tribute band and is only playing a four string" (because they're thinking of a more modern Phil i.e. current and in the late 80's/90's). So I was thinking I need to step it up and get and learn a five string. Mainly because of my desire to drop some bombs. I can drop bombs with a four string though through use of chords or double stops. I also really dig Phil's playing when he played a four string in the 70's. In fact, some of my favorite Phil is from the 70's. But since we're on the subject, what do you some of you guys who play both four and five strings think.....does double stop on C or E sound just as good on the four as a playing a C or E on the B string of a 5'er?
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby zambiland » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:48 pm

I think you don't need a 5 or 6 to drop bombs, nor do you need to use chords. My Starfire and Alembic both can generate some serious low end. I think using flats helps and the fact that they are short scales also plays a role. Maybe it's just the Alembic thing, as both are Series instruments. Still, I'd love to hear what a Starfire with a low B would sound like!
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Re: From 5-string to 6-string and back to 4.

Postby Walknbluez » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:35 pm

I'd have to respectfully disagree with you there zambiland. My Fender precision has flats and the pickup is series and if I want to drop a bomb I really need to use a double stop. I can usually tell the difference when listening to recordings whether Phil hit the note by itself or if he played a double stop or a chord (when he was playing a four string). I think you can tell the difference. Do you not use them at all?
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