Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #100890  by javalina
 Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:32 am
A friend of mine wants to trade me a five string bass for some work. I really never wanted one, but now I'm thinking wtf? I haven't seen it yet, but expect it will need strings (no such thing as a free bass). So, what do you guys think I should string it up with, and how should I tune it to get a cool Phil sound?

Again I apologise for not having the time to ferret out the answer from amongst the archived posts. I hope to be back online soon at home...
 #100891  by playingdead
 Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:40 am
The 17-year-old strings on my Ibanez Soundgear 4-string still sound fine ... don't rush into anything ... LOL

Tunes, from bottom to top, B E A D G

I love having the low B, as you get a lot of resonance on notes played on that string as opposed to the low E string -- i.e., an A on the low B sounds much deeper than an A on the low E -- but it will twist your mind trying to get used to having the low B as the bottom string on the bass, especially if you're primarily a guitar player.
 #100893  by Rusty the Scoob
 Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:03 am
Vic's advice is solid, but in this case I'd want to know more about this bass before accepting it. A bad 5-string is much worse than a bad 4-string... it's hard to make a low B string feel and sound right.

Imagine if your question was: "A friend of mine wants to trade me an electric guitar for some work. What do you think?" :lol:
 #100947  by seanc
 Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:22 pm
Is a lot of crap out there. Without knowing what you are potentially trading for or the value of your labor, it could be a great deal or you could be really getting hosed.
 #100965  by tigerstrat
 Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:33 pm
playingdead wrote:it will twist your mind trying to get used to having the low B as the bottom string on the bass, especially if you're primarily a guitar player.
I'm not sure how I first approached it back in '96 when I bought my 5-string, but I eventually took several years away from playing bass, going back to playing lead guitar, which remains my main thing. But when I finally took on another bass project, I found my self ignoring the Low B, 95% of the time. I now grip the instrument like it's a 4-string, and use the B very sparingly. Time for me to get a nice 4-string bass :cool:
 #100985  by javalina
 Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:07 am
Pretty sure the bass is going to be a piece of crap, I think he said it was a kramer? the sweet part of the deal is a bass head and cab, which I needed. The 17 year old strings on my ibanez soundgear sound really great too, but the guy said that one string is broke on the kramer. maybe i can buy one string somewhere...
 #100992  by Rusty the Scoob
 Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:36 am
You can buy one bass string, but I doubt you'll ever be happy with it. Good, fresh strings (and 17 year old strings can be "fresh" to me, as long as they still intonate properly) make ALL the difference on bass, especially with a low B. I'll vouch for Sadowsky strings - great quality and hard to beat $30 for a 5-string set. (You'll very likely pay at least $10 for a single string anyway) I used them on my main gigging bass for years and years. ... 1d7ab87b40
 #101905  by Phil Lesh101
 Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:20 am
My uncle has a 4 String Squire P-Bass and the strings were, I'd say 10 years old :shock:
I had to change them, They started to smell like Molding French Fries