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fileextension
01-17-2011, 07:00 AM
which is one is better, 4-string bass or the 5-string?
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file extension (http://www.fileextensions.net)

JonR
01-17-2011, 09:52 AM
which is one is better, 4-string bass or the 5-string?
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file extension (http://www.fileextensions.net)If you're new to bass, I suggest 4-string.
It's the classic design derived from double bass (tuned the same).

5-string is 20% tougher to learn - ;). Its advantage is two-fold: (1) it goes down lower (to B or even A); (2) it means you can play fancier lines, because you can spread scales across the neck - you get 15 notes in one position, compared to 12 on a 4-string.
Jazz-funk players tend to prefer 5-string (and even 6-string) basses. For rock, blues and older forms of jazz, 4 strings is plenty.

Malcolm
01-17-2011, 12:36 PM
I have a 4 string and it does everything I ask it to -- except when playing from standard notation written for piano - ledger notes lower than E become an issue. I asked this same question when I purchased my first bass and was told; "The fifth strings just gives you more low notes." I brushed this off. I wish I had known what that meant.

Finding bass clef sheet music for Country, Pop and Rock music is hard and finding bass clef written for the bass in those styles is almost impossible, so you end up with piano music and that 5th string will come in handy as most every song will have lower than E ledger notes. You can work through this, but, why if you have a 5th string it just makes it so much easier.

Most bassists work from lead sheet or fake chord and ledger notes do not come into the picture. So if you will not be using standard notation the 4 string is fine. As Jon mentioned jazz and standard notation go hand in hand, so if jazz is in your future go 5 string.

For an over view of the big picture you may find this interesting. http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?p=9372867#post9372867

Check out post # 14 http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?p=10277425#post10277425

JonR
01-23-2011, 06:35 PM
I have a 4 string and it does everything I ask it to -- except when playing from standard notation written for piano - ledger notes lower than E become an issue. I asked this same question when I purchased my first bass and was told; "The fifth strings just gives you more low notes." I brushed this off. I wish I had known what that meant.

Finding bass clef sheet music for Country, Pop and Rock music is hard and finding bass clef written for the bass in those styles is almost impossible, so you end up with piano music and that 5th string will come in handy as most every song will have lower than E ledger notes.You're forgetting the octave transposition of bass. That E one ledger line below bass clef on piano is an octave higher than your low E! It's same pitch as fret 2 on your D string.
Bass notation is written an octave higher than concert - or rather the stave is lowered by an octave so it covers the main range of bass guitar (and double bass) better.

IOW, when reading from piano left hand, transpose up an octave. Your bottom E on 4-string bass would be written 5 ledger lines down on piano left hand.

The low 5th string on a bass will certainly give you some lower notes (3 or 4), but you very rarely need them. The low B is just one note higher than the lowest B on piano - and it could be tuned down to bottom A if necessary, the lowest note available on any uinstrument (with the exception of some church organs, AFAIK).
How often do you see pianists using that bottom octave? That's how often you need the low notes on bass 5th string.

What the 5th string DOES more usefully provide (and the shop didn't tell you!) is ways of getting lower notes when playing in higher positions - because you can expand your scale patterns down on to the 5th string instead of moving down the neck.

Crossroads
01-23-2011, 06:59 PM
Question - if I was completely new to bass and trying to teach myself using the common instructional books/DVD's etc., then do almost all those books assume 4-strings ... and would that present problems trying to figure out how to apply those instructional books to 5 strings?

JonR
01-23-2011, 07:28 PM
Question - if I was completely new to bass and trying to teach myself using the common instructional books/DVD's etc., then do almost all those books assume 4-strings ... and would that present problems trying to figure out how to apply those instructional books to 5 strings?It would be fairly easy to extend the principles down to the other string.
Unlike guitar, the patterns on bass are symmetrical, because all the strings are tuned in 4ths. So, once you understand how scales work, extending them down to the 5th string would be easy.

It's the same issue as a 6-string guitar player learning to handle a 7-string. Takes some getting used to - but it's worse the more used you are to a 6-string (hard to get your head round your new bottom string). For a beginner, it would be a logical extension. (More to think about, of course, but not too disturbing.)

Malcolm
01-23-2011, 07:41 PM
With bass it's just a matter of placing the major scale box pattern. On my 4 string I normally put the root note on the 3rd string this puts my IV chord root on the 2nd string right above my root and my V chord root is on the 4th string right below my I root that is on the 3rd string. I IV V is a piece of cake.

If I could take advantage of the 5th string - put the root on the 4th string I gain some upper note placement on the 1st string.

Not a large learning curve.
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.5stringbassguitars.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/5-string-bass-fret-chart.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.5stringbassguitars.com/guides/5-string-bass-guitar-fret-notes-chart/&h=95&w=785&sz=66&tbnid=-Tn6erTM4ytVpM:&tbnh=17&tbnw=143&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfive%2Bstring%2Bbass%2Bfretboard%2Bch art&zoom=1&q=five+string+bass+fretboard+chart&usg=__m4r_96d9iiJEykVXrSzsZjeZ-K0=&sa=X&ei=LyEZTeK3FcH58AbR-MD7DQ&ved=0CDEQ9QEwAQ

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=733861

Crossroads
01-24-2011, 09:19 AM
OK, cheers guys ... I don't want to divert Fileextension's thread ... but I'm just thinking of buying a cheap used bass to get some idea of what the bass parts are doing in any music ... I don't often play with other musicians now (with student guitarists yes, but more experienced players no), and even when I did play guitar in bands I never had any idea of what the bass was really doing (or anyone else ... except the singer, and that was obvious!).

So the idea is not really to learn bass for the sake of bass itself, but really more to see if it influences or aids my guitar playing in any way.

Ian.

rbarata
01-24-2011, 10:18 AM
There's a simple exercise to show you the difference...compose a small song, 3 or 4 measures. Find a very simple drum line, 4/4 straigth, a basic rock one. Them make a slightly more complex guitar line.
After that make the bass line according the guitar rhythm and then the same line following the bass drum. Compare the two.;)

JonR
01-24-2011, 10:24 AM
OK, cheers guys ... I don't want to divert Fileextension's thread ... but I'm just thinking of buying a cheap used bass to get some idea of what the bass parts are doing in any music ... I don't often play with other musicians now (with student guitarists yes, but more experienced players no), and even when I did play guitar in bands I never had any idea of what the bass was really doing (or anyone else ... except the singer, and that was obvious!).

So the idea is not really to learn bass for the sake of bass itself, but really more to see if it influences or aids my guitar playing in any way.

Ian.IMO, a keyboard - if you don't have one already - would be a better buy. You can play bass lines on that (assuming it's at least 61 keys), and it gives you a very useful alternative perspective on chords and theory.

Malcolm
01-24-2011, 12:16 PM
Yes sitting at home the keyboard will give you more opportunities to "make" music. With the bass, playing a bass line - grooving by yourself - is boring, however, grooving to some Aebersold play-a-longs is challenging. And then jamming with a band - no sheet music in site - is very enjoyable.

I have enjoyed the journey, of course I always enjoy the theory part almost as much as actually playing the beast. Playing from fake chord or lead sheet, as there is no bass clef shown, we have to come up with the bass line. That has been enjoyable and with the 6 string and theory experience we have the learning curve is really quite easy.

I understand the bottom end better because of the bass, I think you would enjoy the trip. Has the bass helped my guitar playing? I know my guitar playing has helped my bass playing, however, I'd have to think about how much my bass playing has helped my guitar playing. Ten years with the same band playing rhythm guitar to the same songs, I've been on auto pilot for so long, I'd have to give that some thought.

Crossroads
01-25-2011, 01:32 AM
Oh yeah, I know a keyboard is good for all sorts of music education. But I'm fairly satisfied with where I am and where I'm going with music theory just using guitar ... I do plenty of work on that.

So what I meant about the bass was - although I don't specifically want to learn bass to become a bass player, I would like to get some idea of what the bass is doing in a band situation. And maybe I'd put that in the context of the guitar player in the band, ie as the guitarist I'd like some idea of what the bass is supposed to be doing.:)

Malcolm
01-25-2011, 12:37 PM
.........I would like to get some idea of what the bass is doing in a band situation. And maybe I'd put that in the context of the guitar player in the band, ie as the guitarist I'd like some idea of what the bass is supposed to be doing.:)

Laying down the beat. Leading the band into the next chord using secondary dominants or chromatic runs. Augmenting with echo melody - short melodic echos of what the vocalist has just sung. Not getting in the way with your runs, nothing worst than having two instruments taking off on runs a beat or two behind each other. In a nut shell we follow the chords and play chord tones.

All that comes from playing with others. We 6 string guys tend to fill our bass lines too full right at first, sometime just roots are called for and sometime full chord tones are (R-b3-5-b7). Then when to use scales enters into the picture. IMO scales make you melodic and I get fish eyes when I go melodic. Country wants roots and fives with chromatic runs.

Try it. Jamming with all the videos on the Internet can give you an idea of all this till you take it public.

Have fun.

fileextension
01-27-2011, 01:24 AM
thank you guys for all the ideas..it help me alot....