Re: 4 string vs. 5 string


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Posted by Z-funk on October 24, 2001 at 17:24:03:

In Reply to: 4 string vs. 5 string posted by Mark on October 21, 2001 at 22:08:14:

I own two basses, neither of which are four strings...I have a fretted five and a fretless six. The reason I don't have a four string kinda runs on the following:

1. Personal preference - I really like the feel of a nice big bass on my chest with a nice, big, stable neck to fool around on. The way they make most four strings nowadays, they make 'em so that they feel more like a guitar, with the really thin neck. I don't know...I'd like a bass to feel like a bass if I'm gonna play it. Plus I'm a really big fan of wide-neck basses. I used to own a seven string, and would like to own one again soon.

2. Versatility - Four strings are limited to the notes that you play on them. If you have four strings with 24 notes able to be played on each string, you're limiting yourself to only 96 notes. Even with the altered tuning, you're gonna have only 96 notes. The more strings you add, the higher and lower you can go, adding more versatility. This also helps when using chords, and you don't have to continue up the neck to get higher notes...you can stay stationary on the fingerboard and have easier access to the notes in the scale. However, for the style of music you play, you may not need all those higher and lower notes.

3. Tone - The more wood you have on an instrument, the more obnoxious overtones are obsorbed. Most of the wood, of course, is on the body...but if you have a really dense, thick neck, you've got that much more wood to help the tone. If you decide to go with a four string, I'd recommend the most dense, heavy bass you can get, or even try a graphite-necked bass.

4. Tuning - I personally think that tuning down a bass is a bad idea...not that it's a bad thing for a lot of players, but a lot of the playing I do requires that I know precisely where each note is going to be, and if I screw with a tuning on the instrument, I have to relearn my instrument all over again with the new tuning.

Hope this helps a little...but in the end, you need to go with what's comfortable and playable for you. Good luck.


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