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Thread: 5 string advice.

  1. #1

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    5 string advice.

    I've been playing bass for over 30 years now but have always owned 4 string basses. In November, I traded in at Guitar Center, all of my Zane guitars, because the company was building me more. Most of the basses and guitars that I got were all Music Man's, including 2 Stingray 5 H's and now my 30th Anniversary Stingray 5 H, which has very quickly become my favorite bass that I own.

    Here is the problem. Most of the 4 string basses I have owned have had thinner necks. My Bongo's are all 4 strings and have very comfortable neck width and string spacing. But now trying to play the Stingray 5's, which I love, I am having a very difficult time adjusting to the string spacing and what feels like a much wider neck. The B string also throws me off thinking it is the E string. I know the more I play the 5'ers, I will get used to them but was wanting advice on any techniques or anything that I can do to help me adjust faster.
    Thanks all in advance for any help you can give.
    Last edited by JayDawg; 05-06-2017 at 09:12 PM.

  2. #2

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    Play the 5 string exclusively for a while. Eventually you will be able to switch between the 4 and 5 with no problem at all.
    Sterling 5 HS Tobaccoburst
    Sterling 4 HS white/matching headstock
    Bongo 5 HHp Sapphire Black

  3. #3

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    Start off using it as a thumb rest. Dont try and play noted on it... just get used to playing the regular 4 strings with the B string there. Then work yourself into using the 5th fret B string instead of the open E and take it from there.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by armybass View Post
    Start off using it as a thumb rest. Dont try and play noted on it... just
    get used to playing the regular 4 strings with the B string there. Then
    work yourself into using the 5th fret B string instead of the open E and
    take it from there.
    That works. For most players. If it turns out that you are not one of
    "most players", try ignoring the G-string instead of ignoring the 'B'.
    This will get you used to NOT mistaking the 'B' for an 'E' :-)

    Worst case scenario, restring to 'E' thru 'C', get used to the spacing
    and maybe you play the C-string or maybe not. But when you're at
    ease with the spacing, then you can switch back to 'B' thru 'G' and
    all you need to work on is the "new" tuning, but at least you won't
    feel all fumble fingered about the spacing while working on getting
    back to 'B' thru 'G'.

    It's a reeeeally nice neck profile once you're used to the spacing :-)


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------


    One nuther thing ... even if it's not your habit, try playing the right
    hand up on the neck instead of back near the PUs. I find that my 2
    hands communicate with each other much better when they're not
    so far apart. I do this with basses that seem "alien" to me and after
    a while I gradually increase the distance to something more normal.

    All of the above is for home practice, not for stage, so I hope you
    still have a 4-string to gig !
    Last edited by Golem; 05-11-2017 at 06:54 PM.
    S.U.B. SL4 - SR4p FL [x3] - SR4HH FL [Moses neck]
    SL4p FL [x2] - SL4HS FL - SL4HS FL [Moses neck]
    SR5HS alnico - SR5p FL ceramic [x2] - Bongo4Hp FL

    "Too many basses is never enuf"

    Golem is NOT engaging in social networks.

  5. #5

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    I went through the exact same thing two years ago when I got my first Big Al 5. It took me at least 6 solid months before I did not have to really think about which string was which. I cant tell you how many shows I hit the wrong note on just because I thought I was on the E string when I was actually on the B. The best thing I ever did was put my 4 string up. I love that bass, but playing on nothing but the 5 string for a few months really helped me solidify the make up of my 5 string. The other thing I did a lot was play through my scales starting at the B string so my mind and fingers would start to know what each starting position felt like. I also started playing with a lot of octave runs so that I would know where each note was on the B string based off the next octave up on the A sting.
    PDN Big Al 5 with roasted maple neck

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by armybass View Post
    Start off using it as a thumb rest. Dont try and play noted on it... just get used to playing the regular 4 strings with the B string there. Then work yourself into using the 5th fret B string instead of the open E and take it from there.
    Love this approach. It really just takes time to get used to it. Put away the 4 bangers for a while.

    In the "how times have changed" category, my son's first bass was a 5 string, so he's never had this issue.
    2014 Sterling 5H Black w/ Maple - F28653
    2001 Sterling 4H Blue Dawn w/ Maple - F04289
    2015 Stingray 4H SLO Special Black Cherry w/ Rosewood - E96203
    2011 Classic Stingray 5H Lake Tahoe Blue


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