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Thread: The old FIVE vs FOUR debate

  1. #1
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    The old FIVE vs FOUR debate

    Ok so it’s easy to give advice when the outcome doesn’t directly effect you but ....
    I started typing this out in JayDawg’s thread about what are your future bass plans but didn’t want to hijack it so started a new thread. It went something like this was what I started replying •

    Still looking for a Bongo HH. (But..... with all my years of not wanting to go down the five string route and using BEAD I’m getting that itch that it’s time for a change. Just feel guilty if my StingRays started gathering dust. It’s just an itch so I’m sure it will pass)
    Bongo 4HH it is (but if a nice five comes along) (but what if after wanting a Bongo for so long you get one and don’t get on with the five? Sell it?) (ah ! But what if you do get on with it? )
    Confused. It’s going to be a Bongo of some description this year. Determined to make it happen (even if it becomes your #1 or not as the case maybe) (I’m seriously doing my own head with this one) not funny.

    So seriously help. Talk me into it or out of it. PLEASE AND THANK YOU

    StingRay 4H Buttercreme 2005 L.E. ("Leighton")
    StingRay 4H Light Blue over Vintage Sunburst. 2005 ("SunBlue")
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE AMPS.

  2. #2
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    It's not a "versus" situation. You can play both four-bangers and fivers. It takes some accommodation, sure, and time to get accustomed to switching back and forth, but it can be done. I know this because I - the world's okayest lunch-pail bassist - can now do it.

    When I switched to fivers back during the first Ice Age, I didn't think of it as a switch in any real sense. What happened was that I played ONLY the 5ers in an effort to become proficient/comfortable with that big old B string. Then the band I was in started getting regular gigs and the way I played those songs on a 5 was the way I learned to play those songs - on a five string. Muscle memory took over. I sing quite a bit in that band so I can't concentrate on walking bass lines; those have to and did become automatic in a way.

    And that happened on a fiver. After a few years, for giggles, I thought, "Well, I'll just bring a 4 string to the gig and that will be fun."

    It wasn't fun. My auto-pilot didn't work without that B string.

    This last year or so, I've picked up 2 or 3 really hot 4 strings and there was nothing to be done but to practice and refine my auto-pilot. It took a couple of months and I'm not the world's most dedicated practice monkey, to be sure, but now I find that I'm comfortable again on both versions, fours and fives.

    So get your fiver. Play it until you're fully comfortable, and play your four strings, too. As I often say, it can't be that hard if I can do it.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply Jack. I’ve never needed the low B to the extent that I can manage with out it. Recently I have needed it so SunBlue is set up in BEAD and I’ve been quite happily going between the two basses. It’s been fun but getting lazy and missing the G that apparently I never use? I’m just using blue bass and playing in different positions and generally in short messing my playing up. So it’s a natural progression to a fiver even though I’ve always avoided them. I’m between bands at the present unfortunately, I still do my function band but that lot is so ingrained it’s not worth worrying about. Might be a good time to use the down time and seriously start concidering the switch.......
    Bongo 5HH hmmmmm

    StingRay 4H Buttercreme 2005 L.E. ("Leighton")
    StingRay 4H Light Blue over Vintage Sunburst. 2005 ("SunBlue")
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE AMPS.

  4. #4
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    I can't get my auto pilot to respond with 4 strings no matter how hard I try, so it's five strings seven days a week. I tried on the Caprice i have for sale. I really wanted to as that is a very special bass, love the way it sounds!

  5. #5
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    That’s the only thing that’s holding me back Bert, I’d hate to see my StingRays gather dust, it feels like I’m cheating on them even contemplating debating this
    Last edited by danny-79; 01-08-2018 at 03:06 PM. Reason: Typpper

    StingRay 4H Buttercreme 2005 L.E. ("Leighton")
    StingRay 4H Light Blue over Vintage Sunburst. 2005 ("SunBlue")
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE AMPS.

  6. #6
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    It's easier to do the things you've always done, and I do adore easy....but I have these wonderful four bangers and they needed to be played.

    As I said, it takes some time but eventually your brain is like, "Oh yeah, we used to do this all the time, didn't we?"

  7. #7
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    I have no problem switching. I'm not a very advance player though, and I don't slap, just play finger style.

    however, I mostly play my 5 strings. As one of my friends told me "if you don't use the 5th string, at least you've got a thumb rest."

    I sold my stingray 4H because honestly, there was not a sound I could get out of it that I could not get out of my stingray 5H.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple fretboard / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood Fretboard/ 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Signature Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  8. #8
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    Thanks all, I don’t claim to be the worlds best bassist either so open to all the help I can get.
    My concerns are it messing my playing up. I’m currently looking for a new original band so it’s a good time to change over.
    And not being able to switch back to a four string (possibly because I’d have the attitude of why would I want to! And I can think of a few)
    I don’t know if I’m trying to talk myself into it or out of it ??

    StingRay 4H Buttercreme 2005 L.E. ("Leighton")
    StingRay 4H Light Blue over Vintage Sunburst. 2005 ("SunBlue")
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE AMPS.

  9. #9
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    As I have said many times Bass starts with B.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by five7 View Post
    As I have said many times Bass starts with B.
    Can’t argue with that that’s for sure

    StingRay 4H Buttercreme 2005 L.E. ("Leighton")
    StingRay 4H Light Blue over Vintage Sunburst. 2005 ("SunBlue")
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE AMPS.

  11. #11
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    If we still lived close I would lend you a five. Pick up a EBMM sub 5 used or something else as decent and give it a go for 6 months and find out if it is for you.

  12. #12
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    It took a while for me to adapt to a fiver some years back, but once it became comfortable, it became my standard. I even sold quite a few of my 4 strings. Over the summer I subbed in a country band and the BL hated 5 string basses (whatever) so I flipped back to a 4. I had so much fun on on those gigs with my Ray 4 that I'll probably bounce back and forth with it and my Bongo fiver for a while in my regular band. My 4s are all standard tuning, so I don't know if that will help you in your quest, but Bert's suggestion is spot on.
    Buncha Rays and Bongos

  13. #13
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    Bert, thank you for your offer. It’s a very good suggestion. I have been looking at SUB fives with that in mind of just trying one out for a while and see how I get on with it before I commit to heavily.
    For practice sake I’m using bead stingray more and more, loving the low B more and more, and why would you not ! But there are still four strings on the bass for the same reason I started using that tuning rather than just straight to a five.
    Either way it’s a life changing decision lol

    StingRay 4H Buttercreme 2005 L.E. ("Leighton")
    StingRay 4H Light Blue over Vintage Sunburst. 2005 ("SunBlue")
    GENZ-BENZ & ORANGE AMPS.

  14. #14
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    I've found that the more I've jumped from one to the other the easier it gets to switch between them.

    I began on a 4 when I was 12 then switched to a 5 when I was 19 but since then I've played 4, 5, 6, 8 & 12vers. Now I find it easy to switch.

    I have had my Sterling since April 2016 and have only played that bass since but on NYE I decided to use my newly acquired 2003 SUB5 for the entire gig and it felt really natural (prior to the Sterling I had an SR5)

    It's just muscle memory but once you have done it enough you won't think twice about it. Just practice as much as you can
    2016 EBMM Sterling 4H with Hipshot Double Stop & HB6 Ultralites

    1998 EBMM Stingray 4H with Hipshot Double Stop & HB6 Ultralites

    Gallien Krueger MB500

    Barefaced One10

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