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how many strings?


Nick Barnes

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How many strings are really neccesary? I had a 4-string, but sold it so I could get a 5- string, but am also looking into a six. I've also had the privilige of playing a Conkllin 7-string. Thats out of my price range, though. But I still can't decide if I should go 4, 5, or 6. I play everything from emo to death metal so I use a full range of notes.
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For me, 4 strings is all I need. I see no need in any more, as 4 can get confusing enough. Playing emo and death metal on a 6, however, would look rather odd and may be hard to play. Your results may vary. You may find that 7,8,9, etc isn't enough. In that case, might I suggest the Chapman Stick? Play whatever you want to play. That's why there are so many different options. I can do everything I want on my 4.
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Ah, the old "how many strings do I need" question. Answer: at least one. (But should it be nickel, or stainless? Flatwound or roundwound?) :D

 

My own preference now is a 5. I don't play a low B very often, but several times a night I'll hit a low D, and the Eb is very convenient. But for me the biggest advantage of the 5 is the ability to play up in a higher position--for example, an F on the 6th fret instead of the 1st.

 

But this is a personal preference question. :cool:

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Dood are you right about that upper-register playin', Bill C. I looove it, man, I play my bass like it's a g***ar sometimes, with overdrive, of course.

 

As for me, I like 4 strings just as much as I like 6 strings. I have a fretless four (which brings up another question) and a fretted 5. I do enjoy 6 strings when I can find one with a neck small enough for me to play. I have really no use for anything lower than a B, as I really wouldn't hear it too well.

 

I like em all, really. It's all good, ya know?

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Not that my opinion is correct for anyone else, but I prefer 4's. I started on 5 and found that for me, the B got in the way more than it got used, but hey, just get what feels best.
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The whole reason I got the Kubicki Ex Factor

was to "have it both ways" :D

I have 3 "4's" and an "8" I tried the "5" but

like BNC said I found the "B" more in the way

a help - with the Factor you get that super

handy "Eb" and "D" and still have the thin

neck and comfort of the "4"!

if it ain't broke don't fix it...

unless you need the overtime.

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Adding to what I posted earlier, when standard tuning doesn't cut it, I will whip out alternate tunings in a heartbeat. No matter what tuning I'm in, I have no problem finding the right notes on my 4. When I had my 5, I was lost. My hands couldn't communicate with each other. I had to "think" about what I was playing. On my 4, I just feel it. But, that's me. I played for 12 years on a 4 before I played a 5. Maybe if I played a 5 for 12 years, it would feel like a natural extension of my hands like my 4. I'm too lazy to go through that learning curve again. I'm not anti-"more strings" by any means. I definitely see their advatnages. I have just been able to adapt, to "grow gills", if you will.

 

I'm envious, Jeremy C. 47 strings and need more. It's kinda like crack. Once you start, you're addicted for life.

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OH, so now you guys need strings to play bass? You guys are SO elitest. I just hit my pick-ups with spoon and run it though and octave pedal and a harmonizer. I'm better than you all.

 

Screw the strings, you fascists.

 

Fer cryin out loud... you need as many strings as you wanna have. Whatever does the job.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Originally posted by Mr M Pulsive:

Four strings with a Hipshot Extender works for me... may not for you. Try all the combinations.... twice.

-Mike

What about the Hipshot? I've heard about it, but have neither seen nor played it. How does it work? Does it actually stay in tune?

"Bass isn't just for breakfast anymore..."

 

http://www.mp3.com/Addix_Metzatricity

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I've found it's not the string count that matters. I got up to over 100...huh.

 

What I think makes the difference is the longness and thickness of them...

 

That's what I'm goin' for.

 

Ever go up to a guy wire for a telephone pole and pluck it....serious groovin' there.

 

Now if I could just get it in the back of my KIA.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Originally posted by BassGuy21:

Originally posted by Mr M Pulsive:

Four strings with a Hipshot Extender works for me... may not for you. Try all the combinations.... twice.

-Mike

What about the Hipshot? I've heard about it, but have neither seen nor played it. How does it work? Does it actually stay in tune?
See photos: http://www.hipshotproducts.com/xtenders.htm

 

The lever flips out, which rotates the entire tuning mechanism: the string post, gear, tuner shaft, and ear. The small knurled bolt you see is turned to adjust the amount of movement, and is held in place by the pressure of a spring around the shaft.

 

You interactively tune both the E and D (or other note to which you detune), adjusting the main tuner and knurled bolt so that both are in tune. I have one on my Gibson Leland Sklar bass and it is very effective and easy to use.

 

My .02 on "how many strings?" start with four or five and decide your path from there. You can ignore the fifth string, when you first get started, if you want.

1000 Upright Bass Links, Luthier Directory, Teacher Directory - http://www.gollihurmusic.com/links.cfm

 

[highlight] - Life is too short for bad tone - [/highlight]

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I started on a 5'er, and now I'm really starting to get into 4 stringer's... I bought a Yamaha TRB-JP6 (John Pattituci signature)last year, because I thought it was a step up. I found out that alot of people don't want to play with a bassist who has 6 strings, and the people who DO want to, are usually playing "progressive" stuff... :P Since I bought my 4-banger, it has made playing a bit more challenging, creative, and it doesn't seem to scare off too many rockers... However, I still like having my Stingray5, and my custom 5'er nearby... Different strokes for different pokes... :D Now if I could only afford that Upright.... ;) But should I get a 4 or 5? High C or low B? ;)

"Suppose you were an idiot ... And suppose you were a member of Congress

... But I repeat myself."

-Mark Twain

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/63/condition_1.html (my old band)

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I think i'll get a 4 and a five. I have a wonderful plan with one of those s**ty rogues (they don't deserve capitals!). I'm going to chop of the sides of the body and put a battleaxe blade on the lower part. Sure i wont have a right thigh anymore, but wont it look cool? :D:D:D
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Originally posted by Banta:

IMO, 4 is all you actually need to play BASS. 5 is even better (the low B adds more bass range,) but anything beyond that gets up into a higher register that is better covered by other instruments.

I have to disagree. You really only NEED one string to play the bass. It just helps to have more, since you can cover more notes in a shorter amount of time, but one is all that is physically needed to play a bass (cough [washtub bass] cough).
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Can I chime in ? No ? Well I will anyway !! I'm afraid I'm one of the "any more than four and you'll lose an eye" brigade. I've only ever played fives in shops and usually for a very short time, then embarressment kicks in. The string spacing really causes bother...and that big fat one on top of my normal big fat one shakes my fillings out.

 

If I was to bring a 5 up to rehearsal my band would crack up..laughing. I might even get accused of wanting to be a musician :cry:

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if you're playing emo to metal, i don't relaly think you need a 6. maybe not even a five. i play almost all metal, and i just tune down my four string... for these styles you don't relaly need to get up real high, and if you do, you can always ride up the frets...

ps: do you play metal with pick or fingers?

- roses on your breath but graveyards on your soul -
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Originally posted by BassGuy21:

Originally posted by patrick_dont_fret:

[You really only NEED one string to play the bass.

Of course! Just look at Motley Crue...
You mean they actually played their guitars?

 

OK, for real now, I've been trying to get my 5 back that I traded for my Stingray. I really hate that I'm going to have to buy it twice. I would love to grab a Lakland, but I'm too honest to rob a bank. That Fender had an amazing tone. I already know what my problem will be. I will get too frustrated playing the five, and, since I won't get rid of my 'Ray, I'll turn to Ol' Faithful when times is tough, and I won't give it a chance and I'll end up trading it again. I really need to work on my will-power.

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If you play in a trio, I imagine a 6 could come in handy. At least for me it would, for I could tap doublestops along with the main bass line, while the guitar player solos. Detuning is fine, but in some situations, it's limiting. Steve DiGiorgio uses his 5 strings tuned like this (ex.; he may adjust this depending on the music): D A D G C, low to high.

 

I'm lucky enough at the moment to use just four strings, but now that we have a keyboardist, I'll definitely have to get a 5 or 6 soon. He uses three keyboards, so I can't expect him to pump out the low end all the time. Also, some of the songs we play now really would sound better with a 5 or 6 string. Substitutions can only do so much.

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I don't have nearly as many strings as Jeremy, only 14 but use them all on a regular basis. Lately I've been playing a lot of jazz gigs with small units, duo and trio gigs, where I get to play a lot of melodies and solos and really enjoy using the six. As discussed on another thread I've started working in the URB as well. For r&b and funk gigs my Kubicki gets the call. It's great having choices.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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