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New Bass Player?


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I'm going to pick up the bass, and had a couple questions. I searched for the answers but I couldn't find the answers anywhere, maybe I'm just stupid. (I'm thinking the latter is probably correct.) I was curious if I were to buy a 4 string bass what would I lose from not having a 5/6 string bass. Would you recommend starting out on a 4 string? Are there songs that can only be played on 5+ string basses that can't be done on a 4 string bass? Thanks
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# of strings is a matter of personal taste, but i'd say 4 would be a good start. try posting this in the bass forum, [url=http://www.musicplayer.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=5&submit=Go]"Low Down Lowdown."[/url] there are some very helpful guys over there, and not as many jokers.
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I agree with Dan on this one. As a bass player myself for over 14yrs I can say that starting out on a 4 is a good idea. After a couple of years of playing the 4 and understanding what goes into making a bass line...feel, timing, spacing, articulation...then you can start looking at moving to a 5 or 6. The biggest advantage of starting with a 4 is that it is easier to 'read' the guitarists' hand on the fretboard. For example, the lowest string on a 4 is an E which is the same string as a guitar. So if you see the guitarists finger on the third fret of the E string you know that thats the same fret/string position as your 4 string bass. On a 5 and 6 that is not necessarily true. Usually the low string on a 5 and 6 is a B, and the E is beneath the B. What Im saying is that it can get very confusing and frustrating trying to remember those things when you first start. Go whit a 4 string for right now. If it ends up that you really like playing bass then in awhile you can always move to a 5 or 6. Just my .02 ikestr
...hertz down low....
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Start on a 4 string. I personally have messed around with 5-6 strings, but nothing feels as natural as a 4. I agree with the poster who said that it is easier to follow a guitar player on a 4 as well. Take a look at the Carvin LB-70. Great bass for a mid price. Also, checkout the lowdown (bass) forum on here.
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Start out on a four string.I think it would easier for a beginner to learn on. I've been playing about 11 years so I'm speaking from experience.Carvin Lb70s are great basses I've owned mine for a little over two years and I'm still totally satisfied with it.
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Thanks all. I looked up "Carvin" on musiciansfriend.com and didn't net any results. Is it known by another name...or do they just not carry any? I found it at carvin.com but, sorry to be a complete moron, what is the difference between a fretless/fretted bass? Err, ok last question. What options would you recommend? I don't really want to go much over the 669$ price tag.
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Carvins are factory direct only so they won't be in stores except for their So California showrooms or used.A fretless bass doesn't have frets which are the metal bars that run horizontal on the fretboard.When playing them you have to watch your intonation by placing your fretting fingers where the fretmarkers are or you will get an out of tune note.
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Start by finding a SYMPATHETIC TEACHER......yeah, I know, really boring answer. You'll save yourself years of self-inflicted idiot-dom by starting with a guide to your new-found pastime/hobby/profession and if they're any good, they'll guide you in finding and buying an instrument. I know this is all very dry, but it's all true. Oh, yes, I mean a bass teacher, not a guitarist who "does a bit of bass too, if I have to".
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Yes fretless basses sound differant.When you use roundwound strings on them you get a nice growl frequently refered to as "mwah" for a great example of this sound listen to Jaco Pastorius.When you use flatwound strings on them you get a deeper,thuddier sound somewhat like an upright bass.Some people consider fretless to be more expressive as it can simulate the human voice in a way.If you get into fretless I highly reccomend listening to Jaco.Two good places to start would be his self-titled debute album and Bright Sized Life by Pat Methanny
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Fretless has a different tone and allows you to do some articulations like vibrato and smooth slides. That said, start with a fretted bass. It's more versatile and more widely used. If you listen to the radio, 499 songs out of 500 are played on a fretted bass. Why not go with the type that's most in demand. Besides, it's easier to play a fretted bass, because you don't have to concentrate constantly on keeping it in tune. You can add a fretless later if you really want to go in that direction, just prepare yourself for a lot of work. I'll reiterate my recommendation for starting on a four-string. Four-stringed instruments are extremely popular (bass, bass giutar, cello, viola, violin). There's a symmetry to four strings that your mind can adapt to quickly and easily. Adding additional strings makes the relationships more complicated - not what you need when you're starting out. I play a five-string most of the time, but whenever I pick up a four I find the simplicity of it to be very comfortable and refreshing. Good luck!

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Definitely go for a 4 string fretted to start off with. Carvins are good basses, I've played several of their basses at their showroom in San Diego. They have a model called the B4 which is a bolt on 4 string and very good quality. Also you may want to check out some Fender Jazz basses, either made in Mexico or made in USA. You can find some good deals on ebay if you dont mind a used bass. Ive bought several used basses off ebay and have been pleased with all of them. ikestr
...hertz down low....
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Carvins are fine, but I'd go for an American Jazz or Precision if you can swing it. A clean, used Music Man Stingray is another excellent choice. The Mexican basses are fine, also, but the materials seem a little cheaper (no fault of the people who assemble the basses). You really can't go wrong with any of these choices. Find one that FEELS right, and you've got your instrument.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Dan, I respectfully totally disagree on the Fender vs. Carvin. Everything (new) I have played by Fender under $1000 or so is spotty at best. I learned on a Jazz and played it for years. Aftr moving to a Rick 4001, which I had for years, I moved to various Steinbergers, which I still think are some of the most versatile and consistent basses around. But when buying new now, I really think it is hard to beat a Carvin, especially when you consider the price and guarantee they offer. I know many people feel you can't go wrong with a Fender, but there are many brands of bass guitar under $1000 that I think knock the socks off most anything Fender has to offer... [url=http://www.carvin.com]www.carvin.com[/url]
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Our bass player has been playing a very long time and has never seen any reason to play anything but a 4 string, fretted bass. Not that you may not want to try something different down the line, but if you can't become a good bass player with that, it's not your bass's fault. He plays a recent model Fender Jazz, I believe a Mexican one, which was not very expensive, and he's perfectly happy with it. It must be nice not to be so fussy about equipment, I wish there were some cheap guitar that I really liked. :D Maybe a DanElectro.
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the 4 vs. 5 string question seems to have more to do with a) what kind of music you like; b) what kind of music you see yourself playing. What kinds of basses do the bassists you listen to use? I see no reason why you couldn't start out learning on a 5 or 6. It's really a matter of taste. For rock, at least in my experience, nothing beats a 4 (and I was on 5 as my main instrument for 3 years so I know). But YMMV, and if you're into the big B string or the high C and it goes with the kind of music you want to play, go for it. --JES, 21 years a bassist
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[quote]Originally posted by deanmass: [b]Dan, I respectfully totally disagree on the Fender vs. Carvin. Everything (new) I have played by Fender under $1000 or so is spotty at best. ... I know many people feel you can't go wrong with a Fender, but there are many brands of bass guitar under $1000 that I think knock the socks off most anything Fender has to offer... [/b][/quote]I suppose that it's a matter of taste, Dean. I had a Jazz many moons ago and sold it to buy a Carvin 4-string. The Carvin was my main bass for 15 years. When I finally had the frets redone, the dude botched the job, so I decided to try something new. Next was a Carvin LB75, but I found the neck difficult to adjust and I never warmed up to the tight string spacing. Finally, I started getting back into Fender (and Fender-inspired) basses, and they just seem so "right!" I eventually donated my Carvins to a couple of SSS forum members. Before I let them go, I played both of them "one last time." The magic was gone. I'm just WAY more into the Fender-inspired designs, now. I guess it's a personal thing. If a player wants to try a REALLY nice bass at a steal of a price, try the Lakland Skyline series. I was blown away by their quality/price ratio.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Agreed. Alot of it is totally subjective. I still love the basic Fender design, but almost everything I ever pull off the wall has dead spots or some kind of electrical bug-a-boo. I wish I still had my first Jazz, as it was worlds better than most of the newer ones I have sampled. I have played some of the higher end 'special edition' Fenders, and thought they were very nice, but they are priced accordingly. I have heard good things about the Lakland stuff, but have not run into any locally. I also agree with the person who mentioned Peavey. I have owned quite a few of their 6 strings, and some were the outstanding, especially considering the cost ( A Destiny, in particular.)
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[quote]Originally posted by deanmass: [b]I have heard good things about the Lakland stuff, but have not run into any locally. [/b][/quote]Dean, Do yourself a favor and try out some Lakland stuff when you get a chance (55-94, Joe Osborn, etc.). It's some amazing gear! D

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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