Archive for February, 2010

5-String Bass

My musical explorations have most recently led to the acquisition of an Ibanez Soundgear 5-String bass (model SR405).

Ibanez Bass

Ibanez Bass

It’s only very occasionally that I need notes lower than the traditional low “E”, but it does happen. Mainly the additional string seems to open up some new, more efficient fingering possibilities. That will take some adjustment, however.  I read bass clef pretty well, and with simple things I do okay, but it is amazing how the low B string changes perceptions of where the notes are on the other strings.

At this point, I’m still mainly trying to play my older bass 4-string parts on the new bass, with only occasional excursions to the new string. Right now, the problem is the frame of reference. Whether improvising, playing pre-planned parts from memory or reading bass clef, the issues are the same.

I don’t miss many notes on the G and D strings; notes on the A string (now in the middle) are the biggest culprit with the E string not real far behind.

This new bass seems to sound better than my two Rondo basses. Much of that is likely due to the fact that they are short scale (30″) and the Ibanez is long (“34”). I’d say it’s quite noticeable everywhere, though probably a bit more on the lower notes.  I would also think the active circuitry is a factor as well. The construction likely is too — this is likely made from somewhat better materials than my Rondo basses, has a 3-piece laminated maple neck, and IIRC, on this older version of the SR-405, the body is maple as well.

I can see no downside to making the permanent switch to 5 or 6 string, given that they can do everything a 4 string does.

I have redone the tune “Ramalama” using the new bass (and also redid the guitar part while I was at it):



February 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm Leave a comment

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February 2010