Four On The Floor
I only play four string basses and I'm gonna tell you why. When Leo Fender invented the modern electric bass in 1951 he gave it four strings for a reason....because it was the optimum number of strings for grooving.
The man knew exactly what he was doing and who are we to argue with genius?
So let's take a look at why four string basses are really the only way to play bass properly.
Take a five string bass....what do you get? You get five extra notes, that's it. I think the main reason some play a fiver is simply because they want that low "B" string sound. The problem is that you sacrifice maximum groove potential for the sake of that lumbering, barely audible low "B", as if the low "E" string isn't low enough for the human ear.....come on!
The four string is the standard set up that as been time tested for generations. Just about every rock song you've ever heard, featured the classic four banger. Even today most studio tracks are recorded with a four string basses.
Put a four string bass in the hands of any capable bassist and the sky's the limit. James Jamerson, Donald Duck Dunn, John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney, John Entwistle, Jaco Pastorius, Carol Kaye, Larry Graham, Flea, Sting, Aston "Family Man" Barret...all dedicated four stringers, and the list goes on and on.
Less is Better
I can hear the argument from many of you, "it's time to move on past four strings, it's time to update, to modernize."
Well you're wrong...the standard upright double bass has four strings today just as it did a zillion years ago and for good reason, that's all you need. I think every bass player who plays five or more strings should play a four string bass for a year, just to get back to basics and realize that is where the groove is at.
See what you can do with four strings and then maybe you will be begin to understand the beautiful simplicity of the four string bass. Then when you go back and play your five or six string bass, you'll be shocked to realize that a four stringer is all you need. So put down that five or six or ten string bass and pick yourself up the classic four and enter Groove City.
Join the vast and venerable history of four on the floor bass players and lock in to a tight pocket. And by the way, six is right out.