Thursday, May 8, 2008

String Theory

No, not that kind. Some of the entertainment at last weekend's Cinco de Mayo festival was provided by a really good R&B band. Not very Mexican but they had their own brand of hot sauce. I took this picture of the bass player with a 400 mm lens. Only when I looked it at the computer did I see that his instrument had five strings. I used to own both an electric guitar and an electric bass in my wayward youth. (Couldn't play either of them worth a damn.) The bass had four strings, the regular guitar had six strings unless it didn't because it was a twelve-string and, well, that's how it was. Never heard of a five string bass before. Can one of you musicians out there illuminate the subject?

TOMORROW: Mother, son, bunny ears.

7 comments:

Lana said...

Not my instrument, so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but 5- and 6- string basses are pretty commmon. 5-stringers have an extra low string (B-E-A-D-G) and 6-stringers have an extra low and high (B-E-A-D-G-B). Basses with more strings exist but are less common. Also I remember a band with a two-stringed bass but the name escapes me...?

Lana said...

Ah, google tells me it was Mark Sandman (RIP) of Morphine, worth checking out if you don't know them.

Mo said...

Don't know but cool photo.

arlenestarr said...

5 string basses have become rather popular in the last 10 years or so.

It allows much more tonal range and the 5th string can be added below the E string most often as a B or above the G string usually at C if I am bot mistaken.

Hope that helps, BTW: beautiful photo!

yawetag said...

Lana is correct, according to Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_guitar#Strings_and_tuning

babooshka said...

The reflection in his glases is amazing. Such a sharp image.

Gregg said...

I play with several different bassists. About half of them play with a 5-string as their primary instrument. I suspect that it got popular with a lot of the metal "drop tuning" that was going on with the guitars. Not a lot of basses can drop their tuning much without the strings getting too slack, so maybe that's why the low B became popular.

I don't personally know anyone that plays a 6-string bass, though. To me, they look amazingly wide, like playing on a 2 x 6!

John Myung in Dream Theater usually plays one. I'm sure you could find a video on YouTube. As a bonus, their guitarist frequently plays a 7-string guitar.