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For all the bass players involved in Hip-hop / R&B : how many strings?
Old 27th August 2008
  #1
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For all the bass players involved in Hip-hop / R&B : how many strings?

Hello everybody,

since we have a few (bass) guitar players who regularly participate to the Rap/Hip-hop forum here on gs, I'd like to use the opportunity to ask:

1) What are your preferences as far as bass guitars are concerned when it comes to Hip-hop and R&B :

4-string? 5-string? More?!

Why more than 4-strings (if it is your preference for the said music genres) ?

2) As a total beginner, I am about to buy my first bass (Schecter Stiletto Deluxe or Schecter Stiletto Custom / Studio ?) : should I better go for a 4-string model during my first years of learning and then go for a 5-string model (which are supposed to be better suited for Hip-hop)?

Or should I directly start with a 5-string bass? Will it not be an obstacle while learning how to play?

3) Lastly: are they other things that I should pay particular attention to, when buying a bass guitar that is intented for "Hip-hop" (a la Dr. Dre) or "New R&B" (a la R. Kelly, Jodeci, ...).

As always: your help is very much appreciated

AP
Old 27th August 2008
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
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Oh, and while I'm at it:

Can anybody identify the bass guitar, which is played during the first 30 seconds of the following Dr. Dre / Eminem appearance at Farmclub:



Is that Mike Elizondo? Encore Studios or Record One? In any case, the baseline simply sounds FAT: there's no better words to describe it. Hip hop at its best.
Old 27th August 2008
  #3
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matt thomas's Avatar
the bass in the first second or so looks like a gibson (4 string)

Buy Gibson SG Reissue 4-String Bass online at Musician's Friend

five string is good for rnb, but 4 string is fine. Typically you use the 5th sting very rarely. I would typically use a bass with humbucking pickups, unless it was super funky, then I might use jazz pickups

narco
Old 27th August 2008
  #4
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Thank you very much for your answers in both of my threads narco!

Now, I'm leaning towards a Schecter Stiletto Custom 4/5 or a G&L Tribute L2000/2500 as they seem to be the best basses money can buy (in Europe) for approx. 500 euros/dollars.

Here's an information pertaining to the 4 string/5 string debate I found by using google:

Quote:
4-String or 5-String?

For a long time 4-string basses were your only option. Now there are 5- and 6-string basses. The difference is a 5-string bass has an extra lower string. This allows you to play 5 lower notes than a 4-string bass in standard tuning. This is pretty low! For most styles of music you don't need these lower notes. A 4-string bass can be tuned lower to get two of those lower notes. So you only really gain three extra notes on a 5-string. If you intend to play the hardest heavy metal, you probably do want a 5-string. Those extra notes will be used often.
I think it is easier to start on 4-string. Some of the technique is easier in the beginning and changing over later is not too hard. Also, cheaper 5-string basses rarely sound very good.
Any thoughts?
Old 27th August 2008
  #5
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The studio is Encore in Burbank..Ive worked there on occasion.
the bass is a Fender...not sure which one because the head stock is not visable.
The reason for a 5 string is that you get the low B string .
Old 27th August 2008
  #6
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matt thomas's Avatar
yes I agree that cheaper 5 strings rarely (if ever) sound good on the extra string. I played five for a long time, but now play 4 string nearly all the time. I play quite a wide range of styles.

You can tune the E string down to a D if needed on a four string as your quote says.

I don't know schecter basses, the EMG pickups sounds like a good thing, but the description of the bass as having a "fast" neck usually means thin, hence less mass makes me a little suspicious, as thinner necks can mean thinner tone (but not always)

I did immediately think of the Ibanez ATK series when you said what you were looking for, they are kind of a poormans musicman, and are good value for money, but as I said I don't know the schecter so I couldn't compare

I also looked on german ebay, there are a couple of steinberger's that have low prices on them so far, these used to be mega expensive basses back in the 80's, but are not popular now due to their styling..

ESP do a copy of the gibson bass in the vid, although it probably sounds nothing like it. Epiphone do a version too, but I think its a short scale bass.

narco
Old 27th August 2008
  #7
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oh I just realised, a friend of mine plays a schecter 5 string bass, it sounds nice, although its not the same model, so that really means nothing to you. He has it as a back up to his musicman bass

the bass in the vid is definitely a gibson SG, if you mean the one in the first few seconds, there are no fenders that look like that

narco
Old 27th August 2008
  #8
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Usually my bass player uses a german custom made 5 string bass.
The instrument alone sounds dope without tweaking.
Sometimes we use a Fender jazz bass too ...

For the deep phat hiphop bass, the 5 string is the go-to piece.
Old 27th August 2008
  #9
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more strings.. more 8va

heard a bad ass bass players a few months ago on a 6 string. Went from deep plucking all the way up to sounding dam near like an EL GTR.

I was shocked.
Old 27th August 2008
  #10
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ryst's Avatar
 

I have a 5 string bass and I love having the low B as an option. Even though I might not always use it, it's there when i need it......actually, scratch that. I always use it.
Old 27th August 2008
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

i play a Ibanez 6 string but I'm going to switch to a 5 string.
Old 27th August 2008
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

From the neck width, that looks like a P-Bass. They have slightly wider necks than J-Basses. I could be wrong, though.

As for playing 4 or 5 strings, 4 is fine. If you want the low-b string, you can just buy the strings for B E A D instead of the standard E A D G tuning. Granted, some players have their 5th string as a high C, not a low B, but you could get that by having your strings A D G C. I wouldn't recommend that, though, since a) a hip-hop groove is less likely to need the high notes that the C string gives you; and b) losing the E string takes away too much of your bottom range.

Point being, it's not really a question of how many strings you have. Tony Levin has been known to play on 3 strings, because as he puts it he doesn't need that G string.
Old 27th August 2008
  #13
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You have to be careful with putting a low B on a 4 string. The extra tension on the neck won't hold up with some 4 string basses. Not all, but some so do your research.
Old 27th August 2008
  #14
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Concerning the bass being played in the video: if that really is Mike Elizondo, it could very well be a Fender Bass, as he has 4/5 vintage Fender basses (cf. 2005 Bassplayer.com interview) in his amazing arsenal of bass guitars. Couldn't it also be his vintage 4-string Sadowsky bass, which is/was one of his favorites (still according to the interview he gave in 2005 to Bassplayer) ?

As for the 4/5/+ string debate: thank you all for your help.

Bottom line: if I have the opportunity to buy a 5-string bass I should go for it and it will not be the source of any problems whatsoever, considering that I'm a total beginner?
Old 27th August 2008
  #15
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Here's a list of Mike Elizondo's 4-string bass guitars:

64 Fender Jazz Bass, '68 Jazz, '74 Jazz with a maple neck, candy apple red '62 Precision, '68 P-Bass with flatwounds, fretless '78 P-Bass with flatwounds, ’61 Gibson EB-O, '72 Rickenbacker 4001, '63 Hofner Beatle Bass, Kay Jimmy Reed bass, and a Harmony bass.

Does it help or ring a bell for anybody, as far as identifying the bass guitar in the video clip is concerned?
Old 27th August 2008
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

As someone who's sold many Shecters, I would reccomend dropping a little more money for a fender, or possibly that G & L, though I'm not up on there products anymore.

Not bashing Schecter as crap, but they do tend to skimp on quality of potentiometers, tuning heads, and the string nut. Also, as I remember they use low end EMGs that tend to be noisey, and not very controlled as far as tone, so not great for recording.

That being said, there wood selection is pretty good for the price, and you normally get a pretty good finish, though if you are stuck the idea of a Shecter, I'd reccomend having a tech redo the electronics with new pickups and pots, and buying some nice locking tuning heads. You'll probably just have to wait for the Nut to break before you can change it.

As far as 4 vs 5 string, in my opinion you have to have both. The idea of having just 2 extra notes is a bit of an over simplification, but what you gain, is more accesible playing across the neck.

If you're just starting out, by a fairly nice 4 string with the potential to be upgraded and modified to taste. But, as you get better, you're gonna want to buy a NICE 5 string. Personally Fender's fretles 5 Jazz bass with some after market Barteloni pickup's is what I'd reccomend.

As far as the bass in the video, almost sure its a SG bass due to the shape of the pick guard, the pickup butting up to the neck, and the straight in input jack
Old 27th August 2008
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autotune Prophet View Post
Here's a list of Mike Elizondo's 4-string bass guitars:

64 Fender Jazz Bass, '68 Jazz, '74 Jazz with a maple neck, candy apple red '62 Precision, '68 P-Bass with flatwounds, fretless '78 P-Bass with flatwounds, ’61 Gibson EB-O, '72 Rickenbacker 4001, '63 Hofner Beatle Bass, Kay Jimmy Reed bass, and a Harmony bass.

Does it help or ring a bell for anybody, as far as identifying the bass guitar in the video clip is concerned?

Sorry its, deffinitly that 61 gibson EB-O the equivalent to an SG bass.
Old 27th August 2008
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autotune Prophet View Post
Concerning the bass being played in the video: if that really is Mike Elizondo, it could very well be a Fender Bass, as he has 4/5 vintage Fender basses (cf. 2005 Bassplayer.com interview) in his amazing arsenal of bass guitars. Couldn't it also be his vintage 4-string Sadowsky bass, which is/was one of his favorites (still according to the interview he gave in 2005 to Bassplayer) ?

As for the 4/5/+ string debate: thank you all for your help.

Bottom line: if I have the opportunity to buy a 5-string bass I should go for it and it will not be the source of any problems whatsoever, considering that I'm a total beginner?
The only extent to which that fifth string makes things harder is that it takes more hand strength to cleanly finger notes on the lower strings. You will likely have more buzzing and other articulation-related issues on that fifth string. Other than that, it's not inherently any harder to master.
Old 27th August 2008
  #19
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Thanks you Narco and Jake Gilla: I just gave the video another view and now I'm pretty sure that both of you were right! It must take years to be able to identify a guitar like that.

Ahh I love Gearslutz! Did I already mention it?

And at the same time I hate it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Gilla
As someone who's sold many Shecters, I would reccomend dropping a little more money
Man, Jake Gilla: you seem to know your stuff. I have thought about what you and others said a couple times, and I think I'm going for the 1000 euro price range (1200 euro MAX)...

I can't believe it... I will probably end up with a much nicer guitar than my bass guitar teacher

So... now that we're talking BIG MONEY (1000 euro is a damn lot for me... best believe it), what bass guitar in the 1000/1200 euro MAXIMUM price range do you more experienced guys recommend for hip-hop and r&b ?

Why not buy a Gibson SG Reissue 4 String Bass? Although I must say I'm VERY impressed with the sound of the bass guitar on the video clip I have posted earlier on, I suppose that the reissue will not sound as nice as Elizondo's original bass.

Or can I get something even nicer for the same price? And PLEASE don't talk me into the 1500/2000 euro... won't happen, can't happen

I'm looking forward to your advices and recommendations guys! Please, try to suggest new models available in Europe, as this is were I live at the moment.
Old 27th August 2008
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Gilla View Post
Sorry its, deffinitly that 61 gibson EB-O the equivalent to an SG bass.
It's not an SG bass: The bass in the video only has a single cutaway, and a pickup selector switch like a les paul. The rest of the body does look like an SG bass though.

Everyone who said it's a Fender is just trippin'.

I don't know what it is, It might be that Kay bass in the list: The finish is shonky enough. Kay instruments do have a peculiar charm.
Old 27th August 2008
  #21
TTB
Registered User
 

I would say 5 string for R&B & Hip Hop. I usually tune my 78 P-bass down to D sometimes C# (a la Pino Palladino). But 5 string is always nice to have in studio, producers always want you to go Lower!

The bass in the video is not a fender. I think it's some type of Gibson. The Big Humbucking pick up under the Neck is real Gibsonish...
Old 27th August 2008
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTB View Post
I would say 5 string for R&B & Hip Hop. I usually tune my 78 P-bass down to D sometimes C# (a la Pino Palladino). But 5 string is always nice to have in studio, producers always want you to go Lower!

The bass in the video is not a fender. I think it's some type of Gibson. The Big Humbucking pick up under the Neck is real Gibsonish...
Speaking of Pino,
Im mixing a song with a KILLER Fender fretless right now..just gorgious and fluid.
Old 28th August 2008
  #23
g22
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Do you play guitar already? If you do, you probably could play a 5 or 6 string.

If not, I'd start with a 4 string as a beginner, until you get used to the feel of playing a bass. I remeber when I used to take lessons a long time ago, my teacher told me master a 4 string, then I could get a 5 string and so on.

Plus consider the size of you hands. If you have small hands, playing bass in general may be difficult, trying to play a 5 or 6 string would make make it more difficult.

You can always drop-tune it if you need lower than the E string, or tune it upwards if you want it higher than the B. If your using it for recording you should be ableto accomplish everything you need with a 4 string.

Personally, I like to play somewhere in the low to mid-range on bass, and use my kick for the really low end. I find that going lower than E doesn't come through very good on most ppls speakers. It may sound great on expensive monitors, but not everybody else has those. So, imo, you don't even need to go that low.

BTW, get some cool wah pedals if you want that G-Funk bass.

Good luck, and take lessons for even just few a months will help you alot, speed up your learning curve, and give you solid foundation to go off and experiment with on your own.
Old 28th August 2008
  #24
TTB
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Speaking of Pino,
Im mixing a song with a KILLER Fender fretless right now..just gorgious and fluid.
Pino kills it on the fretless! "Everytime you go" is a classic Pino Fretless bass track... But I dig a lot of his ishh off D'Angelo's Vodoo album..
Old 28th August 2008
  #25
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AFTER ALL (sorry for the confusion), I will buy something in the 500 euro price-range since I just reminded myself that I will have to carry my bass guitar on the regular through the streets to my bass teacher...

I'd much rather damage or loose a 500 euro bass (although I really don't plan to!) than a 1200 euro one.

The G&L Tribute L2000 (swamp ash body) looks like a winner so far, followed by the Schecter Diamond Custom 4 (mahagony body)... both can be had new for 500 euro (more or less).

I don't know of any other bass guitars competing within that (very limited I admit) price range. If you have other suggestions, don't hesitate to tell me about them.

If I ever buy a very nice bass guitar (meaning: $$$), I will make sure to not have to carry it outside too often.
Old 28th August 2008
  #26
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matt thomas's Avatar
G&L are really good basses, at least all the ones I've played. They'll probably hold their value too

narco
Old 28th August 2008
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
Autotune Prophet's Avatar
 

Also: if y'all could help me out on the following topic, which directly relates to this discussion on "bass guitars" I'd be very thankful:

What's the missing link: Apple MacBook / Lavry AD / Bass Guitar ?
Old 28th August 2008
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTB View Post
Pino kills it on the fretless! "Everytime you go" is a classic Pino Fretless bass track... But I dig a lot of his ishh off D'Angelo's Vodoo album..
I caught Pino last year when he was playing with John Mayer on the Paul Mc Cartney tour.
He has some of the longes fingers I have ever seen.
Old 28th August 2008
  #29
Lives for gear
I have a Schecter guitar and I changed out the pickups very fast.
For bass, I always say to use a fender. It is well worth the investment, and it sounds perfect for any genre.

I have done a lot of hip hop basslines in my day. My boy who made the most moves with them loved my jazz bass tracks raw. He would barely do anything to them and be happy with how they sat in the mix.

If you are new to bass, do not get an active bass. The only active basses that are good are the ones that cost a lot. So you can get an amazing passive american fender for the same price if not less.

I guess the lesson in music is "if you are going to do it. Do it right the first time".

So do it right and get a Fender J or P (american) and you will have an instrument for life that will sound amazing on any record you produce.

As for 5 string..that is personal preference. I think it is always good to have both. But I would say to start with a 4. A good 5 that is not **** will cost you some cash.
Old 28th August 2008
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autotune Prophet View Post
Here's a list of Mike Elizondo's 4-string bass guitars:

64 Fender Jazz Bass, '68 Jazz, '74 Jazz with a maple neck, candy apple red '62 Precision, '68 P-Bass with flatwounds, fretless '78 P-Bass with flatwounds, ’61 Gibson EB-O, '72 Rickenbacker 4001, '63 Hofner Beatle Bass, Kay Jimmy Reed bass, and a Harmony bass.

Does it help or ring a bell for anybody, as far as identifying the bass guitar in the video clip is concerned?
For the record.

65 Gibson EB-O



Notice the color and ply of pick guard, the straight in input jack, and the fat neck pickup at the end of the fretboard.


Autotune, don't forget to check the used market in your area, before you buy anything. American Fender P Bass' can be had often at a great price.
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