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Post new topic Origin of the 5-string bass?
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Author Topic:  Origin of the 5-string bass?
Frank Freniere


From:
Chicago, IL
Post  Posted 24 Dec 2017 10:28 am    
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I was surprised to hear a super-low bass line in an old (1966) song by Paul Revere and The Raiders, "Hungry." So is that when the 5-string bass with the low B made its appearance?

Give a listen: http://picosong.com/wRL7d
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 24 Dec 2017 11:02 am    
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Five string double basses apparently premiered in the 18th century. Looks like the earliest ones went higher instead of lower but they had lower ones in the late 1800s.
http://www.billbentgen.com/bass/5_string-basses.htm

Don't know about electric basses. Of course, Fender made a six string in the sixties but again, it went higher instead of lower.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 24 Dec 2017 11:20 am    
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That's a great link, Bill - stuff I thought I knew plus loads more besides!
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Skip Edwards


From:
LA,CA
Post  Posted 26 Dec 2017 10:12 am    
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Exactly, Bill...Fender came out with a 5 string bass in '66, but it had a high C string instead of a low B.



I'll bet you that Phil Volk - or whoever played bass on the cut - just tuned their E string down.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 26 Dec 2017 10:22 am    
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When I played bass I would tune down to D for the odd song, but as a producer I didn't like it! I thought it sounded artificial. For centuries we have been used to E being absolute zero.
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Pete Bailey


From:
Seattle, WA
Post  Posted 26 Dec 2017 11:18 am    
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I don't have any historical insight but just as a point of reference, I purchased a 5-string Fender Jazz Bass in 1993 with a low B as the "first" string, so they've been around for at least 25 years now.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 26 Dec 2017 11:43 am    
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From everything I read, mid-late 70s is when they started filtering in (at least, low-B electric basses...as has been mentioned, 5 string low B uprights have been around a while and Fender had a 5 and 6 string with higher pitched strings). Anthony Jackson had a six-string built in '75 it sounds like that would've had the lower string.

I've only really played one 5 string bass that I preferred to a 4 string. Ibanez Gary Willis signature, fretless with briteflats...borrowed it and fell in love, but had to give it back. Generally I'm a 4 stringer, although I do have a Danelectro baritone strung like the Fender Bass VI...
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