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"9-string or 4-string...THAT is the question..."


One of the fundamental decisions will be whether to go with the traditional 4-string bass, or to delve into the realm of extended range (whether 5-string or more). Some incredible music is made (and has been made) on 4-string basses like the legendary Fender Precision or Jazz basses, so one shouldn’t base this decision upon the notion that such "regular" basses are somehow outdated. Rather, it is better to consider what you, specifically, seek to say on your instrument. If the very reason you decided to be a bassist (as opposed to a flautist) is an overwhelming affinity for sub-bass frequencies that pulsate from neighboring vehicles, then you might want to consider something with a low B string. If your stylistic preferences lean more toward classic rock or folk, then your best choice is probably the good ‘ole 4. Bottom line: decide what you need, and resist the temptation to cart along extra strings that remain unused...they’ll only contribute to muting difficulties.

[Excerpted from "Bassic Communication", Christian Musician magazine (Nov/Dec ‘01). Reprinted by permission.]

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