5 or 6 String Bass with 8 String Guitar?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jason_442, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. Jason_442

    Jason_442 Inactive

    Dec 13, 2015
    Fremont, Ca.
    Hello all new member here.

    I'm going to be doing a project with a 8 string guitar tuned to standard tuning. (F#, B, E, A, D, G, B, E)

    I'm looking at these basses...

    B-206SM NS

    B-5E NS

    Which would be best for tuning to a 8 string guitar? The 5 string felt fine but the 6 string will take some getting used to. I'd really like to get to those low tunings to match the guitar.

    Thanks a lot!

  2. Mechayoshi


    Dec 7, 2015
    Meshuggah uses a 5 string with their 8 strings. I mean technically a 6 adds a higher string not a lower one. I think you could get way with just a five string, especially if your aren't going to be soloing on the higher strings.

    Edit: one of your links are broken btw.
    Bikes_n_Bass and bholder like this.
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I like that avatar! :thumbsup:
    Jason_442 likes this.
  4. Jason_442

    Jason_442 Inactive

    Dec 13, 2015
    Fremont, Ca.
    You know I was thinking that about the 5 string but I could string the 6 string to match the low to high strings of the 8 string guitar?
  5. Mechayoshi


    Dec 7, 2015
    Well you cant match all of the strings obviously.It just depends on what you're trying to do with your project. I just assumed you wanted to match the lower range but if that's want you what, get the 6. Just make sure you can get comfortable with it.
  6. Jason_442

    Jason_442 Inactive

    Dec 13, 2015
    Fremont, Ca.
    Well I'm a guitar player from the old school, I'm 42 been playing guitar since I was 15. All this drop tuning is fairly new to me. I've playing my 6 string guitar in drop C now for the last few years. I have been playing bass for almost as long always in standard tuning. But the guitarist I play with picked up a 8 string. So this is a totally new thing for both of us. So I will be picking up the bass again for this project. (It's been quite some time) As to where its going we don't even know yet. So I'm trying to find what will work best from some of you that have dabbled in this realm? Will the 35'' really make that much difference with that low F#?

    (Are the links fixed? and thanks for the help btw)
  7. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Nolly Getgood from Periphery owns a 6 string bass guitar tuned F# B E A D G to match the 8 string guitars. Dick Lovgren from Meshuggah owns a lot of 5 string basses (like said above), but he is tuned to a drop tuning : drop Bb (Bb F Bb Eb Ab). The main difference between these 2 bands / players / tunings is that Dick actually never uses the low Bb string for the 8 string songs, since the 8 string guitars are tuned half a step down to F standard. He simply plays in the same octave all the time like the 8 string guitars, so in his case a 4 string is even enough.

    As for you I would like you to find out for yourself in what way you actually need a 6 string bass. If he 8 string guitars are hitting the F# string the most of the time, then a 5 string would fit. If they do some more rythmic stuff (and with that use the higher strings as well), a 6 string is good.
  8. Jason_442

    Jason_442 Inactive

    Dec 13, 2015
    Fremont, Ca.
    Don't think I will really benefit from a 6 string bass other then it being cumbersome for me to play. It just felt a bit to wide on the neck to me. Does having a 35'' scale make a big difference for those low tunings? The 5 string in my budget is only 34''.
  9. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    It could help slighty, but not necessary. A 34 inch scale can work as good as well.

  10. Jason_442

    Jason_442 Inactive

    Dec 13, 2015
    Fremont, Ca.
    I would also like to know how much of a difference will the passive pickups with the active EQ vs active pickups make? For the lower B and F# will it make it more pronounced and heard less muddy?
  11. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Not much you can do about making a low F# more pronounced and less muddy on a bass aside from strings as thick as elevator cables. The best you can try and do is to use a capable rig, particularly the cabinet, but that kind of frequency isn't really meant to be heard (flame away, I know this sentiment irritates the drop tune crowd.)
  12. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I'd go for a 5 personally. I own a couple 6s, and they play fine, but I find them a little fatiguing. Also, 6s typically had a high c, though if you widen the nut slots, you could go lower instead. For that matter, you could tune a 5 F# B E A D if you'd really wanted to.

    All of that said, I'm skeptical of going that low. It's hard enough to get a good B string sound, let alone an F#. I've argued about this with guys before, who claim that they great sounds out of them, but the fundamental is at the bottom edge of human hearing, and beyond what most amps can reproduce clearly.
  13. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    Pretty much no difference
  14. Jason_442

    Jason_442 Inactive

    Dec 13, 2015
    Fremont, Ca.
    Thanks for all the input everyone. I really appreciate it a lot of music stores I go into have no idea what I'm talking about. And the info I find online is very mixed. I'm going to stick with a 5 string felt better when I played both and I can totally see a 6 being fatiguing now that you said that. Didn't spend much time testing them in the store to notice that. I might just stay in standard tuning for now and compensate I think its 2nd fret B string for that open F# stuff on the 8 string guitar. If that don't work out drop the tuning on the bass to match the guitar. And that ESP B-5E NS is neck-thru with a ebony fret board so much nicer.
  15. colantalas


    Mar 26, 2014
    It's worth noting that Nolly uses Dingwalls, varible scale basses with something like 37" scale length on the low string, that's how he gets away with having the F# an octave below an 8-string guitar's low string. In my experience anything below G on a traditional five string 34" scale bass turns to mud pretty quick, so for most basses I think the Dick Lovgren approach is the best one.
    lz4005 and Callan like this.
  16. Menorahman

    Menorahman Inactive

    Aug 13, 2015
    Nashville, TN
    if you want a really good B you need fanned frets

    35'' will get you an ok B
  17. That 6 string LTD has a 35" scale. It would handle the low tuning the best
  18. BlastGatr


    Jan 15, 2014
    Central Indiana
    That's subjective. I think 35" is a fairly solid B.

    You can get light strings and tune the top four strings up two semitones to match the F# without needing to fret 2 when he's playing open notes. I would match octave with the guitar, that's what I do with Drop E.
  19. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    I've used a 6 string strung F#(low),B,E,A,D,G (with Circle K strings) vs. B-C. It worked, but proper amp/PA support is needed for anything below B. In the end, I like playing 4s and 5s better.
  20. Callan


    Oct 29, 2014
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Nolly does go low, but his "amp" is a Fractal, and most of what you hear from his bass is the distorted harmonic octave of his bass, not the actual low F/F#...you're talking sub-30 Hz there, and most PA's you would be playing are not going to physically be able to continually reproduce that low (unless you're playing every venue with a DB linearray and subs, in which case, nevermind). The 5 tuned Bb/F/Bb should be more than suitable, re: Meshuggah. Personally I wouldn't recommend going much lower than Ab on a 5 - think Between the Buried and Me (Dan tunes Ab/Db/Ab), The Acacia Strain, Suicide Silence, Chelsea Grin (might even be just A?), etc. F# is MIGHTY low, and while you might be able to hear it on your own, once you get in the mix you'll likely just be drowned out.

    As far as scale length, I have my 35" Spector tuned to B with 130's, which is good for me, and my custom built 36" tuned to A with 135's. Just some thoughts. If you go "up" (Bb/F), I think regular 130's on a 35" would be perfect. Circle K does have a large variety of gauges for doing this kinda stuff.
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