5 string or 6 string??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Basso Gruvitas, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. Hey all,
    I would value your input. I am going to be purchasing a new high-end bass!! YEA!!!!:D

    I have played 5-string for the past 4 years and enjoy that. This time around, I'm considering going to a 6-string. I don't have any problem with the upper register and learning the notes on the C string, etc.

    I just want to make sure I don't limit myself "commercially" by getting a 6. Have any of you been TURNED DOWN for work because you have a 6? I'm not intimidated by a 6, but are the studios, producers, bandleaders, etc you work with intimidated or "turned off" by a 6? Especially with everyone interested in vintage Fenders and such (BTW, I'm NOT going to get a vintage Fender)

    I would be playing a lot of slap, jazz, RnB, Latin, Christian Worship, and top 40/variety gigs with this bass.

    What do you think?
  2. I don't think that you would be limiting yourself commercially with a 6 string bass. I have never had a bandleader say anything about me bringing a 5 string or a 6 string. He was usually mostly concerned with my playing and sound. I would say that you just need to decide whether you want to play a 6 or a 5, and leave the other part out of it.

    On a side note, I am extremely happy with switching to 6. I just prefer the feel of the wider and consequently less curved necks on these basses.

  3. Geoff,
    With a 6, Do you get much of a chance to utilize the extended upper range on the bandstand?

    I guess if you're doing a Motown medley, it would not be called for. :D
  4. When I play with the Swing band I really am not able to utilize the upper register very much, and I am not so good at Jazz improv to really want to try it there. When I play at church I do use it to a certain extent. It is mostly in the bands where we are writing ourselves (mostly rock type) that I get to use it. I also use it quite a lot playing things on my own that interest me, rather than playing in a group atmosphere.

  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Hopefully the attitude of "basses have four strings" is nearly gone by now. Fivers are so common these days, even in traditional genres such as C&W, that I can't imagine you'd hurt yourself significantly by moving up to six. Well... I suppose there's a risk of auditioners thinking "Six string bass: uh-oh, maybe this guy is all about hot-dogging and soloing". But I would hope that good musicians who are good people would not stereotype.

    That said: earlier this year I jammed with a local pro blues musician who said "Wow, I had no idea Fender was making 5-strings again". But he didn't disapprove... not outwardly!

    Bottom line: if you've found a sixer with tone and playability you like, then I say go for it.
  6. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Hey John. I saw 6 string and I had to ring in. For me it just always felt right to play six string. It's just the instrument that worked for what was in my head. If you hear things that can only be done with a six than go for. You know, even if you're looking to experiment and you believe that a six would fulfill that than go for it.

    I get a lot of compliments for the fact that I do play a six but I only use the B and C strings when it is appropriate for the music. When you first get one you'll naturally always want to play up high. As long as you remember that the meat and potatoes of your job is in the first couple of positions of the instrument than you'll do fine.

    The six can really open up a whole array of ideas that weren't there before.

    I hope this helps. If you can find a six to try for a couple of days to help you decide than of coarse that would help as well. Good luck John.

    Oh yeah, who's making your next bass?
  7. Andrew, it's good to hear from you. I appreciate your perspective.

    From what others have said about your playing, I think you and I are in similar camps as far as approach and proficiency. I have fiddled around with 6-strings for a long time, at music stores. I just thought since a 5-string was cheaper to buy and supply, I would just go with that. I also thought a bandleader would not like a 6-string bass -- "too much" (however they might define that).

    I think you hit it right on the head as far as approach. As a 5-string player, I can say there is a tasteful way to use the B string. It's not right to use it when you're simply playing La Bamba or My Girl at a wedding. I would simply apply this same "tastefulness" to the high C string...if I go this route.

    I'll PM you on who the builder is going to be - regardless of how many strings.
  8. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    I went from a 5 to a 6. I love my bass, but I have to relearn how to hold it to cut down on my wrist pain. Hardest part was learning how to deal with tight string spacing. I really do like the option of the B and the C strings instead of choosing which.
  9. Sounds like it was a mixed blessing. Was it a good thing or a bad thing?
  10. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    mixed. I think I prefer a 5 over a 6 for future basses, but not instead of. I like having at least 1 6 string. I hold mine with the neck more vertical and that helps with wrist pain. After practicing, I no longer have too much of a problem with the string spacing. I suggest having at least 1 6 string.
  11. you already know what i'll say John...:rolleyes: :D
  12. DREW!!!!

    You GOTTA still be groovin' on that Roscoe!!! That bass would make me go to a 6 in a second!!:bassist:
  13. MyNameIsMUD


    Sep 25, 2003
    hehe after reading this thread(or at least some of the parts about ppl not accepting basses with more then 4 strings..) I have come to the conclution that....

    I want a Gt7. :p
  14. Oh yea man. Everyday i find a nuance(sp?)that makes me love it even more!

    and just as some input, i'm seeing alot more sixes popping up commercially in the "utility" bass player's hands.(eg. the guys stuck in the shadows of the stage at awards shows and what not)

    Is this going to be a fretted or the fretless you were thinking about getting? Because personally i think that 6 strings lend themselves excpetionally well to the fretless realm.
  15. herrera


    Feb 15, 2002
    i was turn down by a 6 i mean...i do jazz imrpv and all that but the reg on the C string i didnt like the sound....

    i mean i change it for a 5 string with 26 frets

    so i am doing ok
  16. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I know were your comming from.
    I switched to a 6-string about a year ago.
    Only once was I told to bring a 4-string, old style blues gig.
    I tihink it more of a look, than a 5 or 6 string bass.
  17. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    As far as losing work, being discriminated aginst, etc., I don't think that a six vs. a five would have any real impact. I think that people are pretty much in two camps...those that look for a four string player, thinking that anything else is worthless OR everyone else. If someone would have a problem with a six, they're more than likely to have a problem with a five. However, extended-range basses are so popular and commonplace (as mentioned above), I don't think that it would be a real issue. Also, keep in mind that many people that are now in the music industry know nothing but five and six string basses. Many players now START on extended range basses...they don't just move up to them once they become more proficient players. The days when everyone played fours because that was all that was available (or economically feasable) appear to be long gone! :)
  18. cods


    Sep 16, 2003
    6+ string basses have so much visual presence. when you walk in with one, people go ":eek:. what's that? he must be some player!"

    i don't think anyone would be turned off by the tought of a six string, unless they are newbs to the instrument.
  19. Get a five string with a lot of frets, and if you want to go higher in pich, move up the neck.

    But if you are going to be doing a lot of slap, I suggest a 5 because of the wider string spacing.

  20. A five string with extra frets doesnt give you what a six string does...and you can get a 6 with wide spacing. :meh: