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5 string vs 6 string bass ... help needed

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by loie1987, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. loie1987


    Jul 21, 2013
    hi ....
    i'm intermediate bass player i thinking to buy a new bass :bassist: Do you haves any advice for those looking to make the leap from a 4 string to a 6 string bass? :help:
  2. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Depends on what you play :)

    If you do some Jazz stuff or like to play chords, then a 6 string bass is a welcome thing :)
    Also metal can have a 6 string bass in it, depending on your style / tuning / techniques and such.

    Can you tell me more about yourself? :)
  3. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND

    Practice, practice, practice.
  4. String spacing is going to be a little closer on a 6-string it might take a week or so to get a feel for it.
    Don't give up on it because "it feels so huge" people say that about my bass.
    A 4-string bass just feel like a kids toy to me now.
  5. Are you trying to decide between 5 & 6 or looking for advice on going 6?
  6. loie1987


    Jul 21, 2013

    yes i,m trying to decide between 5 & 6 String ..:confused:

    i like the 6 String Bass Because I into bass solo :hyper: but In the same time 6 String scared me Because most players who use it are advanced :bag:
  7. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    If you do solo stuff, then I would suggest the 6 string ;)

  8. Kmrumedy


    May 12, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    If you enjoy soloing just get a 5 string tuned Low E to High C. That's what many of the advanced guys are doing.
  9. Don't confuse things! Low B on a 5 string is something that is, for me, the most handy thing. Loads of the material I play in my band is in Eb, so that saves a guitar swap for those songs, but the other thing is that I can play on the B string higher up the neck, and on my Jazz, the B string sounds very similar to the E string higher up. Some of the patterns I play are easier higher up because of the slightly less distance between the frets, and even though I have big hands, the same pattern played without the bottom B is much tougher to play. I do have a 6 string, but I'm not into chords at all - that's what we have a guitarist for - and for the first few years I had it, I had it tuned with a high B, guitar style - then I was introduced to the high C instead making the octaves easier. I'd not thought of this one. I don't use it that often because it's a bit heavier, but it's really handy for two octave jump ups.

    A 5 string would be my suggestion - especially if you need Eb and of course a lovely bottom C if you play stuff in that key. My favourite end for many songs is a C, G and then down to the bottom C - sounds really good.
  10. ddhm


    Mar 18, 2011
    Memphis Tn USA
    The number of strings is solely dependent on what you want to do, not the style of music you play. The long and short of it is that there are only 12 notes and repetitions of those. If you like the idea of having more notes in one position, more strings is the answer.
    That aside, when we first picked up our 6 stringers, we weren't advanced players. You have to start somewhere :) You want a 6'er? Go for it. If you find that you don't like it, sell it. At least you will have tried it and will know if you like it.
    I'd also like to add: there are 6 stringers that have a "normal" string spacing.
    I've played a 6 for ... gosh, at least 10 years now and I couldn't see myself playing anything less. Best of luck with anything you decide.
  11. I made the switch in August, after spending a month of heavy practice on a four string at Berklee. Just do it. Seriously.

    At first it's confusing, but after a month or two, I felt at home. I still play four string, and both six and four feel comfortable.
  12. It depends - do you want a high C string? Then go for the 6er, but if all you really want is earth-shaking lows - then go for the 5er.

    Maybe you should go to your local GC (or other music store), and just try them out - see what you like.

    Personally I don't care to have a higher string than G, and a 5er is fine.
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I like 6 string basses a lot. The only reason I don't play a 6 is I like the thinner neck on a 5.
  14. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I strongly recommend getting a 6 string first. Not only because you will use the extended upper range for solos, but also because a 5 or 6 string bass is a different animal than a 4 string bass. And if you want to learn to play that different instrument then a 6 string really does it because it forces you to do all the right things. It forces you to get used to the wide neck, to keep your thumb on the back of it, to develop your string damping, and to use extended range (both up and down) tastefully. Quite frankly I never got what a 5 string was all about until I got my first 6 string.

    Once you get 6 going 5 is a piece of cake. It's a 6 without the solos and chords. Hey, if you are just grooving away you don't need the 6. Sometimes (like my G&Ls) they aren't even made in 6 strings. But 6 is the key to it all. I don't know I'd call the cross-neck scales "advanced". I'd just call them "different" and something to learn as opposed to the up and down the neck thing of a 4 banger.

    So just dig in. I tell you, you are gonna love it!
  15. The transition time in moving from 4 to either 5-6 strings is really quite minimal. A little wider neck... Narrower string spacing... Just keep note of the location of your EADG strings and everything else will fall into place. You will start noticing new, interesting patterns in the fretboard.

    The biggest issue you'll face is the verbal/written baggage that comes with ownership of a +4 string bass. (For example, you will always hear from the "Jaco only needed 4" people.)
  16. This is true. I made things even worse for myself by tuning it F#BEADG "why do you think you need notes that are so low" or when I drop tune to DADGCF (D0 18.35hz) "nope that won't make any sound".
    People will be dumb.
    Bottom line if you want a 6 get one and play the hell out of it.
  17. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Never tried a Ibanez SR 6 stringer? ;)

  18. Thrash3r


    Aug 5, 2013
    Still a big neck compared to a 5 string.
  19. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Yes but he was talking about a thin neck, not big :p

  20. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Some people just can't make the transition as it is too wide, require a different less-sloppy technique.

    Before getting a 5 or 6 I already knew what notes I'll find where so when I go the instrument it was already ingrained in my mind and felt natural from the start.