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6 for solo bass? Why?

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by trainyourhuman, Jan 4, 2001.


  1. trainyourhuman

    trainyourhuman Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2000
    MI
    I recently placed an order for a Modulus 6 string bass. I fell in love with the one I played in the store, but it was sold! The one I ordered has the fretted granadillo fretboard with EMG 3band electronincs. Steve, I have read your interviews on this site, browsed your site, and read your reviews of your oteil bass. I guess that I am asking for a more comprehensive review...

    Why do you choose the 6 over the 4 in a solo situation? Are the "limitations" of a 4 string so apparent? I decided on a 6 because I was playing 3 fours, one tuned BEAD, one tuned EADG, and one tuned ADGC. TO me, the 6 seemd like the perfect answer to my "problem". How did you settle on your 6?
     
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi G,

    I went for the 6 because I wanted a bass that did everything - I can go from dub-heavy reggae, to highend soloing in a heartbeat. For solo stuff it means that I can overdub things across the full range of the bass, and reach some bigger interval chords without switching instruments.

    I still use 4 string a lot for solo stuff - my only current fretted bass is a Modulus Q4, which I love, and have been playing pretty much all day today! :oops:) My 6 is just a sort of 'ultimate bass' idea - all that range, all that tone, and it looks that good - almost too good to be true, if it wasn't behind me on a stand waiting to be played... :oops:)

    I don't think that 6 string is intrinsically better for solo bass - Michael Manring, Victor Wooten, Michael Dimin (I think Mike plays 4...), and a host of other guys do amazing work on a 4 string, and if you listen to my album, all the fretted stuff on there is a 4 string. I just like a challenge, and 6 string fretless is about the biggest challenge I could envisage (though I did wimp out and get fretlines... :oops:)

    Congratulations on choosing such a great bass - what's the rest of the spec on your forthcoming 6 string? pickups? wood?????

    cheers

    Steve
    http://www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  3. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    G
    I would have to agree with Steve, there is nothing intrinsically better about a 6. The only limitations ae those that you set for yourself. The instrument whether it has 3 strings or 7 is only a tool. The music comes from within you! It is up to each of us to determine which tool works best. Personally, I feel so comfortable with 4 strings that I rarely look to more strings for my solo work.

    It does seem that you have thought out your "problem" well and have decided on an elegant solution. Congratulations on the new bass

    Mike Dimin
     
  4. trainyourhuman

    trainyourhuman Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2000
    MI
    Steve, I ordered the EMG pickups with EMG 3 band eq. My bass is going to have the usual quilt maple top with a transparent honey finish. Modulus does not usually use this finish on basses, only guitars. Paired with the granadillo fretboard, it should be beautiful.

    I brought up this subject, because I read that your 6 had become your voice, and I was wondering how that came about? Was the transition an easy one? I only do one solo spot in a two hour show, so it may not be as critical for me. My trusty jazz bass is in no danger of being replaced.

    Mike, The funny thing is I have always done my solos on my EADG bass, a jazz. I think that I could use the extra range to my advantage, though. We'll see won't we. Thank you both for your encouragement.
     
  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    that sounds gorgeous!!

    It came about through looking for a new challenge I guess... I'd had a four string fretless for about a year, and was loving playing it, but felt that the tone would lend itself to an extended range instrument... Making the transition to initially playing the 6 was relatively painless. A week after I got it I took it on tour with Howard Jones, so I just jumped in at the deep end. As for the solo stuff, I just practiced a lot. I'm left handed which I guess would make chording on a fretless a lot easier.. I still can't really do too much two handed stuff on it, but that seems to work better for me on fretted anyway...

    cheers

    Steve
    http://www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  6. trainyourhuman

    trainyourhuman Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2000
    MI
    Steve, what do you think of the lane poor pickups? What preamp do they come with in your bass?

    I guess that I decided on a 6 because it just seemed logical to me. I literally have been using 3 basses, all tuned differently. I have found, and others have told me that I sound like a different player on each bass, which is kind of unsettling to me. Right now, my thought process is that I will have the 6 and the 4. The 6 will be the utility instrument, and the four will be the ace up my sleeve. I hear things in my head that would seem to be better served on a 6 string bass. Its my own wacky logic, but then, I guess that is all that I need.

    Thanks
     
  7. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    I really love the Lane Poors! Great clear sound. I like 'em so much I had them put in my four string fretted and have a jazz set to put in my fretless. They aren't as quiet as some pickups (if I really crank the treble on the bass and the amp it's not really useable, but it sounds crap anyway so where's the problem? :oops:) but sound really good.

    The preamp is a Bartolini three band. I actually ordered it with a two band, which they got wrong, and I'm really glad they did - the mid range is really useful... :oops:)

    the passive sound of the pickups is lovely - that's when you can really tell the difference that the hollow chamber on the bass makes - in active mode, it's kind of covered up by the tone controls, but in passive you can hear a slight acoustic edge to the sound that is lovely.

    cheers

    steve
    http://www.steve-lawson.co.uk