6 string alternative.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mike M., Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    The "alternative to a 5 string" thread got me thinking.

    Has anyone here tried stringing up thier 5 string basses E thru C? I tried out a 6 string bass a while ago and while I was very intrigued by it, another bass purchase is out of the question.

    So I'm thinking about trying E thru C on an old 5 string bass I have to see if that higher string would even agree with me in the long haul. It may and it may not.

    My other 5 string is staying B thru G, but I feel like experimenting a bit with the other.
  2. I bought one of the first Ibanez 5 strings back in the '80s, and nobody I knew had ever seen such a thing before. It came with another nut already cut for E through C strings, so the idea has been around for at least 25 years if not longer.

    If you're into higher notes or chords, a high-5 bass is a great way to go.

    I recommend a new nut and a good setup.
    When strings are in too-wide of a nut slot, they can buzz and create weird overtones, and it might cost you some volume and sustain.

    Go for it.
  3. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I know Steve Swallow plays one. Gary Willis' "Bass Lite" is an Ibanez ATK 5 strung with a high C. I had a bass teacher in college who played a Modulus with one and a Hipshot D tuner so that he could have the range of a 6 while only playing a 5.

    I'm sorry I don't have any personal experience doing this I just went for the 6.

    Rev J
  4. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    But I have to contribute that the only way to approach a 6er extension on a 5er, without tunin' it by 5ths, it's usin' a bass extender and downtunin' it a full step

    I mean... You take a 5er you decide to string E, A, D, G, C, then place a Hipshot bass extender (if E machinehead's open to do that) so that you go D, A, D, G, C
    Finally you downtune it a full step:
    D, G, C, F, Bb and whenever your bass extender works: C, G, C, F, Bb
    This way you're just a half step up from 6er low B and a full step down from 6er high C

    Otherwise I don't really get how your teacher could cover the extended range of a 6er with regularly tunin' 5er and detuner.

  5. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I believe (and I could be wrong) that you can adjust a Hipshot to go down to any pitch below the one it's tuned to with the only limitation being the distance between tuning heads. I also read recently they have an extender key with 2 adjustable stop points so you can detune to any 2 notes.

    Also realize I'm trying to remember about 20 years ago. I seem to remember him telling me that the bass in question was a Modulus 6 that he had a new nut made for and the extra tuning machine removed because he didn't like the spacing on the 5. This is the best of my recollection and I could be completely wrong on this.

    Rev J
  6. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    The first 5-string bass, the Fender V, was strung E-C.
  7. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Absolutely. I briefly had a four-string tuned CGCF with the Hipshot set all the way down to A, in order to handle a Mastodon cover in AGCF tuning that my band played in its live set.
  8. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    A lot of people here use EADGC on their fivers. It is a matter of opinion if that gives you an alternative to a six string just it is a matter of opinion if BEAD gives you an alternative to a fiver. If you plan to stay in the high range on the six and the low range on the five then those two tunings do let a five and a four do the job for you. I tune my fiver CGDAE so it really does give me more than the range of a BEADGC six.

  9. Mikio


    Feb 21, 2009
    Santiago de Chile
    Not a new concept, many people go EADGC, as stated before.