6 string bass advantages

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Masterbasser71, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. 6 string bass advantages....disadvantages...What are they? I have been wanting a Spector 5 string neck-thru bass, but recently on my 4-string Jazz I have started to use the upper registers and can only wish for a bass with more high registers. My question is....stick with getting the 5er or go 6 and get those extra uppers on my Spector Euro? Help! :help:
  2. Its different for everyone. I there are a few reasons I like it. I like going across the strings instead of going up the neck to reach notes.. I like being able to slap octave stuff from the D string with the octave up on the C string. I like to play melodies sometimes in the upper register in an octave you cant do on a 4 string. Plus it opens the possibility for more chordal stuff.

    Disadvantages. The only two I can think of are wider neck and more expensive for a set of strings and limited selection (atleast if you buy strings locally). Unfortunatly, my local music stores have reduced their stock of 6 string sets so I either have to order or pay an arm and a leg for a set.

    To be honest, I kind of fell into playing 6 string. I have a Modulus Q6 that I kinda just fell into. I wasnt particularly looking for a 6 but ended up with one. In hindsight, I wouldnt mind playing a 5 string with a high C instead of a low B.

    If you feel as if you would need a higher register than a jazz bass, then I dont see why not go with a 6er. Actually, for some reason, I found it easier going from a 4 to a 6er than 4 to a 5 (dunno why).
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    For me, I like having the high C for chording and stuff. I seldom go below a Low B, so a five string with a high C and a Hipshot Xtender is quite ideal for me, but I can't get used to an odd number of strings. I love sixers, even though the B doesn't get much use.
  4. Maybe the odd number of strings is my issue too.. It just doesnt seem "uniform" to me.. But I have more problem playing a 5 with a low B then I do with a high C
  5. Thats what i was going to suggest

    I hardly use my 6 string for the fact its a 6 string, i got it cus it was cheaper than the 4 string equivilant where i was looking, and hell, people seem to think you must be good if you've got 6 strings ;)
  6. There are more advantages than disadvantages. I have 4string Jazz Bass, 5string G&L L2500 and 6string Cort Artisan. I percieve this problem in this way: For mostly groove playing like funk, R'N'B, pop I use 4 and 5 string depending on tone demands, but 6 string is my favorite when musicality is needed, chords, melody etc...
    If you can afford only one bass, go for 6string, because with it you can ALMOST play anything. With 4 and 5str bass you can't play chords and melodies as good as with 6. But my general rule is: LESS STRING = BETTER AND MORE FOCUSED GROOVE.;)

    All the best!
  7. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    size vs more possibilities.

    I really liked the tonal variations on my 6 string - and chords do sound great with that C string. But I`ve pretty much went back to 4 strings due to size and comfort issues. While I can and did gig a lot with a 6 string, I just feel much more comfy with an 4 stringer.

    I will buy an active 5 stringer in some not to distant future, but I doubt I`ll return to 6 strings anytime soon.
  8. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    I was stuck on this point for a while before I ordered my 6. I knew I would use the low B of a 5, but I didn't want to regret not having the high C down the road. When I received the bass, I couldn't stop playing the B or the C.

    As bobbykokinos said, the wider neck could pose a problem. That is unless you have unsually long fingers like me. :) I find the neck on my 6 to be the most comfortable neck I have played.
  9. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    I was faced with this same decision late last spring, I chose 6 and for me, it was the best decision. I find going back to my 4 to be limiting, same when I play the fretless 5 I recently bought. The 6 is easily my favorite and most comfortable instrument to play of the 3. And I played 4 string on and off for 25 years before buying the 6. ;)
  10. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Other than not moving hand up and down neck, to get to notes.
    And extended range.
    4-5-6-7-8-9-strings, ext. is just a preference?
    I own 4,5,6, string basses.
    I play the 4,and 5 strings the most, the sixer if I'am in small groups. Tend to use B and C more then.
  11. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    hmm, well, the advantages of a 6 string are:

    You can play alot more notes
    low B is fun to slap and play metal riffs on
    High C is good for chords, picking, slapping, and soloing on
    usually have longer scales
    Might have more frets (most of the 6 stringers I've seen have had 24+ frets).


    Neck may not be wide enough (string spacing is tighter so it's harder to slap on, but once you get used to it, and slap on a 4, it's like you have an ocean of room)
    not as many companies make them.

    It took me a little over 2 months to find the 6 string I wanted, but if it was a 4, it would have taken much longer.

    I love my 6 string, and I don't think I'll ever turn to a 5, because with a 6, you can do so much more than with a 5, but 4's are just plain clasic.

  12. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    And the #1 reason to gow ith a six string is:

    Chicks dig it :)
    NigelD likes this.
  13. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I'll mention the same stuff as everybody else.

    Disadvantages - massive neck and lots of strings takes some getting used to. I find for just jamming a blues groove that lately I really love my ol' 4 string.

    Advantages - more notes, easier to hit upper registers easily and quickly. Chordal playing is greatly enhanced.

    For me another big advantage is fretless intonation on higher notes. My fretless intonation gets a bit dodgy up near fret 10 or so, and since I'm just a hobbyist that's not likely to change. My six string fretless allows me to play higher notes with decent intonation than I could with my 5 string fretless.

    Also, it intimidates people. You can use it as a weapon. :)
  14. NewAndImprov


    Oct 17, 2005
    I've played 6-string exclusively for over 10 years now, both at thousands of gigs and studio sessions. To me, it's just a different instrument from a 4 or 5, I don't understand you guys who can switch back and forth between all of them, must be way more talented than me :).

    The main advantage to me is not the extended range, it's from having more notes under one hand position. It's really cool to be able to play a 16th note funk line on the lower strings, and then drop in a 2-note chord voicing on the C&G strings. I do love being able to double horn or guitar melodies in the top octave, my bass (Ibanez 1306 w/EMG's) has a really sweet tone in that range.

    Disadvantages: I find it hard to slap on my bass. Given that it's not a sound I like anyway, I pretty much just don't do it any more anyway. To me, 16th note fingerstyle ala Rocco Prestia is way funkier anyway.

    It also took me a few years of solid playing to really get comfortable with the neck. I noticed that if I depended on looking at the neck, I'd tend to hit the wrong string, but if I learned to trust my fingers, they'd go to the right place.

    Muting is also an issue on 6-strings. Also, you can't walk into any music store in the middle of nowhere and buy a set of strings. I get mine through mail order anyway (Thomastik Jazz Flats), and keep an extra set with me all the time.

    Now, if I switch back to a 4 or 5, I just feel lost.
  15. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    Advantages? Two words: CHORDAL PLAYING!! :D
  16. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I adapted to the 6 so easily that it has become my primary playing bass, regardless of whether I "need" the strings or not. It is extremely comfortable to me, but in fairness I do have larger hands and feel no discomfort with the broader stretch to cover the neck.

    I do have two 4's (fretted and fretless) and a fretted 7, but this fretless 6 is the best bass I have ever owned, period. As others have said, strings are more expensive and somewhat less available .... and you'll still run into a ton of purists that believe anything more than a 4 is a crime :rollno:
  17. http://www.bobbykokinos.com/6slap1.mp3

    No trying to show off (because god knows this clip is sloppy), but this is an example of what you can do on a 6 string. In this groove, I use all 6 strings.. You can hear the chord and then I go to the low B for a couple notes. And most all of it is done in one position with minimal hand movement. This same groove on a 4 string would require you to jump 6 frets up the neck to catch the chord. On the 6 string, I just move down one string..

    Sometimes its better to hear the advantages then have someone tell you..
  18. Why do threads always die after I post?? :D
  19. BSR6P-Bob


    Apr 5, 2005

    Don't worry it's not you.
    It's just that this topic has been done to death.
  20. So I figured. Sometimes when I post I feel like that guy that walks into the room and farts and everyone clears out. :D