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6 string implications

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rhysbishop, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. rhysbishop

    rhysbishop Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2012
    I'm currently having a new bass made and I'm trying to decide on weather to have it made as a 6 string and/or with 26 frets.

    Does anybody know if these variables have any implications for the bass as a whole?

    I.e. differences in tone, tension, body size ect.



  2. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    26 fret will result in shorter body length. My Jackson JS3 with 24 fret neck has little bit shorter body length then the 21 fret versions. 26 fret would mean even shorter. This would have minimal effect on tone and none on tension so long as uts 34 scale compared to 34 scale 24 or 21 fret versions of the bass. 26 fret neck with its shorter body would also increase the chance of neck dive.
  3. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Darkstorm seems to have experience with a case where the longer fretboard resulted in a shorter body. I've never seen this. My 24 fret basses simply extend the fretboard down the body.

    I personally would not get 26 frets as I find 24 frets to have a certain 2 octave "symmetry" that to me works very well. My view is that beyond 24 frets with a normal long scale bass the frets get too close together. So you will have to decide if you really need those two extra high notes.

    The number of frets has NO effect on neck tension whatsoever, unless the length of the neck changes rather than just a fretboard extension. And then the tension is the same, just the length of the neck changes slightly.

    The main effect of the number of frets tends to be with slap tone. In my opinion a 21 fret neck has a much better slap tone than than a 24 and I presume a 26 would be even worse. I think it has to do with the harmonics generated by where the highest fret hits the strings.

    To me a 24 fret 6er is about perfect. It gives you a great extended range, plays great, sounds great and except for slap tone is about optimum. But then I don't much like to slap on a 6er anyway. YMMV.
  4. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    To echo the above comment, once you get to 26 frets you might find that the fret spacing is almost prohibitively narrow. Maybe if you had a longer scale - 35" or 36" perhaps - it wouldn't be so bad up in the higher reaches of the neck.

    Another thing: a six string neck with a longer fretboard could be quite a bit heavier and may lead to neckdive. This would be remedied by trying to use very lightweight woods in the neck, as well as lighter tuners etc. on the headstock.

    Alternatively - and this would be my preference - you could have the top horn of the body extended a little further towards the headstock; this tends to do the trick. You would aim to have the strap button centered over the 11-12th fret I would guess. Most people with Warwick Corvettes and Thumb Basses, for example, experience a little bit of neckdive because the top horns are much shorter - most remedy it with a decent strap set up high.
  5. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    First of all : How far down the neck do you play? Do you really go all the way to the 24th fret? And do you really want 2 frets extra? Otherwist you should choose for 22 frets. Cause like other people already mentioned : Having more frets, make the body length shorter. You should get a 35 or a 36 inch scale length to get some extra space for the strings to vibrate, so your body doesn't shrink too much.

    Also, the body seize has effect as well on the tone. The bigger the body (surface), the fuller the sound is and you get more sustain. I would suggest too think about it really good if you need 26 frets and if you want a 6 string bass.
  6. rockosocko


    Sep 14, 2008
    Depending upon who is building the bass, the fretboard will just extend two frets further, regardless of the scale. In that case, neck dive certainly won't be an issue and the body won't be smaller. I have a six string with 28 frets and all that was required was a deeper cutaway on the treble side of the body in order to give me better access to those frets. The tone of the bass was not affected at all, so basically all it comes down to is design and whether or not you really need those extra frets.
  7. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    The Fbass AC6 i just ordered has a 34.5" scale with 28 frets...personally, it should make no difference, but I found with longer fretted necks..the necks tend to be straighter and have had more attention to detail IME
  8. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Really, and Ben and Benj were diggin' it too, but RockoSocko just says it all


  9. I have a 28 fret 6 string bass and the body isn't any shorter than other basses. What you should consider is if having a 6 string bass necessary for you and your playing style, will you utilize the fretboard and range it offers you or is it something you want to have just to have? I've met bassists that have 6 string basses to say they have 6 string basses and personally that's a horrible reason to have it. Eventually they'll grow into it but just my thoughts.

    In regards to the tone, size, weight etc. Yes there is a big difference but an added fret or two really doesn't make a huge difference in my opinion. My bass is 35" scale and made out of lacewood and is neck thru. No neck dive so long as the bass is designed well and the strap holes are positioned correctly too. You can have any body size you want, the fretboard can extend above and past the body too if need be. Go check out a few 6 strings and see for yourself what you want/like in a custom built one. That's what I did and now have my perfect 6 string bass.

    Hope this helps and best of luck!
  10. rhysbishop

    rhysbishop Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2012
    Thanks guys, I ended up getting a 24 fret 6 string with 17.5mm spacing.. I'm trying to phase verbose slapping out of my technique completely and a lot of my influences play 6 strings so the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

    Didn't go with the 2 extra frets because it seemed like overkill for me.

    So now I'm looking at a 6 String Richard Bona Fodera Imperial with a Matthew Garrison body. I'll post pictures when I get it.

    Thanks for the advice everyone.

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