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6-string players - what do you use the top string for?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hamlet7768, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    It seems that six strings are rather common in progressive metal, which is among my favorite genres. Just to name a few, John Myung of Dream Theater, Shawn Kascak of Outworld and Eumeria, and Felipe Campos of Bad Salad (who also do Dream Theater covers), all these guys play six-string basses. I've taken inspiration from them, and am strongly considering looking at some six string basses.

    I'm curious as to what six-string players on here do with that top string, the high C. That's been one of the big reasons I haven't committed to a 6er yet: I don't know what I'd do with the top string! The low B is easy to place into how I'd play, but this top string not so much.
  2. walldaja


    Apr 27, 2011
    it just gives you the flexibility play across the strings rather than up the neck. If you don't play higher pitch notes you probably don't need the extra strings, even five. But, if you like to have a broader range that high C string allows you to do it without too much hand movement. It's nice having the ability to mirror a passage an octave higher without moving you hand more than a fret or two.
  3. punisher911


    Jan 20, 2005
    Clawson, MI
    I use it for chord shapes and arpeggios high up on the neck.
  4. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Bajo Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Whatever I feel like. GOSH.
  5. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    Well, what do you feel like using it for, Napoleon? :p
  6. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    I have 2 6-strings and I always tune the 1st string to a B instead of a C, makes much more sense chord-wise and there's your answer, I use it a lot for chords.
  7. Hi.

    No high C in the 6er I play ;).

    Not that I play a 6er much these days anyway, my bandmates ATM don't like that deep bass.
    I don't blame them though, doesn't quite fit the (classic rock/blues/country) genre.

  8. I never found much use for the high c so I now tune f#beadg.
  9. Currently my 6 is tuned DGCFBbEb but its usually F#BEADG one, time I tuned it like a bass VI :meh: I need a 9-string :rollno:
  10. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    Chords, scales, arpeggios, harmonics... The possibilities are endless!
  11. :eek: doesn't fit :eyebrow: doesn't fit :mad: I'll make it fit! :spit:
    damn kids and their deep bass
  12. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I've been pondering the same question for some time now. I own two 4 strings and two 5 strings and play 5 most of the time. Quite often it's not about the extra low notes i get but the possibility to play further up the neck.
    The only sollution that comes up for me is to aquire a 6 string instrument and give it some playtime, so i can adjust to six strings - then i'll see wether my playstyle adapts to the extra string or i just carry dead weight around with me.
  13. Hi.


    Perhaps it's just me (and them ;)), but lower than B, and the classic feel is indeed gone.
    For me anyway.
    But I'm 42 so go figure.

    Not to mention the insane amount of power and speakers needed to accurately reproduce the range from F# to B in gig spl.

    Heck, some might claim that lower than E doesn't quite sound right in that classic context :).

  14. I'm one of those who firmly believe that bass guitars play bass. If you want to play twiddly bits and melodies, buy a guitar. Chords are also for guitarists.

    That said, I have a 6 string. I don't tune it with a high B, I tune that top string to C, so I can play all my typical bass stuff wherever I want. It's nice to be able to play what you need to play without travelling up the neck and back again. If you go back to 5 string, you often really grimace when the high note isn't there and you have to move for just one note!
  15. stephenleejp

    stephenleejp Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Virginia Beach
    I use the sixth to shape chords for song writing purposes and very rarely I'll use for an actual concert.
    Like flashy tapping or chords
  16. 6stringpanda


    Aug 9, 2013
  17. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    John Myung... Hmm.. I think I know enough :)

    But to get back at the question of the OP : I think it's very ''handy'' for chords, arpeggios, tapping, slapping, bass sweeping or just some ''simple'' finger plucking :) Just what you want man!
  18. This.

    But OP, keep in mind that the notes on the C string are typically going to sound thinner and brighter. That can be great for chords and solos, etc., but for playing more typical supportive "bass" stuff I prefer to use the thicker strings in higher positions.

    It's definitely nice to have options, though. When I gig with a five I almost always miss the C a few times now that I'm used to having it!
  19. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    QFT. Came in to this thread to say I use the top string for those times when I need a note or a passage that's thin, incisive, and not too fat...'cuz irrespective of whether you're using it for chords, arpeggios, solos, just to keep your left hand in one position, or any of the other reasons people have offered up in this thread, it's always gonna be thin, incisive, and not too fat.
  20. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL

    It can make a huge difference when you've got to go up high and back in a real hurry - the ability to go up to the string instead of up the fingerboard for the same notes can be critical.

    I use it quite a bit - on originals, chording, tapping and (here it comes) covering Dream Theater stuff, too. :hyper: