6 String vs. EADGC 5 String

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LeonD, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    I've always played 4 string basses. It's what I'm used to and it gets the job. Every now and then, a little extra low end would be nice but not to the point of having to get a 5 string.

    Recently I've started playing in a jazz duo with a guitarist. In the duo, I've been playing a lot of chords and have been thinking it would be nice to have an extended high range bass.

    Understanding that with more strings, muting becomes more difficult and the fretboard is wider I'm trying to decide between a 5 string with a high C or a 6 string bass.

    The 5 string would be slightly easier to play (based on less strings to mute and narrower fretboard) and there are more 5 strings to choose from (MusicMan and Sadowsky to name a couple).

    On the other hand, the 6 string would give me the low B string for those few times when I could use it. Plus, the extra string would mean I could reach more notes without changing positions.

    Which would you choose?

  2. niomosy


    Nov 9, 2002
    You could always get a hipshot or something to drop down when you need the low notes and just get a tenor 5'er. I went the EADGC route and have been very happy with that choice.
  3. I was gonna say that(whiny nasal 5-yr-old kid voice)- sorry, I'm a corrupted stay-at-home-dad. I use a hipshot on my 6 pretty often, & I'm not too quick w/that sort of thing usually. So I imagine anyone could get used to one. Additionally, though, I got used to all the muting challenges of 6 strings alright as well, & my currently most-played bass is a custom w/a very wide neck. I like having a bit of guitar range available- I've been wondering if I would have any fun w/a 7, or a 6 tuned ADGCFBb.
  4. JazzBassvb


    Aug 5, 2003

    Well, bassed :p on your description of your duties, I would third the recommendation on getting a 5 strung up as a Tenor and getting a hipshot for the E to drop down.

    I've tuned my 5 as a tenor before and it works pretty good.

    Personally, I would keep my existing bass as my 'slap' type bass and go with a 6 if I could afford it. It's just nice to have and in my specific situation, I have big enough hands to the point where whenever I play a 6 string (not often), it feels like home. :D

    Have fun whatever you decide.
  5. jayzarecki


    Feb 23, 2005
    san diego, CA
    Leon, did you knwo you can string a 5'er with a low B? i still ahev my high C string, but havnt used it. In my experiance its only usefull if you have a keyboardest in your band, if its just you and some guitarplayers, that note will not get noticed anyway, unless your doing a solo....
  6. niomosy


    Nov 9, 2002
    He mentioned that he'd use the high C much more than the low B. I don't think that option would work very well for him.
  7. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I personally would get a 5 string. Make the strings E, A, D, G, C and tune it E, A ,D G, C. Get a hipshot for your E.
  8. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    I'm mainly a four stringer myself. My only five string is a Warmoth I put together a few years back. It's strung EADGC with a Hipshot extender. It's a great bass and I couldn't be happier with it.
  9. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    Personally, I'm a 6 string guy who finally has a 5 string that I'm happy with. Trip Wamsley, who is a rep for glockenklang and a clinician (the guy is AWESOME) tunes one of his 5 strings in this manner. Works for him... (great chops don't hurt)

    I like the 6 string because I can play across the fingerboard on most tunes and not have to move around alot. Lately, since I've been playing more covers, I started wanting to use a 4 for the purpose of playing the songs in the manner it was recorded, which I have no choice on a 4. Try a 6 I think you'll be happier in the long run
  10. gruuv


    Jan 23, 2004
    I guess I'll go against the grain (aside from Pickbass) a bit here and suggest you go with the 6. Anthony Jackson is a good example of a guy who doesn't have large hands and he plays a wide spaced 36 in scale 6 :eek: . It takes a bit of adjustment in technique, but having all the notes at your disposal is well worth the change. And, as you've already pointed out, you can do more in one position which is nice.

    I'd say if you make the jump to 5, get used to it, and then find you'd like the low B (assuming you string the 5 E-C), you've got to make another adjustment, get a new bass, etc... Just go 6 to begin with. Plus, you've gotta love dropping down into that lower register from time to time :bassist: :D .
  11. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Oh man, Do you have any idea how comfy it is to play walking bass lines on a 6? It is SOO easy on the wrist and hands... Every once and awhile of course you're gonna have to go up really high/low, but in general its so laid back, Smooth, Fluid movements...

    Wrist heaven.
  12. jayzarecki


    Feb 23, 2005
    san diego, CA
    sorry, i think getting lost... but why is everyone concerned with nuts and hand positions etc...for a high C? does it really matter,? if you want teh high C get it, you dont need any speacial equipment to do it, just slap the damn string on their and play. And where are all teh low B players...what the hell is this hipshot thing...i think its a dutuner, but not sure. If you were just to play with teh lo b, than you wouldnt need it, and you can discern those high notes on teh C anyway...fer crying out loud suck it up and get a low B.
  13. gruuv


    Jan 23, 2004
    Ahh. . . ok :confused:
  14. invisiman


    Feb 22, 2004
    I'd say go for a six. Like you said, you may use the low B a few times, so why not have it when you need it? And it's not like sixes are exactly mazes to play when you want to avoid one string. But definatley try out what's in your area and pick your favourite need it be 5, 6 or 14 strings.
  15. Nadav


    Nov 13, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I was in exactly the same place as you are. I wanted to get a 5 string and tune it EADGC because I figured I would use a C string much more than a B string. I ended up getting a string and really surprised myself with how useful a B string can be. Even for notes that can be played on the E string... you just get a different sound on a C.
    Who knows, maybe you really DON'T need a B string, in which case a 5 would be great for you. For me, a 5 string just seems like the middle step between 4 and 6.
  16. jayzarecki


    Feb 23, 2005
    san diego, CA
    ok that makes no sense. A five string can have a low B or a high C...

    you do not need a 6string to have that low B. Once again unless youre playign jazz or soemhtign like that you do not need that string EVER! so if youre a rock player.,...forget about it. That note will never carry. And how often would you use it anyway? a low B comes in handy so you dont need to downtune ever, unless of course your playing in a Korn cover band or somehtign like that, where you down tune that thing to A. either way, think it over.
  17. MrWalker

    MrWalker Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    I've been playing 5-string basses tuned E-C for many, many years, and it's great. you get the upward range of the 6-string without the extra hazzle. :) It was the low B that attracted me to 5-strings, though, and when I could afford a good 5-stringer that had a tight and nice B-string, I had to go back to B-G tuning, as "usual." So I got a 6-stringer to go higher again, and also a 7-stringer now. I love to have both.

    With practice, the 6- (and also 7-stringer) doesn't feel more difficult to play any more, either. You can also use a hairband to mute the strings, like Stew and a few other ERB-players do.

    Being drawn to the higher range, i'd definately check out a 6-stringer first. See if you can get one on loan for a few days and see how you feel. The high C is great, but the low B is also very useful... you may find that 6-stringers aren't that intimidating, and have both.

    And test a 7-stringer while you're at it, too.... :D
  18. ah, skip the middle man: get a 10 string!


    from the lows of kidding,

  19. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    Thanks for all the replies.

    After going back and forth, I figured it'd be better to have too many strings than not enough so I went with a six. A fellow TB'er was selling an MTD 635 with the right combination of woods for a decent price so I went for it.

    On the way to buy the bass, I called Mike Tobias to ask what type of sounds I could expect out of the specific woods this bass is made of (I wasn't going to be able to hear it before I purchased it). During our conversation, he offered to check out the bass and set it up if I could stop by his shop. I got to spend a couple of hours with Mike talking basses and picking and prodding at my new bass. How cool is that?!?!

    Now, I just need to spend some time in the woodshed.

    A fine day indeed,

    Attached Files:

  20. gruuv


    Jan 23, 2004
    Congrats, Leon! I saw that bass up for sale and it looks like quite a beast. Give us a report on how you like it when you've had some time to shed.