6 Strings help p-l-e-a-s-e!!!!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by adisu, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    Hi guys!!!
    Finally after 4 months of long waiting i got my 6 strings custom guitar.

    I tried to play it a few times but i feel stuck , I feel like My 4 strings technique is not working anymore.
    I also feel a bit lost in finding the place of the notes (even on the 4 strings i know already). :bawl:

    I have been doing a search for threads on 6 strings techniques but it seems like many pages have been erased to free some space in TB.

    So please all of ya 4 to 6 "convertors" and natural 6 strings player ,give me a hand here , tell me what techniques do you recommend to use??? how do you look at the guitar , as a one piece guitar or do you separate the four strings you already know from the two additional strings and that way have a better orientation to where the notes placed??

    Many thanks in advance.
  2. labgnat

    labgnat Banned

    Oct 29, 2005
    outta this world
    one string is lower and one is higher. maybe try playing some arpeggio patterns using the additional strings, to help you learn where the notes are. the 4 string was probably a bit akward when you first started playing it.(it surely was for me) but you figured it out, now just play the heck out of the sixer and i'm sure progress will be made. and enjoy that extended range ;)
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Make sure you extend your regular exercises to cover the extra strings. In particular, come up with ways of becoming familiar with the notes on the B and C and how they relate to the notes you already know.

    For example, one exercise is to pick a position and scale and then play all the available notes across all the strings. If you chose A major and starting at the 4th fret, that would give:

    B: E F#
    E: G# A B
    A: C# D E
    D: F# G# A
    G: B C# D
    C: E F#

    Keep an eye open for the patterns - for example, the notes on the C string are the same as the B string but one fret lower. Of course, that's obvious when you think about it but getting a grip on these little patterns will help you immensely.

  4. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Time, practice and lots of gigs will get you more comfortable on the six. Did you think that you'd be able to just jump on a 6 and go like you do on the four? Not gonna happen.
  5. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    Thanks for your time and help guys!!!

    @Phil Smith
    I didn't think i could just jump from four to 6 and play it regularly.
    I know i got lot's of practice to do and that's why i'm looking for people who moved from 4 to 6 and can get specific about the type of trainin g and techniques they learn to a faster convert.

    So ,anyone.....techniques,drills,training method for a smooth convert will be highly appreciated.

    Thanks once again.
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    You've missed my point because it is the quickest way. If you gigged every night with a six string you'd be much further along on six months down the line than if you didn't. There are no shortcuts, magic bullets or anythng for playing.
  7. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    This kind of agrees with my experience. I went from 4 to 6 years back and now play only 6.

    I didn't use any drills, exercises, special techniques, training methods, or magic potions. I just practiced as much as I could for the next couple of days, playing things I knew.

    Then I took the 6 to my next gig, and that did more for me than anything else. I made a lot of mistakes, but at least they weren't entirely dissonant mistakes. My bandmates were looking at me funny, but by the end of the night I was already a little better. At least this way I got a lot of my mental errors out of the way fairly early.

    So I did every gig after that, and every rehearsal, on the 6. I had traded away my fretted 4 for the 6, so I couldn't have gone back to the 4 if I'd wanted to (I did still have a fretless 4). I *had* to get better on the 6, or my bandmates would have kicked my ass!

    Phil's right, there's no shortcut; you just have to do it.
  8. what kind of custom bass did you get? just curious..im looking deeply into a conklin 6er..
  9. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    Thanks a bunch for your replies guys.
    I guess i'll have to practice more now to get to the level my hands and my mind know the sixer like the 4 strings...and from there everything will flow...
    I don't have a band to GIG with at the moment but there is an open stage jam nearby every week so i'll go play there (it might be even better because i won't disappoint anyone if i make mistakes in my playing).

    @HeadBanger I don't know the conklin 6er , I made my BG in a place here in Israel in a place called "ERG custom guitars", It's a custom guitar shop and i guess that because there name is not so famous yet ,the prices are quite cheap,nevertheless the work and the sound are in a very very high level.
    Here are the pictures of my new BG (look down at my post).


    If you wanna' look around here is the ERG website (it's in english don't worry).

    Thanks again guys.

  10. Nemesis


    Apr 24, 2005
    Changing from 4 to 6 is hard, but here some help:

    Try playing your 4-string-stuff on the 6, that helps a bit with orientation.

    Have someone show you good technique (means how to hold your hands (there`s no thumb above the fretboard anymore ;-)).

    Take your scale exercises and aply them to the six-string.

    Work out some kond of "maps" of scales in one position. Play around with it.

    Do the "1234 1243" etc. exercise with arpeggios, positions, scale fragments. etc.

    Sell your four-string. Sounds strange, but it`s the most important thing to succeed on the six, in my opinion.

    Good luck
  11. I would recommend taking a simple arpeggio walking line and permutate it in the circle of 5ths. Like this 2-5-1-1 line in G, for example:


    then permutate it up a fifth into D:


    And then into A:


    And then into E (up a fifth, down an octave):


    And now B (again, up a fifth, down an octave):


    Alright, after an hour of tabbing, I hope that helps you :D I hope I didn't screw anything up. :meh:

    continue playing around the circle of fifths (F#,D#,G#,Eb,Bb,F,C, and finally back to G) in the pattern I showed. Start to recognize notes on the B and C strings, and their relation to the notes you already know on the EADG strings. Using the full range of the bass will help you get use to it.

    Also, just playing extended scales through 2+ octaves will help, too.

    Don't let that beautiful bass go to waste!

    I hope that helped. (It had better help!)

    Now I'm going to go watch The OC

    Thank you, I'll be here all week.......year.... :D

  12. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    I agree with Alex. You have to know your notes on the B and C string to be able to use a 6 comfortably.

    I started out with referencing notes from the middle four strings to play the outer two. Well.. its a "start". I guess most people do too.
    Try later to know your exact notes on the outer strings.
    locate all Cs on it and play your major, minor, etc scales. In this way you'll also get aquainted with what you always do on a four but with six on higher frets. For example, your C Major scale will start from 8th fret of the E string and work you bass scale, pattern, etc moving up and down the scale as you did with four strings.

    It will then be similar with the high C string.

    Reading helps a lot too. Work on a paticular section (Open to 5th fret) and read walking bass lines for a while. After that, move it to (5th to 9th, you still wouldn't use the low B to Eb much). Its restricts the notes you can use on the fingerboard but also trains the possiblities of notes when you need them.

    At the end of the day, bringing your bass to the gig is the best progress. I believe most of us work under pressure and you'll be enormously surprised its not too difficult after all.... hmmm.... after messing up a little. :)
  13. Ya, bring it to a jam session or gig (if you're moderately competent on it) That'll really help a lot. Try to do a lot of improv with it and start learning extended fingerings of scales. For example, improv D minor pentatonic is no longer just this:


    It's THIS:


    Use the extended range as much as possible
  14. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    Hi guys!!!!
    Thanks a bunch for the advices.
    I will surely work on those drills when i have some free time (got so many projects in college I can barely stop to take a breath).

    Now one more question please!!!!

    I figure out that the hardest thing to do on 6er compare to 4 strings is to mute the open strings ringing.
    so i started to play in a very different picking hand Postition than what i used to play on the 4 strings.

    I use the floating thumb thecnique but unlike on the 4 strings i also mute all the upper (lower tone wise) strings with the thumb.

    Does anybody else use it on the 6er ?? do i use this technique properly??

    Here are some Pictures of the my right hand positioning the make my lame explanations more clear:

    On the pickup playing the E string:


    On the D string playing the G string:


    Thanks Once again.
    You all really help me to get over My 6 strings identity crises. :D ;)

  15. I just rest my thumb on the B string until I use the B, the I move to the pickup, then back down when I'm done with the B. Moving your thumb around is just asking for trouble. unless you seriously can't reach the higher notes, you're going to find a lot of problems with this technique.

    I used to do this on the 4 string. One of the best technique changes I ever made was to stop doing this.
  16. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    If it works for you staying on B string and pickup, then its great.

    But for me, i would say float the thumb. It mutes the rest of the strings if i'm playing high c string. Remember we'll have E A D G to mute in this case, which is quite impossible for me to do with my left hand unless i'm using only 1 or 2 fingers for fretting and the rest muting.

    If i'm not wrong, think Gary Willis also use this floating style even for his 5 string ibanez.

    Juz a matter of preference and ideas you can use. No right, no wrong. :)
  17. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA

    I agree! I use the floating thumb in practice as well. I have no clue if I do it at the gig, but I somehow manage to mute the other strings. granted, I play 5, but this should work for the 6 as well.

    If you are having technique issues, I suggest lessons. Check out http://www.musicdojo.com ... They have a right/left hand technique class that is great, it works for 4, 5, 6, whatever string basses. Seems to have help me quite a bit.
  18. True. I guess I misinterpreted his words. I though he meant he would rest his thumb on the string above the string he was playing, so each time he switched strings, he had to change his thumb anchor.

    I guess if you feel comfortable with a floating thumb, go for it.
  19. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    Yes i tried to imitate Gary willis's techniques but the problem is that he plays with 3 fingers (I,R,M) Which is too hard for me and i used the thumb as my third playing finger on the 4 strings....now to mute with the thumb and also play with it sound impossible.
    Hopefully i'll find the middle way between muting and playing with the thumb.

    Thanks all for all of your responses.
  20. joeyzaza


    Dec 16, 2005
    When I play, I move my thumb down each time I move to a new string, so if I am playing on the G for example, my thumb will be resting on the D and strait so that it blocks the other strings from ringing out. I take it this is the wrong way to go about it?