a question for bassists who use +5 strings.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Chris Brodowski, Nov 7, 2001.

  1. I know I'm a bass newbie and this may seem like a REALLY DUMB QUESTION, but...

    Do you guys have a different playing technique with 6,7,8 string basses than you do with the fours and fives? I rest my right thumb on the bridge pup when i play, and with my left hand, i basically have just my thumb as support on the back on the neck. Trying to play anything greater than a five string like this isn't possible for me, but knowning me i'm doing it wrong.

    I'm really just trying to learn about you guys' technique for the 6,7,8 string basses, cause the necks seem overly bulky for me. I know John Turner plays 7's; anyone else here who plays 'em?

    I know some people with smallish hands like me (even though i'm 6-1) can still manage on these basses, and i'm just trying to learn how.

    Thanks, and apologies for my stupidity :rolleyes:
  2. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I play a seven- the main thing was to get used to the string spacing. You may have to adopt the "floating" thumb technique. -No, the transition is not bad at all. You can still use your thumb of your left hand for support, just move it as close to the edge as you need to. Good luck.
  3. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    This would go into Technique actually...

    And yeah. While anchoring the thumb on the pickups is comfortable on a 4, even a 5, on a 6+ you end up using the floating thumb technique, whereby you rest the plucking thumb on a string you aren't using. Like the E or A on a 7 when on the G,C, or (can't remember that last string, E, B, I can't recall. Brain fart...)

    And that seems to work pretty well. If you had really big hands, maybe the anchoring might work, but really, it's pretty much the floating thumb on 6 and over. I've played 5s and I still am able to use the anchoring, but I have somewhat large hands.
    (I'm a getting a 7, and have spent more than a few hours on them, though do not own one at the moment)

    That help?
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, this should be in technique, i'll move it there presently.

    i have very small hands, and what i've found is that the 7 and 8 string instruments that i play sorta forced me to have really good technique. you can get a way with a bit more sloppiness on a 4 or 5 that just won't cut it on a 7 or 8, at least not for me.

    that's not to say that your technique is bad, i don't mean that, but perhaps some things could be cleaned up a bit.

    i float my plucking hand thumb - i actually use it while i'm plucking with my index, middle and ring fingers, like a classical guitarist. i also use my thumb to mute the lower strings when i am not acutally using it to pluck the strings.

    the fretting hand is helped my having the neck fairly high - i wear my basses with the neck at about a 45 degree angle from the horizontal. the body of the instrument is about at my belt buckle, and it's very natural for my hands at that angle and height. if the instrument is too low, it may make things more difficult for you.

    just some thoughts.
  5. lucifer

    lucifer Guest

    Nov 7, 2001
    Hey, i use a six, and its just getting into the habit of using the floating technique efficiently thats important. as long as youre dextrile enough to release the string youre resting on in time to pluck it. then your up and moving,it just takes getting used to.
    it also depends on the way u play with your body. if you have the bass high up, with your hand curled over the top, then it should be easier to play a six or seven, eight strings? well,theyre just stoooopid :p
  6. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Hey JT, don't blame LUCY'SFUR for not making sense...hell, I hear it's HOT HOT HOT where he comes from. Why, I bet you could fry an egg on his trident.

    I'm a newbie to the arena of 6 strings, but so far I haven't felt the need to change technique at all other than to adjust to the active electronics. I think my hands are fairly average - about 10" from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the pinky. Does anybody else use those little SCRUNCHY things down by the nut to mute the open strings a bit?

    And NO, you CAN'T quote me out of context on that last sentence.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Hmmm......do Adidas make one of those? :D

    I must admit that I never have, personally !

    I found a lot of 6 strings easier to play than some 4 strings. I think it's a lot to do with the shape/profile of the neck. So I have tried Warwick 4-strings that have really thick necks - back to front that is - not width of the neck - that I just could not play at all! They really hurt my wrist after about 20 minutes or so.

    But on the other hand - 6-string basses with wider but flatter necks - like Ken Smith or Yamaha TRBs - feel fine to me - very comfortable!

    To me if a neck is flat and thin from front to back, then it doesn't matter how wide it is or how many strings.
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    pits wet-hairy your technique is probably already pretty buff from the ole doghouse. i went from 4 to 7, so no tellin' where my technique was :eek: ;)