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Advantages of 6-string over 5-string, and/r vice versa?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AZNBassist, May 3, 2005.

  1. AZNBassist


    Jan 14, 2004
    Hey, I know there's a been a billion threads on this, but still, I just want a sort of clarification questions.

    I mean I've played a 4-string for a long time and im looking for an upgrade, so what advantages does a 6-string have over a 5-string and/or vice versa? I mean, I know that the advantages of a 6-string are:
    Super extended-range
    New chord voicings
    More soloing possibilities since you dont have to shift as far to hit the high notes
    But the only advantage I kno a 5-string has over a 6-string is that it has a thinner neck, which makes it easier to play than a 6-string. So are there any points on both basses that I'm missing?
  2. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    6 String necks aren't necessarily thicker. My Spector Euro 6LX's neck is not much wider than my JH5 and it is a lot more comfortable to me. I find slapping on my 6's a little more challenging than on my 5's. Other than that I say try what you can before buying. All necks are different.
  3. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    The only other downside I see is that more strings = more strings to keep quiet. Muting becomes an issue, so you gotta have your stuff down better to play on more strings Id imagine.
  4. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    Well I can squeeze a bit over 2 octaves out my six without moving my hand at all. The extra string for me adds a whole new dimension when finding my way around, which I don't mind for now since I have jumped from 4 to 6 strings a bit under a year ago. And the neck is super comfy to play on. I must say, however, that strings are generally a little more expensive when comparing 6 string sets to 5 strings.
  5. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Firkinasoul is right, there are lots of different neck configurations out there. Just because it's a 6 it doesn't automatically mean a drastically wider neck. I happen to prefer the wide necks and wide string spacing, but a whole bunch of players here at TB like it the other way around .... like Firk said, try before you buy ;)

    It is extremely cool to be able to extend the range with the 6. Your hand positions don't need to move as much, which I found to help my thinking about some of the patterns I played in the past. The changes in hand position also promoted changes in how I approached/changed those patterns. I find that I'm actually playing a better, more consistent groove with the 6's than I was when I was playing 5's :cool:
  6. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    If you own a 4, go straight to a 6 string. I recommend a 6 string over a 5 string if you already have a 4. My bass neck is pretty wide, but I can handle it. I'm only 5'1" and the 6 seems fine to me, and it's a 35.5" scale. :)
  7. well, I've moved from a 4 to a 6 and frankly regret it. When buying my first 6 (I have two) I reasoned that since I would also get the low B with a six, which is what I really wanted, I might as well get a six and get an extended upper range. So I got my first six and subsequently got a second one cause the price was so right.

    However, I've found myself going back frequently to my four strings simply because they feel better to me. I play in a variety of bands and don't often get the opportunity/need to play solos and when I do I tend to find that the range offered by a four string sufficies to me. This has left me lusting for a 5 string which I think would be the best compromise.

    Of course, a six string is nice and some of my favourite players, whom I try to emulate play a six string - patitucci amoungst them - but I feel that you should progress from a four to a five. If you find yourself wanting a six, you could always sell your five or better still keep it, and acquire a six.

    Evidence of this is that there are a lot of 5 string players out there, with great chops, who find no need for the high C of a six string. There are also those who, while wanting the high C choose to string a five string E A D G C because they find no use for the low B or because they find that, even though the difference may be marginal, they would rather have a thinner neck. Others still have fours, fives and six string basses and use them depending on the situation. I forgot the name but there is a post here on TB about a certain Gary something who is the owner of an Adler 12 string and even he states that he enjoys playing his four string. Having a six string is not automatically better than having a five therefore.

    One has to experiment to find the right number of strings with which one feels most comfortable.

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