Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bass_man86, Oct 28, 2002.

  1. bass_man86


    Apr 29, 2002
    Virginia Beach
    I just have to know. What is the deal with 6, 7 and whatever string basses? I have been playing since 1974 now and I still find the traditional 4 with twenty frets challenging and I have had people come up to me virtually everytime that I've played in public tell me "man, you really play great bass!" I will admit that I also play five string and fretless basses but the whole concept of six plus strings eludes me. And folks, please don't those give the tired line that I usually get "well, I don't have move laterally so much" 'cause the only thing that tells me is that:
    a) you don't know your scales
    b) you don't know your neck

    Thanks! :eek:
  2. supergreg


    Jan 20, 2002
    I play them because they look cool.
  3. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I agree, (for my own use anyway) I owned a Ken Smith 6 string for a very short time, found no use for the c string, and the extra width of the neck sucked. I am waiting on Hipshot to make a 2 stage drop tuner, so I can go from standard E tuning, to a D, then down to a B. Would be no use of myself owning a 5 anymore. Hmm, maybe I should of patented the idea before publicly hoping for one! lol
  4. Let me start off by saying this kinda post isn't got get you a warm welcome here man.

    1. I'm no complete expert at bassplaying but this statement seems completely ingnorant to me. What does knowing scales have to do with economy of lateral movement?

    2.This statement also seems very ignorant due to the fact that knowing the fretboard well doesnt make notes accesible from one position that weren't there before you knew your fretboard.

    3. Chords, Harmonics, more notes, different options to play notes (5th fret on Bstring E note for example) and less lateral movement.
  5. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
  6. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    i like to hold down the basslines and comp on the D,G,C strings at the same time. sometimes i use my left hand to do both; sometimes i use both hands. :eek:

    is that a sin?
  7. Benbass


    Jan 28, 2002
    I personally play a 5 string and right now that's enough for me. I've got a long way to go before I can say I've mastered the instrument. However, I do respect other peoples right to play whatever they wanna play.

    The world would be missing something without the six string solo work of John Patitucci, Or the Chordal work of O'teil. Just to mention a very few of the many talented multi-stringed bassists.

    So rock on with your 4 string and try to support other bassists in what they do as well. We should stick together. The world of music would be awfully boring if we all played the same instrument the same way.
  8. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND

  9. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC

    I really like the 6-string right now. I like the ease of soloing high, but not having to play at the end of the fingerboard. I like the low "B" string, and I can't imagine playing stuff in Eb or D without the low octave root. I only play my four string when a Fender sound is called for.

    Like he said. Let's all get along, eh?
  10. hey bass_man86,

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I play an 8 string (tuned F#-B-E-A-D-G-C-F natural) and I started many moons agoon a 4 string. I believe it will always be the standard, at least in *my* lifetime.

    however, when I first heard Anthony Jackson, Jimmy Haslip, and Flim Johnson play below E, it hit me profoundly. once I started music school and I got serious about composing, I wanted the extra range of a 6 both to voice chords more fully and to challenge myself as a player to alwasy come up with something fresh, as long as my body and mind would let me. even then I wondered if the range could be extended further (this was '89 or so).

    I asked luthiers about how realistic it was and got shut down pretty regularly until a few years ago when I hooked up with Bill Conklin and I've never been the same!

    this isn't to say I'm a raging soloist or that my music is going to change anyone's life, but I have a tonal palette that is just unreal. every time I pick up my bass I learn something new and I'm always inspired to find more.

    but again, that's just me. you should contact Melvin Lee Davis, John Turner, Jean Baudin, or Greg Campbell for their answers. they're all pretty hip and articulate cats. I think misters Jackson, Haslip, and Johnson are pretty bust these days.

    I hope that offered some insight into the warped mind of a guy with too many strings.


    from the low end,

  11. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    6 strings? You think it too many? Ever given a close listen to John Pattituchi? Think he doesn't know his scales? I'd say you're a bit mistaken.

    Anyway, I don't think that there's a such thing as too many or too few strings, but rather too much or too little for an individual. The bass guitar has taken on so many roles and is defined in so many ways, that while a 6-string bass may be largely useless in some situations, it's completely required in others.

    It may not be for you, and that's cool. But, it IS for some.

    Deal with it.
  12. bass_man86


    Apr 29, 2002
    Virginia Beach
    First, I thank you all for your responses. For the most part they have been quite enlightning, although I must say that some of you were awfully thin skinned about what I said. I will not apologize because I meant what I said, I want some valid reasons why some one might want to play a six string (or more) bass. Reduction of lateral movement is a cheesy reason to own one. One of the best reasons that I read was from SuperGreg, which was simply "because they look cool!" I will frankly admit that I am an old dinosaur, but that lateral movement answer is evasive at best. For those of you that love those multi string beasts, please do not take my comments the wrong way. As fellow lovers of the fat string you have my greatest respect and admiration!:D
  13. supergreg


    Jan 20, 2002
    Actually that was a joke! :D I dont play 6 strings but if someone does who cares! More strings is just another way to transport the music from the soul to the ears.
  14. I play them because I am insecure and I need for people to accept me.
  15. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I like the wider neck and the extended range my 5 gives me. But you are right: I don't know my neck or my scales.
  16. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I play them because chicks think I'm a better bass player than I am.
  17. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Boy! I sure hope you weren't saying I am the thin-skinned one here...but I'm not absolutely sure of what you're looking for here, but I'll say this...

    I don't own a 6-string bass, but will in the near future. My reason? Because I can.

    The reduction of lateral movement is a VERY valid argument. I have been playing bass for long enough to know how to run a diagonal scale in 3 octaves from any root note on the low E. Certain musical passages sound different when you don't move out of a certain position, compared with moving more laterally.

    In addition, I cannot play a note below the low E without engaging my Hipshot extender. I also cannot play 3 scales in the 1st position, which has its tonal merits. I also do not have the range on my 24-fret Spector to go up to A, B, or C (or D or E) beyond the highest G on my G string.

    Reasons? As many as you can. But, why do you pick 4? What's so magical about that? Couldn't you just as arbitrarily have picked a 3-string bass, like Tony Levin?
  18. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    The biggest reason I can think of is tone. Playing a note on an extended/multi stringed bass(7 string etc) on a higher/smaller string has a much different tone than if its played high on the neck. There are a lot more tonal varieties of notes to be played, same notes but much different tones.

    Another obvious reason is chords. Not all bass players bang out single notes of or two notes at a time. You can do appegios a lot more easier.
  19. Shinster


    Feb 23, 2002
    SF Bay area CA
    I play a bigger bass with more strings because I am deficient in my.., oh..., wait, that's my truck.. I have a bigger truck because I'm deficient oh never mind :rolleyes: :p
  20. Chords....
    Double/triple Stops....

    And damn Tony Levin for playing a 3 string bass with Funky Fingers.....