Do you prefer five or six strings for a high C?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Persona87, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. Persona87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I had a six string bass for quite a while, but I didn't get along with the neck or pickups so it got sold. I miss the high C string a little bit for soloing and for playing chords (which I do occasionally, mostly at home but still), so I've been thinking that maybe my tax return should go towards another bass. I'm leaning towards an Ibanez BTB with the Nordstrand pickups; my current basses are a P and an MM, so a neck through with single coils would certainly be something different.

    However, I'm trying to decide between a five or a six string. I like five string neck profiles better than the one six I've owned and lighter weight is a nice selling point as well, but my current five string is set up with flats and it might be nice having a 35" scale low B with rounds for when I need more clarity in the (extra) low end. But then again, I don't use the low B except for occasional flourishes and sometimes when ending a song.

    I'm going to try both of them in store before making a decision if I can, but in the meantime I thought I'd ask TB's thoughts. What say you guys?
  2. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    6. I still gotta have that low B!
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I almost always want to go lower before I go higher, most of my 5s being tuned BEADG rather than EADGC. The one exception is my Quake, when tuned an octave low (because the B below that E isn't even audible).

    Then again, when I have a low B, I use it for more than ending flourishes. On a 5 or 6, my normal hand position is around the 5th-7th fret, using fretted notes on the B string rather than the open or first few frets on E, so that I can get the low notes and still easily reach an octave or two up.
  4. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I'd been playing 4-string bass for 14 years before I got my first 6-string bass; getting comfortable with the low B and high C didn't take long at all. Got my first 5-string (with a low B) 10 years after that, and getting comfortable with that was also pretty easy.

    So now it's been 16 years since then; I've been playing 6-string with a low B and high C for 26 years, and 5-string with a low B for 16 years...and I just got my first 5-string with a high C this year.

    And it's confusing the hell out of me!!! :)

    You would think it would be just as much of a no-brainer as the other instruments, right? But for some reason -- I think perhaps because as soon as I feel five strings my brain thinks "low B" -- I'm having more trouble getting comfortable and knowing my way around the fingerboard with this high C 5-string than with any other ERBs I've owned. Very weird, a bit frustrating, and a little funny.
  5. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    my 5strg has the high C ... 6 stringers just hurt my old arthritic hands after 50 yrs of piano and 40 yrs of bass ... the asymmetric curve on the back of my 5 strg Warmoth neck feels great ...

    if I'd want to 'tune down ' , I'd install a drop down tuner on the low E ... or if I want to go lower , an octave will do the trick ...

    but ,... that all depends on what you're playing .. !!?
  6. Usually I tuned my five strings basses with a low B. Sometimes I tuned them with a high C, and I found interesting too. I discovered a new world for doing some melodies and playing some chords and it was allright. But for the music that I play/ed I feel better that with a low B instead a high C in my hands. I can get this extra low that fits well in some songs, or simply for playing covers with no needing to retune my E string or changing the fingering.

    If I were a soloing bassist all the time maybe it was more sense having a high C in a fiver.