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From 4, to 5, to 6, and beyond..

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by taviswardlaw, Jan 22, 2005.


  1. Hey T.B.'s,
    Just thinking, and wondering if anyone else has found the same thing when they play. Moving from a four string to a five, i found relatively easy compared to the jump from five strings to six... And I'm trying to work out why. I've got relatively large hands and so the thickness of the neck wasn't an issue. Have any of you guys found the same kinda thing?
    I mean, I was a better player when I picked up the six, so you think it should have been easier...

    I do remember having to change my technique a little in order to make sure I was muting all the strings (I think it's important to learn how to do it without hair ties, I've had one break off before :eek: ...it was kinda funny actually)...

    Anyway, just interested to hear your thoughts... :)
     
  2. About 14 years ago, I bought a 6-string after having played 4-strings for more than 15 years and I just couldn't make it work. My fingers are certainly long enough, so reach wasn't the problem. I think for me it was the C string. I never did get used to it.

    A few years ago, work and family and life started getting in the way, so I sold all of my equipment thinking I didn't need it anymore. Well, I was wrong. So when I started shopping for a new bass 6 months ago, I went looking for a 4-string remembering my 6-string disaster. But then I found a Fender American Deluxe 5-string. This bass plays like an extension of my own body. I'm having no problem with the low B and find it quite enjoyable to play.

    So, for me at least, I think it was the high C that threw me off. I've always been more of low-end player anyhow, so it didn't make sense for me. But I was never able to get my bearings with it and constantly had to re-orient myself to where I was on the fingerboard.

    -tom
     
  3. Dream Works

    Dream Works

    Dec 5, 2003
    Toronto
    I think it varies from person to person and influences to influences... I borrowed a 4 string for a little while then I bought a 5 string... I tried a 6 string RBXJM2 and I was fine...
     
  4. Whafrodamus

    Whafrodamus

    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I jumped from four to seven with no problems.
     
  5. Hehe, 4 to 7, nice. 4 to 6 here. I just couldn't get used to the odd number of strings; it had to be even at each end. I don't exactly know why you are having problems but I could take a guess based on something you said.

    I don't musicianship had anything to do with it. I think what stuck you was your comfort with the 5-string. I think this is also why I wasn't comfortable with a 5-string, but was with a 6: It was too similar of an intrument, and when you thought they were the same instrument, the extra string threw you off somehow and everything you played was either a fourth higher or a fifth lower.
     
  6. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    Australia
    I went from 4 to 6. I don't have too much trouble with it, except when I swap back to the 4 at a gig and think I still playing the 6... it can be quite funny sometimes. But I know for a fact that if I were to jump back to 5, it would be great, because for me, the high C doesn't so much get in the way, but there is no mystery as to why I am used to having the G string at the very top of the finger board, closest to my palm. For me is litteraly like a 4 with an extra string tacked on. I know it sounds silly saying that, but with the 5, the low B doesn't really get in the way at all. I'm so used to resting my thumb on the B string that it may aswell not be there when I am not playing it. Having said that, the jump to 6 strings was one of the best moves I have made for my bass playing in general. I know my way around the 4 string like my home town and you could could almost say it's "fun" playing it, like being a little kid again.
     
  7. DaemonBass

    DaemonBass

    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    I'd be interested to see who has played a 5 or 6 and decided to move back to a 4. The band I play in tunes one whole step down, drop D. So, C G C F. I use a 4 string and it is great for this tuning but when I tune my 5 string bass to this tuning the bottom string gets uber-floppy and i'm not sure what to tune it to. I've tried tuning it up to C so I can hit octave chords but they don't sound THAT great to warrant the extra string. I've tried tuning the B one step down to an A to match the rest but haven't found that to be very good. Too floppy and the notes sound better played on the G. I mean I have the 5 and I like it a lot, but for this particular tuning (C G C F) the 5 ain't working so I prefer a 4. If anyone can think of a good tuning for a 5 that works with this tuning I'd love to hear it. :)