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Going from 6 to 7?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by patrickj, Mar 2, 2003.

  1. I'm starting work on a new bass.. Black Korina body, Wenge/Bubinga/W/B/W laminate bolt on neck, custom wound pickups, custom EQ, etc etc etc.

    I was originally planning on this being a 6 string (36" scale), but I'm wondering if any 7 stringers could comment on the transition from 6->7 string bass? I've got the hardware and wood for both, so it's basically just a question of whether I'll find the 7th string useful (I use all 6 strings now, but find high C more useful than low B).

    I've never played a 7 string before, and I don't really have any stores closeby that would even carry one. Any suggestions?
  2. I can't help you out because I've never played a 7 string, but just out of utter curiosity, why a 36" scale? Wouldn't that be hard to play? My Spector is a 35", so that's not too far off, but even that is a little bit uncomfortable around the lower frets. Also, does 36" scale actually do much for string tension? And how much string tension do you need, considering you can get a very tight B on a 34" or 35" scale. Just wondering if the difference in string tension is very noticeable, or if the difference in length makes it that much harder to play.
  3. More tension/more dynamic control mainly..

    but I'm also 6'6", 34" scale basses just seem small ;)
  4. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    I have never played one either, but I want to. I would think the even farther extended range would be sweet, if you can get around the extra size and new string positioning relative to the rest of the neck.

    I like 4s, because the extra strings on 5s and 6s somewhat screw up my technique, (I slap most comfortably on the lowest string with thumb pointing down), but if I could get over that and learn a better way to do it, I would go straight from 4 to 7 or even 8 strings, since it would be fun to experiment with all the extra goodies. So if your playing style works well with the low B and high C on 6s, I say go for it. nothing to lose, plenty to gain.
  5. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    My first 7 string was adding a low b to a Fender bass six tuned in 4ths. the original 6 string basses were made for guitarists who wanted to play bass without much of a transition problem.I tuned the bass e-a-d-g-c-f,and added the low b.Yeah,we're bass players,but I like to read sheet music where it's written,non transposed.My Tobias 7 string built in the 80's was a better,hi tech version of the Fender,with low B. Having 41/2 octaves gave me some musical latitude.Having the high F is essential,as is a low B. You'll be able to play melody,like "Donna Lee" only using the first 4 frets,only moving vertically.Got to love it!
  6. I've just got myself a Conklin GT7 and I'm switching from a Dean Edge Q6. It has been actually quite easy to do the transition. Adding a string at the top end isn't nearly as scary as adding a string at the bottom end (i.e. going 5->6->7 is easier than 4->5 in my experience). The neck is wider (duh!), but feels pretty comfortable on the GT7.
  7. - will I find the 7th string useful - Thats a tough one to answer.

    If you already use the high C on your 6 string then that would suggest to me that you would use the high F on the 7 string.

    At the very least it wold make you learn a new instrument which is no bad thing, it will also give you new options and maybe inspiration which is definately a good thing.

    Keep us posted on your decisions and post those pictures :bassist:
  8. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    As a bass player,one is forced to use a guitar or piano to hear notes that are note found on a 4,5 string bass.The original 7 string bass is low B to hifh f. that gives you as a bass player access to middle C and A 440.The fingering is the same.You now have those higher notes within the first four frets.You can play through the real book and play melody/chords that actually sound good with out switching instruments,and stuill play oom=pa bass with a polka band. You are musician,then a bass player,and this high f string allows you some room to play new things.You just have to think differently,and having within closer ranger makes it fun.
  9. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654 Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Go for the 7 if thats wat you want. It doesn't matter if you use all 7 strings or not. The point is IMHO the posibilities;) I have a 6 that I mess around with but i'm more comfortable on a 5.:D
  10. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    You should have a specific reason for needing 7 strings Wheh somebody hears you play,they should be able to hear the difference. It took me five years to get someone to build me the perfect 7 string,and I'm strill using it nearly 20 years later.If you are no interest in playing 6 note chords or walking bass and chording comp at the same time, or playing notes in concert as opposed to the traditional bass transposed reading,stick with 6 strings!
  11. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i went from 4 to 7 a bit more than 10 years ago, and while it was pretty rough, i can't imagine going from 6 to 7 will be that difficult.

    consider, with your longer scale length, and potentially stiff neck, stringing the instrument with a low f# - just another approach to the instrument that's worked for me for a while.

    some more experience of my own - playing across the board as opposed to laterally up the frets can sometimes open up tonal inconsistencies between the lowest and highest strings - a .135" low b is going to have a differing tone than a .027" high e (or f depending on the tuning), ime - remember, pianos use multiple strings as the pitch gets higher to fill the sound out. i use this inherent tonal difference to my advantage - when accompanying other instruments, comping double stops out on the higher strings meshes very nicely, while playing bass patterns and reinforcing lines on the lower strings simultaneously.

    of course this tonal difference isn't something that eq can't hide/compensate for, but it is inherent in the instrument.
  12. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    I switched from 4 to 7 last year..... best way to do so is put your old bass away for a while, and just play the new one. Get used to it, even on gigs... then once you are comfortable bust the old one back out and use both.
  13. Question for everyone: It is advantageous to have the same scale length on every bass you own? Because I like a lot of 35''s and 34''s. Never played any other scale length, except for the 33.25'' Rick scale.

    I can't imagine a 36'' scale, if you are a tall person with large arms and hands, will even remotely be a problem. I am not particularly tall, and I have girly hands, and a 34'' is easy to play. And a 35'' isn't bad at all.

    Can't much comment on 7-strings, other than this: If you can handle 6's easily, you can handle 7's IMO. If you have big hands, I wouldn't suggest going with tight string spacing, but that is just me.

    Especially if you use the high C. If you use the high C a lot, the F will be useful for you. Sounds like you would be a BEADGCF player as opposed to a F#BEADGC player, but don't ignore the low tuning. Gotta get like a .165'' string though, and the bridge holes and tuning head may have to be drilled. Talk to John Turner.
  14. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    I use a 170mm string for either a low f# or a wholestep lower for an E tuning an octave below the 4 string,and I find that with out the sid of my on board active parametric eq to cut some lower band eq,it sounds like an elephant at a chilli cook off.i'd like to see sombody make a special bass to compete with that Bosendorfer Grand piano's low A.
  15. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    Why does the FAQ state John Turner doesn't reslly exist?
  16. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654 Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    .I have 34 and 35 scale. It doesn't bother me to go back and forth :bassist:
  17. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    It is a joke.

  18. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    170 mm? do you mean .170" ? 170 mm is around 3/4" wide. ;)

    who makes your strings?
  19. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    patrickj, you have pm.
  20. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    John, it is even worse than that. 170mm is about 6.7". That thing must have a scale length of about 115ft.;)