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How did you switch from a 5 to a 6 string?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by need4mospd, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. need4mospd


    Dec 22, 2005
    I started playing bass seriously on my Fender Jazz V and I recently decided I'd try out a 6 string 24 fret. Are there any techniques or exercises you've found that have helped you transition from a 5-string to a 6-string smoothly? Did you pretty much have to learn the bass all over again?

    I play a very wide variety of styles including slapping/popping. Personally, I think keeping the C string muted will probably be the hardest thing to get used to, along with popping the G string(hehe) which is no longer the highest string. I understand it's gonna take a great deal of practice for me personally. I'm just wanting to here other's experiences with the switch.
  2. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    I went from 4 to 6 last summer. All I did was only play the 6 and it felt normal to me after about 2-3 weeks. I'd start out plsying songs that you're familiar with and know well at first using just the standard 4 (or 5) strings, then once you get the hang of that, let loose on all 6.

    I haven't looked back since. At least for the forseeable future, I doubt I'll play anything but a 6 as my regular bass.

    Good luck and have fun!
  3. I just picked up and played, dude. Play as you normally would, but instead of moving your hand position up the length of the neck, when you are reaching for higher notes, move your hand position up a string. Presto....
  4. Shawnost

    Shawnost It's all about the Hamiltons baby! Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Huntersville, NC
    I agree. I just got my 6 string about two weeks ago and I have adjusted to it very quickly. Of course the fact that it's a Roscoe and plays like butta never hurts. The hardest part for me was just ensuring that I was "muting" the C string while playing on the lower strings. Took a little getting used to, but now it's not an issue at all. Like others have said, you just have to play it and you will adjust.

  5. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    This is very relevant to my situation. I'm about to put a new bass on order, but I haven't yet made the decision on the number of strings. I'm afraid to switch to 6, but I can see in the future where it would be nice to have the high C string, especially for chording etc. I doubt I would use it much in a band context, but as far as doing my own thing on my own time, it might be cool. I could accompany myself with some cool chords.

    So do most people play wide spacing 6 or narrow spacing 6?
  6. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I'm a 4- and 5-string guy, not a 6-string guy, so I feel a bit unqualified to answer this question; but I would guess that the biggest hurdle is physical, not intellectual. To be specific, you need to make sure your wrist angle is straight enough on the wider neck to avoid problems. If there's pain, immediately stop and readjust.
    Just my $.02.
  7. K-Frog


    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA

    I anticipate the arrival of my first sixer this week.

    I have a question that if answered well, may help us both.
    What instructional materials are recommended to make the best use of the exteded range (chords mostly).
    I've played primarily 5 string for the past 10-15 years, but am moving on to the 6 for more options in position voicings and chords.

    I think that due to availability, most folks are using more narrow than wide spaced sixes.
  8. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    So I wasn't thinking of any particular material, I just rely on my knowledge of theory including intervals and arps to decide on voicings. I only know a limited number of chords, but I know that they wouldn't be quite a stretch if I had the extra string!
  9. I first started to play the bass in 7th grade. Learned many new things on it after about 2 years I got a five string. I just felt four was limiting, I played the 5 string till this day and love it but one day I switched from B-G to E-C, love it even more. As I go to music stores I play all different instruments 4 to 6, fretted and fretless. I can transition very smoothly from on to the other. I guess things come a little simpler to me than others. Advice that I would give would be, know you 4 left and right and up and down inside and out, you will go back one day. I myself am stuck on the five string. I want to get a 6 string midi bass but thats in the future. I keep finding new and exciting things for me to learn on the 5 than i woud on the 4. And when i play the 4 it limits me. Dont add one more string because its a cool factor or you think it'll make you play better get it for your own sound. If you use all the notes then by all means use them. I've known many kids and adults that play 6 string and only stay in one position but hardly ever play the B and C string. Me I love to move all over the fretboard.

    If you do make the jump, make sure you know your fretboard. Thats my two pennies.
  10. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Just make sure you use all the strings at least once when you perform. My favorite are the kid performers in town with 6-stringers... who only use about 2-3 of the strings on them.
  11. Kobaia


    Oct 29, 2005
    Denton TX
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amp Gruv Gear and Mono Cases
    I went from a 4 to a 7 then to a 6
  12. i hope that it is easy for me to switch. as i am doing that in the next few weeks. although my five will remain my band bass, the six is just for messing around on and doing solo stuff

  13. just remember, if you're looking at a 6 string, your 4 is in the middle, your 5 is on the bottom, and your 6 is that little string on top that you won't ever really use ( :p )