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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Intrepid, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    Sometimes I wonder if 6 string basses are about image. Some people buy them never using that higher string and rarely using the lower. I'm not condoning extra-strings...sometimes I feel like I need that high string and other times I feel like I need a lower string too, but some people buy them as some kind of status or image thinking people will think they are good. I especially wonder if some people lie on this forum stating they have a 6-string hoping people will think they are good. That "women with 6-strings" thread seemed good at first, but then it started to sound like she was trying to get everybody to think she was good. At first, I thought she was trying to figure out how other women overcome the small-hand over big neck thing, but it was just a very sneaky way of bragging.
  2. I play a fretless 6 (and fretted 4) and people that have never heard me say stuff like "6 strings? on a bass? You must kick ass!" And I do not like that because people might think im really good and , not that i suck, im not a very flashy player and people might be let down if im not all over the place and slapping every song. However, I do use the low B, and I use the high C in solos or for chords, so I do utilize the extra range.
  3. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I agree Intrepid. (though I haven't read the female 6 string thread, so I can't comment) All you have to do is turn on the television, and you'll see countless guys with 6 string basses, who do little more than play the E and A strings on them. There are a lot of people who satisfy their ego, simply by saying "Well, I have more strings than you". Over at the bassbunny website, it shows a 9 string bass and it says the story behind it, was two guys simply had a bet on who could get a bass with more strings, so the one guy had it built. :rolleyes:

    On the other hand, there are plenty of people who have extended ranged axes and they use that extra range for something musical. (tries to avoid the temptation of a John Turner example :D ) Personally, I would love a 6er, but for the musical style I'm currently playing, I don't think I would use that C very much. Maybe I'm just limiting myself already by having that attitude, but for my Blues/Classic Rock/Country/Olides ect I've been playing latley, I just would't use that C enough to justify having it. No other the hand, if I start playing some Prog, Jazz, or any style of music that requires more than 2 solos a night (which I plan on getting into) I'm definatley going to look into a 6 string.
  4. pc


    Apr 4, 2000
    Montreal QC
    IMO the need of a sixer depends on the style of music you play, on how do you play this music and on your technique.

    Some guy can play blues straight, only plucking roots and fifths while other can do some harmonic arrangements, tapping etc...

    I'm learning a brazilian chorinho and the melody goes through 4 octaves :eek:
    I can play it on a 5er, but i miss the high C, which would give me more comfort to play it

    my 2 cents ;)
  5. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Image is nothing, obey your thirst!
  6. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I play rock music, and my personal playing style developed when I was playing with a classic rock band, so it would seem that a 6 string would be useless, however, it would also seem that a five string wuold be too.

    Im finding that I feel lost without that extra string, and that adding more room to play around and higher octaves would be a great thing.

    Point being, that it all has to do with the player and what they do.

  7. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I don't see anything wrong with playing a 6-string bass and only using the A and E string. It could just be what the current song needs, or it could be that you're not yet up to speed with those extra strings. Nothing wrong with a challenge and an ambition to eventually use the new possibilities. It took me quite some time to change from 4 to 5 strings, and in the beginning the B string was not much more than a glorified thumb rest.

    Also, I'm a gadget freak and believe I get a lot of inspiration and motivation from new toys, so I wouldn't balk at buying an extra string just to keep things interesting. :)
  8. Also, regardless of the amount of strings, someone could play a sixer because it may have been the best bass they ever played, so they buy it, and dont use the C. Thats fine. Just because it has 6 strings, doesnt mean that the strings are the sole reason for buying a particular bass. Some people just really dig a w i d e neck, so they play 6.
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I play mostly 5 and 6 string.

    I play 6 in my originals band, and most of the songs could be played on a 4 string, because they were written on a 4. However, our newer songs were written on the 6, and I have added a solo to one of the older songs that would be difficult to play without a high C string.

    I play mostly 5 in my oldies band. Most of the songs could be played without a low B string, but I tastefully put in a few low notes, and alleviate left hand fatigue by playing in F and G in higher registers than you can on a 4 string.

    It may have been about image when I was 16, but it's not today.
  10. Well, I've never played a 6-string, though I own a 5. To be completely honest, I almost -never- use the B string. I bought it simply to expand my horizons on the bass. The only time I use the low B is if I'm learning a song that needs a 5 string, or I don't feel like downtuning to dropped D or something, and just mess around with it. I've never written a song with it being used, but I love playing a 5. It sure makes me faster on a 4 string. :D
  11. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    truth is that most songs can be played on a 4.

    If you own a six, you don't need those extra strings as often as the middle 4. So maybe the people that are using the extra strings too much are the ones showing off, and the ones using them sparingly are the ones with the right idea.

    Just a thought.
  12. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Anysong can be played on 1 string. 2 easily.

    After all they are all made with the same 12 semi tones. I regularly play songs that I wrote for 5 string, on a four, and play tunes I worte on a four, on five or six strings utilizing the extra range.

    Its all about using what you have artfully. I dont need a 6 string bass any more than a 4 string, but I can use one to enhance what I play.

  13. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Which one? Any Ernesto Nazareth stuff?
  14. LowEndRider

    LowEndRider Guest

    Mar 4, 2002
    Personally I started using a 5 for one simple reason - I was in a cover band that did 80s/early 90s dance tunes - you know the ones where the bassline was composed by a Keyboard player.
    Trying to get the notes without jumping all over the neck was just too awkward.

    -different strokes for different folks.....
  15. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Its all about what you feel most comfortable with. For me, i just can't seem to get into playing a 6er.. i can count on one hand how many i've actually picked up and played.. its not that I can't play on them.. I can play without too much hesitation. But I just don't feel right with one. The bass prof. at my school plays on a 6 and he actually instructs his students not to buy 6-strings because people will sometimes assume that you are a "showy" bass player... or you just want to solo all the time. just like guitarists :). I think there is some truth in that... however.. there are countless numbers of bassist who primarily use 4-strings and are very showy on it...

    as for me.. I play on a 5-string.. and though i don't play an open b-string all that often, i do utilize the 5th-string on a regular basis.
  16. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I like sixers, because I have large hands. 4s and 5s feel a little small to me, but 6's fit like gloves. Dosn't matter than I use a grand to total of 3 strings in a band setting (and the third only for one song) but I'm going to end up getting one, because they FEEL right.
  17. Hate to burst y'alls bubbles but 6-string basses and even 7-string basses existed before 4-string basses. They were part of the Viol family which pre-dates the Violin family. Viols generally had frets made of gut tied around the neck:


    The above image from The Vázquez Collection of Historical Musical Instruments is from the 17th century.

    So, to me, the argument that basses don't need 6-strings is kinda moot. The only reason why the electric bass has 4 strings is because it was designed as an electric version of the double-bass based on the violin family. It could very well have been based on the guitar or the Bass Viol in which case it would undoubtedly have had 6 strings.

    Spending the extra time and money to own and play a 6-string bass just to project some kind of image or compensate for inadequate genitalia or whatever is pretty ridiculous. I doubt that many people would consider playing one for such reasons.

    On the other hand, those of us who play 6-string basses and beyond do so because we want to. Perhaps we want to extend the range of the instrument or perhaps we prefer the tone of notes fretted lower on the neck to those fretted higher. Or, perhaps we want to be able to compose using an instrument that has more extensive chordal possibilities.

    Personally, I find myself pushing the range of even my 7-string and would enjoy having an extra lower and extra higher string. Why should I be persecuted because of this desire? It's a musical choice. Why should anyone be criticized for that sort of thing.

    - Dave
  18. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Not new info Dave.

    Im totally with you.

  19. Image is important, but what is more important is being true to yourself.

    Pick an instrument that fits you, and not because your favorite band's bassplayer has one too.

    And above all, don't be afraid to admit you suck at something if you do.

    Personally i don't see the use of higher strings, because it doesn't seem bass to me. but hey to each it's own.. if you want to play 50-string bass.. so be it.. it's not MY wallet that gets a terrorist-attack on it's contents ;)

    As for you, Intrepid.. don't be a f***ing wuss. speaking in the " she "-form sucks bigtime. that's what little kids do at the playground. " hey she * points * nicked my bucket.. "

    So either just call the female in question by her name, or don't mention it at all.. poking fingers in the " she " form just makes people pissed off..

    just my 2 eurocents worth of not-so-subtle hints ;)
  20. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I'm not that advanced player, but if I would find a sixer that fits me like a glove, I woulden't hesitate to buy it. If you are comfortable with it, go for one!

    Or for short: What Allo said.

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