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Is it ok to go straight to a 6?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by millner, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. millner


    Sep 26, 2005
    Hello everyone...let me get some opinions on this.

    I recently made the jump from 4 string to 6 string (I didn't bother with a 5 in between, just jumped right up to 6). Ive been playing the 6 for about 2-3 weeks now. My problem is my band tuned BEAD so when I jumped up to six, instead of adding one low and one high string like it would for the average player, I got another 2 high strings thrown in there and its a lot harder to get used too than I expected. Do you think that it would be a better idea to spend a few months on a 5 and then hop to a 6 or will I be fine soon? To be honest I'm kind of favoring the idea of a doing the 5 and then 6 idea but like i said, ive only got about 2 weeks experience with it so those of you with a few years experience, what should I do?

    Thanks a lot for any help!
  2. Why don't you just... play only 5 strings for a few weeks? Just move up gradually.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I think you should forget about any of it and just play a man's bass (4-string) ;)

    But seriously, it may help you to move up gradually, but it may not. 2-3 weeks to get used to 2 extra strings is not much time. I would give it a good 4-6 months before I came to any conclusions.
  4. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Tune it FBEADG. I don't know how this would help you get used to it, but at least you'll have a lower string than the rest of your band. That's got to be worth something...
  5. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    I asume you bought that bass. You can get a new nut set in by a luthier to use regular 6 string sets (beadgc) that'll be easier for you to play and sound better with your band.
  6. Switch to a standard beadgc set and play your ass off and get to know it, I don't really feel like I'm getting the most out of a bass until i've had it for a few months and know how to manipulate either the controls, or my hand placement, and or both at the same time to fully utilize it. Just make sure that your stretching and warming up before going and ripping out sets on that, the increased width of the fingerboard is going to put some stress on your left hand, you'll need to condition yourself to it. Make sure to use the least amount of effort to get the sound you want, digging in is all in the finger tension, not how hard you grip the neck. :) After you've played it for a few months, it will feel alien going back to a 4 string. When i pick up one of my 4 bangers, i always feel like their so much "easier" to play for some reason, maybe because I don't have as many vertical position changing options. I've been using an old peavey six string for the last few months I sold to my friend to get used to the six again, i'm going to buy something in the next few months, probably another carvin, but maybe i'll pony up for a stambaugh. We'll see. Anyways, good luck.
  7. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005
    He is using BEADGC. His four was BEAD, so when he got the six it was giving him two extra high strings, not one high and one low as would be the case with an EADG tuned bassist.

    If your amp can take it, you might try F#BEADG.
  8. Stay at 6!! It's only a question to be used to. All the work you're doing on the 6 is good for you.
    And I agree with BassMutant, tune it BEADGC and play it for months.
    If it's really not for you, change!

  9. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    You can play any number of strings you need.
    You set your own limitations?
    Whatever's right for you and your music.
    I play 4,5. amd 6 string basses.
    It's all up to you?
  10. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I went straight from a four to a six string and have no problem at all. It does feel a bit weird going back to a 4 string after I've been playing the 6'er a lot. I've actually NEVER played a 5 string but I have been thinking about getting one with a high C instead of the low B, for some reason I just can't get used to that B string it just totally throws me off at times. I guess I just prefer the E string be at the top.
  11. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Eh, I jumped from 4 to 6, and played both kinds for over a decade (though these days, I just have 4's.) I've actually never even owned a 5 string!

    Just give it time, you'll get used to it. Everyone is different. For me, the biggest stumbling block was getting used to the tighter string spacing, rather than the number of strings.
  12. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I moved from 4-7 with no problems.
  13. same here...i didn't have a problem making the 4-6 jump
  14. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    I've never played a six-string on a gig.
  15. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I wouldn't make a final decision after only 2-3 weeks. Spend some time with it, increase your practice time, and get a feel for the instrument. The other question to ask is what do you really need out of an instrument? While a 6 will give you a great deal of versatility and will make playing easier in certain circumstance, it might not be necessary in others. If, in your playing and practicing, you find that you never use the high strings, you may be better off with a 5-string or a de-tuned 4-string.
  16. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I never really use a six string on any gigs, although a side band I just joined I may be able to, I mainly just play it around the house to solo on and mess around on.
  17. If u wanted to stick with forths as I do, I play my six string F#-G

    I do this because my ideas have just been coming low recently, but yeah, it feels like a 4 string if you ignore the two low strings.

    But as others have said and you'll see from other posts if u search, as well as myself, when we went to six B-C, it just came with practice, so it sucks that this is the best advice I have, but just practice, it'll come.
  18. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I found that switching to a 6 string made me a better musician. Without it, I would have never gotten those common sense type things with modes and scales. Playing a 6 with my former metal band also gave me the oppertunity to play HIGHER and NOT the copy the guitar player as much and play the root notes all the time. I had it tuned BEADGC and found myself doing some sick finger taps on the upper register... Remember being low doesnt make you heavy. It all depends on the mood of the tunes, there are still some bands that are heavy and aren't tuned to Mesuggah 8 string guitar FBEADG....
  19. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    I say choose your instrument and learn to play it.
    I don't see any reason to start with a certain number of strings and "work your way up" to more strings.
  20. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    Learn to play the instrument you want to play. Do you really need the extra strings? Are you happy with your setup now? or feeling you need to change because you're supposed to play with more strings? Find the instrument and learn to play whatever number of strings you really want. I went from a 4 to a 6 over 15 years ago and appreciate what each has to offer. I started playing 6 because I played in a trio without a piano or guitar and had to play chords to fill in. I still use my 4 strings often because the feel you get from playing up and down the neck as opposed to across the neck is different and for some things only a 4 string will do.