Is the adjustment from 5 strings to 6 harder than the adjustment from 4 to5?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Kraig99, Mar 7, 2002.

  1. The adjustment is about the same

    8 vote(s)
  2. Harder to switch from 4 to 5

    8 vote(s)
  3. Harder to switch from 5 to 6

    3 vote(s)
  1. I just recently bought a 6 string bass off of ebay. Until now, I had only played a 5 string. Before that, only a 4 string. When I first switched, I did not notice much of an adjustment, only that I had to push my thumb out further. Is there much more of an adjustment when switching from a 5 string to 6 string?
  2. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    you know what... i cant answer that. but Tad Kinchla (Blues Travler) can

    he said that each string you add it becomes a bit more difficult.

    i wouldnt know, i went from 4 to 7 :D
  3. 99,
    I'd say no, not particularly. You may need to shift your thumb more across the back of the neck as opposed to "in line" with the length of the neck due to the extra width. Be sure to play on your fingertips as it can be easy to bump that thin C string.

    Muting is the biggest variable. John Patitucci has a unique muting technique that anchors moveable ring and pinky, trailing behind his picking index and middle fingers. It's shown on his 2nd video which is an excellent instructional video-although jazz/modes oriented.

    I use three finger picking and find that a "floating" thumb technique works best for me. Just trail your thumb a string or two behind your picking fingers to mute strings you've already played or left behind. (No more anchoring your thumb on a pickup or thumbrest!)
    Adam Nitti had a great column outlining this technique in Bass Player Mag. a few months ago if you can locate that.

    Enjoy your 6! It'll give you easier fingering options when playing across the neck in first position and opens up nice chordal "opportunities".

    I just think that they make a lot of sense musically. Jim T.
  4. membranophone


    Mar 19, 2000
    Madison, WI
    i'd say that 5 to 6 is easier because you're just adding another string to the bottom of the neck. the string closest to you doesn't change. when i went from 4 to 6, i kept playing the E string when i meant to play A, B when i meant to play E, etc.
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    If you have a decent technique it's no problem.
    I only have a fourstring, but every time I play a sixer I feel right at home.
  6. We will soon see. It has been okay on the basses I have tried to switch from my 5 to the 6, but I will know more when I have my 6.

  7. I agree with membranophone. I got so used to 4 strings I played instinctively without thinking about it. When I switched to a 5-string, I had to think a little more about my playing and be careful not to hit that B instead of the E. I don't own a 6-string, but last time I was in the studio I walked in and tracked a song with one they had lying there... no problem. Actually, I think it made my playing better because the instrument was so easy to play, and there were so many chord and sweep arpeggio possibilities under my fingertips. I almost asked my band to let me put a bass solo on the album!
  8. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    I am personally going to make the jump from 4 to 6 when I get enough money for a good 6. I'm finding that I wish I had a C string as well as a B string...I proably would use the C more often then the B at that.
  9. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    My experience was that it was quite difficult to switch from 4 to 5. In fact, I tried to do it on a gig and the first set was a string (no pun intended) of near train wrecks because the B string being on top instead of the E really messed me up physically. It took me a good couple of months before I really felt at home and was taking full advantage of the benefits.

    On the other hand, going from 5 to 6 was a breeze. Physically (for me anyway) it's a lot easier to add strings below my fingers. A find a 7 no problem either.
  10. I may be one of the few people that thinks the more strings i have the easier it get's. I have huge hands and love not having to go up and down the fretboard. The only thing i had a probleme with was slapping, the jump from 4 to 5 was not to bad but I'm still having some trouble with the tight string spacing on the 6, but i think alot of it depends on the bass.
  11. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I played a 6 for the 1st time at my 1st bass lesson recently... it was a fretless too.

    I actually found it quite managable considering how difficult I thought it would be... but it was a high-end bass so was well designed... ergonomics etc..

    Tempted - whay yes I am! - but I cant afford one and my band mates would disown me if I turned up with a 6 string for sure.
  12. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    Why would they do that? Would the guitarist not be able to brag about having two or one extra strings? As for me, as soon as I get the money, which probably will be in about 4 years, after I get out of college, I'm gonna buy a Keith Horn 6....gonna be badass. But thats after I buy a car, and soup the **** out of it, then I'll see if I can afford the Keith...
  13. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    In my experience, yes and no. Although you're used to the (generally) tighter spacing, you have to mute yet ANOTHER string while playing. When you get up to 6 and 7 strings, muting becomes much more difficult, ime. Like JMX said, if you have good technique, if you practice, you'll be fine. In time, you'll adapt.
  14. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    Just take your time with it. I wouldn't reccomend gigging with a sixer the first day you get it but with enough practice it will feel just as at home in your hands as one of those ole toothpicks anyday ;)