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Making the switch - 4 to 7

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by B Sus, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. B Sus

    B Sus

    Mar 24, 2009
    Angleton, TX
    I'm 19, and recently switched to playing bass after playing guitar for about 6 years. I started out on a Danelecrto Hodad 4 string, but have recently purchased a Conklin GT-7.

    The Conklin has renewed my love for music, and the instrument itself, but despite loving the way it feels and plays, the extra strings dont seem to get much attention.

    Can anyone give me some advice on how to approach the extra strings, and what I may need to change as far as my technique goes? (I dont have any experience with pop/slapping, but I do try to play everything finger style)
  2. Welcome, and get ready to be told that you're an idiot for buying a 7 stringer when 4 will do. Not from me, from them. I say play what you want to play.
    You do have to ask yourself, though, why exactly you bought it if you didn't already have a clear idea of what you'd use it for.
    I guess I would suggest checking out Bill Dickens, maybe? Or any of the 6 string players, to get some ideas for the approach you might use. Many chordal/solo/tapping options, if that's your thing.
  3. I've been looking to try out the conklin 7 string for a bit, and move from 6 to 7.

    As far as technique goes, your right hand will need to change if you're using a pick-anchor technique. Something like the movable anchor or the floating thumb is best for 6+. You'll need to get used to the smaller string spacing and pay attention to muting a lot for a while.
  4. 3506string


    Nov 18, 2004
    Lawton, OK
    I wouldn't worry too much about those extra strings not getting used as much. I often tell people part of getting used to a ERB is being able to ignore or not become overwhelmed by those extra strings. I play a 6 and the E and A strings are the most used strings my D and G strings get a lot of octave work and c string is for those runs and chords. For me having extra strings is just makes moving around more ergonomic.
  5. spong


    Nov 20, 2006
    Ashburn Virginia
    What genre of music do you want to play?
  6. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I switched from 4 to 7, and I ran scales like CRAZY.
    Also, get arpeggios going up and down the neck as high, and as low, as you can go.

    This'll help a lot.
    I find I still use the "main" 4 strings a lot more, but I'm not as scared to venture off into the other strings.
  7. big necks vibrate a lot!
    a floating thumb is needed for this too so keep it in mind!
    i have a 6 and if i play an E anywhere on the neck, my e string will start to ring out if my thumb isn't stopping it. this makes for a very muddy sound.
    when i went to 6 from 4 i was 13, and i quickly figured out i never needed another open string. and never needed to move from a position. i think starting with this concept is a good place to start. start playing above the 5th fret when you would of played in the first position.
    for the higher strings you can start power chords, and playing the strings where you would have jumped your hand to hit other notes.
    biggest thing though.... don't get lazy. being able to play an entire gig in one position is easy to do but will make your left hand dumb!
    and watch your rists and fingers. numbness and tingling in your fingers is BAD! sore rists are equally BAD! carpul tunnel (spelling way off) comes a lot easier on big necks. i would suggest keeping you 4 string as a bass to play for longer periods. thats why i NEEDED to get a 4 again.
  8. B Sus

    B Sus

    Mar 24, 2009
    Angleton, TX

    I play in the jazz band at college, and have already taken advantage of not having to change position with use of the low b. I am interested in learning more modes and scales to help with improvisation. Can someone provide some helpful links please?

    I also play in a metal band that primarily tunes to cGCFAD, although my purchase of a 7 has inspired them to also look into upgrading to 7s. I will be keeping my tuning b-F, while they will most likely use the standard guitar with the added low b. I am interested in learning more tapping techniques for this, so any links or tips would be helpful.

    On the subject of tapping, what is a good "mute" for the back end of the string? I've tried hair and wrist bands, but the middle strings dont mute as well. Advice?
  9. I would probably never be interested in a 7, and a 5-stringer is as far as my courage will allow. I must say that you are braver than I am.
    Bill Dickens, a noted 7 string player, has a video out on his technique with the seven string bass. You may want to check it out.
  10. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    As Mark says: play scales and arpeggios, as big as you can, while keeping your left hand in one position.
    I use my left hand and the right hand in conjunction to mute the strings. Floating thumb on the right hand.

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