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More than 4 strings

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ricman28, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. ricman28


    Oct 23, 2004
    What does everybody think of 5 and 6 string basses? I'm getting a lot of flak from my band about it but I want to start playing a 5 string real soon.
  2. If you think it will help your sound, why not go for it? Or at least try a few in a store to see if you like playing them (if you haven't already). Not sure why your bandmates would mind you adding that low B to your arsenal, unless you are not playing bass intensive music...

    Personally, I think it's not really necessary to go beyond four strings unless the style of music calls for it. There's plenty you can do on four strings to create a unique sound without the additional strings, IMHO.
  3. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    I'm a 6-string guy myself. I started on a 4, moved to a 5 when the treble to bass clef transpositions my teacher had me do went beyond the range of my 4 (and I was hopping all over the fingerboard), and recently went for a 6 when I found myself playing a lot of melody parts/stuff (like Disney) in my kindergarten classroom (since kids' hearing isn't as attuned to lower frequencies; why else is much children's music so high pitched?)

    Most of the magic in my playing happens on the EADG, but for when I want to go off on tangents, I have room. Cats like Victor Wooten humble most all of us with the amazing things he can do with a 4-string. Tony Levin and the late Mark Sandman have shown us that amazing things can be done with 3 or 2 strings respectively. But for many of us, the extended range is what works best for the music we play.

    If you think a 5 or 6 will enhance your playing and allow you to find 'your' voice, go for it. It's not cool for bandmates to tell you what gear you should or should not play. The only way you can play well, play confidently, and add your personality to the band & its sound is if you play your bass that you're comfortable with. You're the one playing the bass, not them.

    I've been lucky. So far, I've never had objections from bandmates/potential bandmates for playing a 6.
  4. I only have a 4-string at the moment, but my next bass will most probably be a 5-string. I play alot of metal of wich some is even tuned down to B, so I could really use the low B so I don't need to screw around with the tunings all the time. I could string a 4' BEAD, but I don't want to lose my G-string. And I'm sure I'll find other ways to make use out of the low B.

    6-strings are cool. I'd love to have one some day to try new things, but right now I have no use for a high C in 95% of the music I play.
  5. I am getting a 5er soon because i play rock music in Drop D tunning and i have experimented with a 5 string with the low string tuned down to an A to have ADADG (low to high) and it sounds AWESOME! If you play in drop D having that lower octave A sounds great. If you play anything in drop tunnings having another lower string is an awesome thing to have.
  6. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    a 6 string 24 fret has 8 more notes than a 4 [24 fret] with a drop d tuner

    so, no its not necessary , but it sure makes things more accessible and easier to play chords un-muddied .
  7. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    *serious voice on* very respectively, tell your bandmates to F*** off. they dont play the bass do they? my guitar player was complaining about me having a 6 and he said i should have bought a p bass, we got into a fight where he quoted every dead hero who played a 4 string like Jaco and Jamerson, and i ended up giving him a black eye. now this happened because when i get angry i explode. this doesnt always happen. but seriously, its none of your bandmembers business what gear you may or may not want.*serious voice off* why dont you get a 7 string and see what they say? :D
    that would be pretty funny.
  8. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey

    I think some stories here are appropriate. I still don't get why so many musicians make a brouhaha over what the bassist plays. You never really hear us/anyone make a big brouhaha over what kind of guitar the guitarist uses or what kind of kit the drummer uses.
  9. Well, to give some sort of defense to the other band members:
    Especially within the indie rock scene ERB's(especially 5vers but also 6) are often associated with a nu-metal image. Yes, this is ignorant and not justified, but nonetheless the case and especially so among people that are not well-acquainted with the ways of a bass. Everyone that's at least somewhat familiar with current Jazz and Rn'B doesn't make that connection but people who come out of an exclusive indie/punk/rock setting oftentimes do. Sadly, I speak from experience as I used to think the same thing and still know people who do.

    That said, get the 5ver, your bandmates will get used to it pretty quickly. It does give you more low-end and who's gonna complain about that.
  10. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    I hear alot of stuff about band members freaking out about what there bassist play. I think thats just stupid, ever band I've played with didnt care what I played as long as I had cool riffs that fit the music well then they wouldn't care if I showed up with a 12 adler or a 3 string bee.
  11. Tschomotsche


    Feb 13, 2005
    palo alto
    If you feel like getting more strings, go for it. It's not good to be limited by your gear, even though those strings aren't TOO neccesary. I broke down and finally got a six string. It is sweet. And about those bandmates, tell them to concentrate on their instruments.
  12. stamman5


    Aug 10, 2004
    I too have never had any trouble with band members, actually when I wanted to get a six they were very supportive. But ultimately I settled on the 5 string so that is a bummer that your bandmates are being closed-minded.

    Remember, you probably won't play in the same band your entire life, but making a desicion to change the number of strings you play can have a life long impact. And I aggree with some others that when you play it for them, you will still sound like you and the band will still sound like your guys band, but your life will be made easier by position playing, more flexibility, etc. I mean really what are they worried about, that you will only play the B string all the time :eek: :smug:
  13. Radiobass


    Jan 10, 2005
    I wouldn't mind a high C, but I doubt I would use it much, and I'm not a fan of the low B...

    But of course, more strings is not just about the extra notes, it's about hand positions and all...
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You are smart, your band is dumb. Tell them I said so.
  15. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Like many bassists, I to have been going back and fourth with the number of string to play.
    I started on the 4-string went to 6-string and then to 5-string.
    The 5-string is EADGC.
    After spending alot of time and MONEY, I'v come to the conclusion, the number of string has no effect on how good a player you are.
    I've lost blues gigs for bringing a 6-string."Where's your fender"?
    So Play what ever you like.
    Its up to you.
  16. Just noticed I forgot to say anything about the band members thing in my post.

    As pretty much everyone else here said, it's not their business how many strings your bass has. If you feel you could really use a low B and you would feel more comfortable playing a 5'er, go for it.
  17. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    and if they don't believe you.... tell'em I was standing there, heard the whole thing... Mr. bunga is right!

    (and I added the geetar playing one is kinda funny looking, who the heck picked out his shirt... his grandma?)
  18. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Mojo said it correctly: you need to be aware that some gigs will squirm at the sight of anything other than a Fender, and you can lose the gig. Is that worth it you?

    From another viewpoint, if you do your job and hold down the pocket, they shouldn't care if you are playing a 1 string or an 18 string. Do you evaluate a keyboardist based on the number of keys on his board? Do your job, hold down the pocket, and then deal with the perception stuff as you go. Regardless, I'd advise to keep a Fender around and be ready and happy to play it, if you want to do gigs.
  19. konfishily


    Jan 24, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    i have been playing for about 5 years now. Just two months ago i bought my first six string. At first it was difficult transitioning from a 4 to a 6, but i got used to it. I didn't play a four string for that whole time, but when i did, it had a totally new feel to it. My speed and technique increased a lot in my experience. With that high C you can guitar-sounding chords out, which is cool depending on what you play.
  20. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Does anyone else feel this topic gets rather boring?

    Ray :D