[Noob] Extra strings - Overambitious or Future Proofing?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Anatosuchus, Aug 27, 2020.

  1. Yep, it's awesome and you'll be awesome.

    12 vote(s)
  2. Nope, you only got five fingers, dude.

    6 vote(s)
  1. Anatosuchus


    Aug 21, 2020

    I started learning in May, and have an Ibanez EDC-705 which is okay though I need to sort some buzz and the tone a bit at the low end. I got a 5-string because I listen to quite a bit of detuned metal stuff and wanted to be able to play as much as possible without retuning. This is working okay for me (I'm managing to transpose* the odd song across to make use of the extra string and my overall agility is improving daily), and I'm really happy with five except...

    I may be about to get together enough cash to get a Dingwall NG3 5-string, and whilst drooling over the kit I noticed I could get a 6-string model for almost the same price. But, I'm a total beginner. My thought is that a 6 can't do any harm, and will give me more options as I improve but I don't know if there might be some horrible issues waiting for me if I dive in. I'm not likely to get the cash for another upgrade well, maybe ever. Point of order: I have smallish hands but I don't think that should be a big issue.

    So, am I being overwhelmed by my gearhead tendencies or is a six actually not such a terrible idea?

    *If that's the right term.
    TolerancEJ and gebass6 like this.
  2. i vote you stick with the plan
    Anatosuchus likes this.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Getting a Dingwall 3 months into playing, regardless of the number of strings it has, is a big jump.

    Many people's goals and ambitions change over the course of the first few years of playing. You may find yourself wanting a vintage Fender or a fretless 7 string instead.

    My advice would be to hold on to your money for a while before making that decision. And don't buy one without playing it first. They're a love/hate instrument.
    Bootrice, Jon Moody and Anatosuchus like this.
  4. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    Yep, It's awesome and you'll be awesome.
    Reedt2000 and Anatosuchus like this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    do what you want to do! sounds like you're on a roll with both you're thinking and your progress in general. do it. don't look back! good luck! :thumbsup:

    i voted for your awesomeness. :D
    Anatosuchus likes this.
  6. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Get the six.
    The days of having to start out on a four string F.S.O.(Fender Shaped Object) are long gone.
    Play what you want.
  7. This is tough because everyone is different. Some people’s tastes rapidly change and they buy a new piece of gear often to keep pushing their own boundaries; other people are fine playing a four string Fender for 60+ years. I know my preferences have changed a ton in the years that I’ve been playing. I’ve certainly made mistakes with some of my gear acquisitions, but I’ve always been able to sell them off to a good home.

    The bright side of buying a piece of gear you don’t vibe with is that you know what to look out for going forward. If something like a Dingwall isn’t a huge financial gamble for you then I don’t really see an issue with going after what you want. Hell, even if you hate one aspect of it you might love another – every piece of gear we try educates a future purchase.
    Anatosuchus likes this.
  8. Persona87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I was seduced by the six string world and thought it would be for me, but I’m back to playing four strings now. I have nothing against sixes and think some people can do them justice, but I can’t. They were too heavy for me, the extra strings weren’t that useful for the music I play, muting was much more difficult, and my left hand got more confused while playing songs with a lot of string skipping. It would suck to spend a ton of money on something you don’t get on with. I think a five is a safer bet, but I think the best option is to hang on to that money and buy your “forever bass” when you have a better handle on your likes and dislikes.
    mexicant, Maxdusty and Anatosuchus like this.
  9. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO it depends upon your long range goals. Switching from 5 to 6-string is likely to cause some setbacks. I transitioned from 4-string to 5-string, and then later I transitioned from 5-string to 6-string. Both times the transition degraded my playing for a period of time.

    Also I had played 4-string for over a decade before I started to play 5-string. It took me about a decade on the 6-string before I really began to feel like it was my native instrument. Prior to that I was more like a 4 string player with a couple of extra strings. Now when I play a 4-string or 5-string I may have to work passages out due to the missing strings. I really do feel most at home on the 6. In general a 6-string player is more likely to play across the strings, whereas a 4-string player will have to shift up and down the neck more.

    To further complicate my transitions, I also started transitioning from Simandl fingering (1,2,4) to one finger per fret (1,2,3,4) around the same time I started playing 5-string. I also continued playing upright bass for the duration of my career with Simandl fingering.

    I believe their are different advantages and disadvantages to playing 4-string and 6-string. Overall I feel the advantage of the 6-string outweigh the disadvantages, but everyone should weigh the merits for themselves. The one big difference that I think you should be aware of is 6-string does require extended and more developed muting technique. When I transitioned to 5-string, I pretty much applied the same muting techniques I had used with 4-string, and did not notice any problems. When I transitioned to 6-string, I had trouble keeping the extra strings from ringing unintentionally. I think it probably took me about two years to expand and really internalize 6-string muting techniques, so I could play effortlessly without worrying about muting.

    If you do decide to get the 6-string, the transition will go smoothest if you only play the 6-string exclusively until you have really internalized the finger board. If you alternate between 5-string and 6-string too soon, your brain will tend to revert back to thinking like a 5-string player.

    Good luck with your decision.
    gebass6 and Anatosuchus like this.
  10. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I played a crappy Ibanez 5 for about 6 months before getting a decent Ibanez 6.

    no ragerts.

    Do it. It’s your money.
    Element Zero, gebass6 and Anatosuchus like this.
  11. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Go for it!!!
    Anatosuchus and TolerancEJ like this.
  12. Cutter8

    Cutter8 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2018
    I also played a cheap Ibanez 5-string for about 6 months before getting a very nice Ibanez 6-string, but I did have ragerts. ;)
    Anatosuchus likes this.
  13. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I get the impression a lot of people who try to make the transition to 5-string or 6-string become frustrated and give up. I did not find it to be an easy transition, and I am not sure I would have been able to complete it if I were not a full-time professional working continuously on my craft.
    Anatosuchus and Cutter8 like this.
  14. @Anatosuchus Of my 21 bases, seven are 4-strings, one is a 5-string, twelve are 6-strings and one is a 7-string. Honestly, it doesn't take too long to become accustomed to the extra strings. Sit down with it. Study the notes of the fretboard and notice scale patterns. Experiment with chords if that interests you.

    I know the argument from traditionalists is that it only gives you 5 extra notes for a 5-string and 10 extra notes for a 6-string. It's not just that. The same note has a different tonality, depending whether you choose to play it at a different position. As an example: the exact 'C' note can be played on the open C-string, 5th fret on the G-String, 10th fret on the D-String, 15th fret on the A-String, 20th fret on the E-String, and if you happen to order or find a used custom bass extending past 24 frets, the same note would also be at the 25th fret of the B-String. Experiment with the tonality of that same note in the different positions. Which one would benefit one of your songs or riffs best? That's completely your call.
    Anatosuchus and Wasnex like this.
  15. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I'd buy the bass that is the right fit for your musical intentions and that will enable you to play to the best of your abilities.

    Small hands should never be a problem if your technique is good.
    gebass6 and Anatosuchus like this.
  16. Anatosuchus


    Aug 21, 2020
    Thanks everyone for the feedback. I'm still juggling the financial aspect but I'll drop back in as and when I've made a purchase!
  17. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    My suggestion, go to a store and try out a six string for a bit and see if the additional weight, wider fretboard is comfortable for you. To be perfectly honest, you being a new bass player, I think it may be too soon to decide on a bass that would do it for you. Nothing wrong, no harm no foul if you have the money to invest and a Dingwall is a great bass no doubt, but it doesn't hold true for everyone (if that were the case, you'd see every professional musician out there with a Dingwall). What concerns me a bit though is your statement in your post about putting money together for one.

    Everyone has their preferences and a suitable instrument that fits their style and what they look for in a bass. I started off with a pretty good bass many years ago, learned my early chops as a teen on an Ibanez Musician MC924, and through the years realized that while the bass was good, had knobs up the wazoo (I was fixated on knobs and dials as a teen), go figure, a simple passive P bass with a slim neck was the bass that works best for me in terms of tone and playing style. As I evolved as a bass player and became better at it, my preferences had changed and more aware of the little nuances that made a particular bass more ideal for me.
    I used to own an Ibanez Ergodyne EDC700 and EDC705 a while back, and while they're good decent basses, you can get much better options today, for not much money and even made of real wood. lol So I do understand your desire for a better bass.

    Ultimately, your call and whatever works best for you and more importantly, whatever keeps your interest in playing the instrument.
  18. Anatosuchus


    Aug 21, 2020
    Sooo... After careful consideration, I did the thing and got the six. Obviously this is day one (in fact it's about minute 23) but this thing is stupendous. Even without any setting up it's really easy to play* and feels about half the weight of my old Ibanez. Absolutely blown away.


    *Muting is obviously going to be fun and I'm still finding the lower frets on this fanned layout.
    Wasnex, Volker Kirstein and gunai like this.
  19. Yummy Notes

    Yummy Notes

    Dec 20, 2019
    On the 1
    Nice bass, I’m glad you followed our advice. ;)
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