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Potential move to 6 string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NYBassMan, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. NYBassMan

    NYBassMan Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Levittown, NY
    I have been playing bass for the last 17 years. I have only played 4 or 5 string in that time. I have been toying with the notion of adding a 6 string to my collection. To anybody who has taken this plunge, how hard did you find the transition? I do a lot of slap/pop funk style playing. I know with the congested string spacing, it may be more difficult. Of course like with most things, i could be overanalyzing this. I appreciate any responses on the subject.

  2. Sane


    Dec 4, 2004
    Melbourne Fl
    It took less time then the switch between 4 and 5. If spacing bothers you and wide fret boards don't plenty of options for 18 -19mm spacing.
  3. Probably the most popular answer to your type of question here in TB is to play every 6er you can get your hands on and if you find one that fits, let your conscience and wallet be your guide. Hope this saved some TBers some typing. :)
  4. NYBassMan

    NYBassMan Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Levittown, NY
    THanks for the info. The reason I ask is that I was going to have one built for me. I was going to request 19mm string spacing. The biggest thing I am curious about, is I am contemplating getting a lined fretless. Being that I slap as much as I do, I found that the tone is obviously different between fretted and fretless basses when tapping, slapping or popping. Is there any pickup that you can recommend that will add to presence when slapping on a fretless? I hope these questions don't sound stupid. I just really want to make all the right decisions with the luthier. Thanks
  5. In MY OWN opinion, if slap and tap are your thing, I'd think fretted would be the way to go. More clean and articulate sounding, for lack of better word. Again, my opinion.
    19mm option definitely If you like wide string spacing. As for the pickup should you go fretless, no idea but im curious now, too. No such thing as a stupid question.
    Edit: NOT saying slap/tap on a fretless isn't/can't be awesome!
  6. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    It can be very handy, that added high C string, looking at your music style.

    Don't worry about the string spacing. Ibanez and Spector have 6 string basses with 16.5 mm string spacing at the bridge :)
  7. I went from a 5 to a 7. It was akward for a couple days but now its completely natural feeling. My 7 is tuned G#BEADGC so reaching the B and E strings isn't any tougher than any sixes I've tried. Because of the tuning I don't have to carry multiple 5 strings anymore. I used to have basses tuned to beadg, eadgc, and g#d#g#c#f#. With the 7 I can cover all that range on one instrument and it actually cheaper to string a 7 then 2 5 strings much less 3 of them.
  8. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I say go whole hog and go unlined, Steve Bailey style, like my Bunny here. You won't get the chicks, but at least you'll have fun with the other bass players at the gig :).

    As for slapping, you might think about single coil pickups instead of humbuckers to try to brighten it up. But probably just a good preamp with parametric midrange EQ onboard will do the trick.

    I slap on my Bunny 4 from time to time and even with the big humbucker, it's not too bad if I turn up the upper mids. Nothing you do, however, will give you a fretted slap tone. It'll always sound like that thwapping-a-cardboard-box type of thing. But that in itself is a unique sound.

    And yes I agree with the other guys, standard 3/4" spacing will help a lot if you slap. That's going to be a gigantic bass tho. My Bunny has 17mm spacing which is totally addictive for finger style, but slapping is virtually out of the question for me.


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  9. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    I would highly recommend that you should go for a unlined fretless bass. This way, it's better to develope your ears and you can get the most pure tone of a fretless bass.

    When it comes to the pickups : It's all on what you prefer. I've seen bass players with fretless basses that only had a bridge pickup. This is very good if you are into harmonics, then a single bridge pickup is the answer.

    Also for the real ''mwah'' sound, 1 pickup is a good solution. If you want a fuller and rounder sound, 2 pickups are a good choice. For the typ of pickup(s) and brand is basicly something only you can choose.

    Either a soapbar style humbucker or MM style humbucker can be very good for the fretless bass. And since it will be a 6 stringer, my choice would probably be a MM style humbucker made by Nordstrand.

    Hopefully you can find the sound you are looking for and I wish you all the best on your journey.

    Kind gards, Thomas a.k.a. Mr_Music
  10. I would highly recommend you shop shop shop shop shop.

    I blew my wrists on a 6 and it was about a decade before I could spend more than 10 minutes with a bass in my hand. Now that I can, I'm back to 4s and staying there. I urge you to find something comfortable and don't just dive in with the first one you can afford like I did. How the neck feels on a 6 is much more important than how it feels on a 4, and if you're picky there, you're going to need to be on top of that custom from day 1.

    The cool thing about a 6 is that once you learn how scale patterns look spread across that many strings, it's super easy to make 2-octave runs without even thinking... or shifting.

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