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Question for 5 and 6 string bass owners (and bazillion string bass owners.....JT :P )

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by LiquidMidnight, Feb 16, 2002.

  1. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Maybe this has been asked before, but I was wondering about the other people that own multi-stringed basses.

    What prompted you to buy something with exteneded range. Did you buy a 5 or 6 string bass thinking that this would give you more options to explore (without really knowing what you were going to do with it) or had you felt that you exhausted a lot of ideas on a 4 string, and already had a lot of musical ideas floating around that required more strings?

    I guess I fall into the first category. I was in the market for a new bass and I already owned a 4 string, a fretless, and a shortscale 4 string, so I thought I might as well make purchasing another bass worthwhile and I should look into a 5 string. (How's that for a run-on sentence :p ) I really didn't know how I was going to use it though. After getting it and playing it (and watching a few others use their B strings) I found practical uses for the B.

    Though I don't plan on buying a 6 string, until I feel that the style of music I'm playing, or my playing style could fully use another string...........Of course, maybe buying a 6 string would push me to use that C in my current musical situation. (In other words, it would make me say to the rest of my band, "Could I please take a flippin' solo in this song") :D
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yes, exactly. i went to 7 from 4 because i was bored with a 4 string. too limiting for what i wanted to do. haven't been bored since :D
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I play a lot of covers, so I don't have any musical ideas................Well, I "interpret" the recorded bass lines, so maybe I do. ;)

    5-strings have me satisfied, (at least for now). Having 5 extra notes and paying more for strings sets aren't a big whoop to me, but I got tired of having to play "vertically" on 4-strings.

    Playing "across" the fretboard is the big gain to me. Maybe a bass that looks like a relative of the harp will look good, later.
  4. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Went from 4's to 5's for several reasons:

    - Sounds right for some music styles
    - One or two keys that miss that low root on a 4
    - More options for easier playing (across instead of up and down)
    - It looked interesting :)
  5. I went from 4 to 5 strings because I wanted the extended range.. and I bought a better brand (went from playing an Ibanez EDB600 4-string to play a Warwick Corvette STD 5-string) which has mcuh better tone and makes playing bass more fun. It also let playing bass be easier because you don't have to jump as far down the neck and you can also reach lower notes without tuning down (mostly while playing someone else's music).
  6. Nikehawk

    Nikehawk Guest

    Jul 29, 2001
    Yorkville, IL, USA
    I went from 4-5-6 because I too was tired of playing up and down the fret board. With my 6 I can play across (which I believe promotes quickness). I also love learning how to use bass solos and chords in "real" (non-solo) songs.
  7. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    i was bored with a 4 string, and wanted to have a few more options available, i thought having that 5th string would be a good way to get those options

    now im not bored with the bass like i was when i had a 4
  8. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    Beaver told me to do it!:D
  9. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    I wanted to have the low B string.
  10. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I like 5s so that I don't have to drop to d, and/or I don't have to tune down with the guitars.

    I like being able to play that low. I think I would get a 6 eventually. But I have a lot to learn until then. :p
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I went from 4 to 6 for the extra range, ability to play across and up the neck both, and for chords and tapping.

    I found out a couple of years later that on a cheap 6 string, the high C isn't really that useable, it is too thin sounding. So, I bought 2 really good 5's.

    Recently bought a really good 6, and found the the C sounds as full as the other 5 strings, so I will be playing 6 more and more.

    But I believe that 75% of my playing will always be on the 5.
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    For years I was installing Hipshot D-tuners on all my basses because I was tuning down so often. But the D-tuner/Bass Xtender only makes it easy to detune to one particular note. So, two years ago after two decades playing bass I finally decided to get a five-string.

    There are a number of reasons why I waited so long (mostly unrelated to music), but the bottom line is that I am glad I switched: 5-string is now my instrument exclusively. The low notes sound great when properly used, and I enjoy the 2 octave range at each position. And, I no longer have to transpose the notes on one string as I did when I D-tuned.

    I've toyed with the idea of six, but I am a true bottom dweller and not a soloist, so I have no need. Also, I do not want to deal with either a wider neck or narrower string spacing.

    So as I said, 5-string is perfect for me.
  13. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I jumped from 4 to 6 because I was getting frustrated with the lack of range. I never was and never will be a big fan of detuning; now, there's no need (not usually, anyway). I usually use the high C string for melodies and chords.

    You also don't have to move up and down the neck as much - just have to cross strings instead.
  14. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I'm a little different than most - I started on a fiver. I had wanted to get a bass and start learning. My little bro had been playing for awhile and had just gotten a nice new Ibanez Ergodyne 5 string for Christmas (spoiled little punk...) So I started hounding him to sell me his old cheap Peavy 4 string....it turned out he had already pawned the Peavy (dope smokin' spoiled little punk....) and further more had more or less quit playing bass all together - his Ergo fiver (which was in brand new condition) a pretty descent amp (Peavy TKO 115) and little yellow boss OD pedel and and two cables (yet, odly enough, no strap ...did he ever really play?) it was all for sale and I took the whole ball of wax of his hands so I could get started with everything I needed and at a descent price. My five string is the only bass I've ever had and just feels right to me. The only time I've ever wanted for a four string is when I start thinking I want to play slap/pop style. When the G.A.S. passes I'm glad I have a five string to keep me focused on whats really important to me - which is improving my finger stryle technique.
  15. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    don't let the number of strings fool you - slapping is fine on an extended range bass. just practice it - it'll come. :)
  16. Oddly enough, he never plays 5! :)

    I started with 6, and worked my way backwards to the 5. I dig the 6 still, but for my present gig I don't find myself needing the higher notes. I still keep 'em 'round and keep "current" on 'em, just don't drag 'em out to gigs.

    The reason I play the 5's & 6's is for the availability to have all those notes in one place...that's right I'm lazy. :p :D
  17. eViL cAkE

    eViL cAkE Guest

    Sep 6, 2001
    Just East of Dallas
    I didn't choose 5-string, it chose me.

    My first bass was a late eighties black 5-string Fender Squire with a way pointy head stock that my parents bought because it was on ultra, ultra clearance at the local music store. I guess the 5-string haden't really caught on in Corpus Christi, TX in 91.'

    Since I started on a 5, I tend to use the higher positions on the B string more than most 4 to 5-string converts.

    I don't think I'll ever go to a 6 or higher though, I don't really have any use for an extra high string. The high F on the 22nd fret of the G-string is plenty high for me. Besides most of the great melodic basslines we cherish today were achieved on 4-strings.

    Adios Dudes.
  18. I play mostly in church. A lot of the songs in the hymnal are written for pianists, who (strangely) seem to like flats. And one of the more popular keys is Eb.
    I guess I could have de-tuned a half step, but could also grab the low D and C with a 5'er.
    Only problem now, I wanna go down to Bb. How low can you go?;)
  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Well, if you still don't want to detune, you could get a six string and tune it F#BEADG. Or if you want to stick with five, F#BEAD!
  20. I never wanted to go past a 4, since all the cats I loved listening to played 4's. so it was inevitable that I heard Jimmy Haslip and Flim Johnson use those low B's to deadly effect. I was hooked. I thought for sure that I would stick there. of course I had to meet Roberto Vally, Steve Bailey, and Steuart Liebig. when I picked up a 6 for the first time, it was like I'd just stepped into a new country where I knew some of the language but couldn't hold a conversation. and I wanted to TALK!! I mused, that first day playing my own 6, that a bass which went both lower and higher would be the perfect challenge. it took me almost 15 years to find someone who'd build it, but I haven't looked back since i picked it up. I am constantly inspired and always learning. now, this hardly makes me a passable player, but my love of music is rekindled each time I pick up the instrument.

    that's why I play more than 4 strings.

    plus I didg the looks I get when people see me haul it out of its case! :D

    from the low end,


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