Roscoe 6 String Transition/Journey

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SteveC, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    So yesterday I received a new to me (thanks Pacman) Roscoe SKB3006. I had a 6 string built for me last summer. Another beautiful Roscoe. After a couple months I decided/talked myself into thinking I didn't need/wouldn't use a 6 string.

    A couple months ago I started thinking Id like to try one again. When Jon's came up for sale, I had to buy it. It was spec'd almost exactly how I'd order one, and the price was definitely right.

    I'd like this to be my main bass. I know there are people who use one bass for one gig or tune, and another for something different, but I'm thinking that for me and my "gigs" (church and fill in contemporary jazz stuff) and just noodling at home that this would be a perfect bass.

    I thought I'd start this thread as a reference and place to ask for help and encouragement. So here's the first thoughts.

    I got to play for about an hour last night. Again, I don't know how much is new bass/honeymoon but the neck/6 strings seems to feel better this time than it did last summer.

    I found myself on the wrong string a couple times, but that is certainly to be expected.

    The tone of this thing is amazing. Exactly what I was hoping for after having that mahogany fretless and ash fretted. This has the warmth of the mahogany but still has some bite like the ash.
  2. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    When I went on my 6 string journey some years back, I played nothing but 6 string basses. I had the mindset that this was going to work for me, and would not allow myself to think any differently. And it did work. I gigged 6ers exclusively for quite a few years. But I just wouldn't allow myself to give up, or to convince myself that they weren't working for me.
  3. JoelFT


    Nov 12, 2011
    Newnan, GA
    Which neck taper does it have (thin or thick)? Depending on which one you had last time verses this one could be a big factor.

    I jumped in with both feet on my Century 6 and have not looked back. I'm at the point now that I am starting to think I've always been a six string player trapped in a five string player's body. Maybe it's just the symmetry of it that makes my OCD brain really enjoy it.
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    Well, I don't remember exactly the neck of my previous 6, but it was darn nice. Many "Roscoeheads" played it and had favorable things to say. It was a Standard, but I still think they are amazing. I haven't sold my Century Standard yet 😎

    That said, I seem to feel a difference with this neck. It seems more responsive. I was doing vibrato and bends without even thinking.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    The shorter lower horn on the SKB is different feeling from my Century. Likes to slide off my lap a little when I'm playing sitting down without a strap.

    Great access to the upper register though.
  6. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I loved my SKB3006 but just couldn't get used to the C string. Also, a C in a loud metal/classic rock band just didn't cut thru the mix well enough for me to use for anything other than soloing.

    The SKB3005 I used to own was killer too. These are amazing basses for the $$$. Especially used.
  7. I've played a 6 string as my main bass for over 8 years now. There've been times where I wanted to go back to a 4 string--or, rather, thought that I couldn't hack playing a 6er full time--but I stuck it out, and have a hard time imagining playing anything else. So if you really like it, stick with it, because you'll adapt. The neck is a big part of it, as it sounds like you noticed. :)

    Also... pics?
  8. intheory


    Nov 17, 2009
    SW Florida
    I just finished a 13 year stretch with my Ibby Soundgear 6 string. Awesome bass, unfortunately the weight started really bothering my shoulder. I am playing a 5 string Schecter now (much lighter). I do miss the 6-er, and will probably pick another one up someday, although the move to the 5 string wasn't difficult.
  9. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I still have my 5 (it's for sale) but I'm not playing it at all - nice abut is. 6 string immersion time.
  10. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    My only gigs are church, jazz and acoustic rock so this isn't a worry for me :)
  11. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I found the best way to approach playing a 6 string was to ignore the outer two strings. Just play the inner strings like a 4 string. Eventually, you will incorporate the other two strings into your playing.
  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    Well, I've been playing 5 strings for a while now so the B isn't an issue. The C will be a little trickier. The biggest thing is the neck width. Up high it isn't much of an issue as I tend to play the higher stings - soloing, whatever.

    However, down low it is more of a potential issue as I obviously tend to play the lower strings and the reach across to the B string is noticeable to me.

    We'll see how I adapt as time goes on.

    The only other potential issue with this bass is that it is fairly heavy.
  13. I hope you can afford to hang on to the wonderful 5 string Roscoe you have for sale until you figure out if the 6 is for you.

    I've never found a 35" scale C string that I've particularly liked (i.e., that was even with the other 5 strings), and as you post, the extra width of the neck never really worked for me.

    Since I don't do a lot of soloing up high, and never did enjoy the sound nor feel of the C string in the lower register, I found a 5 string perfect.

    Fun to go through the process though. I'd just hate to see you lose that amazing 5 string a few weeks before possibly deciding the 6 isn't for you.
  14. JBFLA

    JBFLA Roscoe FANatic

    Apr 8, 2003
    Jupiter FLA
    My Roscoe SKB3006 demanded attention and focus. I put away everything else and played it exclusively. I have several 5's with a low B and a fretless 5 with a high C, so I know the notes... but I still have issues with playing the correct string. Practice...

    ...The only thing I can suggest is to focus on the 6'er and make it your "only" bass. Play everything you played on your 5 string on your sixer.

    Muscle memory is a wonderful/adaptive thing.
  15. nostatic


    Jun 18, 2004
    Lompoc, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    fwiw I end up using the C-string a fair amount in some of the bands I play with. If you're doing any chords/comping I like the voicings you can get. Right now I have both fretted and fretless 5s that are strung E-C (34" scale). I ditched a low B a couple of years ago when I decided to 'shed 4-string heavily and find that I don't miss it much.

    A friend and amazing player is 6-string only and I've messed with his and did a few very brief experiments. I found that it was a bit much for me and that the 5'er necks are "about right." That said, I'm betting if I went in with both feet then 6 would end up "about right." I do notice that after playing my 5s for awhile, when I go back to the 4 it can feel tiny.

    No right or wrong answer. Life is an experiment. Just depends on what your needs/wants are. In my case I find C > B so for the time being I'm not on a 6. But that could change. And if you use the B-string a lot, then it is a different story.
  16. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    There hasn't been a lot of interest in my 5 so I may pull the add and keep it until I get more time on the 6.

    The C on this is different. It sounds like it "belongs" with the others.

    I played the 5 a little today. Felt small. Sounded amazing.
  17. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    My approach was just the opposite. When I went from 4 to 5, I was thinking of it as a 4-string with one extra string for "special" uses. When I got into 6, I was determined to think of it as an instrument in its own right, with its own potentials. Personally, that worked better for me. YMMV, of course.
  18. nostatic


    Jun 18, 2004
    Lompoc, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    As much as we like to talk in generalities, I find that every instrument is a bit different. There are trends but also exceptions. Humans do have a strong ability to adapt if the mind is open. But it can take some work - so you need to do some cost/benefit analysis to figure out if it is worth it.

    For instance, I just had a stupid-expensive pair of basses built (the 5'ers). For a couple of my band situations, the fretted E-C is exactly the ticket. I can comp, the tone is monstrous. The fretless E-C is a harsh mistress. Playing chords in tune is hard (on any fretless), and the range of the C-string is inviting but easy to play out of tune. Both basses are incredibly articulate and magnify mistakes.

    So while the fretted 5 is "perfect" from a needs and tone perspective, there are some subtle differences in the body and neck carve, and it is about a half pound heavier than the fretless. For some reason, I just *want* to pick up the fretless. I just have a strong emotional connection with it, at least at the moment.

    My long-winded point being, the act of making music requires some elements of logic, but it is inherently an emotional art. So find the tools that move you. If you want the low notes of the B-string and the ability to play cello-range lines or chords, then jump on the 6 and don't look back for awhile. If you like it for other reasons, if it moves you then full speed ahead. There are no right or wrong answers. And yes, if you get used to the 6 then the 5s will feel small. A 4 will feel like a toothpick :D
  19. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I had the same mindset when I bought my first 6-string. I took it to a gig the day it arrived at my house along with my main 4-string. I made more than my fair share of mistakes over the first few weeks, that darn B-string really confused me, but I kept at it. Things worked out over time.
  20. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    Thanks guys. Keep it coming. I gave my first 6 about 2 months. I'll try to do at least that long this time around - hopefully longer.

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