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Semi-Clueless on My New 6

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by cassanova, Aug 3, 2005.


  1. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I bought a 6 string bass last Friday. To me its an entirely different animal than my 5er was. I have a good grasp as what to do with the B E A D G strings, but I'm not sure what to really do with the C string. For now, I've just been doing scales, arpeggios, harmonics, and just noodling around on the the C string. Other than that, I'm pretty clueless as to what I can use it for. Any advice or other practice tips that will help me to better incorporate it into my playing would be appriciated.

    I dunno, after 20 years of playing bass I feel like I should already know what to do with the string, but I dont.
     
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Chords, chords, and more chords. Soloing with more impact and greater dynamic range.
     
  3. MichaelScott

    MichaelScott

    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    No, thats right. You got it. :bag:
     
  4. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Im not quite sure how to form the chords. Ive tried a few that are barred chords, and my hands dont seem to want to cooperate, they're acting all retarded. So I need some advice on how to form the actual chords in the higher registers, as for soloing, hell, I dunno even know where to begin on that. Ive been listening to more horn players because I know some of them are tuned to C.
     
  5. Learn double octave scales all in one position. Learn all the modes. For the most part, you will have to either start on the B string with your 2nd finger (mostly for modes most resembling of maj) or with your 4th finger (for minor like modes), or rather, this is the best way I have found.

    Also, you should get the notes on the C string as much into your head as the notes on the other 5 strings are so you will know exactly where everything is.

    For chording, just keep at it. Make sure your fingers are all down firmly. Most of the time I do bar chords too, but someone has recently come out with a chord chart for bass in this forum, you should check it out.

    All in all, the main thing besides chording that I use the C string for is 9ths, 10ths, and 11ths jumps from the A string, as well as intervals from the E and B strings up to the double octave.
     
  6. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    I hope you don't mind older advice...

    There are other triad shapes that are easier to do, like the first inversion triad (3-5-1). Hold down the E on your A string, seventh fret with your ring finger, then both the G on the D string and the C on the G string, fifth fret, with your index finger.

    Second inversion 5-1-3 is also easier. Try holding down the G on your E string with your middle finger, the C on your A string and the E on your D string and you'll have a second inversion C chord.

    As far as learning how to incorporate the C string, it's not too different from learning to incorporate the B. You have to get used to the idea of having it and learn to hear those high notes in your lines. If you can't hear it, you can't play it.

    This might be a little controversial and I hope you don't take it as criticism aimed at you, but I'm starting to think that the number of strings don't matter and the struggle some bassists have making the transition to the 5 and beyond can be blamed as much on a player's lack of fingerboard knowledge as on the novelty of the thing.

    Since the bass is tuned all in fourths, the relationship between the notes never changes, and so if you know the harmonic relationship between the notes in one position, you know them all. John Patitucci played the 6 exclusively on the road with Chick Corea one week after he got it. It's all about knowing what's under your fingers.

    Hope you're having fun, man.
     
  7. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    It will take time and practice for your hands to get coordinated to the point that you could chord a tune like Round Midnight.

    Every one has their own way of voicing chords and consequently they have their own shapes. At a minimum you need the following shapes:

    major, minor, aug, diminished, major 7, minor 7, Dominant 7, minor major 7, maj 6, min 6. That will cover most Jazz stuff that you'll encounter.

    Whatever shape you pick has to be comfortable and also not so complicated so that you can move from one shape to the other in real time.
     
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I've writeen some easy to use chord fingering charts here.

    But in general, try to use the C string just like every other string. It's greatest benefit is being able to playing higher notes while keeping you hand in the same positions, rather than having to shoot up the G string to hit them.
     
  9. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
     
  10. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Thats a pretty nice site ya linked me to Dave, it is going to come in very handy in the near future. I dont have a printer so I cant print out the info just yet, but come September that should all change. The site you linked me to is chock full of extremely valuable information, thank you!!!


    QUOTE=Bryan R. Tyler]I've writeen some easy to use chord fingering charts here.

    But in general, try to use the C string just like every other string. It's greatest benefit is being able to playing higher notes while keeping you hand in the same positions, rather than having to shoot up the G string to hit them.[/QUOTE]


    MMMM thank you for posting this as well, now I know exactly where my fingers need to go to make the chords. Im going to look around to see if I still have some staff paper and write this stuff out when I get home from work.

    Thanks to all of you so far for the help youve given me. I was ready to throw my bass into the wall last night thats how frustrated I was getting.
     
  11. Sometimes a Six string just isn't for certain players, so practice and practice, but if you don't feel it you don't feel it.
     
  12. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Remember, It's just another row of notes. It's that simple. The physical novelty of the thing can only be overcome with practice. That takes time.

    Cass, remember, you've been away from bass playing for a while. How out of practice are you? You jumped into new territory after a long vacation. You have to weigh that in too. What you said about not hearing the notes yet made a lot of sense. Frustration? Of course, it's only natural. Consider the alternative.

    Sorry if the 1-3-5 thing was confusing. In a chord, 1 means root, 3 means the third, 5 means the fifth, so 1-3-5 in C major would be CEG, a root postition chord. 3-5-1 would be a first inversion, with the third, E, as the lowest note and 5-1-3 means a second inversion. Those are easy shapes to do on a bass fingerboard.

    Check Jazzbo's chord scale theory article as a good starting point. There are a lot of things there that you can incorporate into your practice. Since you're reinventing yourself as a player, sort of, a bit more theory would do you good, so the next time you're frustrated read about some theory and approach it with more of that info in mind.

    Hope that made sense.
     
  13. akuma12

    akuma12

    Aug 25, 2003
    Sarasota, FL
    I'm actually the same way on my 6, only with the B string instead of the C. I come from a classical background on upright, so the C string is a godsend for solo pieces. I can cruise through all those pieces that used to give me headaches like the Eckles Sonata with ease on my 6er :)

    Unfortunately, I have absolutely no use so far for my B string. I'm starting to use it a little bit more so I have more choices on where to play chords in a walking line, but I'm beginning to think I'd be happy with a 5 string with a C string ;) Good luck in learning the 6er, it's really a lot of fun.

    Jim
     
  14. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I bought a Yamaha JP Signature 6 a week ago and have been doing an outdoor theater gig with it and the score calls for notes lower than E, Eb, D, Db, C. Most of the 5's I've owned or still own are strung with a high C. The 6 certainly covers a lot of territory but it takes time to adjust your technique to it. I find myself floating my thumb a lot more with the 6 and I'm digging the power of the low notes that it generates in the context of the music that I'm playing. There's nothing like a reading gig to get you going on a 6.
     
  15. -about a 6 is how easy a 5 will feel, after struggling w/the 'big gun' for awhile. My Fender J-5 is now my 'slapper', & I don't even own a 4 anymore(no offense, please), unless you count the upright- a good, albeit non-musically knowledgeable friend asked me yesterday if I was sure it wasn't a cello. :rolleyes: We're still friends.
     
  16. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    What worked for me when I was incorporating the B was the dominant - tonic relationship between the notes on the B and the E string. Instead of using the Perfect fifth above, I'd use the perfect fourth below. You don't need to play the B all the time.
     
  17. akuma12

    akuma12

    Aug 25, 2003
    Sarasota, FL
    Oooo thanks, that does open up a few ideas for me..*runs off to try some new changes...* :D
     
  18. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida