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Sixers who play fives

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tightbidness, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. It seems there are a few TBers who own and play both five and six string basses. I'm curious why that is. Once you have the range of a six at your disposal, why go back to a five?

    I currently play a five-string electric, and although I have studied upright, my electric bass skills come more from playing guitar for 16 years. Lately I've been thinking, why five? Why not six? Anthony Jackson is adamant that he has never played a five-string bass.
  2. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Well I play 8s (non-doubled), sixes and a five...


    Why? Because each bass has its own voice and personality. Play whatever you like regardless of the number of strings..
  3. Las Olas

    Las Olas

    Apr 20, 2003
    Scarborough, UK
    Sorry for the possibly silly question Mark, but could you tell me a smidge about the last bass there - the 5 string? I'm not even sure what it is!


  4. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I've got a fretless 6, but my 5's are fretted. I find the high C string works well with some mwah, as it keeps it from being overly bright. I find the C string on fretted 6's too thin sounding; to me, it just doesn't have a sound quality that sounds like a bass should. Maybe it's just the fretted 6's that I've played, maybe it's just that fretless lends itself to a more melodic style which benefits from the C string, maybe a little of both, but in my playing, a C string on a fretted bass would just be in the way.
  5. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    It's an Elrick
  6. Las Olas

    Las Olas

    Apr 20, 2003
    Scarborough, UK
    Thanks! Looks very nice indeed. :)


  7. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Yes, it's an Elrick..


    Black limba body
    Walnut top
    Wenge neck
    Macassar ebony fretboard
    Bartolini pickup
    Aguilar 18v electronics
  8. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    jeez mark you have quite the collection and another 8 on the way!
  9. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    And maybe a 9 too... :D

    Oops!! I wasn;t supposed to say that!!

  10. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    you goin with a conk 9 or another stambaugh?
  11. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I'm compromising.. I'm getting a "Stamklin"..



    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    ive been playin a 7 for about 10 months now and while i love it ive found its really developed my technique and playing a 4 string has become more fun and exciting than ever, so im considering going back to 4. next semester (january) i will be buying a bongo, and i cant decide between 4 or 5 string. i think i will keep the 7 for any extended range i need and use the 4 string bongo as my main bass.
  13. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    Thats what happend with me and my 6. I loved playing it, and it made playing a 4 so much easier and more "fun." So now I got a stingray and I break out the 6 for practicing.
  14. I prefer 6 strings, but I just bought a 5 string fretless, because I am relatively new to fretless. I figured it might help with the learning curve.

    When I get really comfortable with playing fretless, I will get a 6er...
  15. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    A lot of folks don't like the sound of a C string when slapping, and I've found it's much easier for me to pop the G string when there's no C above it. But I do love the sound of the added high string on a fretted sixer for chords.
  16. My 5s are really easy to play after spending time on the 6. It's effortless. The 6 is also wasted, in some respects, when playing covers or other music that doesn't give you room to chord or use the high C. I mean, if I'm just thumping along in the low register, what's the use of a 6? Why put up with the issues that 6s have (an extra wide neck = more fretting hand fatigue, neck dive, etc) if I don't have to? That's my reasoning. :)
  17. I normally play 7's and 6's. Whenever I'm playing covers or in bars I play a Brice 5 string. Not only does it sound more like a j-bass (the tone I usually want for covers) than the ERB's but I don't have to worry so much about it getting stolen. Plus it's fun to play something different every now and then.
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I tend to overplay when playing a six. I don't know why.

    Also, a five feels 'right' to me.

    I love my fours, my sixes and my twelve, but I am most comfortable on a five.

    But a six works better for chords, for tapping(IMHO) and for playing wide intervals. You can do these things on a four or five(and many great players do) but the six opens up more possibilities when these are your objectives.
  19. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Fretless 6 gets my time... fretted 5 takes up the slack. I've also got a fretless 5 and fretted 4 that get cleaned, tweeked, and played 2x a year.


  20. I use the C string quite a bit for high accents in R&B covers... bottom line I guess, I'm lazy... with the C I don't have to slide way up the neck...