switch from guitar to bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by chi42069, Oct 25, 2001.

  1. chi42069

    chi42069 Guest

    Apr 23, 2000
    Hi, i have been playing guitar for 3 years and now i want to play bass too. I just want to know if the transistion is easy, from guitar to bass. Also, would a 6 string bass be a bad choice for starting out? I figured since i play guitar, the extra strings wouldn't bother me. but i don't know too much about basses yet, so any advice is appreciated.


  2. Welcome to the instrument that drives the band, chi!

    I went from guitar to bass, but that was back when the pyramids were still being built and all basses were 4. But, IME and that of others I know who made the transition, the number of strings isn't an impediment at all. There doesn't seem to be any kind of "graduation" process you have to go through from less to more strings.

    If anything, I find more-than-4 easier as long as your hand size doesn't create physical difficulty, because you can play "across" rather than "vertically". The only complaining about multi-strings that I know of is from people who bought one before they made sure the string spacing was comfortable for them, (assuming you're playing fingerstyle).

    Also, don't make the mistake I made when I went to more-than-4: Using an amp that can't handle the B or an F# string, either in terms of sufficient power or in terms of dB's at lower Hz's. Those low freq's are watt-hungry.

    Hope you have some nice fingertip callouses to start :D
  3. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Easy like cake, assuming that you play fingerstyle guitar. If you only play with a pick, the bona fides probably will berate your tone, your technique and your mother. (Even if you play with a pick, you might find the heavy strings and wide string spacing a little odd at first.) But plenty of people have made the switch without too much effort.

    One thing to keep in mind if you're considering the six-string bass; it's typically tuned in fourths, BEADGC, low to high, rather than like a guitar.
  4. chi42069

    chi42069 Guest

    Apr 23, 2000
    thanks for the advice. I do play guitar with a pick, but i definitely want to develop a fingerstyle on the bass. i have pretty long fingers, so i don't think a 6 string would be too bad, but im sure a 5 or 4 would feel nicer. I'll probably rent a 6 string and see how it feels. I figured that i would need a better amp. So i guess a small practice amp wouldn't be good?

    peace out

  5. chi42069

    chi42069 Guest

    Apr 23, 2000
    is a seven string guitar neck as wide as a 6 string bass?
  6. i dont think so

    i have seen a 6 string bass and they have a very wide neck
  7. 6 and 7 strings are HUGE! but im still buyin a 6 in like 2-3 weeks. cant wait!
  8. if i were you i'd start of with a 4 string, cause they neck isnt all that big and its very nice. i have played a 5 string and i couldnt get used to the semi wide neck it wasn't much of a difference, nut i would say 4 or 5 because i've also played on a 6 and i couldn't play it at all i could only play on the last 5 strings i couldnt reach the low string very well. its up to you but i play a 4 and soon i'm getting a 5 but like i said 4 or 5's the best.
  9. chi - IME, the B/F# will make it totally fart out, IF the amp doesn't completely melt. The guitar- amp "45 watt Marshall into a 2x12" mentality just gets murdered by bass. It's not a cheap proposition.
  10. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    its a very easy transition imo, i made it with no problems, IMO a six string bass isnt a bad choice, granted the neck is bigger than what your used to, but there are more things you can do with a 6 than you can on a 4. also IMO, if you start out on a 6 youll learn to play it without having to adjust to it later on down the road should you decide you want one.

    btw, this thread would be better suited in basses
  11. chi42069

    chi42069 Guest

    Apr 23, 2000
    since a 6 string bass is tuned BEADGC, is it difficult to play with a 6 string guitar? they both in different keys.

    thanks for the help

  12. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Basses and guitars are not "in different keys". You can play either in any key you wish. And the bass E,A,D,G strings are an octave lower than the same bottom strings on the guitar.
  13. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Chi, welcome to Talkbass.:)

    No small practice amp would be sufficient for playing with loud guitars. Most small practice amps would not work very well with the low B.

    One that would work well with the low B is the Fender Bassman 25. It goes for around $269, has 25 watts and a 10" speaker, along with stereo aux input, headphone jack, effects send & return, line out, tuner out, extension speaker jack, active 3 band EQ and Enhance circuit. It is louder than most practice amps, and handles the low B better than any of the others that I compared it with.

    As far as starting with a 6 goes, that is your decision. If that's what you want to play, I say go for it! Some decent low priced 6 strings are the Ibanez BTB406, the Spector NS2000/6, and the Carvin LB76. Or you can look for a nicer used 6 and get a real good deal.

    Good luck!
  14. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    hey dude

    welcome to talkbass. you can tune your bass any way you want. one thing you could try is to get a 6 and tune it b-e-a-d-f#-b, so the chord shapes that you are familliar with from guitar will carry over nicely to bass. you can also get strings to tune your bass e-a-d-g-b-e, an octave lower than a guitar. if i were you, i would go for the 6 string, or even better yet, go for a 7 :D. there's nothing you can do on a 4 that you can't do on a 6 or a 7, and since you're already familliar with the number of strings, the adjustment period won't be that bad.

    good luck.
  15. I started playing bass first, I then sold my bass and switched to guitar (hey guitar was cooler to a 15 year old :)) then about 5 years later finally back to bass (got over peer pressure) and bass is where I am staying. and I am secure about being a bass player :D

    IMO to go from bass to guitar was much more difficult cause' there is "usually" much more chord use and you use more fingers at the same time which I found tough keeping them all properly grouped together.

    When I finally went from guitar to bass the last time it was very easy. However I now understood scales etc... and had my fingering pretty good.

    If you are a decent guitar player it should be relatively easy.

    Also one of the advantages of having knowledge of both guitar and bass is you can better recognize what the guitar player is doing and you still can tell them what to do :D j/k
  16. One of my biggest influences, Tim Bogert tunes his C to B. As he says, "20 million guitarists can't be wrong."
  17. 20 million guitarists can't be wrong...
    what about 20 million drummers? :rolleyes:
    ok bad joke, sorry ;)
  18. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    actually, i played tim's tobias 6 at the '88 summer namm show. it was tuned like this, and it always made sense to me, so that when i finally went from 4 to 7 5 years later, in '93, i tuned it like a guitar. like he says, 20 million guitarists can't be wrong. smelly, maybe, but wrong? not likely. :D
  19. I played geetar but that was when I was 10. The biggest problem I had was fretting, I sugest you set up thebass w/ low action and lots of relief, something I didn't do:( it will save you a lotta pain and frustration.