1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Switching to 5 or 6 string

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by steve2, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. steve2


    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    I have played a 4 string bass for about 12 years and was thinking about getting a 5 string bass or possibly a 6. Just wondering if a 6 string bass is awkard to play since the neck is much wider than a 4. I really dont think I would use the added C that much but I defiently would like the deeper B string. How dissicult is it to switch to the 5 and 6 string. Thanks

  2. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    It really isn't that hard. I personally would take a 6 over 5 any day. Six is great because you never have to move out of position. Tapping is awesome, so you can do some higher chords and something low, which is great for a power trio. Also, it's awesome to do stuff like Dream Theater's "Glass Prison" where you can play something real low and play something real melodic up high.
  3. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    I personally went from 4 to 5 to 6.

    The trip from 4 to 5 was a bit harder, as I would occasionally mistake the lowest string for the E.

    What I finally did to get over that was treat it much like a thumbrest, until I found myself somewhere on the "A" string, above the second fret...and then if the music would call for it, I'd drop the octave (two strings and two frets apart) down to the low B string.

    The switch to 6 was easy, because it just gives you more room to run across the neck until the need to go up to the next position arises.

    In fact, I'd like to add the the most redeeming feature of all regarding a 6 is that you can start thinking ACROSS the fretboard a lot more than up-and-down it. It's really a pleasure to be able to play in one position most of the time, without having to move.

    (Hey, I'm lazy!)
  4. steve2


    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    I guess playing a six string would be easy as far as playing in the first position. It would just take some time getting us to the top string. After a while I think I would be OK. I may just think about a 6 over a 5. I need to get out and try a few.


  5. steve2


    Sep 23, 2001
    Piney Flats, TN
    For those who has a six string I am wondering if you also still play the 4 string or do you just usually play the six all of the time.

    Thanks again

  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    My 2¢ - I played four for over 2 decades before switching to five. Took me a couple of months of dedicated effort to get comfy on five, but it was well worth it. Like others, I'd often mistake the B string for the E string. What helped was learning a bunch of new songs fresh on five... that way, "muscle memory" (old habits) were less a problem. I didn't think about what key I was in... I just found the root notes and extended the scales by one more string.

    I don't recommend five over six... that's your call. But even though I can get around on six stringers OK, here's why I've stayed with five:
    1) Have never heard a C string I've liked (I'm not crazy about G, either)
    2) I don't solo or chord much... I don't need the higher notes
    3) Don't want to deal with wider fretboard or narrower string spacing (or both)
    4) With six, there's one more string to mute. Five's enough for me.

    But as noted above, there are good reasons to move up to six rather than five. You'll have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself. Good luck!

    P.S. I switched completely to five, but I'd encourage to you keep playing your four. Just put the four away while you're learning the new instrument! You can come back to it later.
  7. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005

    Actually, I still have a number of four string basses that I love and still play. I also play 5, 6, 7 and 12 (triple course) string basses.

    Once you learn, it's not much different than switching from an automatic to a stick, and then to a motorcycle. You just mentally remap the controls (or strings in this case) in the first few seconds, and you keep going.
  8. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    There may be some argument as to why, but I can tell you that while there are a lot of 5 string basses out there with lousy low B strings, 6 string basses seem to fare better in this department. I think it's the stiffer neck...
  9. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I started out on 4's, moved to 5's and stayed there for years, and about 2 years ago moved to 6's. I found the transitions to be fairly easy, especially the move to 6ers. After playing 6 strings almost exclusively now, I don't see myself ever moving away from them.
  10. NegatroN


    Mar 22, 2006
    That were more or less the same reasons for me. I needed an additional deeper string so 5 strings made sense. I don't need an additional higher string so where would be the sense in 6 strings?

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.