To six-string, or not to six string...that is the Q.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Greekbass, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. Greekbass


    Apr 14, 2004
    Los Angeles
    My bass brutha's and sisters. I'm a freelancer/doubler in L.A. I currently own a '77 Jazz, a 63' P-bass, and fretted and fretless 5-string Sadowskys. I'm a jazz cat and a blues cat, and debating whether or not to purchase a six-string to add to the collection (I'd say "to complete" the collection, but we all know that will never happen!!!) Thoughts???
  2. I say do it. A 6 opens up some pretty cool harmonic possibilities and allows you to take on more of a chordal-based role, if you're into that. Anything you can do on a 4 or 5 can be done on the 6 as well, naturally.
  3. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Do it!!

    What are you thinking of getting?
  4. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Do it. The 6-string bass has done a lot to help me break free of my self-imposed limitations.
  5. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    One of the things that I can say about the 6 is that it will definately open up your playing on the 4 and 5 even more. It allows you to look at the instrument in a very different way. For me the answer was simple because I heard things in my head that required the low B and high C strings.
  6. I found the same - the six opened up a lot of harmonic possibilities that just did not occur to me on 4. Now when I play 4 string, I am much more creative, using more of the fretboard to play similar harmonic ideas that were learnt more easily on 6
  7. +1
  8. Fawkes007


    Sep 13, 2005
    SF Bay Area

    Listen to a lot of Anthony Jackson and John Pattitucci and Phil Lesh and see if that's what kind of thing you are after.

    I don't dig playing six string at all, but in the hands of the right person, it's wonderful.
  9. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I only own a 4-string right now, but I think if I were going to get anything more, I would opt for a 6 rather than a 5 (having played both on numerous occasions). The addition of the high C string is interesting... the notes it "adds" to the instrument are not as important as the new possibilities it opens up for playing the same notes (at least in my mind). Whereas you might go for the low B string to extend the range of the instrument, the extra range provided by the C is not as important as the chordal opportunities it presents. This is just my opinion of course... I'm sure there are plenty of people who enjoy the greater melodic freedom. That's just not my motivation.
  10. DO IT ! What are you waiting for ? you won't regret it... :cool:
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    This would be a tough question if you were thinking of switching from five to six. But because you're considering adding a sixer to your collection, I can't think of any reason not to. Go for it!

    Maybe six-string will be the instrument for you. Or maybe you'll enjoy being able to switch between five and six. If worse comes to worse and you don't care for six string, then at least you've answered your question rather than wondering if you've missed out. Good luck! :)
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    P.S. I am sooooo glad I took a chance on 5-string! I love it so much I wish I'd bought one in 1990 rather than 2000. 6-string isn't for me, but it might well be for you.
  13. +1

    In reality, the six tecniqually only adds half an octave onto your maximum high pitch. As said, it's there for those times when you want to throw in a melodic range groove. Other than that, it just looks cool. There is nothing that makes it really that much better than a 4 string, but you have more options; less rules.
  14. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    For me, the six was a very easy adjustment, much easier than the 5 was .... Just seemed to be something about that B string getting in the way :rolleyes:

    For both jazz and funk, the six has proven to be perfect for my style. The only problem with the 6 is that there's a good chance you'll be looking for a 7 pretty quick ...... :cool:
  15. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    The only thing I didn't like about the 6 was that I couldn't get my hand around it like I can with my 5. Yes, there are some 5 strings with wide fretboards, but I'm coming from a guitar background, so I wasn't interested in trying to play a 2x4.
  16. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    If you play chords, there's a lot there that makes it much better than a four string because you have more options to voice your chords more clearly with the use of the C string. Comping to a tune like "All The Things You Are" becomes a lot easier, because you can manuever through the ii V's with less overall movement.
  17. I think it's a great idea, I am looking at a 6 myself. I have a warwick streamer stage 1 (5 string) and I amd finding I need the high C get those chords going.
    I am also curious about 7
    Can someone tell me what the extra string is? High? Low?
    and what note is it?
  18. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    It's usually a high F (a fourth up from a six's high C). You can also get a low F#, although you need a REALLY good cab to do it justice.
  19. Do it, and don't look can never look back. Your possibilities are opened to span two full octaves with ease across the fingerboard rather than lengthwise - try doing some solo harmonics around the 5th 4th and 3rd frets, and Victor Wooten's "Amazing Grace" technique can be adapted to other solo possiblities - and it'll tick off your guitar player that has to tune down their bottom E to a D in order to play the "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" intro! Yee-ha!!