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Topic: "Why I don't like Extended Range Basses"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mark beem, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. mark beem

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

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    This is a branch off from another thread..

    Bless our hearts.. Those of us who have chosen to play those "Greater Than 5 String Monstrosities" suffer much.. :(

    No problem... But I'd like for someone to explain to me why you feel the way you do about > 5 string basses..

    I can give you many reasons right now about why I like and use them, but when someone expresses their negativity about them it's ususally in the same format..

    "Why not just play a harp?"

    "They're stupid.."

    "What's wrong with you, do you secretly want to be a guitarist?"

    And so on..

    Please understand, I'm not trolling here.. I'd just like (for once) for someone to provide a VALID, INTELLIGENT and SUBSTANTIATED reason why they don't like basses with 6, 7, 8, plus strings..

    No animosity... Let's keep this a friendly discussion, ok?
  2. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I don't know that I can properly answer your question simply because as a confirmed 4-banger even I don't understand why it matters how many strings you have. Play what floats your boat. Perhaps there will be a time when I do play more than a 5. Who knows.

    Sorry to ramble, I am honestly confused by this issue. My feeling on this is if you can make it sound good, play it. Interestinglyone of the guitarists I play with seems to display these prejudices.

    I am going off now to listen to some Dream Theatre and some Lord Only.

  3. Blazer


    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    I owned five and Six string basses but I just couldn't find my way with them, they played a little too awkward for me but I do enjoy hearing people play who DO have what it takes to tame them.
  4. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Im not against any amount of strings but I happen to have two 4 string basses. I think that I could spend the rest of my life learning things on 4 strings. The main reason I dont have basses with more than 4 is that they are bigger and heavier and I dont feel like dealing with that! :rolleyes: :D
  5. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    I think people should play as many or as few
    strings as they wish. For me, I don't play
    anything more than 4 strings (except for an
    8 string, tuned in octaves) because:

    They are uncomfortable.
    The music I play doesn't usually required
    extended low range. If it does, I can always
    set up one of my 4 stringers with heavy
    guages and de-tune a bit.
    Low B's and lower just don't sound that good
    to my ears.
    I don't really care about soloing up high.
    I haven't mastered the 4 string yet!

  6. b0nes83


    Dec 14, 2000
    last semester a bass player at my school played a sonata that i happend to play 3 or 4 semesters ago. He played it on a 6 string and i think that it took all the fun out of the sonata. all the jumps, leeps, string crossing i had to do on my 4 string were thrown out the window when i saw him play the sonata in one position with his 6 strings. i just think in a classical look at it(if you could describe the electric with classical)took the virtuosity out of the piece. well thats my input..BTW i dont hate multiple string players. peace
  7. I never had a problem with 6+ string basses. And although im a 4 stringer right now...i would love to have a 7 string or a 6 string one day, Maybe even in the next year or two.

    However this may seem strange...but i hate the looks of just about every 5 string out there. Personally i just think basses look better cosmetically with 4 or 6 or 7 strings :p
    But its just a 'look' thing...has nothing to do with the feel and sound etc...
  8. rob_d


    Jun 14, 2001
    From personal experience, I recently switched my main axe, from a 4 string to a 6 string. This jump came after 13+ years of 4 stringin'. I never pictured myself playing a 6 but as I was shopping for a new bass I was interested in adding a low B just to have the extra range and those few lower notes. The 6 I purchased was kind of on a whim...I figured why not try, if I was going for 5 why not just add the 6th. It felt good to me and sounded great too(it helps that it's a sweet Modulus). It's taken some getting used to but slowly but surely I'm incorporating the high C, and low B more and am very happy with my decision. And, it's actually lighter than the big ol' tank of a Fender 4 string I was playing previously.

    In sum, play what you like. If you're a good musician you'll be good on 4 just as you'll be good on 6+.
  9. Moxa13


    Apr 14, 2003
    I play five mostly, but I also have a sixer. The main resaon I play the five is comfort. I love my six string, and it sounds good (Ibanez 406, I highly recommend them). The thing is after standing and playing for three hours, my back and shoulder ache. So, I play and gig mostly with my OLP five string. Another bass I am recommend. :)
  10. I have been a four string guy for all of the nearly 15 years I have been playing now. I have never had the need to go lower than what 4 strings offer me. (OK, I have dropped to D on several occasions, so sue me, I did it with 4 strings.)

    Even with 4 strings I went through the stage where a million notes and chords in the song seemed cool, but I didn't feel it served the song.

    I have also (like was mentioned before) never played an open B and thought "that sounds great." And I have played Roscoe's, Modulus, Ken Smith, Bossa, etc. I have tried to buy a 5 several times, and just can't do it.
  11. takeout

    takeout Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Kansas City area
    I don't spend a whole lot of time above the 12th fret on a four string as it is; a C string would do me no good. I also feel like it does a job that a regular guitar can do better.

    I rarely feel the need to go to a note lower than E, and when I do, it's usually D. I reach up, retune, and continue. I've never heard a low B that had the presence of an E string. I also feel like it does a job that the extreme left side of the piano keyboard can do better.

    Just my $0.02, based on my needs, YMMV, yadda yadda...
  12. I play a 5 banger, and it certainly has all the notes I need. I really am not a huge fan of 6 and 7 bangers for a few reasons.

    One, I am not really going to be using the extra notes they provide; and frankly there aren't enough situations or gigs out there where I would need that to warrent buying one as I play mostly metal and funk, and neither of these styles really has much in the way of high notes. The only advantage of those 6 and 7 bangers would be less hand movement, but I don't mind moving my hand.

    Second is the weight issue. My SR5 weighs around 10 lbs. and it is already killer on my back after standing for a few hours. With the exception of hollow body basses, the 6 and 7 stringers are even more heavy.

    Third is the string spacing and neck width. Frankly I don't like the size of 6 and 7 string necks. They are either too large and feel uncomfortable to hold, or they are too small and the string spacing is too difficult for me to slap and finger with great proficiency.

    Lastly is the cost. The thing with 6 and 7 bangers is there are very few good lower priced ones on the market. I like playing a bass that feels good, and unfortunately, esspecially 7 strings, buying a good bass is cost prohibitive for the amount of time I would use it. Sure there are things like the Cirrus that are okay, but that's still fairly high priced for a bass that I would only use rarely.

    My 5 string is my main bass, even if I am not using the B on a gig. I can't afford a bass that to me would just be a toy because I KNOW I wouldn't use that C string on a 6er. The problems I mentioned just aren't worth the trouble for me if I am not going to use it.
  13. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    At the juncture where I said to myself "I'm hearing more music in my head than a four-string can provide", I jumped into serious study of jazz piano. The range of that instrument, along with the harmonic depth that is available pretty much satisfies any artistic needs I have. I know a MSB with a F# might go lower than a piano, but it's still apples and oranges.

    As far as the commerce goes, there isn't a real need for anything above a 5 string in most modern, popular music IMO. It's modern popular music that gets decent pay in live situations, so that's where I lean. I'm as musically open-minded and adventurous as the next guy, but I do the experimenting on my dime, not someone else's.

    As far as my own personal taste goes, I haven't heard a lot of truly moving, inspired music coming out of 7+ string players that actually requires a 7+ to play, aside from the gifted Melvin Lee Davis. This makes me think that cats are buying these axes for more than the sincere need for greater possibilities of musical expression.

    FWIW, my favorite bassist is still Anthony Jackson, and I've owned and played sixes and sevens on the job. :)
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    IMO there is no musical argument against 6+ string basses. Most of us here realize this; we are tolerant of all kinds of bass guitars, and don't try to tell anyone else what they should or should not play. F'r instance five string is perfect for me, but that fact shouldn't mean diddly to anyone else.

    Yeah, there are some hardcore four-bangers who try to say that four is the "correct" number of strings. There's simply no basis for this, neither in terms of history nor in terms of sales nor in terms of application. IMO, for most of those people, the opinion is based on tradition: they're accustomed to the time when the vast majority of basses had four strings. They see kids who play badly on 5+ string basses and think that the bass is somehow at fault. That of course is not true; the bass is not responsible for the note choices of the player. In fact the worst live playing I've seen was performed on a four-string: a very good technical player was throwing Billy Sheehan style tapped flurries in the middle of AC/DC and Judas Priest covers. The Steinberger bass was not at fault, and neither was Billy Sheehan!
  15. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I hate multi-string basses.
    That's why my bass only has one string.;)
  16. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    I only have the pleasure of owning a single four-string at this point, but it's my goal to one day have the technical ability to (in my mind) justify owning a six-string. I can't imagine why anyone would have any animosity towards basses with more than four strings... great music knows no limits.

    Purists be damned! (with all due respect)
  17. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I have an almost identical story...I still switch back and forth between 4 and 6, and purposely challenge myself by trying to play the same songs on both basses.

    In the end, I love both basses for what they are!;)
  18. mark beem

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

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Yeah, I know.. "Multi-String" can apply to any bass with more than one string.. :rolleyes:

    What would you suggest for a short, simple term to refer to basses that have greater than the "normal" 4 or 5 strings?
  19. i apperciate the value that 4+ string add to what you can do with them, having said that, i just dont feel comfortable on anything but a 4, i've played a few 5's & 6's that all sounded great, but i just didnt feel right on them, i liked the 6'ers better though:D
  20. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    A bass is a tool. No matter what bass you use, no matter how many strings it has, the only important things are the music you make with it and the pleasure of playing.