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what next - 5/6 or passive??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ihateusernames, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. ihateusernames


    Jun 26, 2006
    been away for a while, haven't played much since january. in that time i've decided i'm ready for a passive fretted, and something with extended range.

    in my stable:
    1) schecter c-4 with cs/dc and emg 3 band preamp
    2) sterling single h
    3) spector ns2-a w/emg's
    4) sx fretless p/j (all passive)

    the schecter was recently strung to BEAD - hate it, back to standard. i really liked having the low b, and didn't realize how much i use the g and couldn't live without it. then, what i'm hearing in my head for a couple of songs needs a c added for chording.

    then, i can't get the p or j tone i want out of any of these, so i also want to have something passive.

    so i'm thinking......it seems going straight to a 6 makes sense, except the squier affinity jazz 5 gets half of the extended range i'm seeking, is passive, AND is cheap as all get out.

    is there a decent low priced passive 6 on the market? or a nice active 6 similar in used value to a used ebmm sterling?

    i could satisfy my passive tastes by putting the reverend p in the parts bin into the spector.

    rambling out some thoughts from the last few weeks. i can't justify adding 2 more basses.
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    You have sort of homed in on some correct ideas. My suggestion would be to get a 6 string right off the bat. It is THE best place to learn about 5 and 6 string basses.

    The correct learning approach if you are interested in 5 and 6 string basses is to get the 6 and then learn the scale patterns that go ACROSS the neck the patterns are much easier to see and learn on a 6 than on a 5 and are almost impossible to see on a 4. Find the book "Powertools for the 4, 5 and 6 string bass" to learn these patterns. I also recommend a 24 fret 6 string bass for learning to give the full range for practice. And then pickup up a 6 string bass chord book to get a handle on that aspect of 6 string playing. And the ultra wide neck of the 6 automatically forces you to keep your thumb on the back of the neck which then carries over to the 5.

    By the time you get this all down you should have a pretty good idea if the 5 or 6 string bass fits what you are doing musically. (5 string is basically the 6 but without higher chords and solos to higher notes). The point is that the 5 and 6 string bass is not just a 4 stringer with a few higher and lower notes. It's a different way of looking at playing bass. And yes the extra notes are there if you want them, but mostly that is not what it's all about.

    As for a passive 6 string, I'm thinking that none of my 6 stringers are passive though quite a few of my 5s are. I must admit that I love the tone of passive which seems to have a certain indefinable "something", but on the other hand when I play through a DI instead of an amp, I find the EQ right on the bass to be extremely handy. So I guess it just depends.
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Most active basses have a passive/active switch these days- flip it to passive and it will be a passive bass. The preamp, when bypassed, should not affect the tone unless it is poorly designed. What exactly is your price range?
  4. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Ditto on the 6er..
  5. ihateusernames


    Jun 26, 2006
    thanks bassbenj - great, knowledgeable feedback. especially considering how vague my request for help was!
  6. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Remember that having a passive mode doesn't necessarily mean you'll get the "passive sound" that you might be looking for. But there are quite a few options that have both modes available.

    I can come along again with my recommendation of the Carvin. My Bunny 6 virtually nails a Fender Precision sound when soloing the neck PU (an H50S stacked humbucker). In fact it does the Precision better than either of my G&L's, which are Leo Fender designs....

    Other nice thing from the buyer's perspective is the Carvin's resale is awful, so they're a fantastic deal if you can find one configured the way you want.

    If you found one with the stacked humbuckers in both positions you'd be in Lakland territory in terms of very accurate copping of the Fender sound.....

  7. ihateusernames


    Jun 26, 2006
    yep - used carvin is on my short list. i played a friends 4 string and was very impressed with everything about it. i didn't tinker enough to find a p-bass tone in it, surprised it's there actually. thanks for the tip.

    i'll wait out for a used carvin, yamaha, or ibanez or POSSIBLY a spector legend - maybe a warwick, i dunno - a bit more than i'd like spend. suppose i should get rid of the sterling in advance since i doubt it would go far in a trade for anything with 6 strings.

    in the meantime, i think i'll go ahead and put the reverend p into my spector and wire it direct to the jack for a while just to satisfy my craving for passive tones. of course, i do have the stock passive pickups for that bass, i could install them and bypass the preamp.

    we'll see, lots of playing through the weekend before i feel like grabbing the soldering iron
  8. ihateusernames


    Jun 26, 2006
    hmmppph. bought a used squier affinity jazz v to passify my desire for passive and extended range. it's obvious to me now why i switched form passive to active 5 years ago. the squier plays quite well, it just doesn't have the guts i'm used to with sterling, spector, and modded schecter.

    i don't expect this to survive my collection for long. for all the posts on how solid the low b is i was expecting more. even played with a pick solo'd on the bridge pickup it lacks definition.

    still a nice bass and good learning experience.

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