What should I get 5 or 6 string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alx564, Oct 2, 2000.

  1. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    Hi. I'm looking into getting a five or six string guitar, since I feel so limited on my 4 string. I was wondering if I should just get a 5 string or skip the 5 stringer and go with a six. Thanks for your help in advance.
  2. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I went straight from 4 to 6 and I'm really glad I didn't waste the cash on a 5.

    ::cringes waiting for flames::

    NO, NO, there's nothing wrong with 5's. I just happen to be a solo hound and I figured (correctly) that I would be bored with a 5 very soon.

    If you are a low-end groover and are not interested in spotlights, tricks, or chords, a 5 may very well suit you. (So might a 4 strung B-E-A-D.) And if you don't frequently venture to the upper reaches, that high C string can actually become an inpediment.

    OTOH, if you frequently play high E's, a 6 can put everything you'll ever need (unless you're John Turner) all within one handspan of the nut. Kind of convenient if you ask me. "course, Jeff Berlin thinks those skinny strings don't really sound like a BASS. (Can always count on an opinion from Berlin.)

    So it kind of depends on what you're gonna use it for. Plenty of bassists have a 6 and a few 4's that they use for different things.

  3. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Go 6 string. No questions asked.
    And if you like... go 7 string with a GT7 from Cort/Conklin.
  4. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Good point. I got a 5 and love it to death. I've had it for 3 years. But guess what? I want a 6 now (possibly a 7). So if you feel that you will adapt to a 6, feel free to get one.

    And remember this old saying (not word for word): "It is always better to have more than you need than not enough." If you get a 6 and find that you don't use the C much, you still have all of the strings on a 5. If you get a 5 and have a sudden urge for more range, you'll be pissed that you didn't go with a 6. Of course, if you have enough cash (or make enough eventually) you can have a 4, a 5, a 6, a 7, a few fretless, a few fretted, some acoustic, etc.
  5. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I'm another one who skipped over the 5...in favor of a 6 string. I like having the extra "tools" at my fingertips, if I need them. :)
  6. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i went from 4 string to 7, in '93, and i haven't looked back once.

    skip the middle men - go directly to what you want. you'll be happier that way, and you'll progress quicker too.
  7. Its all about your playing style, I personally never even use my G string, I'm fine with my 5 string because it does the low that I ususally play in. I would have gotten just a 4 string tuned in B-E-A-D but I got a really good deal on the 5 string I bought. :)
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I'll go against the grain and tell you that I bought a 6, but then bought a 5 and play it much more than the 6.

    OTOH, I still want one of them Conklin 7s.

    That Berlin! :D

    Berlin's like an a$$hole, he's always got an opinion!
    Wait, that's not quite how it goes, is it?
  9. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    yeah I was thinking about getting a six and just skipping the 5. It seems a little like overkill to have a 5 and a 6 when I can get the most range in a six.
  10. jfsjbb


    Aug 29, 2000
    imho it's better to go straight for the six.

    you have the tonal range of a four from 1st to 11th fret in one hand position.

    That's why I got a six. It's not that I'm the virtuoso solo maniac or the low end / high end freak. I'm just lazy.

    Just by the way: Being lazy seems to be characteristic for the solid grooving bassists. The economize their bass lines to the absolute minimum, leaving away absolutely every tone that's not essential.

    More notes don't make better music. Only the chances to play the wrong ones are greater.

  11. LOL! J makes the single best argument EVER for getting a six! It's scripture!

    I'm exceedingly happy with my RB5, cuz I too am lazy! Second position covers a LOT of ground! And it's comfortable to play. I personally don't care for sixes but if you can use that higher range for YOUR style and what YOU want to do, how can you go wrong??? Just do it :D
  12. jfsjbb


    Aug 29, 2000
    Thanks to you, Slaphappy, for your support for my maybe unpopular attitude towards sixes [​IMG] !!

    Can you imagine how lazy Mr. JT must be ? [​IMG] (just kiddin, of course)
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    To answer one of the earlier questions - opinions are like that, everybody has one! And so does Jeff Berlin - actually I think he's right in a way. When I play a 6, the upper range doesn't sound like a bass to me, it sounds like an acoustic or Spanish guitar and inspires me to play differently. Now this is OK and useful in solos - I got shouts of "unfair" in Jazz workshops, though from trumpeters with only a couple of octaves to play with!

    On a 5, I think you can still solo convincingly, but it somehow sounds more like a bass, almost anywhere you play, even in the higher ranges with a 24-fret neck. The 6 starts to become a composite instrument, like a Chapman Stick, where you can't easily classify the player as part of the rhythm section or by what range they play - no longer just in the Bass Clef!

    But then this may be the very reason that you want to do this, so you are harder to restrict or "pin-down". Who wants to be told - this is what you should play and what you should sound like ? Drummers can become "percussionists" and we can become - well what ever you want to call it! This is one of the most attractive features for me about being a bass player nowadays, (having played guitar and keyboards before) the bass role can be less restricted and you can supply the groove or you can play chords or solos - or even all three at once!

  14. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I'd say the best jump to extended range bass would be to pick up a 6. You've got it all covered then and can get used to the neck and the extra strings all at once (as opposed to learning a 5 and then going 6 later). I personally love my Alembic Epic 6.
  15. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Bruce, I think you really hit on a big reason I went 6.

    Yes, I like being in the rhythm section, but I also enjoy leaving that role occasionally. The way I've always put it is "being a contributing member" rather than strictly support staff. When I play, I like to be noticed. I like people to realize that it's ME and not just this shapeless non-presence in the background. I like to be one of the musical personalities -- forces, if you like -- that actually shapes the band's musical direction. The ultra-highs on a 6 are well into standard lead instrument range and I wanted a piece of that to help make myself noticed.

    And besides when people gawk and say, "Oooh, fretless 6."

  16. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    That added to my inherent laziness (me too jfsjbb :D) are why I play a 6. I flirt with the idea of a 5 on occassion, but I'm too addicted to my C string to ever give it up.
  17. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, if i were any more lazy i'd pass out :D
  18. Hey, why stress yourself? Buy both. That's why credit cards were created!
  19. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    You sir are a DANGEROUS person! ;)

    ....would you mind having a talk with my wife on this subject??? :D :D
  20. MY wife DID have a talk with ME on the subject ;)

    Bought two basses and a new amp within a two week period.....and lived to tell about it. My timing sucks sometimes :D