wot is the point of 5/6 string basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fishbrain, Jan 23, 2001.

  1. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    can't u just do the same as on a four just up a couple of octaves?
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Yes, but the low B lets you go lower. A high C string lets you play some interesting chordal stuff. It's not for everyone, but it's good they exist. After all, we're all different, no?

    Will C.:cool:
  3. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    To answer that: NO

    Now.. Why limit yourself to be playing just 4 strings??
    I once believed that 4 strings was a bass, now I think that a 4 String bass is a toy. (Hey JT, come here and back me up)
    When I did the switch to 6 Strings, a whole new world of ideas opened in front of me... Thats why I play 6 string basses.. (except for my 5 String fretless)

    Two handed tapping is easier on a 6 Stringer.. since you dont need to shift too much in the neck as in the 4 Stringer (Look at Dwayne Pate in "The Art Of tapping" video" he is a master on 4 strings, but I know he could do mounstrous things on a 6 stringer or even a STICK")

    I think its lame to think "A bass is a 4 String instrument, the guys/gals who play more than that are Guitar Player wannabes"


  4. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    i see your point.

    *BEEP BEEP BEEEP*message to brain *very rare*

    could you do a couple of chords in a song on stage as a party trick type thing on a six string or r the strings to thick?
  5. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    In fact, if you hear Steve Harris in some of Iron Maiden Songs... He plays the tipical Root-5th-8th triad chords and it sounds good..
    And in the 6 and 7 String basses,, chords sound almost guitar-like so you can really depend on it..
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I use chords a fair amount in church music and oldies music.

    Matter of fact, in the oldies band, we only have 1 guitarist, and on some songs I comp while he is doing a solo.

    Another point of extended range basses is the fact that you can do 2 and 3 octave runs without having to shift your position.

    And another is the ability to play keys in different positions. On a 4 string, if a song is in E, I can only play the low E with an open string. I only use open strings for effect, and I don't really like them. But on a 5 or 6 string, I can play those songs at the 5th fret, and only use the open E when I want to.

    Plus, notes sound different played up high on a thicker string than they do lower on a thinner string.

    So, I can play an F at the first fret on the E string, or I can play it at the 6th fret on the B string, and it is much fatter sounding. Same note, same pitch, different tone.

    I still play my 4 stringers as well, but I couldn't live without the 5 and 6.
  7. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000

    But..but...but....JACO ONLY HAD 4 STRINGS!!!!:rolleyes: :D

    [Edited by hunter585 on 01-23-2001 at 05:34 PM]
  8. I play 95% on 4 strings. I played 5 & 6 string basses for a while but have returned to the 4 for the most part. I sold my six and haven't regretted it at all, I just never got into playing it. I still have one 5string ,an '85 model PV Dyna 5, and use it once or twice a month usually for recording sessions, when I want to play a low note or to have a 'modern' bass tone. If I was doing more rock stuff I might use it more, but for the little jazz gigs and small rooms I play in the low notes don't translate well to my ear plus my Polytones don't like those low notes and I'm too lazy to take out the big stuff..
  9. *** Searching the skies for JT ***

    Prepare to have a giant, doublenecked 7 string bass dropped on your house...listen to those extended range strings resonate as it crashes thru your roof and lands on the cat....

    Just joking :D No cruelty to animals lectures, please. I love my cats.
  10. I can barely remember life as it was before low B. I do remember thoughts of "Damn, wish I could dump a low C in here without re-tuning for one tune....". And ya gotta love the sound of that open B with a nice crisp boom.
  11. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  13. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Holy Cow! It's the Turner Bomb! Duck before the double chords hits!
  14. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Jeepers. Here we go again. However, I'll share a few thoughts, even though I don't like to get into these 4 vs. 5 vs. 6 vs. 7 etc. threads.

    »I love what John Turner does with his 7 stringers. It's not what I currently want to do, though.

    »A four string bass is a valid instrument and works well in many environments. Ditto 5, 6, and 7.

    »Just because John Turner or Oteil Burbridge or whoever uses a bunch of strings doesn't mean you have to. Just because Jaco used 4 doesn't mean you have to. I read an interview not too long ago with a guy who sometimes only used two strings, sometimes three. He makes a living playing bass. I don't.

    »If someone who calls himself Munjibunga says that 4 stringers are equivalent to ukeleles, ignore it. It's hyperbole.

    »If you're a studio musician, you're gonna need a 5 (you could use one with more strings, but not less). If you're not, just get what you like and what does the job for you.

    »I have three basses, but I mostly play my Precision that has old flatwounds on it. I think it sounds fabulous. You might not. That's what makes horse races.
  15. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    Fishbrain : At first, the only things that maked me switch from a 4 to a 5 strings is the low D.
    I always thought that the lowest D on a 4 wasn't low enough.
    But when I started playing 5, I really enjoyed, as embellisher said, the 5th fret E and the position it gaves you to enlarge your playing in E.
    That can look like a thin argument but IMHO, it justifies playing a 5.
  16. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    It seems like 5th string has some use: Vic Wooten, as monster he is on fourer, uses fretless 5 on couple songs of latest Flecktones album.
  17. I played 4 strings for 17 years, now I play a 6 and love it. I feel naked with a 4 now, it limits my ability to soar up and up in solos, and it limits my need to shake the floor boards. I can play the odd chord in a song without sounding muddy. I dont have to mess around flipping a Hipshot Dtuner if I want some low notes. A 6 is like Tim the Toolman Taylor....more power, grunt, grunt. If ya want to hear some outstanding 6 string playing, with LOTS of B string, give a listen to Anthony Jackson playing on Michel Camillo's album "one More Once". It'll blow ya mind! THAT'S why I play a 6!
    BTW, Jaco played a four, and nobody did it better, but bear in mind that 5s and 6s have really only been around since after his death.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - seems like we have the winner for "most-apt username"!;)

    I have played both 5 and 6 strings and almost never play chords - just bass. But the extra strings give you options for playing 2 octave scales without moving positions and for transposing songs or riffs without running out of strings.

    In Jazz, Eb and F are common keys and having those lower options means you can reduce fatigue by playing parts in varying positions - as others have said - you don't always have to play low F at the first fret. I can remember on long gigs thinking I can't play another note at the 1st fret - well with a 5-string you don't have to! I think most session players nowadays regards a 5 or 6 string as an essential tool for the job.

    With a little thought it's obvious that there are many possibilities for using the extended range and I am always amazed at the number of people who come on this board and betray their ignorance in this matter. Of course I suspect that they really know all this stuff but just like starting fights :rolleyes:
  19. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    While we're on about different people having different numbers of strings, I remember reading about someone who played a two string bass, mostly for power chords and. I can't remember the name of the band, but the lineup was the bass, a sax player, and drums in case anyone else can enlighten me.

    And there have been times when I've played chords on a 4 stringer (mostly only power chords, admittedly) and it sounds... alright, particularly at the end of a song. But then, I'm sure what sounds alright to me sounds very different to someone else...
  20. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    The bass player was the late Mark Sandman and the band was called Morphine. Sandman played his 2-string bass with a slide.

    Will C.:cool: