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BassApprentice

The 6 String Experience/General Thread

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So here I am with a Sandberg Electra VM4 (P bass) and a Squier Bronco (Smol P Bass) both picked up very recently and I am now bored. I like the tone but when you are home bassist who just noodles at home a one pickup bass just doesn't quite cut it.

So where to next? I recently sold a BB425 and I do miss the low B and just the feel of the wider neck, I've only briefly had a 6 string and it didn't get much attention as it had a pickup issue which i just couldn't solve so is now the time to try again? Having had a quick look, Ibanez seem to be the easiest gateway to the 6 string world unless happy to hear of others experiences with the first foray into 6 stringers.

Also, I think a general thread of how people use their 6 strings and what they like/don't like about them could be useful as I can't be the only bassist interested in making the change and a one-stop-shop would be useful for a reference point :D 

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Ibanez will certainly get you into the 6 string world for a reasonable cost and at a great build quality. What’s your budget?

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I owned a '97 Warwick Streamer LX6. I had to sell it due to a divorce / house purchase / needing funds.  I liked it. Played well,  sounded nice (if a little polite)

Upsides? Great for chordal stuff. You can play further across the neck before you have to go up it! Or down for that matter. 

They can be weighty. A thick, wide non-slip strap can help,  though. 

There's plenty to choose from these days at all price points. 

Downsides?

Re- stringing costs an arm and a leg.

Some less enlightened musicians may mock you. I got a bit of stick from some other bands' members for using it with acoustic guitars and light percussion. It was actually well- suited to it (as I felt compelled to prove)

I arguably played my best gig with it. And was sacked from the band immediately thereafter for bruising the guitarists' egos. Drummer wanted me to stay, but was out-voted.

Lovely instruments, but can polarise opinion a bit...

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40 minutes ago, CameronJ said:

Ibanez will certainly get you into the 6 string world for a reasonable cost and at a great build quality. What’s your budget?

I'd probably sell the Electra if I'm honest so roughly £400. Don't get me wrong the Electra is great but I don't think I'm a P Bass guy and the Bronco will do that if I need it. 

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I have had several goes with a 6, and I never really use them much, or the necks get too big. The only time I played one live was a problem as I realised my ability to switch between 4 and 5 strings without issues was because I viewed everything from the top string, so I missed a couple of times!

i have a 6 string at the moment but the neck is too wide for me 

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I started out on a six string, my monster Yamaha TRB6. I loved the range, being able to go down to a low B, being able to play chords and high fills, and also how much easier it makes sight reading (minimal shifts).

I currently still have a bunch of six string basses: the TRB, my Ken Smith Design six string Jazz (currently on the classifieds), my 33” scale Shuker Singlecut, my Warwick Alien and my fanned fret RedSub Coliseum. I’ve also owned a fanned fret Ibanez Soundgear, a Tune, and probably a couple others I’ve forgotten.

Really like having them. 

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I have currently two six string basses, no, three actually. A Spector NS-6XL and an Ibanez SR5006 and a 3006. 

A very subjective pros/cons as follows

Pros:

- love the range

- lots of possibilities for solo playing, chord playing and tapping. I know Jaco only needed 4 but anyway. 

- really enjoy playing Bach cello pieces or tapping / chording well known songs in a range where there can be sung along. 

- love the asthetics, like a 4 sting with two extras from each sides 🙂

Cons:

- I found out that it makes no difference for me to switch to 5 from 4 but to 6 the neck dimensions and the overall ergonomics of the bass plays a lot bigger role. Less margin of error in terms ergonomics for me. Weight, string spacing, neck dimesions etc. (Like I loved my 6 string Yamaha TRB's but the neck was to wide / thick especially for the TRB6IIP)

- The C string can be thin / quiet sounding in a dense band setting just because it is, well, thin. 

- In a "working bassist" situation the C is seldom used or needed so for me the added neck width, number of strings to mute, weight makes impractical to use them compared to a fiver. ( I know there are exceptions in many genres like fusion, gospel or tech metal but still....)

Still I love my sixers and use them on a regular basis at home. 

A well loved used Ibanez SR506 could be a good start and be within your price range. 

 

 

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Just acquired one. Still getting into it, but the outbreak of "I could do THIS, and THIS..." kind of thinking was worth the price of admission on its own. It's a COrt A6 and is a lot of bass for the money - through neck, Bartolinis, Hipshot tuners.

Yes, it's a bit heavy, but actually lighter than my Spector 5-string fretted and it may just be what I need going forward.  Watch this space.

Edited by mangotango
I can't type. Still.

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My first 6 was years ago - an Ibanez BTB406QM in trans blue. I had the matching 5 string in trans black and that was my main bass for aaages but for some reason the 6 was one of those uninspiring instruments and looking back I was just too inexperienced to do anything about it like replacing pickups etc. Also I was using it to play fairly straight up metal with a pick so it was needlessly heavy and wide as I had no use for the extra string, and when I contrived a use for it.. it sounded thin and pretty naff.

Anyway, both BTBs moved on eventually and that was it for 6s until the end of last year when I was instructed to select something for my birthday and given a £500 budget. I spotted an Ibanez SR506e on offer at Dawsons so headed over to Manchester and ended up getting it for £450 - with train tickets and lunch at ‘spoons I came in pretty much on budget.

This time I’m using it to play generally lighter acoustic/pop-rock with fingers and really enjoying it. The only issue I‘ve had was that the frets sprouted pretty much as soon as I got it home, so I fixed it ...then they did it again a couple of weeks later, so I fixed it again. It’s been alright since but the board just seems to be incredibly dry - it absolutely drinks bore oil and then just goes back to looking dry! 🙄

I’d still recommend it as a nice 6 to get started on - especially the most recent version after they changed the pickups to a slightly different model of Barts. I normally hate Barts but these are really good.

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I was playing a 5 string and I figured that 6 would be the next logical step, so I part exchanged my 5 for an Ibanez BTB406. That was a nice bass, but it felt huge-t he neck was really wide, and so was the body. I used to use it quite a lot, and I stuck a Roland V Pickup on it to give it even more versatility.  I then got lucky and found a 1991 Tobias Standard 6 which was so much nicer than the Ibanez in every way, with a tighter spacing, asymmetric neck, Bartolini NTMB preamp and pickups, and a smaller and lighter body. I've still got that one.

I've settled on playing mostly 5 strings now, but I like to play my 6 on certain jazz gigs. I like the extra range in the higher positions for playing melodies and chords, and of course for playing solos. I sometimes take it out on other gigs and recordings just because it's a really good sounding instrument over the whole range.

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