Currently playing in a 5 pc band, but will be going down to 1 guitarist. I am worried that we will be losing melody and harmony without that extra guitar. I play a 4 string and have been thinking of switching to a 5 string. Is there any advantage to playing a 6 string, can a bassist play rhythem on the upper strings. Thanks for input.
Yeah, i suppose you could play rhythm on the upper strings, but you play the bass because its not a guitar so why would you want to. If you play any funk songs, or anything really where you slap/pop i find the 6 string very difficult to pull of popping where as the 5 string is fine. Really its personal preference there isnt a hell of a lot more that is super unique that you can do with a 6 string as appose to a 5
Not really the best idea to jump from 4 to 6, first see if you're capable of playing extra strings. I was able to pick up a 5 string no problem, but I still can't wrap my head around a 6 string no matter how hard I try. You'd best be off jamming on them in a store for a little while.
A 6-string is give you notes in the higher register, which is definitely going to be nice for melodic type stuff and improved economy of motion is a big plus as well.

I don't see why you couldn't play rhythm on the high-strings. But to me that seems kind of silly - A well constructed bassline is going to fill that space sonicly just as well as a rhythm guitarist would.

I would head down to shop and try a few out. Ibanez, Schecter, ESP, Peavy all have some pretty good 6-strings that aren't super pricey.
Last edited by Captain Insano at Sep 30, 2009,
Obtain a bass with 2 outputs (like a Ric) and send the bridge pickup through an octave up pedal and into a guitar amp. Run the neck pickup into a bass amp like ordinary. That way you can flip on the bridge pickup and/or octave up pedal when you need to add some guitar sound into a song.
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^^ Not a bad idea.

Alternatively, you could split your signal from one jack, but I dont know how it would sound.
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Playing through two outputs with one an octave up is absolutely ridiculous and won't provide anything worthwhile. If you play a six string it's pretty easy to adapt your technique (start tapping, and I mean a lot!) to play leading tones or lines and bass lines. Start with songs like Stu Hamms Country Music (at least the beginning) and Linus and Lucy, then work your way into harder territory and who knows.... You might be playing Mr. Baileys line from A Chick From Corea in no time. If you can do all that, you should have no problem writing simultaneous parts for one instrument.