Six String Bass: No Longer Alien

Like any other Wednesday I was up at my favorite music store in High Point where I came across a used six string Bass guitar. I was actually up there to have Paul look at my amp to see what was wrong with it. Still, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to pick up the bass and see how it felt.

The last time that I picked up a six string bass it was at the same music store. It was in a nearly identical situation except that it was before I ever spent any serious time with my Schecter Bass. My first impression was one of confusion, “How could anyone get their hands around this neck and manage to play any notes let alone make music?” I goofed around for several minutes but to no avail. It seemed that six string bass guitars were just the product of some alien culture or at the very least made by people with hands the size of tennis rackets. I felt that my average sized hands would never get along well with a neck that size.

This time was different. However, I felt about bass changed in that moment because this time my hands conformed to the neck instantly. I started seeing notes light up and scale patterns arrange themselves in front of my very eyes. I was able to play it just as well as my Schecter bass with little to no stretching of the muscles in my hand. I would even go so far as to say that I could have probably gone out and played a gig with that bass that very night. Yes, six string is hardly a stretch for someone who plays a five string bass regularly, but I don’t exactly give my bass playing as much attention as I do my guitar. I say all of this because it adds credibility to my eighteen months or so of practicing bass several times a week at the very least.

I know that this is due in large part to the year and a half that I have spent playing 5 string bass. However, I cannot help but use this as an opportunity to give myself a little credit. Where once I only saw a large plank of wood, I now saw music. As silly as that sounds, it proved to me that there is actually hope and proof of my progress with not only bass guitar, but as a musician. If I had to attribute any trait to what I consider a great musician, I would say that the ability to find new ways to create new or old sounds where there was previously only the mundane. The talent to make music with new sources is probably the most telling of all musical skills because unlike many of the techniques that you could learn and or fake on an instrument, there is always something to be said for making pleasing sounds given only experience and no room to fake what you have branded onto your brain via rote memorization.

It will be a very long time before I buy a bass let alone a six string. However, I take solace in knowing that the transition would not be a difficult one once the time comes.


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