Dream Theater’s John Myung Explains Why He Plays a 6-String Bass

Dream Theater bassist John Myung discussed his approach to extended range, telling Bass Guitar Magazine:

“If a six-string bass interests you, you could always see it as a four-string and play it as a four-string. That’s always how I saw it.

“The extra strings are there for creative purposes. You will accidentally hit a note that wasn’t normally available on a four-string and it might really sound cool.

“Things like that happen all the time where you’re working on something; ‘As I Am‘ was like that, I was just playing something and the availability of the extra string means you will naturally use it. That’s where the creativity comes in.”

“For me, I tend to favor six-strings with a narrower neck. I was playing wide-spaced Fender six-strings and they proved to be way too taxing on my hands. I asked Music Man to make me a six-string while utilizing the width of a five-string neck, and that seems to work for my hands.

“If you go for a six-string, maybe go for something that has a reasonable width to the neck. Playing those basses with the larger spacing can be like playing an upright bass, and there’s a whole different physicality there. To play something like that night after night I need something that will work a little bit with me.

“Picking a bass, though, is a very personal thing. It’s like thinking about what kind of car you like; it is a very personal choice: do you think it is cool, does it agree with you. It can be hard. Six-string is definitely cool and it has its own energy to it; it makes you play differently.”