Weird idea for getting 8 string guitar sounds out of a bass
Guitar has always been my main focus, but I play bass just as well, and just as often. I'm not generally a big fan of 8 or 9 string guitars for my own use. I love the super low range they offer though. Especially when you can bring one down into octave 0 and the lower end of octave 1, like a 5 string bass. But because of the way 8 and 9 strings are constructed, they sound more like guitars than basses even when tuned to the same pitch.
So I got this somewhat crazy idea earlier today to modify a 34" scale 5 string bass so that it produces a more guitar-like tone while still maintaining the B-E-A-D-G tuning, or just a step higher at C-F-A#-D#-G#.
To do this, I think you would have to get a bass with a bridge humbucker, and ideally one that is very close to the bridge, like on a guitar. Since the standard EMG size bass soapbars are 4 inches wide you could put any of EMGs 8 string pickups in the same spot to even more closely approximate that tone. (I've heard the original 7 string EMGs were in fact just bass humbuckers) And I figure that some lighter strings, something like a .025 to .100 set would be the final ingredient. All of this should result in a more harmonic-heavy, brighter tone that will not sound as growly as a bass when used with high gain.
I assume it won't be a perfect analog of an eight string guitar's tone, but it should get close. May have some interesting sounds of its own in it.
Looking into some basses, I think the ESP and LTD lines might be good candidates for a mod like this. The pickup does sit a little closer to the bridge than like, Ibanez or some other brand.
Anyway just thought I'd share that. Soon as I can scrape together some dough I'm going to get a five string and try to set it up like that and see what it does. Anybody ever try something like this? How do you think it would work?
Or just use an octave pedal.
I can get a fairly convincing Djenty guitar tone out of my Ibanez if I run it into a high gain amp and use the onboard preamp to cut a little bass and treble, and boost upper mids. Ibanez is making a short scale 6 string bass now, called the Soundgear Crossover, that may be better for this application.
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