Question on 8 string bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by 8stringman, Dec 30, 2012.


  1. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    First let me say hello, this looks like a very interesting place.

    I am an older first year engineering student and amateur bass player. Last summer I received a used ESP B-208FM 8 string for my birthday. I freakin love the tone and changed it over to BEAD which makes me like it even better. But one thing I didn’t like is the string height difference between the octaved strings, there is a huge difference between the B strings for example. For me it is a playability issue, I wonder if other players haven’t felt the same way.

    Well I bought some monster .102 fret wire and hand made stepped frets so that the top of the strings are level, cut a new nut and filed the bridge adjusters accordingly. Only did the first 12 frets so far as this turned out to be an ordeal but it is fantastic to play now. I kinda have an idea on how to make these, what it might cost to produce & install. Because of the large amount of labor it won’t be cheap, somewhere in the 6-12 hour range to make and install a set. I can’t see a cheap way they could be manufactured, definitely not a diy job installing them.

    Any opinions on this? If a refret job like this ran $300-400 would that be in the range of possible interest? Trying to figure out if I should pursue this further or if I should just be happy with my own bass. Sorry I can’t show a picture, since I haven’t patented anything yet. Or maybe I reinvented the wheel, somebody already makes these.
  2. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    For those that are curious these are the current string dimensions I have on it for a BEAD octave tuning. The bigger strings are easy enough to get by buying a 5 string pack but the smaller ones I haven't figured out how to get in a set.

    B .130 b .054
    E .100 b .046
    A .080 b .042
    D .065 b .024

    So you can see where I really ran into string height difference with the B, .076 difference in height on that one though the E strings are pretty different too.
  3. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Yeah, I understand your idea, but that's were it's all about with those basses, that have strings that are tuned an octave above.. Would be kinda weird if they have the same thickness..

    Or wasn't that the thing you mentioned?
  4. emblymouse

    emblymouse I Dig A Pony Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Location:
    W' Sconsin
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist Lakland**Bag End**Schroeder
    Wow, that is a lot of work. I've had 4 different 8's and they are all like that. What if you filled in and re notched the octave string nut slots instead? I would think that any bass player would not have a hard time with high action on those little guys.
  5. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Not the same thickness, the same surface height. The oversized frets are notched under the bigger string so as lower it to the same level as the smaller octave string, so the top of the octave matched strings are level.

    With the B strings for example, the .102 high fret is notched down to about .030 for the larger string, for the upper B string it is not notched. Then of course a nut has to be cut for the changes.
  6. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Ah like that, my apology :)

    I heared some more story's about those strings, not being set up properly, by ESP/LTD. Same for those XL-frets, dunno why they use them on all basses and guitars, but I think they screw up some things. Also nuts on basses and electric guitars have some flaws... Perhaps they don't pay so much attention to it to save money..
  7. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    I'm not explaining it very well. The frets are notched under the lower range (bigger) strings so as to have around the same top surface level with the upper range (smaller) strings. The idea being that it is easier on the fingers to fret & easier to pluck or pick. And indeed that is the case, much easier to go faster.
  8. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    My apology, I explain like doodoo. :D And yes the setup on this was terrible, right off the bat the factory nut was cut wrong, strings spaced wrong. It's like they went well, maybe someone down the road can figure out how to fix it up.
  9. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Well especially the LTD models are about cheap prices, so of course the quality ain't fantastic, but yet it could be better, since a lot of other (bass) guitar builders give some better quality at products from the same price range..

    I think you should try to do as much as possible yourself (if you know how to do it and have the money and time for it ;)) cause then you can save a lot of money.
  10. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Lets see if I can figure out how to post image. Should be pic of early trial of cut fret that didn't work out

    Attached Files:

  11. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Wow, that looks a bit too deep :eek:
  12. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Actually the depth was spot on, if you can picture the larger strings over the notches and the smaller strings to the left of the notches.
  13. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Maybe it looks so big, cause your thumb is right next too it :p It almost looks like a .160 B string could fit there LOL :p:D;)

    What kind of material are you using?
  14. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Some kind of nickel alloy. Actually a .160 should fit, it's milled with a 3/16's ball end mill. These are HUGE frets, as big as they make I believe.
  15. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    What's the main advantage of those big frets?
  16. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    The reason for the big fret is so that I can mill a deep enough notch so that the smaller octave string beside it is roughly on the same level. Notice in this picture of how the bass was originally that the matched octave strings are not on the same level.

    Attached Files:

  17. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    That is unprofessional :eek:
  18. 8stringman

    8stringman

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    That is the way all octave 8 string basses are that I have seen. That is why I made special frets for mine.
  19. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Hmm.. Perhaps it was a normal way, though that D string looks very unbalanced...
  20. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Non Serviam Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Location:
    Scotia NY
    I play 8-string sometimes, and I like your concept. But I'd want to try a bass with frets like that first, before I'd commit to having my bass modded. Your price range does not seem unreasonable to me.

    If you can get yourself established, you might think about eventually trying to sell the rights to a bass manufacturer, so that they could make basses with these frets factory-installed.

Share This Page