Tale of two Roadstars (twin Ibanez RB850 8-String Beauties)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by larryelwood, Mar 25, 2014.


  1. larryelwood

    larryelwood Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Messages:
    803
    Location:
    Colorado
    I wanted to find a really cool 12 string bass...there just isn't one out there with an aesthetic that I like within my price range.. So I decided to "make" one. I use the term make loosely. Basically Make = Convert.

    Though I'm not a professional luthier, i've spent the last 20 years working on, setting up, adjusting and customizing my own basses. I've collected some decent tools and such.. So I decided to "make" a 12 string.. For some reason, I had it in my mind that starting with an 8 string conversion might be the best idea, then work up to a 12! The hunt for the right "bones" began.

    Goals:
    • Decent to good quality
    • Affordable
    • Cool design
    • headstock that would accommodate octave tuners without having to fill holes etc...
    • Neck through or multi-ply neck for stability.

    Settled on the 1984/85 Ibanez RB850. Totally interesting cool basses that are REALLY affordable.

    Before:

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    Decent shape, some weird cracking in the finish, but functionally fine..

    After:

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    Mission accomplished!

    • Cost: Cheaper than the least expensive Decent to Good prebuilt 8 string.
    • Appearance: Stunning!
    • Sound: Massive!
    • Time investment: 12 Hours
    Uniqueness: Very, Possibly the only RB850 8 string on the planet!

    Until....

    Being really happy and proud of my conversion.. I posted some photos on the 8 string club thread here and was quickly contacted by another TB'er asking if I wanted to sell..."No, but..."

    Here's what happened next... Twin Roadstars...

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    Both basses play really well and sound amazing! Just finishing up the second one and going to ship out to the new happy owner in a couple weeks... Now to "make" my new 12 string...
     

    Attached Files:

  2. bkbirge

    bkbirge Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I like the first one where you have the octave string position reversed from the normal place, much better for fingers instead of picks I think. Awesome conversions, both of 'em!
     
  3. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Messages:
    2,197
    It took me a while to figure out what looked odd about your headstock(s). At first I just thought it was the densely packed real estate, all those tuners on a headstock that was only designed to accommodate four.

    Then I realized it's the symmetry.

    Every other 8-string bass that doesn't use identically-sized tuning machines for all eight strings will alternate small/large, small/large...so that when you get to the D & G strings the right side of the headstock is not a mirror image of the left side.

    But yours looks so freakin' cool like that!!! Really striking.
     
  4. larryelwood

    larryelwood Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Yeah, that was my first inclination.. However, I found that when playing the bass, the natural "resting" of your plucking finger as it plays over the string, mutes the octave strings about 50% of the time. So i actually switched the first conversion to the standard set up with the octave on top, and man, does it make a sonic difference in the effect when playing. You get a lot more octaves ringing and an over all "bigger" brighter sound. I guess that's why pretty much all manufacturers use that set up??

    L
     
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  6. wild4oldcars

    wild4oldcars

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    Garner, NC
    Rad. Really rad. You should call them RB-858 haha
     
  7. larryelwood

    larryelwood Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I know what you mean. Basically, I didn't want to have to fill existing holes and redrill to accommodate that standard configuration, so the existing D and G "Bass" tuners on the right side of the headstocks now function as the octave tuners and the Grovers handle the D and G strings, just fine I might add.
     
  8. Big John66

    Big John66

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
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    Holy cow, that's cool! Great idea and nice work.
     

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