8-string bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PJMcK1954, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. PJMcK1954


    Jan 18, 2012
    Does anyone play an 8-string bass???
    I picked up a Rogue LX-408 hoping to get that tick-tock bass sound of the old C&W records, which sometimes was achieved by a guitar playing along with an upright bass.
    The Rogue LX-408 featured active/passive pickups. I've thought about removing the treble strings. This model was discontinued several years ago.
  2. I play an 8 string bass, among others. The Rogue does not achieve the sound you were after? Maybe replacing the bass strings with flats, picking and muting would help. I imagine that bass isn't going to sound very much like an upright. After removing the treble strings, you find it feels odd to play due to the bass strings being off-center compared to the positions on a 4 string. I have found that an 8 string electric upright does a fair job. While the bass strings sound uprighty, the octave strings being fretless don't sound entirely guitarry.
  3. I have the later model with 3-band EQ.
    Rogue's higher end models are nothing like the cheap beginner stuff everyone loves to hate. It's a very nicely made instrument.

    The thing about 8 string basses is that they are a very different species and need to be treated as such.
    The reason you probably can't get that "tick-tock" sound is twofold. There's the slight but real time delay between hitting each string in the octave pairs.
    Mainly though, it's the amplification.
    On those old records the guitar went into a guitar amp and the bass into a bass amp.
    You might be able to get close--flats or tapewounds for the low strings is a good idea to start with--but it'll come down to the amps. Might take a lot of experimentation with a crossover feeding separate bass and guitar amps.

    Please don't take the octave strings off.
    If it isn't doing what you need it to, sell it to someone who wants an 8 and find another path.
    Bob_Ross likes this.
  4. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    There are a bunch of threads on TB from the 8-string enthusiasts, but the short answer is Yes.

    I've been playing 8-string since 1989. Not exclusively, but I usually manage to find at least one opportunity in every original music project I'm involved with to deploy the octave courses. (And, perhaps revealingly, never in any of the cover bands or repertoire orchestras I'm involved with.)

    My current 8:

  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I play 8s and 12s too. :waves:
    JRA likes this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    don't have any use for one (one tune every 30-40 years?), but i think they're cool. ;)
  7. I believe the tic tac was usually done on a Fender VI Bass.

    Cited here: How to get the tic-tac bass sound - The Record Shop Nashville
    HaphAsSard and bholder like this.
  8. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    When that sort of arrangement was established in Nashville pop-country recording practice, it was all Danelectro UB2, until other Dano models and competition by other companies (the Gibson EB-6, the Fender VI) appeared.
    The article insists upon calling the instrument a baritone, and cites its tuning as being B to B accordingly. That may be the standard now, but it wasn't then.*
    An important thing to know about the "tic tac" arrangement is that it was done with the upright and the VI-bass playing (more or less) the same, previously agreed upon line in unison, and that is to be intended in the proper sense of the word: mostly the same notes, mostly in the same octave - which the VI tuning i.e. low E to E allowed.
    IMO using an 8-string is a move in the wrong direction if nailing the Patsy Cline rhythm section, as opposed to reggae bass+guitar octave riffing, is the goal.
    [Well, that, unless you try something wacky, such as putting on a unison mixed set made of the darkest and the brightest strings you can put your hands on: something like Rotosound black nylons + a stainless steel (light) set of your choice. And maybe learning to pluck the pair with index + thumb, with the one that plucks the bright string armed with a fingerpick.]

    * The UB2 was simply Danelectro's take on the "electric bass guitar" concept, at a time ('56) when only 4 models or so of the instrument existed at all; it was thought of and called a "six-string bass", because the modern instrument with that name (long scale, low B tuning, wide spacing) was yet to appear. As for the "baritone guitar", it didn't exist either: the whole idea of the baritone guitar (bar isolated, bespoke one-offs) was conceived in the '70's with old Dano and Fender 6-string basses being used strictly as lead instruments (as they often had been since the previous decade), and ultimately retuned up a 4th or a 5th.
  9. Phud


    Jul 2, 2017
    The Elf2.jpg

    One off Osborne Elf

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