8 string conversion.....

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by thomas, Sep 20, 2001.

  1. thomas

    thomas Guest

    Jul 26, 2000
    Barnesville, GA USA
    I think I'm going to turn my Explorer into an 8 string. I've tried to sell it and its not purty enough to convince anybody to give me money for it and damn Gibson felt the need to reintroduce the Epiphone Explorer bass so....
    At the nut the neck is 1 11/16" which is the same as what Ric uses on their 8 strings. I've got a Fender type bridge on it and what I'm planning on doing there is to reshape the saddles to accept 2 strings, drill the bridge and body and convert the primary strings to a through body anchor and use the existing anchor holes for the secondary strings. The headstock is going to wind up ugly but I think I've got room for four guitar tuners up there, I'll just come up with something. Maybe run half the strings backwards, BC Rich style.

    To people who already have 8 string basses, not you JT, do you prefer the little strings to be on top or bottom? Why? I tend to play with a pick BTW.
    Anyway, anybody got any thoughts on this process?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I think the neck will bow or snap from the tension. The truss rod was never designed to handle eight strings. But then again, who knows.
  3. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    You might have a problem with the bridge. If you use the same saddle, I bet you will have intonation problems. The thinner strings will almost certainly need to be adjusted differently than the bass strings to intonate properly. You can buy 8-string bass bridges from Allparts and other places.

    I think Chasarms might be right about the neck, and with a set neck you can't simply replace it. I might talk to a good luthier about it. I like the idea, though. It sounds like something I would do. I always end up attacking my instruments with tools! If you succeeded, you would have a way cool unique instrument.
  4. thomas

    thomas Guest

    Jul 26, 2000
    Barnesville, GA USA
    What if I use way light main strings? Any repairmen out there who know what sort of glues Epiphone used to hold the fingerboard down? If they were kind enough to use something I can remove easily then perhaps I can put in an improved truss rod and maybe route it for some reinforcing rods. Of course that goes way beyond my plan of doing this with out spending money or exerting effort.
    As far as the intonation issue I planned not to worry about it. The main point of the project would be to see if I enjoyed playing an 8 string enough to actually sink money into one at some point.
  5. You should try using DR Hi-Beams for the mains, gauges 030-090 (Mark King style!), and Tite-Fits, gauges 016-038 for the octaves. DRs are by far the loosest roundwounds I've ever used.
  6. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Most people like the sound of octave strings BEFORE the lower string. So if you plan to play mostly with a pick, I would recommend you put the new octave strings ABOVE the existing strings -- that is, AWAY from the floor in playing position -- so the pick hits them first. This is how all 12-string guitars, and most 8-string basses, are built. I do remember reading an article about a guy who plays 8-string fingerstyle and had to have one built custom with the octave strings CLOSER to the floor.
  7. I'm fairly sure that the strings are reversed on Rickenbacker 12-string guitars--the bass string is closer to your face.
  8. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    OK, OK -- "ALMOST all 12-string guitars".

    But I'd still be surprised to find that even Ricks are like that... any independent confirmations?
  9. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck Guest

    Sep 26, 2000
    You may have to get special parts, especially the neck, which, as mentioned before, might not be able to handle the tension. You can get eight string necks and bridges I believe at www.warmoth.com