8 string (doubled) advice/suggestions???

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by xush, Oct 8, 2002.

  1. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I'm wondering if any other players/builders have much experience with doubled-course 8 string basses. I've been playing a Dean Rhapsody 8 & it gave me taste of what I'm in for.

    I'm spec'ing one out presently, but wonder what you'd recommend to make it more practical/versatile. It's a weird beast, to be
    sure, but I love the tones an 8 can impart.

    If have any observations on 8 strings, I'd love to hear your input!

    Thanks !

    so far, I'm thinking:

    8 string 34"scale 28 fret
    3/16" between octave strings
    neck width = 1 3/4 @nut, 2 5/8 @ 24th fret
    singlecut body style
    TOP:­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ buckeye burl
    neck: 5 pc wenge w/ purplhrt strngrs
    f'boad: figured hard maple
    p'up: Lane Poor's (I've got some)
    Bridge: allparts bb358
    Backmount strap peg

    Not sure about yet:

    body wings: mahog/bubinga/ash/sapele???

    electronics:Aguilar/bart/(mids select)???
  2. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Hey Mark,

    I'm not a luthier but as the supplier of that Dean (which I miss) I've been thinking about a custom 8-string with narrow(er) neck that I would be able to play comfortably. And one thing I've been wondering about (not having enough knowledge to "know" about any of this) is the following:

    - IIRC some luthiers (Rick Turner?) build piezo-only basses with individual piezos for each string

    - It would be interesting to have an 8-string with individual piezos for each string and 2 outputs - one for the "bass" strings and one for the octave strings (stereo jack?)

    Then you could choose "regular bass", "octave only" (would that be piccolo bass?) or 8-string. In addition you could run the bass strings through a bass amp and the octave strings through a guitar amp (kind of like the Rick-o-sound thing).

    I don't know if it is feasible or how it would sound - although there are piezo-only instruments (Turner Electroline (solidbody), Turner Renaissance (semi-hollow), Godin A4 (semi-hollow)) I've never had the chance to play one. The Godin A4 review says good things about the usability & versatility (with eq) of the piezo-only sound and I'd like to check one out.

    Toss a magnetic pickup (and 3rd output?) on there and you have even more possibilities. Just an idea I've been kicking around for the future when I actually have some funds to pursue an 8-string.
  3. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    yeah, I was thinking about the piezo route, Craig, but I haven't seen any piezo's for the doubled-8 setup. Would be very interesting indeed.

    I was hoping to split the outputs and at least run bridge p'up to guitar rig, neck to bass rig, but the LP's are already setup for one output, looks like.

    I may end up de-fretting the Dean after I get the custom 8, I'd like to hear what that's like.

    Oh, by the way, thanks alot for starting me down the whole 8-string route...the GAS is flaming!
  4. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    of a custom 8 string fretless Curbow, I think you would really enjoy the Dean as a fretless.



    I will tell you that fretless octave 8s give new meaning to the phrase "intonation challenged," at least, at first.

    One of the things that I really enjoy about my 8 is the wide spacing between the pairs of strings. It took some getting used to, but I can now play either course of strings seperately, and with it being fretless, I can get some crazy sounds just playing the octave strings (Robert Fripp meets sitar).

    With the rockwood/rockwood lite neck, you'd be surprised at just how thin the 8 string neck can be. I think your wenge/purpleheart idea is great, and it should be almost as strong as the rockwood, so you shouldn't have to worry about playing a baseball bat neck.

    As for the piezo question, I know that Billy Sheehan has a custom 8 string Attitude bass that has piezos in the bridge that he can set so only the octave strings are sent to the output of the bass. So, it is possible, but I imagine you'd have to search far and wide to find something for your bass.

    I'm also about to buy a hollow Jazz body from Warmoth to build a piezo only bass with TI acousticore strings, so you guys have hit upon two of my current ideas in one thread (8 string fretless, and all piezo hollow basses)!
  5. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I was hoping to make it to the GA bass get-together, but wasn't able to. I thought maybe you'd be there w/ the curbow. I've been watching your threads and listening to the samples. Any more? I really dug them!

    I kinda like a round profile, so I'm not too worried there, but the whole pair-spacing thing is confusing, not really sure what to do there. Basing it roughly on the Dean specs so-far.

    thanks for the input! Hope to meet you and the Curbow 8 at the next atlanta GTG!