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8-String Input Please

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by StumblinBlues, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. Hi all,

    I've been out of music for quite a while and would like to start playing again. I've been listening to some 8-string bass clips (tuned octaves) on youtube and really like the richness of the tone, so I'm considering an 8 as my first "re-entry" bass. I've never picked up an 8-string and looking for one in my area to at least try out.

    I've mostly been a Fender Jazz player but have owned a pretty good assortment of basses. I'm a pick player with Texas blues, classic rock, and outlaw-type country as my main interests.

    I'd like to hear a little about your experience playing 8s, especially playing in bands. Is this something anyone would consider as their primary or only bass? Overkill or not especially welcome? Genres where an 8 really shines?

    I'm a sponge waiting to soak up your thoughts, advice, stories, what-have-you.

    Thank you much!
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I've got an 8 string and I love it! My advice is don't do it.

    I'd never get an 8 string as my re-entry bass unless I was very sure ALL the music I was going to play fit it. In my experience an 8 string can be VERY cool in the right situation, but to me seems much too specialized as an "only" bass.

    So my TB advice (of course) is that you need to be looking for TWO BASSES that fit the music you are interested in. A "tradional" bass and an 8 string. That then allows you to be able to either back off and be more traditional if needed or go for it if the occasion demands it.

    Anyway: Rule: You can never own too many basses!
  3. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I had a Fernandez 8 string which was hella nice, but I never played it so I sold it. I got a Tobias 8 conversion way cheaper (go figure) and it plays and sounds great. Instead of seeking out 8 and 12 string bass parts I just use it for regular songs and it works fine. Mind you I tend to roll back the treble a bit so it doesn't chime so much, but works as a fuller bass sound. I alternate playing it and my other basses as a "main bass."
  4. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    Webtroll,that was pretty much what i was going to say! You don't always have to go for that full grunge treble sound,the 8 can be used in a lot more subtle way,fingerstyle or soft picking,and it still adds a nice fullness to the band sound. I played mine (in the early 80's) in a power trio,and also in a 4 piece band with keys and guitars,playing all sorts of pop,rock,and (gulp!) country,even.....(it sounds great for old school country bass lines,btw...)
    Someday I'm gonna have to get another one.
  5. Keep the 8-string bass idea on a back burner.
    They are incredible and I'll never sell mine, but your $$ is better spent on amps/cabs and accessories right now.
    Stands, cables, tuners, new strings often, there are SO many things that demand attention prior to getting into the weird and wonderful.

    Get your basic rig perfected first--wish I had followed this advice.
  6. Sound, sound advice! I'll likely go with what I know. I've seen some good candidates on TB and the local GC has a pretty sweet, used MIM Jazz looking for a home. Down the road pick up an 8 when the opportunity arises.

    Oh yes, all the other gear that comes with the territory... All I have left is a few picks, my two favorite straps, and my stand, which the rubber has rotted off of. lol

    Now to find the GAS pedal so I can back off of it.

    Thank you so much!
  7. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    How're ya doin'?

    Maybe you don't know there's an ESP/LTD out there, cheap but solid, it's called "B208": B as for series, 200 as for level and 8 as for strings

    It's a transblack only, basswood body bass with factory passive soapbars and three band active eq

    Pickups are nothin' more than average, but clear and honest so that you can easily find your way thru sounds and get accustomed to 8 strings again soon.

    It's not that easy to come across with, but if it's the case (I live in Milan, Italy, and there's one in a town shop) it's in the $. 300.00 price range.

    The design stays modern, but remember that B series is still a neutral one, so nothin' disappointin' like, say, same specs ESP LTD "F" series (think about the Slayer's Araya signature here)

    Why don't you give it a go?


    PS: welcome back!
  8. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    I wanted an 8 string for years. I finally got one and only played it 5 or 6 times in 5 years. So I sold it for an MTD Artist which will see far more playing time.

    8 string are such a niche instrument that unless you are doing Cheap Trick or Kings X covers, it will just sit.

    I miss mine, but I know if I still had it I still would not use it.
  9. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Start gently. I'd be looking at Jazz or Lakland basses at this point.
  10. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    I've got a Rickenbacker 8-string and I love it, but as others have said, I couldn't imagine it as my main bass. I will say that it's silly to say an 8-string is only good for covers of Cheap Trick or whatever, you can play an 8-string with just about any bass line from any song and it's going to make it sound fuller and bigger.
  11. oysteivi

    oysteivi Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2013
    Trondheim, Norway
    Would an octave up pedal such as the micro POG work well as an alternative to a real 8 string? Seems like the most convenient way of swapping between 4 and 8 string sound.
  12. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Except the OP (correct me if I'm wrong) wasn't referring to a way to replicate its sound without buyin' it, but start to try and play it once again.

  13. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    * Reconsidering your post I'm going to go with Bassbenj and say it's not a good bass to get back into bass playing. I'd get a Squier CV or a SUB first, and if bass playing sticks this time around then consider an 8 string.
  14. Thank you all for the suggestions and advice.

    After considering your responses, I realize that the best path for me is to find a good used bass, probably a Jazz type or possibly a p/j configured bass, and work with that for a while. If the need arises I'll look into a medium sized rig to play through, and eventually pick up an 8 string to experiment with.

    I played in bands for a couple of decades but I'm not sure I'll ever reach that point again. I'll say that playing in clubs led to some of the best times in my life so I won't rule it out. Realistically, I may just end up playing for my own enjoyment this time around. Who knows what the future may bring.

    Thanks again all. My journey begins.
  15. msact


    Jan 8, 2013
    Somewhere in NJ
    Hey StumblinBlues, good luck with everything. I got back into bass last year after a couple of decades away. It been great and it's been a good diversion through some personal tragedies. Enjoy your journey and keep in mind that there are a lot of great folks here that are willing to lend whatever help they can.
  16. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    The short answer is yes,but octave pedals don't really sound the same as a real 8 string. I have one of the pedals,but seldom use it.
  17. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
  18. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    But it IS convenient.....:smug:
  19. nearshoreguy


    Jul 19, 2013
    I have owned Kramer XL8, circa 1980, for twenty years and it is special-too special. I loved that octave one and you get to where you can have it or not depending on whether you pluck up, or down. The down-stroke CAN miss the piccolo string. The thing is, aftrer a while you just like to be provide that solid bottom sound without an octave. It just starts to get a little gimmicky and doesn't fit a lot of songs (can you hear "Brick House" with an ocvtave bass?). I took my piccolo set off 15 years ago and play that old Kramer as a 4.