8 strings? So what are these good for?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by zillo, May 8, 2005.

  1. zillo


    Jun 5, 2003
    Yesterday at the music store I played around with a Dean Rhapsody 8 string. It was very nice, and definitely a novel sound for me.

    Now, for anybody who uses this type of bass, what type of band or music situation would one of these be handy in? It seems like a trio rock situation might fit the bill. Jazz, folk?

    Help! I'm a little mind boggled by the whole concept, to be honest. (intrigued, though)
  2. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    IMO they're kinda ridiculous unless you use it for one little solo or something. You could always get an octave pedal ya know? :meh:
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Mostly useless IMO. Fun to have but there's not much use except in a trio. I used one for a brief period while our guitarist was out with a broken wrist and couldn't play. I used the eight string I had for a little while for a couple of gigs.

    Otherwise, not much use.
  4. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    I think 8, 12, 15-strings (or any bass with sympathetic strings) are great! The most famous use of them is on Pearl Jam's 'Jeremy', I believe. I don't own one, but I've played them a bunch. There are a few things you could do with it (at least in my mind).

    -You are both guitar and bass: Garage rock/street punk duo (if you're into that)
    -Your sound is HUGE, so if you have solid groove, you can lay down a slamming track while the other accompanists play some stuff over you.
    -You can replace one or two of the bass strings with guitar strings and tune them so you have a bass/guitar in one.

    Their use is basically governed by you, like any instrument, I personally feel I could do a lot of flamenco stuff with it and add new dimension to my music.

    Though I will say this; it would be very hard to work them into a large ensembles. The can take up a lot of space and you'd probably end up stepping on some toes.
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Tom Petersson made good use of them.
  6. It would be cool if you could isolate the higher octave strings from the bass strings, perhaps by using piezos instead of magnetics. Then you could effect the high strings only.

    As it stands, I think they're mostly useful for a neat effect, or to fill out the sound in a small group setting, as someone else hinted. I'd like to try one out, just the same.
  7. Almost the entire catalog from Cheap Trick was played with a 12 string... at least live.
  8. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    I would recommend a quick run through the Kings X catalog about now...

  9. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    About to post that. JPJ and the ox (entwistle) used 8 strings also.
  10. NOLA Bass

    NOLA Bass Mr. Worst Case Scenario Man Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Orleans LA
    If they are good enough for John Paul Jones, Doug Pinnick, Jeff Ament, John Entwistle, and Tom Peterson, they are good enough for me.
    I own an 8 string and a 12 string. I've used them often in some bands (maybe 20-5% of the material), select songs in a few bands, and sometimes not at all. I never force them, but they sound great in the right settings.
    The advantages of the 8 string are you get that nice full octave sound, but it is still reasonably easy to play.
    The 12 string sounds bigger and better, but it is a bit harder to play. If you are playing an all out crazy and funky jam, it is probably not the right bass for you! For simpler lines, it can create a wall of sound (very useful with a one guitar band).
    Anyone who says they are useless is pretty close-minded about them to be honest. They don't work for everyone or every situation, but the list of bassists above pretty much backs up the legitimacy of them. I personally can think of no situation where I'd ever want a 7 string (Conklin for ex.), but that doesn't discredit the guys that use them.

  11. useless.
    everything's useless.
    i'm so depressed.
    brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to stick to the root note...
  12. +1
  13. ppanousos


    Apr 10, 2005
    My bass hero,Gary Willis,plays strickly 5 string bass,what more there is to say? :bassist:
  14. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Atlanta, GA!
    I've seen bassmonkeee play his fretless 8'er on jazz gigs... Sounds killer. though he actually has the higher strings on the bottom and spaced out so he can play all three config's.

    I have been looking for an affordable one for fun. I would love to play one in my trio gigs.
  15. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    I've (attempted) to play that beast a few times....all I can say is that bassmonkeee is more of a man than I...


    ...but it was fun trying to make a useful noise with it...

  16. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Robert Trujillo played an 8 string with Infectious Grooves. He even slaps on it.

    I wouldn't mind owning one up someday.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    On occasion I will play a 12 or 15 string Bass.I have live recordings where I played my fretless 15 string with 2 guitar players and a drummer.you can pretty much use an 8,15 or 15 string Bass in just about any musical setting you choose,it just depends on how open minded,creative and respectful of the music and the other musicians you are playing with.don't let what is/can be considered standard stump the growth of your potential/creative development.
  18. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    Hope you're kidding!

  19. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Something makes me doubt it.

    Anyway, I've always been intrigued by 8 strings. My ideal setup is a 4 fretless, 5 and 6 fretted, 6 fretless, 7 fretted, and 8 fretted. They seem like they'd be very useful in a rock trio setting, and I'd definitely dig setting one up like bassmonkee's so you could play on either one of the sets of strings.
  20. Syeknom


    Oct 17, 2004
    Leuven, Belgium
    :D :D