Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 7string, May 7, 2008.

  1. I'm extremely proud to announce that I am having a 9 string bass made by ACG

    We've been working on the spec for this bass for the last 5 months or so, but we decided only to announce it when some progress has been made. Now that the neck blank has been assembled, it's the right time to tell all about the instrument.

    As you can gather from my username, I own a 7 string already and I'm having an absolute blast playing it. Everything is possible from 'meat and potatoes' bass through to chordal and solo ideas. I really love having all the options open to me, so started to look in possibility of 9 strings. To me, this is about as far as you can go whilst still having a useful and playable instrument. I know that some have gone to more than 9, but I'm stopping here!

    I could see how having a low F# (or even a low E) could be used to bolster basslines and how an extra string on top would give even more range for chordal and solo ideas. This bass isn't meant to be a one-trick pony or only to be played on special occasions, it's an extended range bass which must deliver great tones across it's whole range and have the playability to match.

    I sent out some e-mails to builders in the UK and abroad, receiving back fewer replies that I expected. Alan at ACG is only about 50 miles away from my home in Glasgow and was really enthusiastic about this build. I'd been down to Moffat a couple of times before, had played his basses and was really impressed not only by the basses, but by Alan's easy-going personality, work ethic and openness to any ridiculous idea that I came up with!

    Many e-mails were sent to and fro and after a couple more visits, we had the spec agreed. Here it is


    Recurve Single Cut body style
    35" scale
    Swamp ash body
    Black veneer
    Mahogany top
    Swamp ash cavity cover

    7 piece maple/wenge neck
    Acrylicised spalted fingerboard
    24 frets
    Mahogany headplate
    Wenge backplate
    Black headstock veneer

    77mm at nut

    Flat fingerboard radius
    M.O.P. side dots
    No front dots


    Hipshot Type A bridge fitted with piezos
    Hipshot Ultralite tuners
    Black hardware


    ACG pickups
    ACG Pre-amp
    Ghost PE-0340-00 Acousti-Phonic mono/stereo bass preamp


    ACG Pre - Volume/balance stack knob
    ACG Pre - Filter/peak stack knob
    ACG Pre - Treble stack
    ACG Pre - Filter/peak stack knob

    2 way mini toggle switch - Controlling bridge pickup - Series / Parallel
    2 way mini toggle switch - Controlling neck pickup - Series / Parallel
    Ghost PE-0111-00 Quickswitch (for Acoustic-phonic pre)
    3 position switch which selects between magnetic / piezo / or both

    Ghost PE-0206-00 Push/push mid boost volume control


    Stereo 1/4" output
    John East XLR output

    I decided upon a set-neck as it seemed a good compromise between a thru-neck and a bolt-on. To me, 9 string singlecut bolt-on's have a fair amount of metal joining neck and body and so the coupling between the pieces may not be as complete as it should be (just my thoughts !). I have a thru-neck already and as Alan makes a fair few set-necks this seemed a different and exciting way to. The neck is the great blend of maple and wenge.


    The body is going to be made of light, but tonally great swamp ash and be topped with an extraordinary piece of mahogany.



    The fingerboard is another extraordinary piece of timber. This is a spalted maple fingerboard. Problem is that wood is usually too brittle to be used as a 'board, so it has been through an acrylisation process which injects monomers into the wood, making it hard enough to be used as a fretless fingerboard if required.


    We did tinker with the idea of making this a MIDI bass as well, but due to a recent change in my recording setup this proved not to be needed. We did keep the piezos though which will add another dimension to the sound. The Ghost preamp will handle the piezo signal.

    Amazingly, the ACG filter-based preamp (which has to be used to be believed) actually responds down to just 20Hz, so it easily copes with the 23Hz F#. Nothing on this pre-amp has to be adjusted to cope with the super-low note. A real tribute to Alan's design.

    Thanks for reading the beginning of this build thread. I really looking forward to seeing this progress and can't wait to get my hands on the finished article.
  2. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    I can't wait to see this finished. Lovely wood.
  3. Sa-weeet. :D
  4. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Ooo!! I am excited!!
  5. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    This should be awesome when it's done! :D
  6. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Yoyo's Hurt When You Crank It Into Your Face

    Feb 18, 2007
    Cleveland Ohio
  7. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    good luck with the project man, I've tried 9 and 7 strings, my jerzy was great but it's on it's way to a new master, I tried but can't feel confortable with that much strings, and didn't grew fond of the high F.
    Still I'll always love seeing new ERB's pop out! :bassist:
  9. Jjango


    Nov 16, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Is this bass going to have a variable length scale, like a Dingwall?

    If not, wouldn't playing the higher-pitched strings be akin to playing a cheese slicer? I'd imagine the tension would get pretty high at 34" on that high A# string.
  10. Having a 35" scale 6, I don't know if you'd be extremely pleased with the upper register. Without a doubt, the lower register will be MASSIVE. You could potentially get away with tuning to guitar intervals so the string wouldn't be so tight and lack proper umph.
  11. The bass is going to be a constant 35" scale, but I've no worries about the sound or feel of the higher registers.

    I did have a Yamaha TRB6 II which had a 35" scale. It wasn't the scale that I found the problem, but the string spacing. I sold it on and had my Conklin GT7 de-fretted to fill the void !!
  12. Since you already have a 35" scale bass at your fingertips, you might want to try out some strings for the upper register and see if it's to your liking.
  13. sei24bass


    Nov 28, 2006
    Yahooooo...go mate! We will need to compare when I get my 9...:ninja: :bag: :D
  14. Skelf


    Apr 15, 2005
    Moffat D&G Scotland
    Builder AC Guitars.
    I spent a bit of time with the last 9 string I built which was also 35" and did not find any problem with the upper strings either with the tension or the sound they made. This was the first real ERB I had made so in fairness I don't have a huge amount of experience in this area but I was not aware of any problem. There are quiet a few examples of 35" scale ERB's and I have not seen any complaints about them. The last one has been with the customer and he seems to be happy with the bass.
    Sei24 if you are going by my neck of the woods I would like to see your 9 it is always a pleasure to see Martin's work in fact I hope to catch up with him this month as I will be down in London.
  15. sei24bass


    Nov 28, 2006
    Alan, let me know when you are going to be in London and I will try and meet up with you. Whilst Martin has finished my SEI 8 string fretless, the SEI 9 fretted has yet to be built (I placed the order only about 3 months ago).

    Anyway, enough hijacking and back to 7's lovely looking ACG!
  16. Skelf


    Apr 15, 2005
    Moffat D&G Scotland
    Builder AC Guitars.
    I should be down on the 22nd and back up on the 23rd. I will be in Camden as soon as I get in to London. Not sure at what point during the day I will get in not booked the train yet.
  17. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    That top and fingerboard will be great together!!
  18. I'm almost as keen to see this one finished as I am my own.

    7 - it's going to be brilliant mate, all Alan's work is.


    Jul 21, 2005
    Hi 7string.WOW!!That is going to be some bass.Fantastic top wood.
  20. Thanks for the kind words guys!

    I'm playing my 7 a lot at the moment, but I'm always thinking "What will this sound like on the 9".

    Long way to go though !!