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Are 8 string basses any good?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ovo The Edgehog, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. Ovo The Edgehog

    Ovo The Edgehog

    Sep 7, 2018
    Hey everyone :)
    So I was planning to go for a little Solo Project, in which i want to combine Keyboard sounds, a drummachine, and you know, a big amount of Funky bass :)

    Now what i thought is that somehow i need to fill out a bit of a higher range so that the bass is the most present of all said instruments.
    I thought a good way to achieve that would be an 8 String bass. But how is the playability of those? Can you (with practice ofc) still do all the techniques you can do on a regular 4 string?
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Most of the same techniques apply, it does take some getting used to. An octave box with good tracking might be another solution (likely cheaper).
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Are 8 string basses any good?
    probably, until you need that 9th string.
  4. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member

    Check this out for a sample:
  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Assuming you're talking about the octave courses kind of 8, not the other kind, the answer is 'sort of'.

    I was just playing mine yesterday afternoon, paying attention to what worked and what didn't as compared to a 4. Mostly playing traditional two finger style, but also with a pick and some slapping/harmonics. The main issue, for me at least, is good muting. Things I normally do on a 4 can leave one or two of the octave strings unmuted on an 8. Particularly with more aggressive playing.
    bholder likes this.
  6. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Get an octave-up pedal, run it through a regular 4-string, and see if you like the sound before making the 8-string purchase? Likewise, you could always try an octave-down pedal on a 6-string guitar (ie. Jack White).
  7. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yeah, as much as I do love a good 8 string, this is a good idea. Even an EHX POG 2 will cost you less than even the cheapest 8 stringer (and you don't want to buy the cheapest 8 stringer, believe me, there are some bad ones out there). And it'll add even more fun if you do decide to get the 8. :cool:
    gebass6, Phud and DJ Bebop like this.
  8. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    8 and 12 String are fun!......although if your requirement is the need to fill out higher range frequencies, the biggest fix is new strings on your current bass (preferably rounds and keeping them fresh as possible)....just sayin
    DJ Bebop and lz4005 like this.
  9. Muddslide


    Feb 23, 2007
    Mobile, Alabama
    Took the words right out of my mouth.

    I did own an 8 string for a time and it was sweet but it didn't get much use.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  10. woodyng2

    woodyng2 Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2015
    Oregon Coast
    F362EFE5-4659-4155-9D6B-AB7D8745A006. I love having one, it’s kind of a guitar substitute for me.
  11. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Another option would be a Bass VI -- tuned E-e like a guitar, but an octave lower. I've never had my hands on an 8-string bass, but it sure seems to me that a VI would be much more "playable" for me, and probably even more so if you happen to also be a guitar player.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  12. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member

    This is definitely a different animal and not for the faint of heart...except for Davie504
    pbassjbass likes this.
  13. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Not faint of heart, our Davie504, but most definitely bug of eye. :wideyed:
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    When played with a pick, an 8 string sounds like a guitar and bass doubling the riff. Works great in heavy power trios. Listen to Cheap Trick to hear a lot of 8 and 12 string (2 octave strings rather than just 1) in action.
    Primakurtz, Reiska and gebass6 like this.
  15. I assume the OP refers to coursed octave pairs.

    I own a Waterstone TP-8 and a Carlo Robelli 8. Great basses. Very aggressive, especially with a pick. Fills up some sonic and harmonic space in trios and small rock combos nicely. Perfect for Cheap Trick and King's X, among others. Not an all-purpose utility bass by any stretch, not sure how "funky" they will go. Requires a bit more finger pad area and stamina with fretting for any duration, and some of your quicker hot licks might be slowed down a little, but someone who plays a non-coursed bass regularly would adapt quickly.
  16. greenduke


    Jan 21, 2014
    Dallas, TX
    I have a 1996 Zon Sonus 8 string/octave (first year made) I picked up new at GC during one of their VIP private notice closeout deal days. Got it for steal and mostly as a novelty item. I had just missed an Alembic 5 string series I that had some finish issues for pennies on the dollar. :crying:
    It has model specific custom barts, multi-coil twixt bar PU's only used on their 8 strings at the time.
    It does have a huge sound. I'll use it for composing/chords but, It mostly hangs on the wall in my studio. :whistle:
    woodyng2 likes this.
  17. diegom


    Jun 18, 2008
    A few months back I felt like I had to have an 8-string bass. Had been listening to KingsX pretty regularly...
    Then, as a birthday present, I got myself a Spectorcore 4 fretless. I'd be darned if the thing doesn't sound like an 8-string!! Mixing mag pickup with the zing of the piezo, both at full, had a very interesting flavor.
    I did take it further... My Spectorcore is now wired in stereo, so I can route the mag to a clean preamp and the piezo to octave and chorus pedals. No mud, pure bliss.

    I no longer wish to have an 8 or 12-string bass. I'd be temped to add piezos to my main player.


  18. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    I've always wanted one. Those old Kramer XL-8's are pretty outlandish.
    moonshinegtrs and Omega Monkey like this.
  19. DiMarco

    DiMarco Guest

    Feb 4, 2010
    If you play strong grooves like dUg Pinnick or Jeff Ament do with them then yes. But the songs in which they use those instruments really lend themselves for that sound.
    Otherwise imo it is rather gimmicky. Jaco P and Vic W are pretty much full range with just four strings.
  20. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I love my 8 … but I don't play it much

    This is an 8 string SG bass in progress. This is an Epiphone EB0 body and a maple neck with a paddle shaped headstock. It is 30" scale.

    It is wired passive, volume, volume, tone with 500k ohm pots. It has 2 stingray type pickups. The bridge is a Schaller 8 string bridge.

    Sound Byte








    Reiska, bholder, ptensioned and 7 others like this.

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