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Extended Range Basses (Bassists)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Josh Curry, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. 6 strings

    189 vote(s)
  2. 7 strings

    66 vote(s)
  3. 8 or more strings

    12 vote(s)
  1. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    With all this talk of "Extended Range Basses" (ERB's) and respective "Extended Range Bassists" I was just wondering if there's a concensus on how many strings a bass has before it's considered to have 'extended range'?

    I am guessing that it has to be either 6 or 7. I think most guys are either 4 or 5 string players and that 6 and up's are considered 'extended'. I definitely think 7 is extended, how about 6?
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    I've always considered it to be 6 and up, as a 5-string is pretty much the standard these days. Althogh a 6-string with 22 frets only has one more note than a 5-string with 26 frets...
  3. well, i say the 6 because 5 seems to be the standard, so one more would make it extended range. actually i would go so far as to say that 5s could even be considered extended range (stay with me on this...) i just say that basses have had 4 strings for a really long time (including upright basses since the 1700s) so i would even say a 5 could be considered extended range...but thats just me! :D
  4. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    But there are those uprights I see every once in a while that have 5 strings. Anybody know how long those have been around?
  5. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    I saw one thread on here with a picture of a 7-string upright, it was sweet. I don't know where it is though.
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    There were many 7 and 6-string upright bass-like instruments in the 1700s-there were fretted 7-string bass instruments around before 4-string ones even. Where's Dave Grossman at....
  7. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Since traditionally, basses only have 4 strings, & 5 strings are becoming more & more widely accepted.. I'd say, it's gotta be one more than that.
  8. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    That is pretty much my thinking. 4 and 5 are definitely the norm.
  9. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    I put my vote in for 7 strings basically because I see ERB's as rare instruments (and rare and talented players). While any music store in the area that has more than 5 basses in stock has at least one 6 string, over the past 5 years the only 7 strings I've seen in a store within 90 miles of here were 3 Conklin Groove Tools GT7's, mostly at GC about 60 miles away, but one showed up used at a more local shop. Of course if you live in a more populous place, say NYC, Atlanta, LA, or Seattle you would see many more than my experience, but Other than the GT's there are probably only one or 2 others making mass produced 7+ strings. This of course may change over time and I'm sure could have been said of 6 strings 15 or so years ago.

    So in the end I see the definition of ERB as evovling over time as the definition of standard bass evolves as it has to include 6's as somewhat standard, eventually 7's may atain "Non-ERB" status and so on until people get to the point of looking not at the instrument that is being played but the roll in music that the person has taken, but that's another arguement alltogether.
  10. j-raj

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

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    'satan'dard? hmmm... new band name idea.

    ...back on topic, I personally consider a bass to be an ERB when it spans a greater range than satandard bass.

  11. jusplayinmybass


    Apr 17, 2003
    Conyers, Ga
    Keith McMillan Instruments, SIT Strings, Accugroove Cabinets
    I personally see extended range, as a lot of other people do, as 6 or more. 5 seems to be standard. If you turn on the TV, with the exception of maybe rock music and it's offspring, you'll probably see a 5er being played. I think that will continue to be tha case unless people start to see basses with more than 6 strings as something that they can learn and use. And then there are a lot of people that don't see a need to play notes that are on the 13th fret of the highest string on a guitar (that is the highest string of my 24 fret 7 string). Different strokes for different folks. If we were all the same, that would get old. B Easy

  12. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    I say 6 too, most people are playing 4 or 5's because they have no use for more. I dont see much more you can do on a 7string that you cant on 6.
  13. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Sorry I didn't put that on the poll, I didn't think anyone would consider that.
  14. j-raj

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

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    1st off, What's up?

    You know, I should have been clearer... I do see 5'ers to be the Jan Brady in this paradigm. On one hand I see 5 as a standard these days (I personal observe this sentiment)... but then I see 4'ers as the origins of electric bass, IM'h'O. reverting back to DB's... Eventhough the Basso De Gamba had 6 strings and they are from the times of early baroque music, 4 strings have been the most popular in upright basses, which DB is credited as the origin of the electric bass, right?... and with this I would say ERB's would be anybass with 5 or more strings.

    SO, without making a truly clear point here, here is my new definition (without including the dual-course octave stringed basses):

    1 string (like that funny Bunnybass pic with the cat) monostringer
    2 strings (PUSA and Mark Sandman)duostinger
    3 strings (GBC and Tony Levin) one under stringer
    4 strings the old standard
    5 strings the new standard
    6-11 strings Multi-string bass or ERB
    12+ strings the next frontier...
  15. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    well considering how long sixes have been available to the everyday joe, I personally count them in the "regular bass" camp, and start calling it ERB at 7. True, a 6's range is indeed extended when compared to a 4, but 6 string bass has been a known "retail category" for some 20 years by now - anything above that and the geniuses at the stores (i.e. sam ash, MF, etc) put them in the "other" category, or lump them with the octaved 8 and 12 stringers, or what have you.

    I hate to defer to retail on this, because we all know how bright those guys are, but the point is the general public is familiar with the 6 as a standard form of bass. So my vote went to 7.

    Also, (on a personal note) I am most comfy on 6, I have found - weird thing, when I found I wasn't comfortable on 5s - but I don't call myself an ERBist, not in the likes of Garry Goodman or Stew anyways, guys that really need that range for their stuff - I'm more like the way JT described himself, I guess, playing stuff that you *could* play on a 5, maybe even a 4, but using the high string(s) for accents, chords, etc.
  16. A 7-string bass has the full range of a Baroque harpsichord. A 6-string doesn't. Therefore, unless you want to have to transpose some notes when playing the Goldberg Variations on bass, you need a 7. :D

    for example:

    Additionally, some chords that were not playable on a 6-string are playable on a 7.

    - Dave
  17. You mean like this:



    Other instruments available at:

    - Dave
  18. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    wow, there are some nice one's on that site.
  19. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    7 strings
  20. Well, I think that, technically, since all 4-string basses go beyond the "bass" voice range, 4-string basses are extended range basses. :D

    - Dave