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From 4 to 12, can it be done this easy.......

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ashton, Sep 22, 2002.

  1. ashton


    Jan 4, 2001
    I was pondering the idea of trying to make a 12 string bass when I thought I could very easily make a current 4 string into a 12'er.

    Would it be as easy as buying a new nut and bridge some strings and tuning heads? If so which of these above products is best to buy. Also would i need to buy new pickups?

    If the headstock doesnt have room for the extra tuning heads then maybe I could route out the back of the bass and make it a string through aswell.

    Well thats my idea can you tell me if it sounds like a good idea.

  2. unless you have HUGE spacing on the 4 string, i doubt you would be able to fit the other 8 strings onto the bass and still be able to play it because all the strings would bassically be touching.

    plus i doubt that a standered 4 string neck was built to cope with the tension of the extra 8 strings

    so in answer to your question, no i don't think it can be done this easy, sorry


  3. ashton


    Jan 4, 2001
    what about using nylon strings? would that help the tension, the neck spacing will be fine.
  4. nylon strings will not work if your using normal bass pickups. Bass p'ups have magnetic poles in them which pick up the magnetic field the vibrating bass strings make (i think thats how they work, but i know for a fact if your using normal pickups you will need metal strings or the p'ups wont pick up anything)

    howerver, a piezo pickup may work with nylon strings, i'm not sure tho 'cos i don't know how piezo pickups work, you'll have to ask someone else about that, or do a search, i know they've been talked about here quite a bit


  5. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I think that Warmoth makes an 8 string conversion kit (neck, bridge, tuners, etc.) which would put you halfway there...
  6. I'd recommend the conversion kit from Warmoth. A standard 4 string neck will not be able to hold up under the tension of the other strings. Also, unless you have astronomically wide spacing, adding 8 more octave strings simply will not fit. You will probably need new pickups, unless you have blade pick ups instead of poles. If you've got the blades, you should be fine.

    But, without a different neck, I don't think its possible.

    Why not look for a used Hamer 12 string or something? It would be better to hold off, save some money and get a real 12 string rather than ruin the 4 string you have.

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