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How Many Strings make an ERB?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sandman1278, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. So how many strings must a bass have to be classified as a ERB(Extendend Range Bass) 5? 6? 7? 8+?
  2. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    That would be 5 or more.

    Traditional means 4 strings, just like the upright bass...which was 4 strings.
  3. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    It depends on the tuning. A 4 string tuned FBEA is an extended range bass, because it covers notes not traditionally available to a bass guitar.
  4. IMHO, I would think that an extended range bass is one that has been specifically built to extend the range by adding another string or more. Not a bass that is the traditional setup of 4 strings. All you've done is adjust the tuning. It's still a "standard" 4-string bass.
  5. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO
    I'd say 6 strings plus makes a bass "extended range".

  6. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi

    To me, that's like asking "how many trees do you need for a forest?" or "how much crap to make a pile?" (without further comparison).
    Extended Range Bass is a relative term, it refers to how it was before. So for me, as I am now playing a seven string bass, I won't call my new six string an ERB. In fact, I don't even refer to my seven as an ERB.
  7. I'm curious...why not 5? :confused:
  8. Quotes from "Wikipedia; The free encyclopedia" on-line.

    The bass was 4-string for probably more than 20 years from it's introduction, (even before the Precision in '51), until it's range was extended in the early '70's. I'd say that an extended range bass is anything over 4 strings, which was, (and is still) the standard. IMHO. ;)

  9. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Of course, 6 and 7 string upright bass viols were the standard for a long time (longer than the 4-string was the standard in electric bass), and there are also 5-string and extended low C 4-string uprights, so basing it off of uprights isn't quite accurate.
  10. Musicfreak1988


    Feb 2, 2005
    A father of a friend of mine plays upright in an orchestra and he has both 4 and 5-string uprights... (The orchestra bought him the fiver for - I believe - Sacre du Printemps)
  11. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    I have to agree with Tash. ERB means more notes are available than a standard four, so that could be a four with altered tuning, giving you more notes.

    a 6+ string bass does but allows for standard tuning (which is my preferred way, i'm used to tuning in 4ths so why not stick with it?)

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    For me an extended range bass can be any tuning that takes you lower or higher than what would be considered standard tuning.

    E A D G

    B E A D G

    E A D G C

    B E A D G C


    C# F# B E

    B E A D G C F

    E A D G C F Bb

    B E A D G C F Bb

    and obviously anywhere in between.the standard 4,5(low B/high C)and 6 string bass has evolved into the accepted standard tuning.
  13. A washtub w/a single .195, 'tuned' to between C# & B. ;)
  14. Again, IMHO, it doesn't give you more notes, it gives you different notes. The physical characteristics of the bass remain the same.

    An extended range gives you the original notes plus the additional range beyond that without losing any of the original range.
  15. I just want to say for the record, that as much as this is a great thread of debate, the answer is totally everyone's own interpretation of the subject. So far I haven't seen anything from any "source" that is a definitive definition, and we're all just voicing our own views, (which is what it's all about! :D )

    That being said, is there anyone out there that has found any documentated evidence one way or another naming a specific amount of strings as an ERB? Just curious. Even what I've found is minimal "proof" at best. Too many variables involved, such as the information on uprights, that Brian brought to our attention, (thanks!, by the way), and Tash's piont about variable tuning options changing the range of a "standard" 4-string. All good points! So if anyone's found anything concrete in any research they've done, I'd love to hear it.

    Thanks for letting me throw this in. Now, on with the show! ;)
  16. Anything that hurts your hands to play.

    I believe anything above 4 to be ERB as 4 is the standard. In 20 years, who knows what will be standard as 5 and 6's are becomming very popular.
  17. I think it refers to an instrument that is designed and built to achieve greater range, which includes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 strings, and Knuckle's Quake Bass, which is EADG, but an octave lower. My 2¢ (yes, I use a Mac and can actually type "2¢" and not the "$0.02" that PC users need to use ;) ).
  18. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Hi, this is nitpicking but since you just bolded "first production 5 string bass" and left off the low B modifier it leaves the wrong impression. Fender made 5 and 6 string basses in the '60's and they were production instruments, just not with a low B.

    If you consider the Viola da Gamba then fretted 6 string basses go back to the 1600's.

    For me an ERB is at least 5 strings and definitely anything with 7 or more. By some of the criteria here a 24 fret 4 string or a p-bass with a Hipshot detuner could be an ERB. I think the term is pretty loose but it could be argued that now that low b's and high c's are commonplace extended would be something past that.
  19. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    That works for me and jibes with how we define wind instruments and the like. Different ranges are called tenor, baritone, contrabass etc... but not extended. Would a standard p-bass be a ERguitar?

    An amusing semantics debate, irrelevant but amusing none the less :)
  20. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    I don't think shifting the tuning of a bass extends its range. In fact, that sentence explains itself. From what I gather, the basses that have been labelled extended range have fallen into certain "norms" like 7 strings and so forth. While I can cope with this "norm" by deffinition, an extended range bass guitar would be anything extended beyond the first 20 years of bass guitars, for example, I'm sure not many of you would consider a 4 string 24 fret bass with the accepted normal tuning extended range because it has just that: 4 strings, tuned E A D G.