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How viable is a 12-string bass (in 4 courses) for conventional rock music?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kazz3lrath, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. Kazz3lrath


    Jan 5, 2012
    I realize that a lot of people (myself included) would probably play the 12-string with a pick, so I guess that is what I am asking about.

    Also, anyone ever try any distortion or anything on one?
  2. The first guy that has done exactly what you're asking about is Tom Petersson from Cheap Trick. Heavily overdriven ,usually, 12 string, plays with a pick.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Also the co-creator of the 12 string bass.
  4. Viable, sure, but as far as unconventional rock music is concerned, forget it.
  5. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Jeff Ament and Dug Pinnick do pretty well with them.

    Jeremy is about as "conventional" as you can get
  6. Cool. I thought they played 8 string.
  7. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Yes. I played 12-string exclusively for most of the 90s. Used overdrive, distortion, and chorus. Biamped Mesa Boogie rig.
  8. hardtwister


    Jan 1, 2013
    KING'S X!
  9. I used a Galveston 12-ver in my last Female-fronted Three Piece.
    I used it for probably 3/4 of the night. Really filled in the space between the drummer and the perpetually soloing guitar player.
  10. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    I can see it working especially well in rock bands with only one guitarist.
  11. emblymouse

    emblymouse Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    Lakland Artist Endorser
    You will roar instead of punch. The Petersson sound is heavily scooped. It's like Entwistle X 2. You will want some overdrive for sure or all those high octave strings will be a bit much. Real tubes if possible!
    Aside from all this the biggest thing is using a pick and simplifying your bass parts. If you aren't playing clean and deliberate notes while holding all thos strings down it gets messy fast. Downstrokes are what rocks and also what helps with definition in the mix.
  12. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    A 12 string requires a somewhat different playing technique. Personally i think an 8 string works even better,if you want to stay with more conventional bass playing techniques,and gives you 90% of the same sound as the 12. I like changing between fingerstyle and picking,and seldom ever play just downstrokes when using a pick on 4 or 8 string.
  13. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    Oh,and the 8 string sounds brilliant in all sorts of different band settings,I've been using mine in a hard rock power trio,where it shines of course,but also use it in a pop quintet featuring acoustic gtr,electric gtr,and keyboards,and it really sounds great in that context,too.
  14. DrumsAndBass

    DrumsAndBass Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I agree, the 8 string may very well be more useful. I played an 8 and a 12. I was able to use finger style on the 8 and still have it sound convincing and pick of course works just right. The 12 all but confines you to pick style. As for the amp style, either will allow a whole lot of tone options provided you are willing to use a somewhat complicated amp setup.
    But as someone said above, you won't get "punch" with the 12 (or the 8) but you'll get that great broad tone.