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Isn't a full 8-string bass just overkill?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by brink22, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. brink22


    Oct 5, 2003
    Don't get me wrong... full 8-string basses look badass... but are they really necessary? And if anyone has a video of them playing an 8-string, I would like to see that. :)
  2. for me it would be overkill, but some people can do sweet stuff with them. there are a few guys on here who have conklin 8-strings and they look amazing. it would be fun to bang around on one for a while. I have always wanted to play a Low F# string.
  3. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    How did I know this would be a brand new member?

    Oh well, at least I got in before the close.
  4. 8-strings are for wussies. Real men play 9-strings! :D


    - Dave
  5. brink22


    Oct 5, 2003
    Holy crap... that 9 string is the sweetest thing I've ever seen. Is that your bass?
  6. makohund


    Dec 12, 2002
    Damn! At what point do these cease being basses, and start becoming "fretted harps"? :)
  7. Heheh, yeah, I just bought it a couple of weeks ago from Jean Baudin, the 9-string bass player from Nuclear Rabbit ( check 'em out at http://www.nuclearrabbit.com ).

    It's a really nice instrument but was severely damaged. Part of the headstock including the tuner for the highest string had broken off completely at some point and was repaired (very well, I might add). It's also a bit scratched and dented.

    I wasn't even looking for a 9-string. Jean and I were hanging out and trying out each other's basses and I just fell in love with it. The neck is thinner than any of my current basses. It's really easy to play. I asked him if he wanted to sell it since he had two Conklin 9-strings. At first he wasn't interested but asked me to make him an offer. He thought about it for a few days and then told me he'd sell it to me. I sold my 8-string Warr Guitar to pay for it.

    It is ridiculous overkill if you're just playing standard Rock stuff or even most Jazz. However, it offers the versatility of being able to play any conceivable bass note ( down to 21 Hz ) and the ability to play guitar-like chords and solos. And everything in between.

    Most people don't need more than 4 or 5. Some people like the extended upper ranges of 6's and 7's. 8's and 9's are for people who are constantly pushing the range of our instruments to the limits.

    More pics at:

    - Dave
  8. Yes, they are. If they were not, you wouldn't see so many luthiers building them. They're cats who can really make an 8 or 9 string bass sing. You just have to look for them.
  9. I agree with this statement. Although I have heard John Turner do some amazing work on his Conklin.

    ;) Treena
  10. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    The comparison of these basses to harps has always bothered me.

    Arent harps set up so that each indicidual string has its own pitch and only one? (please correct me if Im wrong.) They are nothing like a fretted (or in some cases fretless- perhaps I should say boarded) instrument and even though they are strung.

    Either way, download the song at the bottom of JT's post. Then you will see what an 8 (7 in that song actually) can do in the right hands.

  11. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Kind of - you can play harmonics on harps though. So you can conceivably get a large number of different pitches from one string. I'm not sure how often that's done though.
  12. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Good point. I hadnt thought of that, but I still wonder, would you have a bigger range on an 8 string bass versus a standard sixed harp?

  13. Oliver


    Jun 21, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    i only need 4 strings:)

    whatever rocks your boat i guess
  14. brake


    Jun 23, 2003
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    buy a guitar or an octave pedal
  15. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Or, if you want, buy an 8 string bass. As long as you aren't selling my kidneys to pay for it, get what makes you happy. I'll lose no sleep. It's not like this is some strange prison planet run by apes, or anything.

    Not yet, anyway....:bag:
  16. mark beem

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

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Arrogant Bastard Basses


    You're not worthy...

  17. mark beem

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

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    C'mon!! Have you ever tried to put a strap on a harp?!?! This way is much easier!!
  18. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    much easier and much more beautiful tbh
  19. dabshire


    Dec 15, 2002
    McKinney, TX
    I play a 5. That's what I need to get the job done. You may play a 4 string or a 6 string or a 22 string. Play what you need. If you need 8 strings to play the music in your head, then play an 8 string.

    If you are just playing it, however, so you can say "Look at me, I'm cool. I play an 8 string", you probaby don't play it very well anyway.


    Just my opinion.

  20. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I've given this a lot of thought over the past few years (not just 8 strings, but just generally how many strings I personally need and why). I played a six for a while and loved it. I'm playing fours now, and probably will continue on fours. Why? That's what I like, for the music I see myself playing.

    There's no question of morality here: I don't think there's a "right" number of strings that everyone should use. For me, four-stringers work well. For JT, Jauqo III-X, Bill Dickens and others, lotsa strings work well. Five-stringers work well for a whole lot of people.

    Heck, for some kinds of music, four strings are probably overkill.

    When you start working your way up into 7+ strings, you may still be playing bass, but you're probably also playing more than bass. There's no question that JT, for instance, goes up into guit*r range with some of his licks and solos, but so what? It doesn't keep him from being the bass player in the band.

    Look, I have no problem saying that JT is probably (strike probably) considerably more talented than I am. But that's OK, because I'm actually a pretty decent bass player, and I have no desire to do the things JT is doing. I like Lord Only's music, but it's not what I'm playing. I play in a church band, an old-timey band, and am working on picking up a blues gig. Sure, I could bring a Conklin 7-string, but a P-bass is really the thing for this stuff. Three or four of the Conklin's strings would go unused in these contexts.

    So there's my take. IOW, buy what you need, and use it.