Multi Stringers what Is your Concept

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JAUQO III-X, Dec 1, 2003.


    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Multi Stringers What Is Your Concept (Application)For Usage Of Your Multi String Bass(es)

    I use 4,5,6,8 non doubled,12(4x3)and 15(5X3)string Bass
    I rarely outside of my own music projects as a Bassist/producer or the rare occassion Im asked to bring anything over a 6(the 6 is still barely accepted in a lot of musical settings)do I bring my 8's,12's,or 15's.I mainley use what and only what the project calls for.(I never attempt to push my multi string views on the person that has hired me)4's and 5's and occasionaly a 6 because anything over is logicaly overkill.I feel I have a desent balance between the 4's,5's,and 6's and the 8's,12's,and 15's.

    Three examples
    4,5,and occasional 6-Studio,my projects,and gigs for hire.
    8 string-a duet setting with Vocalist Valarie Gordon,where I acompanie her as if Im a Pianist,Bassist,Guitarist,Purcussionist,Saxaphonist,etc.
    4,5,6,8,12,and15 in my own Band led projects and the occassional open minded Artist/Producer.

    On my debut CD I do a version of Wayne Shorter's Footprints,with my Brother singing Lyrics I penned.from a listeners ear it sounds like Im using a 4 string,there's a change where it sounds like Im using a 5.there's also a solo section where it sounds like Im using a 6,buts it's revealed that Im using an 8 string Bass and from there back to the 4 string there you have the sound of four different Basses in one song and there was no need for overdubs.With all that said,What are some of you guys Concept(approach)of your Multi String Bass(es)?
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i play 7's, and sometimes 8's non-doubled, but mainly 7's. it's what i play, it's who i am. there's a lot of techiniques i use that would be impossible on fewer strings, there's other songs i play that i could probably play on a 4, but that's not the point.

    i play 7's. period. simple, really. haven't touched a four or anything less than a 7 seriously in (looks at watch) ten years now.
  3. jusplayinmybass


    Apr 17, 2003
    Conyers, Ga
    Keith McMillan Instruments, SIT Strings, Accugroove Cabinets
    I currently use a 6 for everything I do. Mainly because it is the only bass I own. Generally, people here in Atlanta are accepting of my 6, most of the other bass players that would get the call play 6. I am generally trusted to play the part that I am hired to do, although I take a few liberties, which are accepted, even playing R&B. The same pretty much goes for the band that I am in. Although I do have room to do whatever I want because it is a 3 piece with vocals. My experience is that most people that hire me don't care how many strings I play, at least not up to 6, they just want me to do my job (foundation) and make them dance. Now I wonder how that will work out when I get my 9. Be Easy

  4. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I see them as the "Gerber Multi-Tools" of the bass world, and use them as such.

    Personally, not being a soloist but primaily an ensemble player, I use mine to embellish the music I'm a part of. I can grab a note on the low F# string and add emphasis to the musical passage I'm playing in the same way I would add an exclamation point to the end of a sentence to have the same effect.

    Chording, tapping, & harmonics are available at a level that could never be achieved on basses with fewer strings.. I could never go back to anything with less than 7 strings.. And I'm rapidly approaching a point where I feel that way about 8 strings..

    Cant wait until I get my new 8 hollowbody from Bill!!

  5. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I play an 8 string Warr, tuned FCGDAEBF#D. One of my bands only has a guitar player and drummer, so I use it to fill up space. Sometimes I play unadorned bass lines, other times I play chords, other times I do both at the same time. There's only three of us playing, yet it sounds like there's alot more going on.

    That said, it's pretty easy to overplay on these things. It can actually be harder to lay back and play something simple as opposed to playing too much.

    I haven't touched my 4 string bass in a good while. I don't really miss it though.
  6. Gsxtasy99


    Jul 10, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I play a six, and sometimes take flak for it. If you bring it to a traditional blues or straight ahead jazz gig, people give you funny looks. These people either expect an upright or a beat up old P-bass. In that situation, I try to compensate by treating it like a four with a thumb-rest and a string for solos.

    That said, i've found lots of situations, pit orchestra's, recording, gig's w/ open minded people ect. that all they care about is how you sound and play, the way it should be.
  7. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I regularly gig with 4, 5, 6 & 7 string basses. Sixes and sevens on about half of my gigs, mostly with my jazz trio or classic rock trio. The four gets used for my retro, Elvis band. And I play a 5 mostly when I've got a marathon gig and just wanna have a narrower neck for the long haul. The sixes and sevens fill up space in my trios and I play upper register chords behind the guitarist quite a bit. I prefer a 6 or 7 for soloing although a 5 is just about perfect for funk and rock playing, IMO. And anything more than 4 strings in a rockabilly setting just ain't right! ;)
  8. rob_d


    Jun 14, 2001
    Why would anybody give you flak or cut anyone out of a gig for playing 6 string? It's just a 4 string with two other strings really. If the gig doesn't call for it, you can just play what the gig calls for. Are people afraid 6+ stringers are going to come into a gig and tap for 2 hours?
  9. jusplayinmybass


    Apr 17, 2003
    Conyers, Ga
    Keith McMillan Instruments, SIT Strings, Accugroove Cabinets
    Are people afraid 6+ stringers are going to come into a gig and tap for 2 hours?

    ***I honestly think that many pepole, including bass players, feel that bass players with extended range have no self control. Then think that somehow, the smell of a low B or high C or F# will send us on some crazed chops frenzy like blood does to sharks. I think that the reason that I am generally accepted is that I've shown to many around here that you don't have to play every note on the bass on every song. you can lay down a wicked groove in spite of the extended range. But there are some that just can't see around the extra strings. They think I'll snap at any point and start playing Eddie Van Halen tap lines on the verse to a song or something. It is really idiotic. All the notes that are on a 4 string are on a 9 string. And they can be played the same way. B Easy

  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The only bass that I use for effect is my 12(3x4) string. I only use it with my originals band, on two songs. I do plan on writing more material for it down the road.

    I also play 4, 5, and 6. With my originals band, I use my 6 most of the time, because I have three songs that require the range that a 6 offers.

    When playing at church or with my oldies band, I will use whatever I am in the mood to bring and play. The singer in my oldies band doesn't like it when I show up with my 6, but I still do occasionally. But I play the oldies pretty much the same on the 4, 5, or 6, unless the guitarist asks me to take a solo on one of the 70's rock songs.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    Yes!because a great amount of players do just some degree the 6 or more string Bass is more mature than the Bassist playing it.I feel that a lot of Multi string Bassist will end up backing
    themselves into a corner.the ones who are able to restrain from going postal are mature with the context of the instruments possible applications.Im not here to Bash any if one chooses to play 7 or more strings only and it works for them thats all that matters.
  12. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    Who is this guitarist and does he have any brothers?

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    It might be best not to reveal who this guitarist is out of concern for his/her safety once word gets out to the other guitarist.
  14. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    The only multi-string bass I really dream of is a Rickenbacker 4003/S8. Just to have more presence when our guitarist goes soloing on stage.

    The Conklin Customs and Roscoe SKB3007 are basses I love aesthetically (and preferentially the Roscoe), they have something attractive and fascinating, but I actually don't figure out what I'd do with such a bass.

    It's just me. I'm a basic beotian "less is more" bassist.

  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member


    My good friend David, plays guitar in Lucid Dreamer and the oldies band that I am in. He has two brothers, but one plays drums and the other used to play bass.

    And as Jauqo suggested, I am not giving any more information, for fear of other guitarists killing him.:D
  16. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    I play a 6 exclusively. I play jazz gigs, but I also play rock, funk, blues, R&B, country, and lately I've been jonesin' to do a gospel gig. But here's the thing. No matter the gig or style, I play the bass parts that are appropriate for the song. Always.

    I don't slap on a blues. I don't blow a solo on a country tune. When I do solo I don't hang in the upper registers.

    The extended range is great, and it's nice to have it (in both directions) if and when I need it.

    But, and I've posted this over and over again (sorry) the best advantage to having a multi-string bass is being able to play across the neck instead of making multiple position shifts up and down the neck.

    Multi-string or no, playing bass is still Job #1.
  17. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    My multi-string dogma is as follows: I need them to provide me with constant learning and development that the extended range of these instruments provide.

    It's all about discovery for me...

    Right, J ?
  18. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Craig, I'm surprised to hear you say that about playing across the neck (guess I've never seen it posted before)

    I think the playing across the neck bit is a pretty lame reason to play a multi string bass. It's like certain violinists that do not learn to play above 4th position.

    The notion of getting a 6 to make music easier to play never entered my mind until I say a post on TB about it and my initial reaction was "sellout!"

    And I stand firm by that.
  19. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    I played 6 string exclusively for about 8 years and I only stopped when I got carpal tunnel syndrome (not caused by the bass!). I played everything from jazz fusion gigs to rock and top forty stuff to church worship band. I played the 6 differently in each setting depending on the musical needs of the group. In the fusion group I could use the entire range more than in any other setting but in the rock group I played in I would cop alot of keyboard and second guitar parts on the 6 and use upper register chords to fill out the sound of the group (bass, drums, guitar and percussion). I would occasionally do the same at church. I would also use the upper register to double guitar or horn melody lines. 99% of the time I may have well been using a four string, I really would try to be creative but tastful.
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    So, we should all play one-string bass to challenge ourselves? :confused:

    There's nothing wrong with getting more strings to make music easier to play. It isn't cheating, it isn't selling out. You're forgetting that it doesn't make *all* music more difficult to play, only certain things. Having a six can be a great benefit to sight readers, and those who perform very high-tempo pieces. In fact the more strings a player is comfortable using, the more challenging pieces s/he will be able to play... the bottom line is, a seven stringer has many more possibilities than a four-stringer. (Disclaimer: I am not saying 7-string is *better* than 4-string, I am only saying it is more *versatile*).