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New to 7-strings... Questions... (Conklin)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lefty007, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I'm considering jumping into the 7-string world and have 2 questions...

    1-How do you typically tune a 7-string bass and what string gauges do you use?

    2-I have found two used Conklins. One is a custom-made with maple board, ash body and koa top; the other one is a Groove Tools (regular wood recipe).

    What are the mayor difference between these two in sound? (the custom one seems to have a premium preamp, since it's got many knobs and switches). They are both priced really good for what they are, but I'm trying to decide which one to go for. I'm not near the sellers to try either bass.

    My main concern with the Groove Tools is that the fretwork won't be as good as the custom, and I expect to get really low action so I can play this monster.

    Thanks in advance for any input.
  2. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    I'll bite.

    1: Most people (including me) tunes the 7-string bass from low to high B E A D G C F - like a six-string but with an added high F. The gauges I use are the Conklin SIT PowerSteel set: .135 .110 .080 .055 .035 .025 and .018pb . The last one (.018pb) is "Plain Bass". I like these strings.

    2: I don't know, but probably the custom Conklin will have better electronics, as you propose. It would be good to be able to try it though; the nature of custom instruments is that they are made to the customers spesifications - and that particular customer may like things differently than you; whereas the GT-7 is made to be what "most people" will like.

    Hope that helped. Feel free to ask more. Good luck!
  3. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    Some tune them like a 6 with an extra high string (BEADGCF) and others tune them like a 6 with an extra low string (F#BEADGC). Just depends on what you want to do with it. I also knew a guy who tuned his like a 7-string guitar (BEADGBE) so he could play guitar chords...

    One concern if you're going for the low F# option is making sure your rig can handle that kind of low end. 10s most likely won't cut the mustard. I think (though am not sure) Jean Baudin uses an Accugroove 21" sub with his 9-strings, which have low F# strings.

    Most people seem to use these ERBs for tapping and solo stuff, so they almost always go for the extra high string. Again, just depends on what you wanna do with it.

    EDIT: Sorry for being redundant about the tuning. I was typing my response when elros was posting his. Oops. :)
  4. I have a GT7 and the fit, fittings and action are absolutely SUPERB. Seriously, I've had this puppy set up (and fret stoned) ONCE since I bought it about 2 years ago and the action is still super low, where it was set. The neck just hasn't budged at all.

    It's a wonderful bass. The preamp on the GT7 is none too subtle, but the clarity of sound at the top and the bottom is really great. I personally didn't get on too well with the Conklin Snakeskin strings (BEADGCF) but instead switched the lower 6 to Elixirs which I really like while keeping the top F from the Snakeskin set.

    I'm sure both basses will be very good instruments, but you shouldn't view the GT7 as a writeoff just because it's "mass produced". I'm loving mine. :D

    EDIT: I should say that I had it set up just after I got it and so the action has stayed put for all that time. Also, I got the bass second-hand.

  5. No one could answer to all your questions better than JT . If you wanna hear what you can do with these beauties check out http://lordonly.net/
    Conklin...7 string...where are you John ? :D
  6. Robman


    Mar 19, 2004
    Sherman, Texas

    Very impressive...

    JT is truly another inpiration for me. I haven't made the jump to 7 strings yet. But man... I need to order his CD's!
  7. mark beem

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

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    The Groove Tools is your best bet for an economic ERB and used would definitely be the way to go if you're unsure whether you'll stick with the ERB platform. There are several on Ebay right now actually.

    However, the Groove Tools can't hold a candle to what comes out of Bill's (Conklin) custom shop!! Were I in the same boat, I'd probably spring for the custom.

    I have two custom 8 string Conklin basses and have owned two other second hand custom 7 strings in addition to a handful of GT-7s... If you have any specific questions I'd be glad to try to answer them.

  8. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    I tune mine the same, but am currently using Hi-Beams .130-.100-.080-.060-.040-.030-.025(wound).