Thoughts on extended range players?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by DerekT, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. DerekT


    Dec 20, 2014
    This is something I like to talk/debate with other players a lot. Listening to prog has opened me up to a lot of players who tend to use extended range. 5 strings made sense to me because having a B string can give really beefy lows. I could also kind of understand 6 strings because very versatile players might want notes lower than E and higher than G. Although I'm sure some people hate anything that isn't just four strings, I have found that 5 or 6 strings is somewhat accepted among the bass community.

    But the REAL question is what do you think of 8+ strings on a bass. One of the best examples I can give is ChaotH from Unexpect.

    On one hand, he does use almost all if not all of the strings. On the other hand, some might argue that he should leave it to the guitarist to play that high(although to be fair, I don't think it would sound quite the same on a guitar as on a bass, no matter how many strings).

    And if you think that was ridiculous, there are guys who have 18-24 string basses.

    So is it just a new way of thinking about Bass, or is it just musical wankery that has no place in a respectable band? I just wanted to see other's thoughts. I know this is a polarizing topic and I'm hoping it will bring some interesting discussion.
  2. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Every time I see/hear a solo ERB performance on youtube (which admittedly seems to be the only place I hear any ERB performances) my first thought is "I wonder what that bass sounds like in a band?"

    And perhaps the answer is "ERBs aren't designed to be ensemble instruments; they're solo instruments" ? If so, that's cool...but not my cup of tea.
  3. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    I think those extended-range instruments make a beautiful sound and the artist performances are spectacular.

    If solo composition/performance is you're goal, I can see where these instruments offer an advantage.

    Not for me though. I thoroughly enjoy my rhythm section responsibilities in a much simpler form. 4 and 5 string basses cover my needs. I prefer a more traditional role using more traditional instruments.
  4. Sharp5


    Dec 6, 2014
    Eastern NC
    I think they are two different roles and that is where people get confused trying to force them into one category. There is nothing wrong with a bunch of strings on a bass being played like that. Obviously a lot of skill and some very nice music (more in an art sense) can be produced.

    Then there is the get the girls booty shaking side of the bass. Probably don't need a bunch of strings.

    I've only recently pursued bass more seriously after many years as a saxophonist and guitarist. I've had several thoughts on this. On one hand, I like just focusing on pocket and groove with out the burden of having to solo all the time. But just last night I was sitting around and found myself figuring out some of my bebop licks on bass thinking it would be cool to have 6 strings for the extended range. I do realized that for the majority of my work I would be holding it down on a 4 string. The only time I could see my self taking a six string to a gig would be if it was a jazz or fusion gig. Probably not a cover band gig. Each has their place.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  5. Sem Thewissen

    Sem Thewissen

    Aug 18, 2011
    ChaotH actually uses it in a band, Unexpect.

    To op:
    I generally love extended range basses. It simply opens possibilities.

    Although i wouldn't use it for everything. For example, i dont really see the need for a 6+ string bass in a punk band. ;)
    I have 4,5 and 6 string basses at the moment. Each one i use for different bands/pojects. I'd love an 7 or 8 string but i'm still getting to know my 6 string, when i'm really comfortable and can play blind i will probably upgrade.
    And i do agree that the sound of a bass played higher (eg piccolo bass or up high on a erb) is different from a guitar.

    So my opinion if it fits in the band/project and if you can properly play it it's a great thing.
    Otherwise stick to what you're capable of, no use getting a 6 string if you only use the middle 4 strings.
    DerekT likes this.

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