1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Why in gods name would you play an 8 string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 311 fan, Oct 1, 2000.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. 311 fan

    311 fan

    Sep 24, 2000
    La Verne, CA
    That seems impossible. And why would you want 8 strings when most use 4? I cant see it.
  2. Because he CAN? I'm sure *I* couldn't, but that doesn't mean it's not the right thing for him.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If it's an eight string with four pairs of strings tuned in octaves of EADG, then you get a certain rich sound (like a 12-string guitar) loaded with overtones ... kinda piano-like. If you mean eight individual strings (I dunno, FBEADGCF, or BEADGCFB? John?), who the hell knows why? Maybe you'd want to play a bunch of solos that try to fool the listeners into thinking they're hearing a guitar.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    "I cant see it."

    That's why you don't play one. Obviously some people can see it :D
  5. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    311 fan JT knows why he plays them & to my knowledge he's one of the only people who plays them. If i had the cash i'd have @ least one since you gotta love the range [not so much on the high end though :D ] & I think they look cool,haven't heard one yet. The EADG octaved to me can be a good thing or it can be the dumbest thing ever made depending on how it's used. thats all
  6. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    So because "everyone else" plays a 4...thats all they should make, and all people should play? Thats pretty dumb. I think people who play extended range instruments like that are just awesome. Its changed the role of the instrument in music, and thats great. 4 strings are pretty boring to me, and im sure they are to a lot of other people.

    Cam, JT isnt the only person who plays an 8! Hell, there are TONS of people who play 7+ string instruments. And JTs not the only one on this site either! Coyoteboys got an 8 string Warr.
  7. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I think that FOUR strings are too many! Isn't most music today...just played on "one" string? :D:D
  8. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Bass is intended to be a complete instrument nowadays, with newer ,always evolving techniques and concepts, hey, Bill Dickens plays a 9-String Bass.
  9. ytsebri


    Sep 1, 2000
    I'm sure JT would ask you the same question about the 4-string. Why would you limit yourself to a such a small selection of possible notes?
    BTW Munjibunga, I play a 6 and I use all 6 strings most of the time, and it's not for soloing. More-than-four-stringed instruments facilitate positional playing in a way that 4-slingers never thought of. We can hit 3-4 octave E's without changing position. This leads to less fatigue while playing because we aren't unnecessarily moving our arms to hit those octaves.
    Another point is this. On an 8-string bass (individual stringed) there are normally (or theoretically) two strings lower than a 4-string. That facilitates a deeper,lower bottom end.
    Now comes my most controversial argument. Hold on to your hats folks. The bass (including double bass and bass lute, etc.) are designed for the production of SOLO notes, or notes played individually. Traditionally (and up until around the 30s-40s) the guitar was primarily a chordal and accompaniment instrument. Chords only, no soloing.
    So if a bass player happens to like soloing, on a 4 or 20 string bass, he's actually doing what the instrument was designed to do. (P.S.-I know a solo pertains to an instrument highlighting itself not to the arguement of the thread, but it's got to factor in somewhere! :) )
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I play mostly a 5, I also play 4 and 6 occasionally, but I will own a 7 string eventually. It might be next year, 'cuz I do need to upgrade my rig, and I can hear that AAAAA flametop PentaBuzz calling me, but it will happen!

    JT, now you just need to talk me into it being a custom instead of a GT model.

  11. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    So i was wrong on the numbers or names isn't the first time i've messed up like that on this site :) . that's all
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego

    I think I was talking about 8-string players. I play five-strings, but I can see where six might enhance the convenience of more strings, but I seldom have to play much above the 12th fret on the G string. Seems to me, by then, you're starting to get above the range that a listener might perceive as a bass note, hence my comment about soloing (again, on an EIGHT string). JT, what's your take?

    don't hurt me
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think a lot of people are miising the point that Munjibunga makes , that there are different options for 8 string bass. A lot of bass players in the past - like JPJ in Led Zep - have played an eight string tuned like a 12-string guitar, with pairs of strings. So you don't really have an extended range - it's the same as playing a 4-string but sort of like through an octave pedal.

    So this question is like asking Roger McGuinn why he played a 12-string guitar -it's just for the sound.

    If we are talking about extended range - well the Chapman Stick has 10 or 12 strings and there are a lot of players out there using these quite happily - Tony Levin for example and I've seen quite a few others. So 8 isn't that extraordinary.
  14. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    Why play a 12-string guitar? For the sound, of course.
    Tom Peterson of Cheap Trick has been playing 12-string basses forerver.
    Chris Squire of Yes has used an 8-string on occasion and often keeps it tuned in thirds, I believe. Listen to the begining of "Changes" on Yes' "90125" album and you'll see that 8-string with the special tuning allows him to play 2-note chords very quickly. Of course this could be done with a harmonizer pedal, but there's always something artificial sounding about those.
  15. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    well, i can't speak for the other >4 stringers on the site, but for me, it's easy - i don't give a crap about what other people use. if i wanted to do what other people did, i'd probably cut my hair, get a job, kiss up to my boss, cheat on my girlfriend, drink beer and watch sports all weekend. :D

    the root of the issue is that i play my own music, not someone elses. if i were going to be in a cover band, playing other people's music, then undoubtedly i would play a 4 string, if that's what they used, but since the only reason i am a musician is to play MY OWN music, i play the basses that _i_ designed, to play the basslines in songs that _i_ wrote or cowrote with my bandmates.

    i arpeggiate 5 and 6 note chords in ostinato figures, in a classical guitar style, which is completely impossible on a 4 string. i also comp out chords on the higher strings while i play basslines underneath on the lower strings, also usually impossible on a traditional 4. and, yes, sometimes i take a solo too. :D
  16. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    oh, btw, i tune my 8's F#-B-E-A-D-G-B-E, with 2 strings lower than a traditional 4 string, and 2 strings higher. i tune my 7's any of 3 ways : F#-B-E-A-D-G-C, B-E-A-D-G-B-E (my main tuning) or E-A-D-G-C-E-A.

    and any listener who thinks that the low F# is a guitar is pretty ignorant about music. :D
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think this question is an obvious "setup" anyway.

    Q. Why in God's Name would you play an 8 string?

    A. Lordonly Knows!

  18. Beware, The lord shall punish those who seek to play the bass of Babel! Too many strings shall spark retribution from above! Beware Temptation...the devil's name is Conklin! And on the seventh day, mullet black as sackcloth, John Turner shall come playing a maple necked fretless, and he shall arpeggiate not 1, neither, 2 nor 3, not4, but 5 and 6 note chords in a classical guitar style. (I gotta hear that!) <p>
    Nostradamus has predicted the signs...the coming of the great Dictator, the great war, the coming of the devil in the east, the rise of plus four string basses. It all points to Judgement day. Is there not an arms race before any war? The race to build basses with more and more strings will take it's toll on humanity. Soon they will have to genetically engineer bass players to play these abominations. Must we play God? Think of the children. And for your information...the real millenium starts in 2001! <p>
    Predicted in the Ancient songs of the sage, Neil Peart, by the year 2112 music will have been completely outlawed because of the destruction caused by John Turner and his army. Humanity will also revert to wearing 70's Battlestar Galactica type outfits. <p>
    Me...I'm building a bomb shelter right now. Please forgive me for this...I'm sick right now and I drank half a bottle of cough syrup with Codeine in it. :D <p>
    BTW, I played a GT7 and I found it was easy to play, and sounded great...the only problem I had with it is I couldn't stick my finger in to pop the "G".
  19. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    good one, bruce :D
  20. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    too funny. very good.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page