Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

OT: 9-string bass guitar


zephonic

Recommended Posts



  • Replies 28
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I've never had any success with videos posted at sonic state so will have to guess from the caption regarding it going to low "F", but FWIW, a co-worker and fellow bassist has basses that go lower and have more strings.

 

I personally decided a long time ago that the low "B" string is far enough. Similarly with pianos, having tried several Boesendorfers and noting that one doesn't "hear" the lower octave so much as "feel" it.

 

OTOH, if someone can design a bass that has a solid sound that low and doesn't fall apart from the stress, all power to them!

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My co-worker has two Warr's. I tried them, and they are well-constructed but cost many thousands of dollars. Very comfortable feel (nice neck, and good weight balance) compared to the Chapman Stick, for this short person.

 

All the same, I don't quite see the point. :-) Yet my friend frequently hosts special bass solo evenings here in the SF Bay Area with the likes of Michael Manring. It's a bit of a niche genre though.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Warr does look like a step up in finish and sophistication from the Stick, having owned one of the latter for a brief spell. But I do know what you mean about the point of it all. The one-man-band is one way to go, the "me and a drummer" thing is another, but I play with a guy with a 7-string Conklin, and in the more common band setting what he's doing would be perfectly suited on his 5-string Lakland...and the string spacing would be more comfortable for him.
..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just can't see the scale of the bass guitar being long enough to deal with these ultra-low notes. There is a reason grand pianos are 7'-9' or longer.

 

Uprights aren't...

You can hear the difference too ;)
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If 4 strings were good enough for James Jammerson and Jaco Pastorius, I don't see the point in adding 5 more. :laugh:

 

Yeah, if those cats were alive today, they might strap on and play a 5, 7, 9 or 13 string bass.

 

My point is, music doesn't require the extra lows or highs from a bass.

 

There are enough instruments covering those frequencies already. One of which has 6 strings. :rolleyes::)

 

If the bass player is leader and playing more than a 5 string bass, that is another story altogether and a performance on which I will pass. :D:cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My point is, music doesn't require the extra lows or highs from a bass.
Almost any classical upright played has a C extension, allowing them to play their E string all the way down to a low C - a half step higher than the low B on a 5 or more string bass...

 

If the bass player is leader and playing more than a 5 string bass, that is another story altogether and a performance on which I will pass. :D:cool:
My favorite bass player to work with here in Indy (formerly with Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Teena Marie, among others and currently occasionally with Larry Coryell) plays a 6, used to play a 7, and knows exactly what to do with those extra strings. Sick, sick, sick cat.

 

My favorite bass players to play with on the road, both of whom have played with a literal who's who in the blues world, both play 4 strings. Horses for courses.

A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My point is, music doesn't require the extra lows or highs from a bass.
Almost any classical upright played has a C extension, allowing them to play their E string all the way down to a low C - a half step higher than the low B on a 5 or more string bass...

An implant, er, extension is perfectly acceptable. 8 more strings is ridiculous. :laugh:

 

My favorite bass player to work with here in Indy (formerly with Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Teena Marie, among others and currently occasionally with Larry Coryell) plays a 6, used to play a 7, and knows exactly what to do with those extra strings. Sick, sick, sick cat.

 

Surely, along Miles' train of thought, if a cat knows how to make it pop right, it can be a beautiful thing. :thu::cool:

 

 

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for clarifying on Boesendorfer; for some reason, I didn't know the low strings were added not for their own sound but for how they affect the overall sympathetic resonance.

 

I wonder if this works properly in sample libraries like Vienna Instruments and Ivory?

 

Well, that's rather O.T. by now, but you have me curious.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I play a 6-string bass, and get a certain amount of crap for it from the "4 strings were good enough for..." crowd, but even I thought the 9-string is a bit much. Funny enough, in the demo video, he never seemed to go below the low E. Also, that left hand wrist angle is just begging for tendonitis.

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I play a 6-string bass, and get a certain amount of crap for it from the "4 strings were good enough for..." crowd, but even I thought the 9-string is a bit much. Funny enough, in the demo video, he never seemed to go below the low E. Also, that left hand wrist angle is just begging for tendonitis.

 

Really, what it gives you is some flexibility to play in higher positions where the frets are tighter together and you can get more speed. Basically trying to turn a bass into a guitar. ;)

 

I wouldn't go out of my way to buy one, but I'm sure I could figure out how to make use of one if it was given to me...

 

BTW - the Chapman stick is a completely different animal. It's actually designed to be a solo instrument, so the whole conflicting registers issue is a non-starter there...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, session player, etc., etc.) actually had a three string bass built for him a few years back as sort of a joke when the 5-6-etc string bass craze began a few years back....
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I play a 6-string bass, and get a certain amount of crap for it from the "4 strings were good enough for..." crowd

It isn't right for them to give you crap mayne. Bring a subwoofer to the next gig. :D

 

To our Bass playing brethren, I'm certainly not advocating that one stick to 4 thumpers.

 

For the same reason hard-headed KB players carry around 88-note KBs, Bass players have their reason for wanting more strings. :laugh:

 

My request is, beyond forays into the lower and upper stratosphere, please insure the fundamental bottom is still covered. Thanks. :):cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If 4 strings were good enough for James Jammerson and Jaco Pastorius, I don't see the point in adding 5 more. :laugh:

 

Yeah, if those cats were alive today, they might strap on and play a 5, 7, 9 or 13 string bass.

 

Jaco's protege Michael Manring has admitted that he's used to the feel of 4 strings and when he picks up his 5-string, he's got to adjust.

 

One the coolest jams I saw at NAMM was Manring jamming at the Zon booth with two other bass players - one taking chords, another taking lead, and of course somebody actually playing... bass... ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate 4-string basses. It completely affects the phrasing, to have to go up an octave when you're reaching under the "E".

 

The reason 4-string basses worked for so many people for so long, is the same reason upright basses worked and tubas before them: the songs were written around the limitations of the instrument.

 

Technological change has long been the impetus behind stylistic change in music. Even in the classical era (or maybe especially then!). Harpsichord to piano, anyone?

 

All instruments are valid. But it's just as ridiculous to say someone playing modern pop music should be shackled with a four-string bass as it is to say someone with a five-string bass should automatically rephrase older songs when they play them. I only do that when I feel the original bass line wasn't great, or when other changes in instrumentation and/or arrangement benefit from a deeper bottom end.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You guys are on the right track.

 

Any musician has to deal with an instrument interface. And if playing in an ensemble must cooperate with other musicians.

 

Imagine if all keyboard instruments were limited to 35 keys (one shy of 3 octaves) and covered the pitches from E1-D#4 (same as my 4-stringer). With such a low, narrow range you would pretty much be forced to play in ensembles and solely to provide the bass role, right? And because of that you probably wouldn't even need to play anything above, say, E3, so your highest octave would just collect dust. (Might as well only have 25 keys!)

 

But of course that's a silly limitation because it's an easy matter to extend the range (and musical functionality) of a keyboard instrument by adding more keys.

 

That's all that's happening here: with recent string-making advances it is a silly limitation to say that a bass guitar should only have 4 strings.

 

Extended range bass (ERB) frees bass players from ensemble play and being limited to providing the bass role only without having to learn another instrument interface. Those of you who use sound libraries should be able to have some appreciation for that last bit.

 

Consider a jazz trio: piano, bass and drums. People love cello/guitar solos but jokes are made about (4-string) bass solos. Three reasons: range of pitch, the ensemble backs off/drops out (thus lowering the overall energy) and nobody is backing with a hot bass line. An ERB can get up into the guitar register and the piano can back it as such. (The same thing can be done with a double-neck guitar/bass instrument, but ERB offers a seamless interface.)

 

Sure there can be potential problems, just as you would have if everybody in an ensemble played a keyboard instrument. Or even just two solo pianists trying to play at the same time, each hammering away at his own full arrangement without concern for what the other is playing. :eek: Nothing a little communication and cooperation can't cure, right?

 

As for the lowest-pitch string (F#), its utility is not so much in providing 5 lower semitones -- which your standard bass rig won't do justice to and FOH will cut to make room for the kick drum anyway -- but rather for fretting purposes further up the neck (as Griffinator points out above).

 

I have an 8-string bass I bought to explore solo bass; same as the 9 in this thread but lacking the highest-pitch string (Bb). I actually played it last night in a 5-piece country band. :freak: I needed a 5er but I only own a 4 and an 8. So 3 strings went unused all night because I was just providing the bass role. (Kind of like bringing an 88-key board to a show and only playing 5 octaves, right? [As ProfD alludes to above.]) When we played some motown tunes (don't ask) I only used 4 strings (because I wanted to stay true to the original arrangement).

 

Nobody was injured in the making of music last night, even with an 8-string bass on stage. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...