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8-string Bass Input Needed


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Hi guys, i'm starting the design process for my next project. I'd like to make an 8 string bass (4 couplets). I was wondering what everyone though about the scale length and neck width.

A few other points of question (keep in mind that i am a guitarist not a bassist)

2 truss rods? I have seen these basses before and heard that they use two truss rods in alot of the Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitars. I thought the increased string tension would warrant this need.

String spacing...

Intonation adjustment, i will use the Schaller bridge that Warmoth has...

Pickups: Active or Passive, and Brands let me know a few favorites...

I was thinking that i would like to give the bass a bit of a fuzzy tone, any ideas how to do this? I am not very good with the wiring and electronics portion...

I will most likely use a mahogany body with a maple top of some sort. Maybe even go with a boxier design with bindings around the top and back. Thanks for any input! :D

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That's true. For every truss rod you add, you remove that much wood! Imagine three or four truss rods and only small slices of wood between them! A truss rod in and of itself does not add strength. It compensates for it by spending it's entire life under stress. (like me :D )

I normally don't like the "tone" of carbon fiber rods in a neck. I feel they mute out precious midrange overtones, with little upside in sustain. But I would highly recommend them for an 8-string bass. I think it would be a major upgrade, especially in note-to-note separation. When you get too much tension on a neck, it's like the pure wood tone you hoped to achieve is diminished by the fact that the wood is under so much pressure.

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I can do that Mike.....I....just....have.....to tear.....myself away from my new Ampeg stack that I just got today..........please be patient!!! I'll get it to you yet today.

oh, and it is tuned EADG on the bass strings (standard tuning) and EADG ^8 on the guitar strings. I usually tune it up two octaves on the guitar strings but I was fiddling around the other day and tuned them down one to see how it sounds.

Back in a bit............ :D

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My BCRich Bich 8-string has a solid maple neck, one piece (neck-thru) and a single trussrod. It's been tuned to concert pitch with D'Addario strings (XL860) since it was built in 1993, and I've never had to adjust the trussrod. The caveat here is the short scale - it's about 31", so the tension is reduced. Nut width is about 1-11/16", so the string spacing is about standard, making it fairly easy to play

OTOH, I've only had my Dean Rhapsody 12 for about two years, but I treat it most heinously! It's been gigged with ( and left in the truck overnight in a gigbag afterwards) at ambient temperatures between 104º (July 4th, outdoors, no canopy, 2PM) and 33º (Toys for Tots, Dec 17, State Capitol building grounds, 8PM), and retuned between D and E on a regular basis, all without needing any kind of adjustment. It's a 34" scale, and has a bolt-on laminated maple/walnut neck with a single trussrod, and is as tuning-stable as any axe I've gigged with. The nut on it is 2-1/8", so the strings are spaced quite a bit wider, but there are 4 more to contend with (compared to the 8 string), and it's not really that uncomfortable once you get used to it.

I'm sorry, that was kinda long and rambling, but hopefully there's some helpful info in there somewhere. Also keep in mind that the octave courses tend to be very bright, so you won't need to use pickups that accentuate the treble - believe me, you'll have all you need! :D

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I'll just post them here:

Dean Rhapsody 8....4 bass strings (EADG) and 4 guitar strings (eadg).....1-3/4" nut, 34" scale, EMG-Hz's with Dean 3D PreAmp, Mahogany body, Bubinga top, Rosewood board, Maple neck, 24 frets. The interesting thing is the bridge....it's kind of like a TOM with an anchor.

As love said the pickups on mine give me all the sound I'd ever want for this one. I also have a preference for the EMG-Hz's so that helps.

I need to adjust my truss rod but haven't gotten to it. It's a hair off and I have some slight fret buzz but nothing I can't play around. Mine is not as well used as love's....it hangs most of the time and my 4 strings get most of the attention. I also haven't played with the tunings as much and as I mentioned I keep it in standard tuning with the 4 lighter strings either one or two octaves above the bass.

lovekraft.....I'd love to play that 12 string! I haven't had the opportunity to play one yet and almost bought one but opted for the 8 instead. Maybe someday!!

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it would seem that i am quite the fool! i was meaning 8 separate bass strings, and not octave strings... :D aw well, lol! i may build one... it is tempting, but i think the neck would be absolutely monsterous!

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8 separate strings - that's getting into Charlie Hunter territory! I'm not that good, my mind stops working after 6 strings, but I think there was a European luthier that was making a 9-string like that back in the early 90s, and Jerzy Drozd makes a whole line of 7-string models, and of course there's always litigation-happy Emmett Chapman's 8-string Stick Bass®, designed to be played either touch-style or plucked.

BP, the Rhapsody 12 is a little awkward to play at first, and with the wide neck and string spacing, it's not the ideal axe for playing those Billy Sheehan riffs on, but in the band context, it's fat and tight and sounds huge! Since I'm generally holding down the bottom end of a power trio, the thicker texture and chorusy ring of the octave courses really fills in the gaps. The only problem I've had is having guitarists bug out because they can finally hear what I'm playing! :D If you get a chance, try one out, really loud - you may never go back! B)

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