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Old 08-11-2014, 04:33 PM   #1
vayle
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Extended Range guitars, is it really necessary

heya all,

with the recent talk on the internet about Meshuggah supposedly using 9 string guitars, I thought it would be nice to get a thread together, hear some opinions and discuss various facts about extended range guitars.

now I have been playing a 7 string guitar for a while, still play my 6 string guitar as well, and thinking of getting an 8 string guitar. the thing I like about 8 string guitars is the same thing Tosin Abasi pointed out in some videos, when you drop E on an 8 string, you will have an E power chord in the base, you'll have 3 octave strings, and you can create awesome souding bar chords like this.
if you have a 9 string in standard tuning you'll have C#, F#, B and E as the lowest 4 strings. this adds an additional 5 semi tones to the guitar in difference with a standard tuned 8 string. only 3 semi tones if an 8 string guitar would be dropped to E. would the extra 9th string in C# (or B if it were to be dropped tuning) (which would btw, add 7 semitones to a standard tuned 8 string guitar) really make such a difference guitarists would need it?
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:58 PM   #2
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Nothing is necessary. People do it because they want to.
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:22 PM   #3
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:22 PM   #4
vayle
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Originally Posted by lemurflames
Nothing is necessary. People do it because they want to.


I don't know if you've seen Tosin Abasi's Video, but some of the voicings he uses with the 8 strings sound really good that can be used only on a 8 string I think, though I wonder if those things would require a 9 string guitar.

when it comes to some of the so called "Djent" players (I don't mean to offend anyone by using this word), which play only powerchords on the 3 lowest strings; yes, that is just because they can. they could as well use 6 string Baritone guitars :P
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:34 PM   #5
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Yes, I know all about Tosin Abasi.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:30 PM   #6
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The point is fairly simple: if there are people with a good idea how to make good use of it, it's going to stay. If there aren't, it won't. People whining about how "pointless" extended range guitars are are usually just classic cases of lack of creativity and jealousy.

I'm curious how this will turn out and whether someone will pick it up, Tosin and a few others essentially reinvented guitar playing with 8-strings. Personally with my ideas and style I'm perfectly at home with 7 and 6, but I'd be curious to hear someone make good use of a 9, just like I'm enjoying the hell out of Meshuggah now.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TheLiberation
just like I'm enjoying the hell out of Meshuggah now.

haha gotta love Meshuggah.

the only thing I'm actually really wondering about if there is any special tonal or technical thing to playing a 9 string rather than that it'll just sound low...
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:43 PM   #8
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I think we'll just have to wait and see.

Looks dumb to me, but someone might end up inventing a new sub-genre with it.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:44 PM   #9
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You can tune a six-string to cover the same ground as an eight. Chords and fingering are obviously different, but it's certainly playable. Downtuning, if it's mostly only in pursuit of lower notes, is no big deal -- both of the above can be handled on a Variax, even with a Floyd, and you can tune down an entire octave per string if you like.

Rondo Music has 10-strings (and they're selling) as well as all the lesser number stringed guitars.

Necessary? Probably not. If it's for downtuning purposes, you're covering ground that would normally be covered by other instruments (bass, in particular). And for most downtuned guitarists wanking in their bedrooms, those lower notes aren't really being reproduced by the amps they have. But for the players wanting to keep up with the "more strings than yours, tuned lower than yours" legion, there's no substitute.

While we're at this, however, there ARE people who've been working with 8, 10 and 12-string instruments since the 70's. If you want to see what they're doing with them, check out stick.com, the home of the Chapman Stick, invented by Emmett Chapman way back when. These are available in short, normal guitar and long scale (36"). Tons of tapping going on here.

And of course, the use of extended range guitars is hardly modern, with George Van Eps using 7-strings for jazz beginning back in the '30's.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:05 PM   #10
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Is it necessary? Not a chance in hell.

Does it have to be? **** no.

If you think it does, can you go **** yourself? With a rake, please.

Why does everything have to be "necessary"?
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by lemurflames
I think we'll just have to wait and see.

Looks dumb to me, but someone might end up inventing a new sub-genre with it.


A new sub-genre called "who needs a bassist"-metal?
I mean, seriously, 9 strings. That's some heavy wire for a guitar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dspellman
And for most downtuned guitarists wanking in their bedrooms, those lower notes aren't really being reproduced by the amps they have.

I will definitely agree if they go through the "normal" guitar combos that you have on a budget. Or well, not just necessarily on a budget, you just definitely need something to drive that bottom end out.

I'm not sure how well the Kempers, Axe-FXs, PODs and the like handle these frequencies going to headphones/studio monitors/whatever they're using. I suppose since you can use Kemper and Axe-FX just fine on a 6 string bass, it shouldn't be a problem
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by travislausch

Why does everything have to be "necessary"?

Neccessariness is a prerequisite of indespesibility.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:01 PM   #13
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Neccessariness is a prerequisite of indespesibility.


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Old 08-11-2014, 09:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sakke
A new sub-genre called "who needs a bassist"-metal?
I mean, seriously, 9 strings. That's some heavy wire for a guitar.

Come on, this needs to be printed in huge letters whenever 8+ string guitars are discussed...

There's no way a guitar can ever replace a bass, you either have a bass in the band no matter how low you tune, or the lack of bass will be obvious in the mix. Period.

You may have been joking, dunno, but I've seen people say this so many times that apparently most actually believe it's true.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:09 PM   #15
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It makes me wonder how much people actually know about bass guitars if they think extended range electric guitarists are replacing bass guitarists.

Not much, I bet.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLiberation
Come on, this needs to be printed in huge letters whenever 8+ string guitars are discussed...

There's no way a guitar can ever replace a bass, you either have a bass in the band no matter how low you tune, or the lack of bass will be obvious in the mix. Period.

You may have been joking, dunno, but I've seen people say this so many times that apparently most actually believe it's true.

Charlie Hunter and his 7 & 8 string (hybrid) guitar basses would be an exception.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:44 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by lemurflames
It makes me wonder how much people actually know about bass guitars if they think extended range electric guitarists are replacing bass guitarists.


I know where you’re coming from, but there have been threads posted here from guys in bands with three guitar players thinking of moving to eight or nine string instruments because they can’t find a bass player and all refuse to play bass.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:01 PM   #18
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I know where you’re coming from, but there have been threads posted here from guys in bands with three guitar players thinking of moving to eight or nine string instruments because they can’t find a bass player and all refuse to play bass.

That just reinforces my point. Extended range guitars won't fill in for the bass, people seem to think otherwise...

...and maybe they should be kicking someone out for not playing bass.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vayle
I don't know if you've seen Tosin Abasi's Video, but some of the voicings he uses with the 8 strings sound really good that can be used only on a 8 string I think, though I wonder if those things would require a 9 string guitar.


I can't help but feel you may have missed the point of the comment somewhat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
Charlie Hunter and his 7 & 8 string (hybrid) guitar basses would be an exception.


But he's actually just using part of a bass, bit different there

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Neccessariness is a prerequisite of indespesibility.


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Old 08-12-2014, 08:40 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by TheLiberation
Come on, this needs to be printed in huge letters whenever 8+ string guitars are discussed...

There's no way a guitar can ever replace a bass, you either have a bass in the band no matter how low you tune, or the lack of bass will be obvious in the mix. Period.

You may have been joking, dunno, but I've seen people say this so many times that apparently most actually believe it's true.


Depends on your definition of "bass" and "guitar," I guess.
Your average four-string bass is the bottom four strings of a guitar, tuned down an octave. The lowest note there is a 41Hz string, and a lot of bass players never actually hit an open E.

A 34" scale is not a must-have (and some of the extended-range guitars are right at 30" scale anyway), and while it may not be your ideal choice for a mix, I think you need to talk to John Entwhistle's body of work to see where he thinks a bass fits into a mix.

An extended range guitar can and does have the capability of replacing the bass; it's more a matter of getting them out of guitar speakers and reproducing what they're cranking out. By the same token, there are extended range bass players who are walking into solo territory. The Chapman Stick successfully covers all of this ground routinely, and has done so since the '70's.

"Sitting in the mix" with the 8 and 10-string guitar is more a function of who plays what, when.
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