That someone was a fellow named Eric Krackow. Krackow played in one of Al Kooper’s original bands called the Aristo-Cats.
Krackow dreamed up this concept back in the late 1950’s through the early 1960’s, the days of rock boogie. He surmised that much of the music bands of that era played involved guitars doubling the bass line.
play everything in octaves.
Besides the high notes on a bass do not have the same timbre as those played on the lighter strings of a guitar. Krackow came up with a prototype of the first documented eight string bass guitar.
Krackow and his business partner took the prototype to Sid Hack of the Univox Corporation. At the time Univox had a contract with Hagstrom Guitars to import their instruments. Sid liked the idea and ordered Hagstrom Guitars of Sweden to build 500 units for shipment to Univox. During the years 1967 through 1969 a total of 2,249 Hagstrom Eight String Bass Guitars were sold. The Hagstrom bass was designated the H-8.
The headstock on their eight string model had four tuners on one side and four on the other. The strings were normally tuned to E e, A a, D d, and G g.
|Newer Version of the H8|
The first endorser was Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. An eight string bass through a couple Marshall amplifiers played in an arena is an amazing sound. However prior to Redding getting access to the Hagstrom, it was Jimi himself that got cool to this instrument.
eight string Hagstrom.
One of the benefits of and 8 or 12 string bass is a natural chorus effect which is achieved due to subtle differences in string timbre, similar to a 12 string guitar.
|Schecter 8 string|
Rickenbacker does not release sales records, but I doubt if their eight string bass had a very large following.
Alembic Company. He always played the bass with his fingers. Other players favor a pick on the eight string bass to emphasize the high register notes. There are even funk players that slap and pop on an eight string.
The unique thing is that all these bands have a guitar, bass and drummer with no rhythm or keyboard player. The extra sound of the eight string help to fill any void.
Chris Squire of Yes often tunes his 8 string bass to eE-aA-aD-dG so that the first two courses of strings are tuned in fifths.
The 12 knob designation came because these instruments had built in mixing consoles.
Each pick up was wired to its own volume, treble boost and cut and bass boost and cut. The switches below the knobs selected the frequency of the EQ. Another unique factor was the pickup arrangements Dantzig used.
The original 1978 version came with four 3 pole pickups placed vertically, one under each string. There was an additional pickup above them that was placed horizontally. This bass was known as “The Trade Show Bass” and used extensively by Petersson.
The peghead was similar to the Petersson models that topped off with a V shape.
Entwhistle’s bass also had the 12 knob console, but instead of being on the top lower bout, it was placed on the bottom lower bout. The original bass had four – 3 pole vertical pickups, however Entwhistle later added a humbucker.
eight knob EQ console.
Dantzig states that only 10 Quad basses were ever made.
Based on the popularity of the five string bass, it was inevitable that a ten string bass would come along. Dean guitars, which currently makes an affordable eight string bass, offers a ten string bass in its line up.
A smaller manufacturer named Zon offers a ten string model. The string need not be tuned in octaves. In fact some players tune the high string in thirds, fourths and fifths.
Fieldy from the band Korn has used a 15 string bass on recordings. This instrument was made by Ibanez and designated the K15.
Fieldy does not, to my knowledge, play this instrument in concert, instead preferring his Ibanez 5 string bass.
Hagstrom Eight String bass - The original version
The New Hagstrom H-8 - Eight String Bass
Tom Petersson with Hamer 12 knob Quad Bass.