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ForbiddenWytch

8 string conversion project!

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Hello!.

Going to preface this by saying this won’t be a quick project so don’t expect daily updates... I’m too lazy 😊

I’ve had this Shine neck thru bass laying around for a while, basically I bought it for £100 because it had EMG-X pickups and EMG BQC pre amp in it which I wanted for another bass and this has just sat unused apart from a 6 month period I had some Entwistle neo pickups in it and routed it for a humbucker in the neck for a Billy Sheehan type mod with a £6 double rail humbucker from China. It actually worked great until I sold the pickups 😂 

Having always wanted an 8 string bass, I might as well use this as it has a 42mm nut, which I’ve seen an ESP/LTD & Dean 8 string basses also has. I have experience in cutting new nuts for basses so it won’t be a problem doing that bit.

The Bass will be getting stripped down and repainted as it’s quite badly dented/scratched/chipped & I managed to spill a potted candle all over the body recently (DONT ask! 😂). I mIght end up filling in the neck pickup rout but I’m not sure yet.

Electronics wise, I’ve got a set of EMG PJA-X pickups in a spares box and I’ve always been intrigued by the basses I’ve seen with EMG 81 or 60 pickups (I’d go for the X version to keep the output the same as the P&J) in them and could have it on a switchable separate output to send to different effects. 
1 3 way toggle switch (P&J), 2 Volumes (P&J/Neck) with a push/pull on the neck one switching outputs, stacked EMG BTC preamp on main, PA-2 booster on the neck-only output.

Tuning pegs I’m not decided on but it’ll likely just be any 4 and 4 matching sets of guitar and bass tuners I have in my spares box to keep the cost down. Hoping I have them both in matching colours but if I have one set in chrome and one in black, it changes the paint scheme (which I’m keeping quiet on for now)

Ive thought over what to use for the bridge and I do have an old Badass II in my spares box but the saddles are fudged so if I got some fresh saddles, I could cut them in for 2 strings on each saddle and add an extra hole in the back plate or through the bottom plate (and go string-thru body) for the skinny strings

Tuning wise it’ll be in E standard so I’ll go with whichever string set is fairly light on tension with something around 95s for the fat strings.

Anyway, I think I’ve covered most of it. 😅😅 Updates coming on a day ending in Y...

52CEB08E-A805-41D3-958E-3858E8705D89.jpeg

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very interesting, looking forward to seeing this develop, i do like the idea of using the string through idea to convert a 4 string bridge to a 8 string one, very ingenious!

 

Matt

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Interesting. I look forward to seeing this one. Drilling and fitting an extra set of machine heads seems easy enough, as is cutting a new nut. But where are you sourcing an 8 string bridge? Are they really available? 

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21 minutes ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

Interesting. I look forward to seeing this one. Drilling and fitting an extra set of machine heads seems easy enough, as is cutting a new nut. But where are you sourcing an 8 string bridge? Are they really available? 

Hey man, nah I won''t be sourcing a new bridge, I'll be using a Badass II I have in my spares box and buying some of the pre-slotted saddles for it to accommodate two strings per saddle. The Badass bridge can be drilled through the bottom to accommodate thru body stringing of the skinny strings or put an extra hole for each skinny string on the back plate of the bridge but that'll add extra tension on the screws so likely it'll be string thru body for the skinnies.

Sorry for the long-winded reply!

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6 minutes ago, ForbiddenWytch said:

Hey man, nah I won''t be sourcing a new bridge, I'll be using a Badass II I have in my spares box and buying some of the pre-slotted saddles for it to accommodate two strings per saddle. The Badass bridge can be drilled through the bottom to accommodate thru body stringing of the skinny strings or put an extra hole for each skinny string on the back plate of the bridge but that'll add extra tension on the screws so likely it'll be string thru body for the skinnies.

Sorry for the long-winded reply!

Cool. I look forward to seeing the progress. Cheers. 

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3 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Ooooh...I like the sound of this.  I'll be watching with great interest. :)

 

 

Thanks Andy,  hopefully I won't be too long before I can post an update...

3 hours ago, Matt P said:

very interesting, looking forward to seeing this develop, i do like the idea of using the string through idea to convert a 4 string bridge to a 8 string one, very ingenious!

 

Matt

Thanks Matt, I thought this might be a better option as it takes some of the tension off the bridge screws!

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3 hours ago, EssentialTension said:

Won't that make intonation difficult?

Not really, the end of the saddle will be the starting point of the string so as long as the break point of the nut is the same for each pair of strings then the intonation will be no different. the bottom of each pair of strings will be at the same level leaving the saddles too. I'm awful at explaining things btw.

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13 hours ago, ForbiddenWytch said:

Not really, the end of the saddle will be the starting point of the string so as long as the break point of the nut is the same for each pair of strings then the intonation will be no different. the bottom of each pair of strings will be at the same level leaving the saddles too. I'm awful at explaining things btw.

Does that mean each course is tuned in unison rather than octaves? 

IME 8-string basses with octave courses are noticeably out of tune in the course above the 7th fret if both strings in the course share the same saddle.

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Are you confident that the neck will withstand the substantial increase in string pull? I saw a comment on (I think) Farcebook the other day from someone who'd converted their 4 to an 8 and ended up with a neck that Robin Hood could have fired arrows from. Something to look out for. Personally if I was to make an 8 (and I've considered it a few times) I'd consider using a narrow-spaced five string as a basis. OLP 5-string 'Ray perhaps?

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1 hour ago, Rich said:

Are you confident that the neck will withstand the substantial increase in string pull? I saw a comment on (I think) Farcebook the other day from someone who'd converted their 4 to an 8 and ended up with a neck that Robin Hood could have fired arrows from. Something to look out for. Personally if I was to make an 8 (and I've considered it a few times) I'd consider using a narrow-spaced five string as a basis. OLP 5-string 'Ray perhaps?

I’ve thought about the extra tension on the neck which is why I’m going to try fairly light gauge bass strings on it, something like a 90/95 gauge set instead of 105/110 like I’d usually use and keep the skinnies to something around 45 gauge.

Doing the conversion on another bass means buying another bass to do the conversion on and due to the pandemic, funds are basically non existent. If it destroys the bass I’m intending on using, it’s no loss as the bas hasn’t been used for over 2 years and way I see it is I’m not owed anything from the bass it’s self as I had the all top end EMG electronics out of it for my other bass. 

the neck on the bass is a real thick piece of wood and I did have 125 gauge strings tuned to C# on it before which pulled the neck like Robin Hood’s bow (good analogy btw!) but a quick turn of the truss rod sorted that out. If it gets to the point where   I’m having to adjust it every few weeks then I’ll change it back to a regular 4 string with the old bridge saddles and nut but again, I’m not too worried about it. 
 

sorry, long reply!

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2 hours ago, BigRedX said:

Does that mean each course is tuned in unison rather than octaves? 

IME 8-string basses with octave courses are noticeably out of tune in the course above the 7th fret if both strings in the course share the same saddle.

We’re bassists! What are you doing going above the 5th feet anyway? 😂😂

Joking aside, if it’s that noticeable or just that bad to intonate, I’ll seek another option but I’ve seen quite a few 8 string bridges where the pairs of strings share the same saddle or are split on two smaller saddles and intonated by the same screw so i suppose it’s going to be some trial and error. Mainly for a bit of fun and so I can play Cheap Trick/Pearl Jam songs 

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2 hours ago, ForbiddenWytch said:

We’re bassists! What are you doing going above the 5th feet anyway? 😂😂

Joking aside, if it’s that noticeable or just that bad to intonate, I’ll seek another option but I’ve seen quite a few 8 string bridges where the pairs of strings share the same saddle or are split on two smaller saddles and intonated by the same screw so i suppose it’s going to be some trial and error. Mainly for a bit of fun and so I can play Cheap Trick/Pearl Jam songs 

Unfortunately just because several manufactures make their 8-string basses with a single saddle for each course doesn't mean that they are right. It just means that they are saving money. 

Both 8-string basses I have owned had individual saddles for each string and they needed it, and 8-string basses are especially suited for bass lines that reach further up the neck than usual.

It used to be that the go-to bridge for an 8-string bass was a special version of the Schaller 3D bridge, but that is now out of production, and any left in the retail chain have seriously high price tags attached to them because of their scarcity. The only other 8-string bridges with individual saddle that I know of are the two-piece bridge/tailpiece used on the Dean, Schecter and similar asian-made basses and those fitted to Tune basses. I have no idea how you would go about buying one separately.

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On 25/01/2021 at 15:56, BigRedX said:

Unfortunately just because several manufactures make their 8-string basses with a single saddle for each course doesn't mean that they are right. It just means that they are saving money. 

Both 8-string basses I have owned had individual saddles for each string and they needed it, and 8-string basses are especially suited for bass lines that reach further up the neck than usual.

It used to be that the go-to bridge for an 8-string bass was a special version of the Schaller 3D bridge, but that is now out of production, and any left in the retail chain have seriously high price tags attached to them because of their scarcity. The only other 8-string bridges with individual saddle that I know of are the two-piece bridge/tailpiece used on the Dean, Schecter and similar asian-made basses and those fitted to Tune basses. I have no idea how you would go about buying one separately.

I appreciate the heads up and it's definitely something I'll keep an eye on once I've got it together. It's only for a bit of fun anyway so if it ends up "close enough" then I'll leave it as is. Obviously if it ends up totally different notes then I'll be having a rethink haha!

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IME with a single saddle for each course from about the 3rd fret to the 6th fret you get increasing amounts of chorus-y sound which further up the neck gives way to a definite out-of-tuneness.

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6 hours ago, BigRedX said:

IME with a single saddle for each course from about the 3rd fret to the 6th fret you get increasing amounts of chorus-y sound which further up the neck gives way to a definite out-of-tuneness.

Chorus is my favourite effect, it might end up working in my favour then haha! 

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On 24/01/2021 at 20:44, ForbiddenWytch said:

the intonation will be no different

Edit:  As previously mentioned:

Are you using the same gauge strings for each pair?  Otherwise I don't think that statement is right.  You may find the higher frets sound discordant with paired octaves.

Edited by SpondonBassed

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Ref the bridge, to be honest I think @ForbiddenWytch 's planned solution is going to be fine.  

Here is a typical offset with an 8 saddle system:

QeXOQWsl.jpg

The octave strings will be, typically, 2-3mm forward of their bass counterparts (similar to the offset between the G and the A/E on a 4 string)

This is pretty much the same with a 12-string acoustic where there are octave strings on the bottom four pairs.  And with these, of course, you only have the width of the bone saddle to file the difference (this is a pre-made one, but you achieve the same with a solid saddle by filing so the fulcrum for each string is towards the front or towards the back of the saddle):

7khKOHHl.jpg

 

So putting these two concepts together, and with @ForbiddenWytch saying above that he is going to put a different saddle set on a Badass II bridge... :

vvEkJa7l.jpg

...then all he will need to do is intonate the saddle to the octave string and then, with a bit of 'get close and then creep up on it' approach, just file the bass string slot of each affected pair backwards by the appropriate 2-3mm.  The saddles have more than enough thickness to allow the slots to be cut back the appropriate amount.

Having cut acoustic saddles on both 12-string guitars and the recent Guitar Bouzouki, I personally can't see a problem... ;)

 

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On 25/01/2021 at 15:56, BigRedX said:

It used to be that the go-to bridge for an 8-string bass was a special version of the Schaller 3D bridge, but that is now out of production, and any left in the retail chain have seriously high price tags attached to them because of their scarcity. The only other 8-string bridges with individual saddle that I know of are the two-piece bridge/tailpiece used on the Dean, Schecter and similar asian-made basses and those fitted to Tune basses. I have no idea how you would go about buying one separately.

I got lucky and managed to pick up a Schaller 471 off eBay from a guy in the States. $74.99 shipped was a bit of a bargain. I'm (very slowly) converting an Epiphone T-bird to an 8 string.

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45 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Having cut acoustic saddles on both 12-string guitars and the recent Guitar Bouzouki, I personally can't see a problem...

I liked that walk through a LOT.

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On 28/01/2021 at 18:00, Andyjr1515 said:

Ref the bridge, to be honest I think @ForbiddenWytch 's planned solution is going to be fine.  

Here is a typical offset with an 8 saddle system:

QeXOQWsl.jpg

The octave strings will be, typically, 2-3mm forward of their bass counterparts (similar to the offset between the G and the A/E on a 4 string)

This is pretty much the same with a 12-string acoustic where there are octave strings on the bottom four pairs.  And with these, of course, you only have the width of the bone saddle to file the difference (this is a pre-made one, but you achieve the same with a solid saddle by filing so the fulcrum for each string is towards the front or towards the back of the saddle):

7khKOHHl.jpg

 

So putting these two concepts together, and with @ForbiddenWytch saying above that he is going to put a different saddle set on a Badass II bridge... :

vvEkJa7l.jpg

...then all he will need to do is intonate the saddle to the octave string and then, with a bit of 'get close and then creep up on it' approach, just file the bass string slot of each affected pair backwards by the appropriate 2-3mm.  The saddles have more than enough thickness to allow the slots to be cut back the appropriate amount.

Having cut acoustic saddles on both 12-string guitars and the recent Guitar Bouzouki, I personally can't see a problem... ;)

 

Thank you for your backing and explanations in there. That's really cool of you to do that. Those are the exact saddles I;ll be using for it so hopefully I won't have any issue. Really interesting piece you've put there about the saddle difference only needing to be cut back 2-3mm for the fat string. I'll work out the difference and get it filed once the initial test fit is made.

Again, thank you for your helpful reply!

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UPDATE 1: TUNING PEGS

Right, I'm a d1ck. I got the tuning pegs installed the other night but I've fudged up the Fat E string peg hole by a couple of millimetres. Not a problem, I'll fill the hole and re-drill it. I decided against filling the original 4 peg holes and finding space round them to install the pegs. This avoided having to weaken the headstock too much. Ignore the bit of green lacquer missing, I was seeing how thick the lacquer was as I'll be totally stripping the entire bass back and repainting it.

Strings will pass over the nut and to the respective tuning pegs without knocking on to the other pegs. I might angle the tuning pegs back a bit towards the body ala Warwick to give more room between the peg heads as in the horizontal/natural position, they can knock in to each other. Another option is to install smaller "bean" style peg heads on the skinny string pegs and keep them in the horizontal position pictured.

Overall I'm pleased with the outcome but obviously will be happier once I've corrected the Fat E peg position. I'll set about that in the next few days.

Anyway, any progress is good progress!

Thanks again to Andy for your reply about the saddles, I'm more fired up than ever to do this now.

IMG_2752.thumb.jpeg.3f19e8942f48d18b89ce7901f6c12b36.jpeg

Edited by ForbiddenWytch

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On 28/01/2021 at 18:26, BreadBin said:

I got lucky and managed to pick up a Schaller 471 off eBay from a guy in the States. $74.99 shipped was a bit of a bargain. I'm (very slowly) converting an Epiphone T-bird to an 8 string.

I really want to see pics of that once it's done please dude! loving the idea of an 8 string T bird!

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15 minutes ago, ForbiddenWytch said:

I really want to see pics of that once it's done please dude! loving the idea of an 8 string T bird!

No problem 👍

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