9 string guitars?

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by viifox, Jun 30, 2020 at 4:53 PM.

  1. viifox

    viifox SS.org Regular

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    Went to GC and saw a 9 string. The damn thing looked like a fucking ironing board, but so epic at the same time, lol!

    But honestly? I don't get it. How do you play these things? And is a bass guitar even needed when writing riffs with a 9 string, or is it kinda doing the job of both?

    School this old man! Lol!
     
  2. viifox

    viifox SS.org Regular

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    Looks like i posted this in the wrong section. My bad! Hopefully the mods can move it!
     
  3. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    I have an RG9 and it's tons of fun. The bass guitar would either play in unison or just play its own thing.

    I don't use it much and even when I do, it's pretty moronic stuff. But I love some of the 9-string riffs on Baby Metal's Metal Galaxy.
     
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  4. asopala

    asopala SS.org Regular

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    I have a Damien Platinum 9. Down that low, power chords are pretty much a no-go because of lower interval limits (where arranging gurus dictate that below certain frequencies, intervals like 5ths start to sound like mud, which is fairly true). Single notes are generally the way to go, and it's just another texture that sounds really meaty. But that's really just more of a guideline, because there are plenty of times when that mud is what's called for.

    For most metal stuff, even if you're playing the same note as a bass, the timbre of the pickups don't give you much of the kind of bassiness you expect from a bass guitar (because basses have a stronger fundamental pitch than guitars, and the strings, amps, and pickups accentuate this), so I personally find playing in unison on the bass is in order, like what cardinal mentioned. That's how Meshuggah got around it when they started using 8s, and the song Spasm is tuned lower than most 9s (Bb0). The guitars and the bass don't impede upon each other on that record, just like how playing higher notes on a bass don't impede on guitar notes in standard tuning situations (i.e. 6 string guitar and 4 string bass). Some guys will tune the bass an octave lower than the 9 string using really thick strings, but at that point you're lower than what most humans can hear, and I personally find that lower than G0 on most instruments (even ones properly built to use those notes) just sounds like flab, but YMMV.

    Music-wise, there's a hell of a lot more repertoire today than there was 5 years ago, because Doom and Doom Eternal both use 9s for the thick and meaty textures. Also as mentioned before, Babymetal decided to use 9s on their last record, and it works really well. But at the end of the day, I think of it like another tool in the toolshed or another color on the palette. And it definitely turns heads.
     
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  5. Masoo2

    Masoo2 SS.org Regular

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    As someone whose only guitar right now is an 8 string and honestly prefers the feel of 6s to everything else, something about that low string pitched at Eb and below (C# is standard on 9ths) just works so well.

    The only reason I have an 8 as my only guitar as it allows me full access to the top 7 strings which I'm accustomed to, but also a lot of leeway with that low string. Although 8ths are normally tuned somewhere in the range of F#-E, mine tends to stay at Eb and D but also sometimes goes down to C#/C/B.

    When the pitch of the guitar hits that low, it honestly transitions from a traditional guitar into something else entirely imo. The aforementioned Doom soundtracks are the perfect example of this, it's something between melody, rhythm, and texture that just sounds honestly gnarly as can be which even the low string of an 8 string guitar isn't able to match. Depending on the tone and mix context, that low string can be extremely well defined and clear, loose and grungy, or overwhelmingly distorted and incomprehensible like something that wouldn't be out of place in a hardcore EDM track or noise album, it's so fun to mess around with. After The Burial, Animals as Leaders, Periphery, Meshuggah, Doom/Mick Gordon, Babymetal, Glass Cloud/Emmure, Rings of Saturn, Humanity's Last Breath, Zac Tiessen, False Images, and Within The Ruins are just some names that come to mind of bands which use tunings around or below the standard C# of the 9th string, all having fairly distinct playing styles.

    Although I'm personally not huge on 9 strings when it comes to playability (although I enjoy 8 string necks, 9s are just a little too wide for my small hands), it's obvious that I appreciate the low tuning concept and I've thought about going forward with a constant low C# (or whatever pitch, maybe D or B) on my 8 while leaving the top 7 relatively normal in the range of standard tuning down to Drop Ab or so. That's what Animals as Leaders, After The Burial, and Meshuggah all did on their songs pitched in 9 string range, using C# + Drop A, C# + Bb standard, and Bb + Bb standard respectively. One major reason I've considered this is that I've honestly rarely gotten any use of the 8th string in it's traditional tuning range from F# down to E or so, it's only at Eb when I start to actually appreciate the sounds and find usability. Some people just fit with different tunings better, and for me F#-E just doesn't sound good in the context I'd run an 8 string. I do love Drop F#/Drop F, but only in 7 string contexts where the major third is shifted down one string.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 11:28 PM
  6. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Wait til you see a 10 - it'll really blow your mind!

    Personally, I find 8s the ultimate guitar. I have a 9 and a 10, and while they're cool, I don't use the 9th and 10th strings as much.

    And not to go on a rant about it, but writing bass for these guitars should be the exact same as writing bass for any music - which is to say that if you're just playing the root note of a chord an octave lower you're just phoning in the bass line. There's sooooo much more than can be done with a bass than just playing an octave lower than the guitar, in lock step. I write the bass line as another instrument line, and don't make any attempt to keep it below the guitar. If the guitar is low, the bass can move up above it, and occupy that range. And, you can always play a bass that IS lower, if you just want to stick with the octave below method. I have a bass tuned to C#0, just in case. But, really, if I play a C#1 on the guitar, and the C#0 on the bass, it just shakes a lot, and doesn't sound like anything in particular. Not very musical, but "interesting."
     
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  7. frank falbo

    frank falbo SS.org Regular

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    For me, the 9 is just about where a multiscale maxes out. So I’m currently working on a variation of Oni’s e-scale, but where I have the top 3 strings all straight 25.5” scale, not fanned. But then starting to open up to a 28” scale by the 9th string. Otherwise I think the fan is wide enough to make chords weird, or to make soloing on the top 3/4/5 strings a little weird. We’ll see how this works out as I go.
     
  8. _MonSTeR_

    _MonSTeR_ SS.org Regular

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    Is that Purple Heart or is it a stain? If it’s natural wood, that’s amazing??!!?!!
     
  9. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    that looks AMAZING
     
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  10. ThePIGI King

    ThePIGI King Ibanez Enthusiast

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    Hate to be "that guy", but that as a headless...oh yes.
     
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  11. frank falbo

    frank falbo SS.org Regular

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    Yeah I would totally do it, but that’s another stinker about 9’s. I actually have my own headless hardware and still, putting a .100-110” string down the center presents challenges for the hardware. I have bass headless hardware too but they don’t really combine properly.


    So for this one, I’ll just use light weight tuners and it already balances properly with the long horn.

    Also yes it’s a Purpleheart fingerboard.



    Anyway the point I’m making in reference to the OP is that for me, at 9 strings, it really starts to approach the Charlie Hunter “two different guitars mashed together” type of thing, and with this I’m pushing, massaging, balancing everything possible in order to minimize the impact of that reality on the player. A normal Multiscale is fine too, if you get the spread and neutral fret right.
     
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  12. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    I can't imagine 28" scale NOT sounding like a bass in C# with any sort of reasonable tension, but you do you!
    No matter how low you tune a guitar it's pretty easy to cut frequencies below 120Hz and still need a bass to fill out the low end. Also considering guitar speakers aren't moving air in the same way, it still works. YOU COULD absolutely run a rig setup to have the guitar fill in the low end, but tuning doesn't dictate tone, and even at 30" scales you're more or less giving up a solid fundamental for most notes below (Seven-string) B anyways, so reproducing them shouldn't be a huge concern. I drop my 9s down to A and my bassist and I play in the same octave and its very noticeable when there isn't bass playing along.
     
  13. asopala

    asopala SS.org Regular

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    From the information that a few of us have gathered, Babymetal's last record uses 28" scale 9 strings, and it sounds as clear and thick as the 30" 9 strings used on the Doom soundtracks. At that point, I've found it's really more about how playable you like it and how much floppiness you can handle. For point of comparison, Dino Cazares uses insanely light strings on his 7s and 8s, and he sounds pretty good. He just likes it floppy, and he makes it work.
     
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  14. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Does anyone know if they actually used those ESPs on the album? I wish ESP/LTD would make one with a 30" scale. I don't play in standard, and I'm not fighting the 28" scale to tune down to A, but man they make some nice looking and playing guitars.
     
  15. asopala

    asopala SS.org Regular

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    ISAO, who I'm guessing is the guy that played them on the record (because they didn't make it public, and he's the only BM guitarist who is known for having 8s and 9s) has a couple 28" 9 strings (one of them from ESP E-II, I'm not sure the brand on the other one), which I'm guessing he used for the record. ESP put out the 28" 9 string Babymetal guitar after the album came out, and I think Stef Carpenter has a 9, but I think it's probably 28".
     
  16. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    That is cool! I love how the low strings are all 25.5" One of my biggest issues with larger fans is the G and D strings can start to get too long for comfortable lead work so this is a very good solution. Please make a build thread here when you've a chance.

    A lot of that super low tuned stuff is sampled with pre-EQ and then edited heavily with post EQ to filter out the mud and make the notes clear before the DI hits the signal chain where a ton of other processing is done.
     
  17. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    I kind of figured based on the sound of the Babymetal stuff that those weren't necessarily recorded "live". I'm pretty much doing that with my 9s in the Helix now. Input EQ, Boost, Output EQ, Amp Model.
     
  18. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    I think my 28" RG9 sounds fine straight into my normal rig, but I'll try it with a high pass filter pedal out front. That works well to cut rumble from 8 strings, particularly into bass-heavy amps.
     
  19. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Depends how it's tuned. Mine is tuned in M3rds A1b-C2-E2-A2b-C3-E3-A3b-C4-E4 (1/2-step lower than the B-string on a standard 7-string). I also have strings to go with C2-E2-A2b-C3-E3-A3b-C4-E4-A4b, but I'm not sure if I'd rather go higher than lower.
     
  20. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    @frank falbo that 9 is super cool! Is that a customer build, or just something you’re experimenting with? You should make a build thread on here. There’s a lot of interesting things going on there!
     

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