Washburn 8 String Bass Reviews 3

Mars Music clearance price, New: $480 My old Kramer 8 is bigger and heavier [altho it sounds like like no other 8 you've ever met] so I thought I'd get a lighter one. Also, the Kramer is a real showpiece visually and I let other players jam on, which made me a bit nervous. The Washburn is easier to hand over to others !! I played the Washburn in the store 3 at least 3 or 4 times for 30 to 40 min per visit, but a $600, I couldn't justify getting *another* 8 string. When they marked it down, I already knew I liked it, so I just checked it out and paid.

The main, maybe only reason to play an 8 string is for the huge sound, and I like they way it sounds. Sometimes I run it into a double octave pedal so I have tones above and below normal bass, plus double voicing on the normal bass range [from the pedals octave drop from the high set of EADG strings]. It's 8 strings EADG with picolo strings for the octaves, so I can buy over-the- counter strings. The sound is not as crazt as the metal-necked Kramer, so I can play "sort of normal" bass on it. It's passive, which I prefer. The tone controls actually have some effect [no Kramer I've ever played can claim that]. The balance is very good, only a hint of neck weight, and the body is comfortably rounded. I also tried a Hamer 12, but the neck is edge-to-edge strings [still EADG, but with a PAIR of octave strings per bass string] and I could hardly play it.

It slows me down a bit, and can make your fingers sore from extended playing. Also, it's just kind of homely looking compared to the Kramer 8 that I also play. There's no way to switch the whole string set to flatwounds, an it's the high set that I'd most care to switch [but all picolo sets are roundwound].

It has monorail bridges with pair grooves on each to space the octave string from the bass string. Both ball share the same anchor notch inside each monorail. The head has alternating Bass and guitar pegs on both sides, neatly done. Pickups are wide soapbars, like on many 5 or 6 string basses. It's really as ordinary as possible while accomodating 8 strings. Mine has an oil finish which was a Mars Music exclusive [as was the whole 8 string model] but I'd expect with Mars gone, that Washburn will offer these as general stock, but maybe with the more typical finish of the 4 and 5 string versions of this same bass [that are sold everywhere]. It's really just a typical $400 Washburn 5 string with a bigger peghead and the nut and bridges set up as described. BTW, the neck is bolt-on [which I prefer]

It's an affordable decently built bass set up as an 8 string, nothing too exotic until you play it -- then it's almost like an extra player sitting in. I should also mention that it rings quite diffently depending upon whether it's plucked upward or downward. I can imagine certain bands in which this could be the primary bass but those are not band I'd like to be near, let alone play in. For most players it will be an alterntive voice. It's a responsive ax. When I switched the main strings to Thomastik roundwound jazz, the change [improvement] was quite audible.

Golem rated this unit 3 on 2003-01-30.

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