Since the days when Jimy Hendrix played a Hangstrom bass (he played more than guitar), 8 string basses have always been used, but have always kept a low profile.
At Doctorbass.net we think that these basses deliver an opportunity, and we will be offering not just 8, but also 10 and 12 string basses soon. Players like Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam), Tom Peterson (Cheap Trick), Doug Pinnick (King X) have been using this type of basses for years creating signature lines that could not have been created using standard basses.
As you can see in the pictures, this bass has 4 standard and 2 octave strings per normal string. The concept is similar to a 12 string acoustic guitar, where you pluck two strings at a time.
Using a pick seems to yield the best results, but it can also be played fingerstyle and even slap sounds great. With a little bit of practice, you'll be able to play just the normal string and add the octave when you need it. In no time you'll be playing new and fresh lines. It is almost like this bass is boosting your creativity all the time.
12 strings are a big pull for any neck, but this Dean Rhapsody 12 has a reinforced maple & walnut neck and the truss rod allows for a low action so you don't hurt yourself. The mahogany body is a solid platform, and the maple top adds a nice cosmetic touch. Two EMG-HZ pickups prove themselves very effective at capturing every nuance of this bass, and the flexible 3 band active electronics allows you to taylor the sound to suit several styles.
The brass nut also adds to the natural resonances of the instrument, especially when using open strings. It will also bear the extra amount and wear of so many strings better than softer materials such as bone or plastic.
Rock and funk lines sound big and powerful, and if you play ethnic flavoured music you'll be hooked if you try it.
Eevn if this bass does not become your #1 instrument (it could though), it is hard to find an instrument that encourages you to explore new sonic territories.