Dry Rock and Roll Band

Dry meets Cheap Trick!

Cherry Street Guitar
12 String Bass Page
What is a 12 String Bass?

Quite simply it is just basically a 4 string bass that has 8 "guitar" strings grouped with the bass strings. The guitar strings are usually placed above the bass string (or fundamental). The guitar strings are normally tuned in unison one octave above the bass string. Playing all 3 of the strings or group of strings at the same time sounds like a bass guitar and 2 other guitars playing at the same time producing a huge sound. Different techniques like power chords and open chords can be used to play 5 or more strings at a time making a 12 string bass sound like a complete rhythm section.
12 string bass
A Bit of History...

Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick came up with the idea of a 12 string bass back in the late 70's. After using 8 strings he was not satisfied with the thin sounds they produced. Working with Joel Danzig of Hamer Guitars in 1977 they compromised and came up with a 10 string bass first. Instead of all tripled strings they doubled the E and A strings and tripled the D and E strings. They realized the concept worked and the neck held so they went on to develop the first 12 string bass. The first basses were all short 30.5" scale to keep the tension down on the necks. Since it was a compromise with the shorter scale these basses didn't produce much low end but did have a cool doubled guitar'ish sound. The first 8 or so of these 12vers were wired Quadraphonic with a small mixing board built in. These were referred to as Quad basses. They were way more complicated than they needed to be. Each group of strings could have it's own output to pan left and right and also it's own EQ. They were also equipped with one standard pickup for mono output. The Quad output was never used buy Tom Petersson.
Waterstone Bass
Around 1980 or so the first long scale 12 strings bass were produced by Hamer but many of these early basses suffered from neck problems because they only had one truss rod to hold back all the tension. Around 1989 a dual truss rod system was added which helped eliminated neck issues. In the late 90's several manufactures such as Dean and Carlo Robelli and started producing their own versions and having import models built which helped drive the prices down considerably. Hamer added a cheaper Import 12 string bass around 1998 realizing there was a market for the average player. Chandler Guitars built a very nice model for Tom Petersson called the Royal but at $4000.00 a pop your average player avoided them. Waterstone Guitars got together with Tom Petersson in 2004 and developed an affordable, durable semi-hollow 12ver for around $1,300.00. This model is Tom's Signature Series known as the TP-12.

Using a 12 String Bass...

Most bass players can pick up a 12 string bass and play it immediately like a regular bass with out much difficulty. The techniques that a player uses is what makes the difference. After someone plays a 12ver for the first time the first complaint is usually: "My forearms hurt". It does take considerably more effort compared to a standard 4 string bass. After all you are pushing on three strings at a time instead of one. After a few hundred hours of practice you develop Popeye forearms and then you can impress your friends by crushing walnuts in your bare hands... Well maybe not walnuts but you will develop strong fingers and forearms. The short and medium scale versions require less effort because there is less tension on the strings however the long scale basses have a deeper tone with brighter harmonics.

Hamer Bass
A 12 string bass can be played with a pick or traditional finger style. I prefer finger style playing but in reality I only play finger style about 20% of the time because there is less control. These 12vers can be used on most songs if played with a little restraint but can be difficult on some songs if there is a melodic or fast moving bass line. Since DRY doesn't follow any certain order of a set list, I end up using mine on most everything. They sound the best when they can sustain between notes somewhat creating almost keyboard type sounds. Using both guitar and bass amps together works well to get all of the frequencies and a little distortion on the high end makes them sound even bigger. On songs with a difficult bass line I mostly use clean sounds and use upward strokes with a pick to try to just hit the lower bass strings.

For more detailed information on 12 string basses visit:


Family of 12's

Back to the Previous page
 Up and coming dates...

 more dates...
How smart are you?
Click here to take Dry's intelligence quiz!

Beer Warning!
Click here to see how it can effect your judgement.
Sponsered by Miller Lite
How smart are you?
Click here to take Dry's intelligence quiz!