octave below instead: you can accentuate a line in exactly the same
way. All you need is imagination.
At the higher end, you can solo away to your heart's content,
assuming the lighter gauge strings don't freak you out: if you play
guitar as well as bass, you'll find yourself in familiar territory, unless
you attempt a barre chord (one word: don't). Again, why not add a
lower drone to your higher-register playing? Why not slap and pop
up there too? The point here is that there are fewer limits to your
playing, so take advantage. The extended range on this bass goes
much higher than lower, with a standard tuning of F#, B, E, A, D, G,
C, F, Bb and Eb, but there's no reason why you can't commission a
different default set-up of your choice from Bee, or even experiment
with alternate tunings if you have the time and inclination.
Tapping is ideal, assuming you have the skills and patience to apply
the style to the bigger neck. Why not spend some time on chordal
tapping (see Rob Statham's column on the subject in
116) and
work on tapping across multiple strings? You could be playing this bass
all day and never run out of things to do. In fact, the only thing you
probably won't want to attempt is simple downstrokes with a pick. By
its nature, the Queen Bee wants either to be played sitting down or
high up on a strap: if you're in a punk band, for example, it might look
a touch weird. But as we always say, rules are just mind control, man.
Russ Newton plays in a band which demands complex bass parts,
hence his acquisition of the Queen Bee 10, as well as a Letts-designed
13-string which we'll be featuring in a future issue. He actually
this bass to play in his band - but will you? Assuming you do, you'll be
interested to know how the costs of the Bee break down. The basic cost
of the bass was £2200, Newton tells us: he then paid £200 for the THG
knobs, £450 for the rabbit inlay and £350 for a custom hard case, one
of the most robust we've ever seen. Shipping to the UK, plus the import
tax that Customs & Excise laid on him, was a painful extra £1000. This
is a lot of money by anyone's standards - but again, if you require this
instrument to do your job, you may not mind paying for it. If you go for
it, you'll be the recipient of a truly one-of-a-kind instrument, even if
regular bassists will find it hard to understand how to play it or indeed,
what the hell it's for. Ignore them - it's your vision, after all.
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