Watch: ZZ Top's Elwood Francis use a 17-string bass guitar onstage for Got Me Under Pressure
The monstrous instrument has a Fender logo on its headstock, though for some reason we can't seem to recall seeing it in the company's product lineup...
Last July, Dusty Hill, ZZ Top's longtime bass guitar player, died at the age of 72.
Hill's place in the band, as per the late bassist's wishes, was taken by the band's longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis.
Now, even though ZZ Top have famously used some rather colorful guitars over the course of their lengthy career, fans at the band's recent (November 5) gig at the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall in Huntsville, Alabama were probably a bit taken aback by what they saw when Francis first stepped onstage with the group. The bass in Francis's hands wasn't a four-string or a 5-string bass guitar, nor was it a six-string model.
No, readers, this yellow-finished low-end behemoth was a (by our count, at least) 17-string bass. You can see it in action in the fan-filmed footage of the band's opening number that night (Got Me Under Pressure) below.
Now, not to be a kill-joy, but a spin of the video does seem to show Francis only using three or four of the beast's strings.
Still, the skill involved from swinging from the low notes at the very top of the bass (fretted, of course, over the top of the neck) to the middle and higher notes all the way at the bottom is pretty impressive. The Little Ol' Band From Texas has always known how to take simple elements (in this case a steady-grooving bass line) and put on a show with them, after all. Article Credits: GuitarWorld.com https://www.guitarworld.com/news/zz-top-elwood-francis-17-string-bass