“My custom 9-string bass is just as playable as any 4-string Fender!” ChaotH on the unorthodox world of the extended-range bass

ChaotH and a custom 9-string bass
(Image credit: ChaotH)

When bassist Frédérick Filiatrault (aka ChaotH), former member of avant-garde metal band Unexpect, wanted a bass guitar with an extended-range, his relentless search for new sounds led to the creation of a 9-string bass guitar, an instrument that also boasts a fanned-fret fingerboard and seemingly endless playing possibilities. “My main axe now is an Ennea 9-string bass by Padalka Guitars,” he says. “It’s an awesome instrument that gives me a totally different vision of the fretboard. It's really the sweet spot between a bass guitar and a Chapman stick.”

Knowing that some bass players may find the unorthodox world of the extended-range bass, or ERB to those in the know, concept a little worrying, he explains: “You can still visualise the standard 4-strings on the fretboard, but you also have two lower strings and three higher strings on either side. My 9-string is just as playable as any 4-string Fender. It just dares you to go a bit further.”

His most recent playthrough video, Day of the Dead, combines all manner of picking, slapping and tapping, combining an expansive compositional approach with his virtuosic technique. "I guess the style that I’m often associated with is prog, which means playing lots of notes goes hand-in-hand with having too many strings! The aim was to bring the 9-string bass forward, but I also wanted to focus on songwriting and not just fretboard theatrics”

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.