ZZ Top’s Elwood Francis took to social media over the weekend to discuss the headline-grabbing 17-string bass that he used during a recent show.
He unveiled the oversized monstrosity during the Nov. 5 show at Huntsville, Ala., using it for set opener “Got Me Under Pressure.” While many fans simply laughed off the ridiculous-looking curio, other noted the similarities between Francis’ 17-string bass and the custom 18-string Ormsby guitar owned by YouTuber and musician Jared Dines.
Dines recently addressed the similarities on Instagram, posting a picture of Francis with the caption, “I can’t with this … when ZZ Top uses a ripoff version of my 18-string guitar from some website. It even has ‘JD’ on the 12th fret LOL.”
Francis, who replaced Dusty Hill following his death in July 2021, then addressed the “controversy” in his own Instagram post. “Well now … I thought I’d use this bass once or twice for no other reason than amusement,” he wrote. “It’s such a strikingly absurd instrument. We’d all laugh and then move on to something else. However, it’s gotten too much attention to not talk about the guy that actually came up with the idea: Jared Dines.
“The bass I play is a Chinese made POS. It’s a mid copy of something he plays and he’s probably all pissed off,” Francis added. “I don’t know if he designed it, but the cat’s an amazing musician and sees me playing simple-ass bass lines that I could play with one string, while he has worked up music to make use of the damn thing. Dude has moved beyond the 17 string and I’d suggest checking him out just to see what he does with it.
“I just hope he has a sense of humor,” Francis concluded.
Thankfully, Dines does indeed appear to have a sense of humor. “Not pissed at all!” he commented on Francis’ post. “I thought the picture of you playing it was photoshopped at first. I love that it’s real! Guitars are modified and remade all the time, I’m glad you had fun with it.”
Francis responded in turn: “Dude, I cannot believe you play these things!! We thought it was a joke but then find out about you and watched some videos. Bravo motherfucker! The joke’s on me ’cause I have to play that bootleg piece of shit.”
See Jared Dines’ Custom 18-String Ormsby Guitar
Francis explained the origins of his new instrument to UCR last week: “I was doing night internet searching [and] turned up a picture of this crazy 17-string bass,” he said. “I sent a picture to Billy [Gibbons], and we laughed about it and made some jokes about actually trying to use it.
“A few weeks later, after I had forgotten about it, Billy shows up with [the 17-string bass],” Francis continued, calling the situation “one of those ‘hold my beer’ moments.”
See Elwood Francis’ 17-String ‘Bootleg Piece of S–t’ Bass
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