Hold My Beer: ZZ Top bassist explains why he played giant 17-string bass

ZZ Top bassist Elwood Francis has now explained why he whipped out a massive 17-string bass guitar on stage with the long-running classic rock band last week.

Francis, a former stage technician for ZZ Top, joined the group as their new bassist last year following the death of longtime ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill.

Last Saturday (Nov. 5), when ZZ Top played the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Francis briefly traded his regular bass for the bright yellow 17-string bass, as shown in fan-caught footage . The video afterwards went viral thanks to the visual spectacle of the big bass — that’s a lot of strings!

Watch the video at the bottom of this post.

But what was the reason for debuting the impressive 17-string instrument on stage last week? As it turns out, the members of ZZ Top had a few laughs after Francis came across the bass during a late-night internet search.

“I searched the internet last night [and] showed a picture of this crazy 17-string bass,” Francis shared UCR on Nov. 10. “I sent another picture [ZZ Top guitarist-vocalist] Billy [Gibbons] and we laughed about it and made some jokes about actually trying to use it.”

He added: “A few weeks later, after I had forgotten about it, Billy turned up with [the 17-string bass].”

Francis called it “one of those ‘hold my beer’ moments.”

He unveiled the 17-string bass during a performance of ZZ Top’s “Got Me Under Pressure” Eliminator. It is the same album that contains the ZZ Top hits “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs”. Get ZZ Top concert tickets here.

ZZ Top, “Got Me Under Pressure” (Live with 17-string bass guitar; November 5, 2022)

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