He revealed the oversized monstrosity during November. 5 show in Huntsville, Ala., and used it for set opener “Got Me Under Pressure.” While many fans simply laughed at the ridiculous-looking curio, others 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, post a picture by Francis with the caption, “I can’t deal with this…when ZZ Top uses a ripoff version of my 18 string guitar from a website. It even has ‘JD’ on the 12th fret LOL.”
Francis, who replaced Dusty Hill after him died in July 2021, then addressed the “controversy” in his own Instagram post. “Well… I thought I’d use this bass once or twice for no other reason than fun,” 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 not to talk about the guy who actually came up with the idea: Jared Dines.
“The bass I’m playing is a Chinese-made POS. It’s a middle copy of something he’s playing and he’s probably totally mad,” Francis added. “I don’t know if he designed it, but the cat is a great musician and watches me play simple bass lines that I could play with one string, while he’s made up music to make use of the damn thing. Dude has moved out over the 17 string and I would suggest you check him out just to see what he does with it.
“I just hope he has a sense of humor,” Francis concluded.
Fortunately, Dines seems to have a sense of humor. “Not mad at all!” he commented on Francis’ post. “At first I thought the picture of you playing it was photoshopped. I love that it’s real! Guitars get changed and remade all the time, I’m glad you had fun with it.”
Francis in turn replied, “Dude, I can’t believe you’re playing this stuff! We thought it was a joke, but then found out about you and watched some videos. Bravo damn! The joke’s on me because I have to to play that bootleg piece of shit.”
Check out Jared Dines’ custom 18-string Ormsby guitar
Francis explained the origin of his new instrument to UCR last week: “I searched night on the Internet [and] showed a picture of this crazy 17-string bass,” he said. “I sent another picture Billy [Gibbons]and we laughed about it and made some jokes about actually trying to use it.
“A couple of weeks later, after I had forgotten about it, Billy showed up [the 17-string bass],” Francis continued, calling the situation “one of those ‘hold my beer’ moments.”
Check out Elwood Francis’ 17-string ‘Bootleg Piece of S–t’ Bass
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