UPDATE (Nov. 16, 2022): ZZ Top's Elwood Francis has now explained why he used the 17-string bass and shared who inspired him to do so.

Is that a 17-string bass guitar? Indeed, ZZ Top wowed concertgoers in a hugely unexpected way last week (Nov. 5) when current ZZ Top bassist Elwood Francis busted out a 17-string electric bass onstage with the long-running classic rock band.

ZZ Top were playing the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, when Francis' 17-string bass graced the stage, as shown in fan-captured video from the show. Have you ever seen this many bass strings in action at once?

Watch the video down toward the bottom of this post.

Francis' 17-string bass guitar headstock clearly says Fender, but we're assuming it's a creation custom made for the musician. Francis, formerly a stage tech for the Top, joined the band as bass player last year after the death of longtime ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill.

Guitar World reported:

The bass in Francis' hands wasn't a 4-string or a 5-string bass guitar, nor was it a 6-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.

"Got Me Under Pressure" comes from the ZZ Top album Eliminator. It's the same album with ZZ Top hits like "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs."

See ZZ Top's upcoming tour dates under the video. Get ZZ Top concert tickets here.

ZZ Top, "Got Me Under Pressure" (Live With 17-String Bass Guitar; Nov. 5, 2022)

ZZ Top Tour Dates

Nov. 11, 2022 – Daytona, Fla. @ Peabody Auditorium
Nov. 13, 2022 – Pompano, Fla. @ Pompano Beach Amp.
Dec. 2, 2022 – Scottsdale, Ariz. @ Talking Stick Resort
Dec. 3, 2022 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian
Dec. 4, 2022 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian
Dec. 7, 2022 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian
Dec. 9, 2022 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian
Dec. 10, 2022 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian
Feb. 4, 2023 – Taupo, New Zealand @ Riverside Park
Feb. 5, 2023 – Whitianga, New Zealand @ TBA
Feb. 11, 2023 – Queenstown, New Zealand @ Gibbston
April. 28, 2023 – Indio, Calif. @ Stagecoach Festival

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