ZZ Top is known for its penchant for beards, but now they’re venturing into Rick Nielsen’s wacky guitar territory with a 17-string bass.

Elwood Francis’s massive bass, which must be an absolute pain to string and hold even with a strap, was captured in a fan-shot video at the group’s November 5 show in Huntsville, Ala.


So, what’s up with that bass? Apparently, it was intended as a funny “hold my beer” moment for the band. Francis told Ultimate Classic Rock, “I was doing night internet searching [and] turned up a picture of this crazy 17 string bass. 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].”

Well, if Billy Gibbons shows up with a crazy instrument for you to play, you’re gonna play the damn thing! Here’s hoping Francis has ample Advil on hand for any potential neck aches in the near future.

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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights

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