Bass tone by percentage of parts
In your opinion, what parts make up what percentage of a bass' tonal characteristics... body, neck, fretboard, pickups/electronics, strings.
Please dierect me to any prior threads on this topic. Thanks!
33% fingers, 33% pickups/electronics, 33% strings, 1% the other stuff.:hiding:
Electronics - 4 (an active P still sounds like P to me).
Capacitor construction - 0
Retail price of potentiometers - 0
Cloth insulation - 0
String type- 4 (flats or rounds? quite a big impact here)
String height - 4 (high and thumpy? Low and buzzy?)
Pickup placement - 5 (Check out Guy Pratt's custom Warwick with two sliding pickups; moving the pickups whilst holding a chord sounds almost like a wah or filter pedal).
Pickup construction - 4 (hums or single, series or parallel coils)
Pickup DC resitance - 3 (not the big deal some people think it is, especially guitarists!!!!)
Wax potting yes/no - 1 (some enjoy uncontrollable microphonics)
Pickup colour - 0
Anodized guard, or metal screening plate - ??? Eddy currents scare me man.
Wood - 3 (hard to test objectively without other variables having an influence)
Shape (and therefore mass) - 3
Number of pieces of wood used, or presence of veneer - ??? who knows man.
Pre-conditioning the body with loud frequencies the Yamaha way to artificially age the wood - ??? who knows man.
Neck - 2 (hard to test objectively without other variables having an influence)
Fretboard - 1 (never bought the whole maple/rosewood day/night stuff).
Rubber coating on trussrod to stop it rattling - 0
Brass nut - Yikes! Open strings sound like fretted notes, man.
Ultralite tuners - 3, you just moved the dead spots two frets south!
Fingers aside (not part of the question):
75% pickup(s), especially placement, and electronics
There is no correct answer as it varies depending in what parts are used. That's one if the reasons these discussions get so rabid and never resolve.
Some players have such particular technique they can make almost any bass sound the way they want, within limits, of course. So for them, it's all in the fingers.
Some PUPs give so much colour or limit the bandwith so much the other aspects like wood and hardware have minimal effect on the tone.
Some strings impart so much tonal flavour they make every bass sound similar. Others let more of the other various parts contribute more to the tone.
Then you have the fact that they are all in a chain and react differently to each other due to mechanical and electronic relationships, you have further variable complexity, as infinitum.
So the answer is it depends.
50% players technique (great players all say it's in the hands and it's how a hack like me can make a handmade Alembic sound like a factory made Ibanez)
30% electronics (placement, type, and height)
20% strings (type and height)
10% everything else (materials)
I know it adds up to 110%, but I always give 110% :cool:
This is probably the most mature and accurate response this thread will see.
neck wood: 6%
I have a feeling this thread won't go well for the most part but hopefully I'm wrong.
Pickups/Pre 50%, wood 15%, you 35%.
The body wood has more influence than pickup placement? dude...
30% PUP's and electonics
100% The person playing it.
I know that's 200%, but that's what I have to work with.
Pickup placement, will change a basses sound more than body wood by a long shot. In fact it is the biggest factor in the tone of any solid body electric instrument. Its physics, a string vibrating closer to its anchor is going to oscillate in a much tighter pattern than it does at the middle of the string. So the string effects the magnetic field of the pickup in a different manner depending on where the pickup is placed.
I think even the tonewood truthers would agree with me on this one.
Strings first. That's where 100% of the available frequencies are produced.
Wood/structure second. It damps out a certain percentage of those frequencies.
Whatever frequencies are left, the pickups and pre-amp get to play with.
It is unequivocally, 100% carrots.
The tone wood argument has been beat to death and back to life and back to death again and again and again. There actually is a very informative thread that was done awhile back. A guy made a bass out of scrap lumber and the electronics and neck from a jazz bass. He made some recordings with it and then reassembled the jazz and made some more recordings and challenged TB to identify which was which. End result, very few could tell the difference. With all other things being equal, wood type plays a very small role, just like instrument cable choice, or expensive power cables. It's mostly snake oil.
My granddaddy taught me that expensive tackle was made to catch fishermen, not fish.
wood - 25%
pickups - 25%
strings - 35%
neck/construction/coatings/age - 15%
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