What needs to be tested?
I have a build planned that will allow me to A/B test two basses.
Throw out some ideas of what you would like to see tested.
Something like, the effects of a top wood to no top wood?
One thing needs to be tested. I don't care which one thing but if you make two basses with a dozen differences between them you no longer have an A/B test, you have a bunch of A/B tests all hopelessly jumbled together. If you want to test a dozen things you have to make 24 basses. And then if you want to test for possible interactions between pairs of differences, trios of differences, etc you have to build an effectively infinite number of basses, although if you search on Design Of Experiments (DOE) you can find some techniques to extract the greatest number of meaningful results from the fewest number of basses. Now you know why no one ever runs a proper experiment to evaluate all the claims and counter-claims that are made here on TB.
If you want to run a proper experiment with two basses then pick one difference and one difference only between them. If you build two basses with more than one difference between them then hopefully you will end up with two very fine basses that you will cherish for a long time because you will no longer have a valid experiment.
Yes, the basses will be identical down to the neck blanks coming from the same blank and so on.
After the initial A/B test, then I will do recordings with other changeable options like brass to aluminum bridge, different pickups etc.
Maybe testing different nut materials?
Bone vs Brass etc.?...
Rosewood vs Maple fingerboards.
Through Body String vs Regular too, should be easy enough to do?...
You say identical down to the neck blanks and such, but mention topwoods being different, so I assume you're only talking about the body slab and neck sans-fingerboard... and all else can be variable.
Were you literally considering somehow making it such that you could redo the boards and topwoods somehow? otherwise, if one or both are really irreversible, as I figure they are, then you'd have to pick between keeping mech/elex the same and comparing woods (and picking one to change top OR board) vs keeping ALL the woods the same and comparing mech/elex (which of course can be done a buncha times with multiple different things).
There was a huge J pickup shootout years ago where they made it real easy to swap pickups on the fly, you might consider that kinda' thing if you wanted to do preamps/pickups and such.
Comparing bridges definitely a good idea... punch vs compression/sustain is usually mentioned on either aluminum or steel vs brass (respectively). Cool to kinda' verify it quantitatively somehow.
You could also compare strings, but then you'd want to come up with something in the jig to hit the strings identically each time and on both instruments.
Comparing topwoods, boards, nuts, frets, etc, would all be really cool, but the nature of how one might change (or even make it possible to change) those might negate the consistency/reliability needed for useful results.
One variable at a time. That's the rule. :)
Just some general thoughts.
1. Bridge pickup location.
2. Neck pickup location
3. One brand of preamp vs another
4. Top wood A vs Top wood B (same thickness)
5. Same top wood of varying widths
6. Sound of your 'classic neck' vs your 'modern neck'
If I had to pick one or two, I'd test
1. Top wood A vs Top wood B: I'd love to hear the difference betwen a buckeye burl top vs a maple or bubinga. My guess is that the buckeye would cause the bass to sound a bit more 'mushy'. Buckeye is such a soft and light wood. I never understood how it came to be placed on musical instruments. I know it is popular, but it's not for me.
2. Bridge pickup placement: The problem I see with this is that it could only be tested for that kind of pickup for that scale length. Is the sweet spot for the bridge pickup the same distance for a 36" scale as a 32" or is it proportionally distanced from the bridge?
how about the different sound of identical basses (Pickup placement adjusted??) but of different scale lengths. 34 versus a 32. if 5 string 34 versus 35. I know what we all believe to be the difference but can we really hear it???
I get asked a lot, what does a top wood do to the sound?
It really would be awesome if there was a good way to do topwoods and baords multi-iteratively (to make up a word), but I can't think of one. :(
Cliff: Perhaps you can save these "experiments" until 'little Cliff' has to do the dreaded Science Fair project in school.
I kinda like the make two identical basses thing and then compare to see if they actually sound. play and feel different.
I know it would be a real PITA, but the difference in sound using standard frets and mando frets would be a cool test. Especially if all things were similar.. pickups, bridge, etc..
Will both basses have solid body cores?
Put another way: Do you want both test basses to have solid body cores, or can a potential variable be a chambered vs. a non-chambered core?
But I think there would be to many differences doing solid body to "Parallel Chamber".
I think it's best to keep it to a common talked about subject like the ideas mentioned above.
These would be very interesting!
Fingerboard woods. I would like to heard two woods considered "drastically" different, with all other parameters being the same.
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