Does paint make difference in tone?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by killer, Jan 9, 2013.


  1. killer

    killer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    Rome
    Nitro vs poly or whatever?
    And One is better than another for the body to resonance or it's just a look question?
  2. Mr-Wunderful

    Mr-Wunderful

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2003
    Location:
    Denton, Texas USA
    Black is the best tone paint.
  3. eyeballkid

    eyeballkid Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Location:
    wes virginny
    Disclosures:
    Records of Existence/PyrE owner
    +1
    its also the best paint for black metal!
  4. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    White for brighter tone, black for darker tone.

    In fact, a white bass with flats is even brighter than a black bass with roundwounds.

    An aside, red provides better sustain in the middle register.
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. alembicguy

    alembicguy Lone Wolf Miner Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Does paint make a difference in tone?


    If its 6 inches thick I'd say yes.
  7. Emibass

    Emibass

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Media:
    4
    Albums:
    1
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    White is lighter!
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Some will argue. I say nope. I like how nitro wears down over time better than the more glossy nitro finishes. So I do have a preference. But it has nothing to do with tone.
  9. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Burbank, CA
    You may not get a serious answer to this question here, but I'll try :)

    The answer is: Maybe

    Vintage purists will tell you that nitro, being thinner and softer, will let the wood of the body resonate more and thus enhance the tone. It also lets the wood breathe and age. Nitro wears easily and over time the gloss and color will change. I like that, and I also prefer the feel of nitro.

    Poly finishes are much tougher and are damn near impossible to wear out. They seal the wood so no real aging of the wood is going to happen.

    As far as impact on tone, I personally believe the wood itself has a lot more to do with that than the type of paint used on it. Lightweight bodies tend to be more resonant and that's the sound I prefer.

    All of this is very subjective, if you look around TB you'll find plenty of folks who say the wood makes no difference at all. You can either hear a perceived difference or you can't...not worth arguing about in my opinion.

    It DOES make a difference to me. I can play a bass unplugged in a quiet room and generally tell if it works for me. A bass that doesn't sing acoustically never gets better when you make it louder IME.
  10. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    northern CA
    Disclosures:
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Yes, as alembicguy sez' - unless it's excessively thick it matters little tone-wise unless the resonant quality of the wood is critical. Especially on a solid-wood instrument. All wood has a resonant quality, but if a standard thin paint-job is applied over many nuanced but same style of bodies and they are all built up exactly the same will you be able to hear a difference? Maybe, but even an allparts J neck will be different from another allparts J neck (wood which is organic), even if they look exactly the same. On a hollowbody, a bit more to consider. The varnish on a violin is only there to seal and protect the wood, which is where the tone comes from. The makers aim is to protect/seal it w/o damaging/deadening the woods resonance. This is where the 'secret' varnish formula's come in. Necks are possibly more of an issue in this regard as so much of the tone relates to this critical piece of the tone-puzzle.
  11. kelleysdad

    kelleysdad

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
  12. killer

    killer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    Rome
    That's a serious answer!
    Thanks man, that's what I'm talking about!

    For al the others " white is bright " " black is darker " go play your bass
  13. musicman666

    musicman666 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Location:
    ca
    What color for Christian Metal?
  14. kander

    kander

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    I have two Precisions: a 1975 (nitro, sunburst) and a 2008 (poly, black), both with maple fingerboards.

    I hear a noticeable difference with these two unplugged. The 1975 just sounds fuller, richer, and better in every way.
  15. alembicguy

    alembicguy Lone Wolf Miner Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Which of the 2 do you prefer because I also believe if one is your favorite then you've already told your ears that that one sounds better in your mind.
  16. inthevelvet

    inthevelvet Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Location:
    AZ
    white, of course
  17. inthevelvet

    inthevelvet Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Location:
    AZ
    I don't doubt you hear a difference, but whether it has anything to do with the paint is unknown. Are they made of the same wood? Do they weigh the same?
  18. baba

    baba

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    Location:
    3rd stone from the sun
    Yellow and black Strypes.
  19. Emibass

    Emibass

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Media:
    4
    Albums:
    1
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    you could make a blind test with sound clips. Just record a clip with the bass in its normal state than record the second after sanding out all the paint. It could be very informative to all talkbass.
  20. Joedog

    Joedog

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Location:
    Pensacola FL
    I play a lot of blues.....but I hate blue basses. Am I screwed? Seriously, between amps, speakers, pickups, strings, wood, preamps, etc, I doubt paint will make a noticable diff.
    It's a bass...just f'ing play!
  21. Batmensch

    Batmensch Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Location:
    Chester, Pa.,USA
    IMO, absolutely no. The paint will not make any difference at all.

Share This Page