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Help - Spec'ing Out My First Roscoe....

Discussion in 'Roscoe Basses' started by Bass Clef, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Well after doing a lot of reading, questioning etc, etc, I basically have a rough idea of the ideal Roscoe "for me".

    Here is what I have so far, if anybody can offer suggestions, advise, opinions, alternative views, please do so, I'm "all ears". Don't know if I'm asking for more trouble by confusing myself even further but I'm not set on this yet so I am probably going to chop and change till the final specs are settled.

    What I'm aiming for:-

    - tight, quick,focused lows, suitable for fingerstyle playing favoring more towards the bridge pickup,
    - punchy mids which a clear and articulate,
    - sweet high mids to highs - NOT harsh and agressive.
    - decent enough Slap sound with both pups on.
    - neck which feels very comfortable for a player with smallish hands and not a long reach up to the 1st fret
    - weight around 8-8.5 lbs

    Here is what I've come up with so far:

    Shape - Century Signature

    Body - Alder - maybe Ash??

    Neck - 5 piece Wedge Maple/Purpleheart/Maple , unless people can convince me a Wenge Wedge is better or should I just go with the standard 3 piece Maple/PH/Maple.....??

    Neck Shape - Thin profile "C" shape

    Scale - 34" (is this really going to make a big difference to the reach up the neck to the 1st fret compared to a 35" scale??)

    Fretboard - Cocobola (possibly spalted purpleheart - what do you think ?)

    Top - still unsure with this?? any ideas???

    Pickups - Roscoe/Bartolinis

    Preamp - 3 band Bart pre (not sure on the Aggy, maybe too harsh???)

    I think that's pretty much where I'm at. Please feel free to voice your opinions, advice etc, or tell me I'm dreaming and completely off the mark and need to go back to the drawing board. Any help is really appreciated.

    Thanking you all in advance.
  2. VroomVroom

    VroomVroom Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area, CA
    First: you will be ecstatic.

    Is there any chance you can play a 35" Roscoe prior to going with a 34" spec? You may well be amazed. Nothing plays as good as a Roscoe. And in terms of your sonic goals, the 35" scale is going to aid in those tight, quick lows. The only possible upside of going 34" is if you're considering a six-string....the high C will be a bit sweeter. Nonetheless, Roscoe specs 35" with good reason...I'm VERY hard-pressed to recommend against it.

    I like most of your wood specs. I absolutely love my alder bass. I'd recommend a maple top for focus and articulation, and perhaps a rosewood or pau ferro fretboard...although I admittedly don't know much about cocobolo by comparison. (However, one of my all-time favorite Roscoe basses has a coco board against a mahogany body and walnut top. One of these days Joe will succumb to my subliminal messages and he'll sell me that bass. :ninja:)

    Finally, I'd recommend against any wenge. IME it adds aggression to the upper mids. I'd avoid the Aguilar pre for the same reason. If you were talking about a mahogany body and myrtle top, that'd be something else entirely.

    Alder body, maple top, wedge neck w/ pau ferro board, Bart electronics....that is a SWEET spec.

    As always...just my opinion. Good luck!
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  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    If you are going with the Century body, go with 35" scale. With the longer upper horn, the reach to the first couple frets is less than many 34" scale basses........
  5. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Huge +1 to this. Jerry knows his stuff.

    The only thing I would say differently is if the slap tone is important to you Bart CBs and the cocobolo board might be a better choice. Otherwise Roscoe Barts and Pau Ferro would rock.

    The alder body/maple top/maple + purpleheart neck are bang on for what you've described.
  6. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    See what Jerry said? That.

  7. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    +1 to everything stated here, especially the wenge in the neck. That would be the first spec that I'd ask for. The second would be the cocobolo finger board.

    ... and I'd stay clear of the Aggie in a Roscoe too. Just not my thing. Of course my thing does change seasonally!:)

    Matter of fact I just ordered another Demeter preamp today. Just can't seem to stay away from that and Roscoe Barts!
  8. FretNot

    FretNot Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2009
    Creemore, Ontario
    +1 to what Jerry said on the 34" vs 35" scale.

    Sonically, I'm a bit more of a fan of cocobolo fingerboard rather than wenge. Esthetically, well... they're both nice in their own way.

    I haven't had a chance to play an alder/ maple top/ pau ferro combo. That's probably sweet too.

    The guys above know what they're talking about. And Gard is usually worth listening too as well. ;)

    Welcome to Roscoeland.

  9. VroomVroom

    VroomVroom Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area, CA
    See? My plan is working. Victory will be mine!
  10. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    lol :D

    just had this crazy thought! Not sure where it came from .....
  11. Thanks everyone for your input - keep it coming.

    A bit here to digest so I'll quote you where I need to ask more questions or clarify anything.
  12. Ok - Jerry thanks for all that. Just need to ask a few things,

    You say rosewood or pau ferro - I thought they were the same thing just different names?
    Are you talking about Bolivian rosewood verse Pau Ferro?

    Isn't rosewood/pau ferro a little softer in tone than Cocobolo?

    I read somewhere that Cocobolo was a good alternative to Ebony?

    Also I'm just wondering if I went with an ASH body instead of Alder how would this change tonewise and would it be even better for what I'm looking for?

    Anyone else feel free to jump in.
  13. Jeff Thanks.

    Slap isn't really the priority here, I am worried that the Bart CBs might be a touch too bright and "tinny" in a small way. Yeah, still not a 100% on the Cocobolo now that others have mentioned Rosewood and Pau Ferro. My thinking RW & PF might be too soft when used with an Alder body and I might loose some tightness, punch, and quickness - if that makes any sense?
    I've also just read some info on using a Spaltered Purpleheart fretboard for a more solid, tighter, balanced tone compared to all the others that have been mentioned so far.

    Any thoughts on this??
  14. Joe,

    Do you mean you would include Wenge in the neck or NOT include.

    Jerry has stated that I should stay away from it because of the aggressive high mids which could be a little hard to control?

    I also take it that you like Cocobolo as a fretboard. How do you feel this compares to the others like Rosewood, Pau Ferro or even Spalt PurpleHeart ?
  15. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    There is a lot more to the pickup discussion than slap vs. other playing, but I would not describe the CBs as tinny. They have plenty of bottom, but are more open through the mids than the Roscoe Barts which are a bit more compressed sounding.

    Pau ferro is much harder than rosewood, but still has what I would describe as a "sweet" sound compared to maple, ebony or cocobolo for fretboards. Soft is not a word I would use to describe it. For a great example of the alder/pau ferro combination, check out Jerry's playing on Full Fino in this post: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f153/roscoe-soundclips-part-3-a-861403/index16.html#post13827336. I don't think it's lacking punch in any sense.

    Spalted purpleheart is a classic Roscoe choice, and it would be hard to go wrong with it. That said for what you have described I think Jerry was bang on with alder/maple top/pau ferro board.
  16. VroomVroom

    VroomVroom Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area, CA
    As I understand it, they're close, but not the same sonically....maybe like dark chocolate differs from milk chocolate.

    Bolivian...Indian...whatever flavors Roscoe has to offer. My best guess is that pau ferro will offer slightly more punch/focus than the sweetness and warmth of rosewood, but that they both are certainly in a different class than maple, wenge, etc.

    Certainly sounds right - I'd bow to Joe on that one, who [del]is currently holding onto my[/del] err, owns the only fretted bass I've ever played with a coco board. (The other was a Rob Allen MB-2, with tapewound strings...totally different animal.)

    This is a good time to mention the ultimate equalizer. If there's anything I've learned over the years that I can pass along with certain value, it's this: WOOD IS PSYCHOTIC.

    One piece of (fill in breed) will likely sound much different than another. Start combining woods, and this expands greatly. Ash, again, only speaking to my experience, is the absolute largest offender....I find it to be largely inconsistent. I own two ash-bodied Roscoes. On a blindfold test you'd have a chance of guessing one is mahogany and the other is alder.

    The difficulty comes into play when you're ordering a bass, as opposed to having the option to try one in-stock somewhere. I've found that alder and mahogany are the most consistent with what we think of as their general characteristics. Ash, on the other hand, scares me. The right piece? MAGIC. The wrong piece? MISERY.

    All that said, I'd stick with my thoughts above. It seems to be the right spec to match your sonic goals, and a bit of EQ and plucking technique can fill in any other items on the wish list.
  17. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    At a minimum use wenge as the center piece for the neck. IMO it really adds atability and a phatness to the tone. My 3006 has the wenge wedge neck and it is estremely stable (never moves at all) and really produces a phat tone.

    Cocobolo as the finger board to my ears sounds fairly close to ebony. I had it on 4 Roscoe's and those necks have been totally stable. I would say that the rosewood and purpleheart sound a bit brighter than the cocobolo. Probably due to it being a bit more of an oily type wood.

    Keep in mind though that overall combinations of wood can really slant what you hear. In other words, it's hard for me to isolate the sound of a cocobolo finger board on a Rosooe with a maple body and one that has a mahogany or ash body. Add to that different top woods, p/u's, electronics and strings and things can get really confusing. :)
  18. JoelFT

    JoelFT Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    Newnan, GA
    Joe's SKB 3006 is the absolute best sounding Roscoe I have ever played. Jerry, you have some competition if he ever goes loco and decides to sell. Also, I'm only a two hour drive from Macon!

    But, seriously, I must be lucky because my two ash bodied Roscoes are perfect. Everything good you can get from ash with none of the bad. That said, my next Roscoe will definitely be mahogany. If the SKB 3006 sitting at the Atlanta Bass Gallery had soaps instead of JJ's then I'd be buying it tomorrow (played it yesterday).
  19. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    OK, OK, OK!

    Enough talk about Joe's Mahoganut sixer. He told me he was giving it to me for my birthday this tuesday. :bag:

    (Maybe I was dreaming?)


    God Bless, Ray
  20. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Happy Birthday Ray! :hyper::hyper::hyper:

    I'm not so sure that I can swing sending the mahogany 6'er but you know that I'd give you the shirt off my back .......

    ..... So expect to see a cool shirt in the mail!:)

  21. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Now back to the OP's topic ..........


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