Prototyping a new bass...with your help!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dbenson32, Dec 5, 2013.


  1. dbenson32

    dbenson32

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    PG County Maryland
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Xotic, Fuchs, Curt Mangan
    So I'm the sales manager for a company (whom I'll leave anonymous for now) that specializes in custom hand built acoustic guitars and we're diving into the bass market- head first mind you!

    As a player I have my own preferences and brands that I endorse. This is where the kind folk of talkbass come into play: I'd like to leave my personal opinions out of the equation for the most part. I want to see what consensus is from a group of people who are in the know and current on whats going on with the electric bass right now.

    The idea is that we're building a 5 string precision bass to start. Something with vintage nostalgia and feel but with modern upgrades and appointments. Vintage meets modern...Blend of Old and New...you get the idea.

    What do you love about your vintage instruments that you've run through the ringer and what can you not live without on your brand new 2014 "insert model here"?

    I want to hear everything: Frets, Scale length, Electronics, Preamps (or lackthereof), Ergonomics, Finish, Materials...you name it.

    This will be started very early 2014 once I have some feedback.
  2. Bass Fund

    Bass Fund Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    The Precision Bass would sound much better if the neck was the scale length of a Rickenbacker 4003.
  3. Ironbar

    Ironbar Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    I seem to be only able to play basses with skinny-ass necks. Oh, and satin finish on the neck please. The lacquer finish is just too sticky!
  4. primusfan1989

    primusfan1989

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    new jersey
    Satin finish (on the neck atleast)
    Lightweight
    Tight b string (35"scale perhaps?)
    If you do use a preamp, please make it active/passive
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  6. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out.... Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    option of a maple fretboard/all maple neck.

    the option of passive pick ups as well. (I always feel like new basses only have active electronics).

    I don't normally play 5's, but when I do I always feel like the necks are absurdly huge, so a more friendly neck size/string spacing would be cool
  7. JCheung

    JCheung Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2013
    Location:
    Herndon, VA
    Precision V with a 1 3/4 nut and flatter radius while still keeping it looking like a classic P would be stellar. I love P5s but those necks take getting used to.
  8. javadog

    javadog Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    The first thing I'd need to know is what price point you are shooting for and what player group. The things I like about the vintage style instruments are the tone, familiar size and shape, and the large aftermarket parts market. The huge tuning peg keys look goofy to me but a lot of people like that vintage touch. There is the narrow versus wide string spacing
    consideration. On a 5er I'd want a 17.5mm (mine are 16.5). I would not buy a 19, and not sure if I'd buy an 18. However, there are lots of people who prefer the 19, so I don't know how to reconcile that unless you offer an adjustable bridge or a choice of bridges. Please put factory installed copper shielding in the pickup and control cavities, especially if any single coil pickups are going to come stock on the bass.
    I would not even consider the single P pickup design. Please have separate battery and control cavities that do not require a screwdriver for either one. I would be an innovator and have solderless pickup and preamp connections. I like the EMG wiring harness concept (too proprietary and not universal enough) but even the DiMarzio style screw terminals would be an improvement over soldering (which I greatly dislike). That is not everything but it is a start.
  9. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    One feature that quite a number of companies seem to forget to put in (some basses have them but not all) is an Active/passive toggle switch. It would be a solution for those that want to be able to switch from a vintage to a more modern sound output. Also the bass would still be playable if your 9 volt battery all of a sudden cuts out.
    Others:
    A string-thru for sustain
    Maple neck
    34 scale
    a non-gloss finish (matte or natural preferred - low maintenance, and keeps the bass looking good on stage -smudge free)
  10. JCheung

    JCheung Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2013
    Location:
    Herndon, VA
    I have to second the Active/Passive toggle switch, that is an option I much prefer over the push pull or stacked knob design. Keeps the whole thing looking clean, speaking of clean, I'd go with no pickguard or a clear option
  11. blueskyjaunte

    blueskyjaunte ^- Mwahnster Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    Location:
    Sunny AZ
    My gut response is that if you currently make acoustic guitars, why not first expand into acoustic basses?

    I've been GASing for a 6-string acoustic bass ever since I first saw the Warwick Alien, but it has some design elements that really don't appeal to me. Not to mention the fact that they're all made in China.
  12. 6stringpanda

    6stringpanda

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2013
    +1

    Need a good 6 string acoustic-own three-A warwick and two no names off Ebay that arent half bad-would love someone to produce a thinline A/E 6 string bass guitar that didnt suck.
  13. OneAri

    OneAri

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2013
    Location:
    Brighton, UK
    If you're doing a hollow body bass (I assume that'd keep in line with the whole acoustic guitars thing) is it possible you could taper the neck a little- I can't speak for anyone else but I'm uncomfortable with the lower neck on a midtown, electromatic etc,
  14. grendle

    grendle Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Location:
    Central FL
    Yeah, Please don't build yet another fender copy. There are a dozen other guys already doing it and doing it better than fender. how about something new? a p bass pickup model is fine but how about triple j's or something like lefay? and please use some better construction then what they came up with in the 50's. build a better and unique bass, the copy club is old and tired.
  15. dbenson32

    dbenson32

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    PG County Maryland
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Xotic, Fuchs, Curt Mangan
    We're looking to make something that's accessible to most at reasonable price point. In my experience, the quality you want for a very nice acoustic bass isn't conducive to affordability.

    Although we specialize in acoustic instruments, Marty our master luthier was head of the Dean Custom Shop and lead the R/D on the spinoff DBZ Guitars.
  16. dbenson32

    dbenson32

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    PG County Maryland
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Xotic, Fuchs, Curt Mangan
    Agreed. The goal is to have nods to the vintage instrument while accommodating working players who need ease of use with flexible functionality.

    I appreciate all of the information so far. Please keep it coming...
  17. wcoffey81

    wcoffey81

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Location:
    S/E Michigan
    a zero fret seems like a small but nice addition
  18. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2001
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I'd look at the small builders doing it already and key in on what has worked for them. Nordstrand, Lull, Sadowsky, Suhr, etc. Market is a small niche. Pricing is vital
  19. blueskyjaunte

    blueskyjaunte ^- Mwahnster Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    Location:
    Sunny AZ
    Fair enough. I'm a fan of reasonable prices points--for varying definitions of "reasonable". :D

    I love my Godin A4 Ultra fretless, which qualifies as "semi-acoustic" or chambered. I'd go crazy over a fretted 6-string version.
  20. jehhorton

    jehhorton

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Location:
    Mansfield, TX
    I really like the P-jazz setup, like the G&L sb2. The thing that I think is missing on the market, i.e. a "niche" is a reasonably priced bass (under $1,000) that plays well and is versatile. For me, going for function over form is key. I don't really care as much about what it looks like as how it sounds and plays, and how flexible it is. If you could design something that could sound like a p-jazz, then flip a coil tap or other type switch and it sounds like bartolini's or emg's, or even a sting ray or a ric, then I think you'd be onto something. Balance and lightness are factors, but balance is more important than weight. Long top "horn" usually helps.
  21. jehhorton

    jehhorton

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Location:
    Mansfield, TX
    Also, it should come out of the box setup with fairly low action. I hate to pick up a bass in the store and it's hard to play. I automatically adjust what I'm willing to pay by $50 since I'm gonna have to get it setup. I realize that there are environmental factors that affect the setup, but there's no excuse for picking up a brand new bass and the neck is so far out that it buzzes like crazy or the action is so high at the 12th fret that it changes the pitch of the note.

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