aesthetics vs sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by STROMERO, Jun 7, 2019.


    STROMERO Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2016
    How important is the look versus the sound of a bass to you? I'd never heard of the Reverend Thundergun until it was mentioned in another thread. In theory, I think I'd like the sound but I simply can't get over the body shape. Same with some BC Rich basses. I'm sure they sound fantastic but I couldn't see myself on stage rocking one. Have you sacrificed look for sound?

    Follow up question: have you ever modified a bass that had an appealing shape to try to capture the sound of a bass you found ugly?
  2. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Don't worry about it too much.
    I won't even pick up a bass unless I like the way it looks.
    Too many basses I like to even think about ones I don't.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
    Ghastly, MoeTown1986, dmt and 9 others like this.
  3. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    If your instrument doesn't have an aesthetic that appeals to you, you probably won't play it, regardless of how it sounds. It's part of the creative process.
    Luckily there are tons of choices in this day and age.
  4. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Both are very important. I wouldn't use something that only checked one of those two boxes.
  5. Kro


    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    You mean like trying to make a Precision sound like a Jazz? Nah, IMO there are enough good sounding and good looking basses out there. :thumbsup:
  6. Seashore


    Jun 2, 2019
    I kind of care, but only kind of. I love the look of a Thunderbird but they don't really work for my needs... I don't care for the look of most Ibanezes but I love playing them. Nothing looks cooler than sounding great onstage and playing like a boss.
  7. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    hi STROMERO :)

    Yes and no! :D I modded some ugly Squiers, so they sounded like ugly Fenders :laugh:

    I never did the rattle can job + stickers thing. I never had a Fodera. :D

    And doing it on a cheaper bass ain' t no fun!

    Aesthetics is fashion! It changes all the time!

    Beauty is timeless! (when you have a good taste :p)

    I play what I like and that means: You better don' t tell me that my bass is ugly! :laugh:

    I will never play an ugly bass!

    may the bass be with you

  8. I’m with other responses. If I’m going to drop money on a bass, it’s got to cover many factors including playability, sound & looks.
    Plectrum72, cataract and Frank77 like this.
  9. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    No ugly basses here.
    dmt likes this.
  10. They're both important, but there are so many bass manufacturers out there, you can pretty much find a bass with the sound, and looks you're after.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
    Frank77 likes this.
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    aesthetics vs sound

    I like to have both

  12. Same here : It's got to be the whole package right off the rack. Other than shielding the control cavity, I never modify any of the basses I own, either.
    TolerancEJ likes this.
  13. jackn1202


    Feb 14, 2018
    Austin, TX
    I care a lot less about the sound of a bass than I do about the looks and the feel. I won’t play a bass if I don’t like the look, and I won’t buy it if I don’t like how it plays. As long as there’s a pickup cavity at the bridge position big enough for me to throw in a cheap humbucker, I can make it sound like I want. That’s what I’ve done with all my basses. Thunderbird? Neck pickup moved to bridge spot, ditched the bridge pickup. Jaguar? Welp it came with essentially full Stingray electronics, so I left the humbucker at the bridge and stripped the preamp, running it passive. Stingray? I’ll probably do the same soon enough.
    kodiakblair likes this.
  14. Fenders (and other conventional looking basses) bore me to hell.
    el_Bajo_Verde, gebass6 and teh-slb like this.
  15. Speaking about aesthetics, Fenders (and other conventional looking basses) bore me to hell. For me, the wackier, the better.

    Speaking about the sound, well, being the plug and play guy I am, I can make any bass in working condition sound good.
    teh-slb likes this.
  16. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    A bass can look good or bad, but it can only sound good.
    Keger Jupit likes this.
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I’d prefer whatever I’m playing to also
    look nice. But appearance is about fifth or sixth down on the list in order of importance when I’m choosing a bass.
    Mugre, Blueinred and Seashore like this.
  18. AboutSweetSue

    AboutSweetSue Guest

    Sep 29, 2018
    When I was a kid getting started, I wanted a Fender.

    I remember seeing guys playing them in my dad’s studio. The logo, the headstock, the shape....the sound. I got hooked young. But it’s more than just aesthetics, there is a psychological part to the puzzle as well. A Fender works, and I knew it would work no matter what was tossed at it. So, all I had to worry about was myself, not my bass.

    Nowadays, I buy to cover soundscapes. Hollow bodies, short scales, ‘51 P Basses, Jazz Basses, P Basses, U-Basses, and eventually an upright. I determine what tool I need for a sound (or want) then I choose aesthetically from there....within reason.
  19. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Scottsdale, AZ
    The look is more important. Who really cares about the bass sound except for bass players?
    TrustRod, brett adams, Fialka and 2 others like this.
  20. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR

    Playing out? If you want to be taken seriously, looks matter as at least as much sound. It's show business. People listen with their eyes as much as their ears. I don't make the rules.

    Studio work or noodling at home? I don't care what the instrument looks like if it plays and sounds right.