Any experience with chambered bass-bodies?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 2meterbassman, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Hi folks,

    I'm thinking about a 5-string-build from Warmoth-parts.
    Cause I like lightweight instruments, it could be a swamp ash body with a nice quilted maple top - with that chambered option.

    How is that changing the sound of a bass?
    Ok - Warmoth describes it on their website, but I'd like to hear something from users, not commercial ads.

    Thx for answers
  2. jibreel


    Apr 12, 2005
    Chambered basses are awesome. The STR on the left is partial chambered. Alder body / spalted maple top. The chambered alder is warmer than ash but I can still get a good modern tone. Ash would be great also.

  3. ^ Agreed.

    Having a chambered body is an option I wouldn't pass on. Depending on the construction of the instrument it may or may not change the sound much, but having a comfortable, lightweight instrument is well worth the investment IMO.
  4. My Stambaugh 6 is chambered. Chris told me that chambering would alter the tone to the point of beinf the dominating factor- I went ahead w/it, and seemed to notice a more complex range in the upper registers- it's a bit more *guitaresque* above your typical bass money note zone... Below low D(I'm a BEADGC guy)it's just a bit blurrier than a solid body, compared to say my Jazz 5.
  5. Hotblack

    Hotblack Pay the cost to be the boss. Supporting Member

    May 20, 2002
    Provided content for Genzler Amplification
    The effect of the chambering will depend on many factors. In addition to the types of wood, the amount of chambering, and the electronics used will make a big difference. Some chambered basses sound closer to hollowbodies, while some are closer to the slab body sound.
  6. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Chambering makes the bass lighter, which is a good thing, just ask Roger Sadowsky, who sells a lot of really fantastic chambered basses for over 4K. Wonderful stuff IME/IMO. I do not believe that chambering a solid body bass will affect tone in any predictable way, and I do not believe anyone who says that he can reliably hear the difference between solid and chambered bodies. YMMV
  7. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I want every bass I own to be chambered
  8. superblues

    superblues Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    I currently own a chambered bass and don't notice any significant tonal difference when compared to my solid bodies basses.
  9. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    My Conklin has a chambered Dragonwood body, and the Surine I had was also chambered. Both had more character in the mids and highs compared to my solidbody instruments. Very nice, recommended. But the solidbody basses has a bit tighter bottom end, only a bit though.
  10. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    I am afraid that comparing the tone of a chambered bass, to a completely different solid bass, all the while knowing exactly what you are listening to, also probably with different strings and electronics, is, at best, completely unreliable in terms of ascribing any differences in tone to the chambering. However, you are obviously free to draw whatever conclusions you wish from your experience:p
  11. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    I agree with lomo. I doubt if there really is an audible difference between a solid body and a chambered body.

    Yes, it does cut down on weight.

    As for Warmoth's chambered bodies, they are well made and all of that but I've seen some of those bodies on their "In Stock" selection and the weight is from the mid 4 lbs to mid 5 lbs range and that's not any better than some solid body weights!

    So, where is the advantage?

    As for Warmoth, I always try to buy a body that is under 5 lbs.

    Once, I scored a swamp ash P body that was 3 lbs 10 oz. It made me an under 8 pound bass!

    It takes patience and much time to find a light weight body with Warmoth. 4 lbs to 4 lbs 15 oz is the best range. IMHO And it's really, really difficult to find below 4 lbs 6 oz.

    Once, I bought a swamp ash body from Warmoth. I didn't buy it from their In Stock selection. I just simply ordered a swamp ash P body and told them I wanted it finished in Mary Kay.

    I got a "boat anchor"! Thanks Warmoth! Ended up with an 11 pound P Bass! Don't ever buy from Warmoth without knowing the weight of the body!
    roswell1965 likes this.
  12. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    + 1. The only reason I would order a chambered bass is for weight. Having said that, I prefer the idea of a solid body because I like my basses to weigh around 9 lbs and don't so much like the idea of all those holes in the body wood (though I have owned a couple of great chambered basses).
  13. toomanyslurpees


    Jan 21, 2009
    I have a chambered warmoth Jazz body, I wouldn't know it was chambered if I hadn't bought it from them... It's rosewood so it's still quite heavy, I'm sure if it hadn't been chambered it would be ridiculously heavy! I also have a chambered warmoth tele, same thing, you'd have no idea it's chambered other than being told. that said both are great bodies, very resonant, very nicely finished.
  14. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I've noticed that, too. Very weird. The law of averages would suggest that if they randomly select bodies for chambering, the chambered bodies would, on average, be lighter than the non-chambered ones.

    My conclusion, they must specifically cull the heaviest blanks to use for making the chambered bodies that go in their online showcase. I expect this lets them make bodies with a reasonable weight that they would otherwise have a really hard time selling. There are some people who prefer a heavier bass, but the majority of us seem to prefer sub-10 pounds (or even lighter). So, for them, making bodies that would result in an 11+ pound bass would likely mean they'd end up with a bunch of bodies nobody wants. Or body blanks that they never use.
  15. bass5str


    Jun 27, 2010
    first off i say go for it. i play both but prefer my chambered basses due to lighter weight.

    second, yes it will change the tone/characteristic but with all of the factors that go into an instrument's build (and player's fingers/ears), it is almost impossible to tell to what affect.

    i'm curious to know the neck/fb options you are going with but good luck with your chambered build. :cool: