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bass color - how important to you/influences?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by craigb, Jun 6, 2002.

  1. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Hey y'all,

    I'm in the "thinking about it" stage on a new bass. One of the things that I'm pondering and is causing some interesting thoughts is the bass color. There are a number of different colors that I like and in trying to decide what I like best I've had some thoughts about color and "suitability" for various purposes.

    For example I play mostly for fun in a rock "fun band" (all non-professional musicians) that gigs out occasionally. I also occasionally play at church. In the future I'd like to play with others doing other styles when the opportunity arises. Do you let the color/appearance of a bass affect when you use it? Does it matter or bother you at all?

    For example. One color I like is essentially "surf green". Nice and retro. It would be "OK" for the rock band (if maybe a bit strange) but would it look out of place in a more "formal" setting? What about backing up a singer-songwriter in a coffee shop?

    I can see why black and sunburst are very popular - they can work in any situation. Other colors, particularly more extreme ones (or extreme paint jobs) stand out quite a bit more and might invite comment from bandleaders or customers.

    Bass appearance/design can do the same thing although that's not a problem for me as the basses I like have pretty traditional (boring) appearance. But do you want to be playing a BC Rich backing up that female singer songwriter? What if it's hot pink?

    Well, you get my drift. I know we should all just play what we like and sounds good and not worry about the appearance, but what do you think?
  2. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I think much in the same terms, Craig. I mean, sure, a Warlock bass might look kinda neat thrashing out onstage in a metal band, but just for sitting at home, practicing, or doing any other gig? You'd look kind of foolish.

    I go for something that's...I dunno how to say it...classic? Tasteful? I know I just think "What if I was doing a classical gig?" (not that I do, but what if?) there go the pastels, the nuclear meltdown paint jobs, the stickers, ect. Not that I'd want them in the first place, but that if if the option was available.

    I go for solid, deep colors. Emerald greens, royal blues, blacks, crimson/wine red. Colors that look cool, while still being within any range of taste standards. Either that or a natural finish over a nicely figured wood.
  3. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    You can't go wrong with basic black.

    "It's great for fighting in the jungle and in the evening, put on some pearls and you're ready for formal wear."
  4. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Black is my favorite color. It's casual, it's formal. You can go to a wedding and a funeral in the same day without changing your suit. And y'know what? It's darned warm in the winter.

    Speaking of basic black...


    Now there's an asthetic to asipire to...
  5. I'm a big fan of light, natural finishes. Cloud or quilted maple for the wood. Alder works also.

    Tasteful, not flashy, not tacky. But also looks good, not stodgy.

    I personally don't like a dark wood finish for the body. But a deep, rich color would work also.
  6. well, i only own two basses. One a natural finish Warwick (flamed maple) and a black Jazz Bass with tortoiseshell plate. I use both with my normal band, the jazz for more ska-ish type stuff we do, the Warwick for everything else. When not with my band, I use the jazz for like bands that i help out, mostly skate-punk or rock.

    When doing any other kinda music, especially where i am reading, such as jazz or some other large band based thing, then it's the Warwick, mainly cos it looks more impressive.

  7. I like natural finishes and black.

    I own a Fender Jazz reissue - that's white, and a natural ash Musicman Sterling.

    I really like the flashy finishes on some of the Spectors, and love the look of quilted maple, but for me I've always chosen my guitars by feel first, sound second and looks third.

    I agree though, it would look strange playing in church with a psychadelic bass.
  8. KeBo


    May 31, 2002
    Princeton NJ
    Hey Craig, The thing w/colors on basses im playing is if it isnt Black/White/SB or exotic woods, I get real sick of em.. Collecting, I go for the colors..
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    To me, black is the default color. If I can't find a bass in a color that I like, black it is.

    That being said, I'm not opposed to any other color. Sure, sea foam green is not a great color to play a funeral, but it's not like I'm missing out on a lot of gigs. My favorite colors are sunburst, natural and any transparent color finish that lets you see the wood underneath. Sober solid colors are ok. I'm currently in the process of refinishing my Warmoth bass, not so much because it's black, but because my last two basses were black too and I'm sick of playing instruments finished in black.
  10. Rodan


    Feb 4, 2002
    Hollywood, FL
    Black is classic. Sunburst is more of a vintage look, but also very stylish. Natural (light colored wood such as ash) is also a favorite of mine, although any finish which allows you to see the grain of the wood is usually good in my book - especially if it's walnut, bubinga or spalted maple.

    Quilted tops are cool, but I don't think I like them as much as some other people. Sometimes it makes the bass "too pretty", you know? Like it's almost too nice too play, especially when it's something like a cherryburst quilt or something crazy like that.

    Strangely enough, I really like green basses. Sherwood green is a kick ass color. Even the quilted basses look better in green. If I even get a modulus Q5, it'll be a subtle quilted maple 4A or 3A rather than 5A with a green tint.
  11. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    I tend to shy away from the brighter, flashier colors, but I do know where there's a Str*t that has been refinned in what I call a "Bass Boat Green", complete with sparkles and all. If I could find a P-Bass like that, I'd be set!
    For my basses, I have a black P, a 3-tone Sunburst Jazz, and my newest, the natural FBB.
    I'm not too big on the maple tops, because it seems they are getting to be a-dime-a-dozen, but I've been thinking lately that a nice quilted maple top stained in Royal Blue would look really nice. Maybe with a Maple fingerboard. Hmmm....Maybe I should stay away from the Warmoth site for a while.
  12. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    You bring up a good topic Craig, and also a few good points.

    I plan on owning a Carvin as soon as possible, and actually thought of getting that sparkly finish they have. The color of the bass depends on what angle you are looking at it. I then opted not to, it seemed like a cool idea at the time but I was afraid that the novelty would wear off and I would be stuck with this really flashy bass. Also, I too want a bass that looks as versatile as it sounds. One day I might be playing Ac/dc, and the next I might be playing Merle Haggard. I want a bass that I could take to both gigs and not look tacky.

    On that note, I own two black basses, a purple one a red one (that's more of a beater bass) and my Musicmaster was once blue I believe but has been sanded down to a natrual stained finish. (The bass was from back when Fender's finishes weren't very good)

    I really burst finishes, espcially sunburst. I also like blueburst and greenburst. I really dig that light red/orange burst that Rickenbacker has.
    I also like solid colors where the wood shows. I know a guy who has an early 90's model Yamaha that is deep red, but you can see the wood grain underneath the finish. I also love the natrual look of walnut and koa. Either flat or gloss.
    I don't care much for quilted tops though.

    Keep in mind, the finish of your bass determines the price. Burst finishes, and finishes where you can see the wood is always going to be more expensive, since they builder has to use wood that doesn't have knots in it.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Overall: yes, appearance is important. So many quality basses are available; to me there is no "best" bass, there are merely many different flavors of "very good". So, why play a bass that doesn't look cool to me?

    As for color: bassic black [sic] is always cool; but I don't happen to play one at the moment (my black beater fours are retired in favor of my fivers). My current colors are vivid, ranging from Fender shoreline gold to Warwick trans burgundy to the "greenstone" Q5 in my avatar. Sometimes I pick whichever color best matches my stage gear. If that means playing my ultra-modern Q5 in my blues/Motown/R&B band, then so be it, I've got no problem with it. But if my bandmates did, I'd respect 'em (after putting up a mild fight first :))
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    'I just want a bass that matches my outfit.'

    -Reginald Arvizu

  15. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Some finishes really show fingerprints I've noticed. That is especially true of black. I think a bass covered with fingerprints looks kind of cheesy toward the end of a set. I go for finishes like natural wood that don't show those shiney fingerprints so much. I do like tobacco sunburst. Carvin has some incredibly beautiful finishes and colors to choose from, but I have no idea how well they hold up.

    That said, I also have a "thing" for red basses, especially a deeper red...not so much a fire engine or lipstick red. Yup, red may not be appropriate for a funeral gig, but then I have never played such a gig. I would hazard a guess that few funerals have live bands, beyond maybe an organist or pianist or a small choir at most.
  16. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I prefer a solid color or a nice natural stained, wood grain finish. One of my basses is candy apple red. Its. Its not overly flashy in color, and works well with any gig. Im also very partial to one of the carvin finishes, the greenburst they have on the LB76....mmmm so pretty and tastefull
  17. Colour to me in a bass is quite important. Black with a white pickguard is my favourite. It's simple, elegant, classic. I think my Rick 4003JG is basically the perfect looking instrument. I'm going to change to a white pickguard/nameplate for a even more sleek, understated look.

    My SR5 that I have on order is black, including headstock, black pickguard, maple fingerboard.

    I've not seen many wood finish basses I've really liked. A lot of them look very impressive initially but for whatever reason I just prefer a solid finish.

    A natural wood finish (no matter what the colour the wood is) would work in any musical context though.

    All this said, I have a major soft spot for red Ricks with black trim... and lake placid blue Jazz basses with matching headstock!

  18. SquattingDog


    Oct 8, 2001
    I want a live band at my funeral.

  19. I want each bass I own to look different. I have a black bass, Sunburst bass, transparent blue bass, building a natural walnut body.

    My next in line will either be lake placid blue, or black. I also like emerald green, and I like the way red with a black pickguard looks.

    I don't go for extreme colors, like orange or pink, and for me even lake placid blue is pushing it.
  20. membranophone


    Mar 19, 2000
    Madison, WI
    When my bandmate died last summer, the other remaining members and i played a couple songs he wrote and pink floyd's "wish you were here," lacking the guitar parts he usually played. You could really sense that something was missing. I thought it was a nice touch. I'm certain he would've wanted that way.

    I hope my funeral has an awesome live band.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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