Bass Design Advances

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kirbywrx, Apr 2, 2002.

  1. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    I was just at the Lakland web site and believe me, they have some very nice bassses. BUT some of them look like fenders. I went to the hamer web site, there are basses that look like p-basses, my bass, is a p-bass rip, and i have seen many many more basses that are a rip of Fenders.
    Beautiful bass companies shouldnt have to copy other basses to make money. Eg, Lakland. They make wonderful basses, but why would such a qualified company, have to copy another bass??


    One more:

    To me these basses look like fenders. If it werent for the writing on the head stock i couldnt tell the difference.

    Why do MOST companies copy Fenders? I know there are some companies that havent, ie, Warwick, Ibanez, but why does just about every company have to rip the p-bass or some other Fender??
    I feel better now that i have that out of my system :D
  2. Perhaps it's because the design is very functional? For example, you need to cut the bottom so it rests on a lap comfortably, you need to cut some room near the neck to access the higher frets and you need a horn to balance the bass while wearing a strap.

    As for the headstock, well, maybe then it's to satisfy people who want a Fender but don't like Fender?
  3. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    The shape of the bass is understandable, but why to they have to have the same pick guard and the metal part where the knobs are? It just puzzles me...:confused:
  4. I think I remember seeing a discussion about this...but I can't remember where it was at.

    I think the main idea was that studio engineers have a general idea of how to dial in a J or a P because the design/electronics have been around for a long time. So when small-volume manufacturers started making basses, studio engineers would see that it wasn't a fender, and wouldn't let the players use the instrument because of the apparent "extra" time needed to get the sound correct. But this also makes sense for playing shows. Audiences may not know what the brand/model is....but almost everyone has seen a J, a P or a strat, or even a LP. So these designs get copied.

    But the second part of the story was that studio engineers in places like nashville have started to adopt settings for other recognized basses, like a modulus Q series.

    In order to do business, the basses sometimes need to have a recognition factor going for them.

    Makes sense..right?
  5. fu manchu fan

    fu manchu fan

    Mar 20, 2002
    becasue it works, always has worked, and will continue to work. easy as that. its also easily reconized, everyone knows that that looks like a P-bass.

    and many people like the look, but might not like fender, so other companies make look-a-likes for people who like their brand.

    easy to produce too.
  6. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I believe the sunburst bass in the photo you posted is a Joe Osborne signature, and is INTENDED to be a P copy. From the MIJ lawsuit wars of the 70s, turns out that the only part of a bass or guitar whose design is copyright-able is, of all things, the HEADSTOCK. So, anyone can make a P or J-shaped body, but you gotta change the headstock.

    Go figure... :confused: :rolleyes:
  7. I would say at some level every company has copied Fender, they invented the electric bass. At what point is it copying? Well, the courts decided that copying the headstock shape is copyright infringement. As for the body, I have no beef with Fender clones, especially the higher end ones which I feel are an improvement on the classic fenders.

    And for your examples, Warwick and Ibanez are indeed guilty of copying to the same level as Lakland, Sadowky, Lull who make P and J copies. Ibanez has Fender copies (Roadstar, Stagestar) and Warwich has certainly been "influenced" by Spector.

  8. Could be a few reasons:

    1. Marketing.

    Ever notice how one car company designs a clever car, say an SUV that sells well and next year a dozen other car companies are making similar SUVs?

    2. Evolution.

    Some companies must see a good thing, analyze it and then make a couple or more improvements and put it on the market.

    Look at Sadowsky for instance. I see them as P & J basses with extra features and a higher level or craftsmanship that will appeal to people who want a "better" or different Fender.

    3. Compatibility.

    As some people mentioned above. Some folks still believe that if it isn't a J or P bass then it isn't worthwhilte... go figure.
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I think folks like Dan Lakin and Roger Sadowsky do P and J copies to answer the question "Hmmmm ... what would a P or J be like if you made it out of the best materials, installed the best pickups and electronics, and used the best construction techniques?" Then they get folks whose reputations are built around P's and J's, like Joe Osborn and Bob Glaub, to use and endorse them. I'll bet any high-end P or J copy sounds infinitely better than my old '65 P-bass.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Familiarity is the key.its not so much that a company has made a copy.some bass players prefer what is familiar.some basses that are refered to as vintage is just that,and thats only because of age.I have heard old basses that sound better than new ones,and vice versa.some bass players requested J,and P basses but wanted a certain sound,that for them were not available at the time.example Marcus Miller.some companies would not be sucsessfull today if they had not started off making what looked like a J or P is very few companies today that have an original and fuctional
    body desighn. some companies today may have a different body desighn but the neck may feel like a bass that we all may be familiar with.remember when Stienberger first appeared a body that by many considered non fuctional,and uncomfortable.the bass itself to some was very fuctional,and its sound very versatile,but it was the unfamiliar body that threw many off.then later they offered a model that, had a body.taking us back to the power of Familiarty.
  11. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Did not.
    However, Leo Fender did two important things to popularise it:
    Frets. The bugger put on those metal bumps that allows anybody to play almost in tune all the time. Thus, more people could pLay.
    Industry. Leo came up with a concept that was incredibly simple, and easy to produce. It was industrialised and mass produced.
    Thus, more people could pay.

    And back to the topic: a simple concept is easy to copy.....
  12. Who built the first electric bass then? I really have no clue. And does this mean Leo Fender is a liar, because I have several interviews with him where he is asked "Where did you get the idea for the electric bass", and he never says "well you see this guy over hear built one, so I took it and...". I am actually curious if it is indeed true.

  13. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    Except for the head stock everything is very practical. In case you didn't notice P and J basses look a lot alike. Why do most cars have 4 wheels? If someone made a bass out of a sqaure blank and put a great paint job on it would it sell?
  14. the sad truth is, YES it would, in fact it has.

    mind you tho, it was a guitar so that probably explanes it ;)


  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    There were others who tried to amplify basses before the Fender, but it was the first mass produced, commercially successful electric bass.

    Gibson, Ampeg, and others had early attempts to make the bass competitive with wind and amplified instruments volume wise, but none of their ideas really caught on.
  16. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Not only DB!
    I have seen pictures of bass guitars from the '40s, mostly achtops, but at least one solid body.
    No frets and no special features, looked like huge guitars.

    Leo's version took the electric bass guitar into the reach of the common man/woman. He also came up with a "non-standard-guitar" design, which made it interesting to the young rebellion.

    So I join you: thank's Leo!
  17. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    Leo and his staff invented the horizontal solidbody electric bass guitar. STOP.
  18. gmann


    Mar 1, 2001
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
  19. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    Truth be told it was Paul Tutmarc in Seattle with his Audiovox bass in the '30s. Check the link...
  20. Cool! Thanks for the link!