Bass Players help me out here!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gfried84, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. gfried84

    gfried84 Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Owner Fried Guitars Inc.
    I am a custom bass builder and I build fender style bass. My question is this, What is more important a basses tone or it's weight? I am asking this because I have shown many people my basses and they complain about the weight of them(in the 9-10lb region). I know that my basses have great tone and play-ability. But people tell me that they want full size basses under 9 pounds and I find this to be ridiculous because for the past 7 years I have been playing solid maple spectors, Solid bubinga warwicks, and many other basses. All have been around this weight and I have had no problem with this weight. I like the look of my basses and don't want to alter the shape and I have looked into chambering the bodies but all the research I have done tells me that this will change the bodies tonal characteristics in a way that won't suit the tone that I strive for in my building. My basses generally have punchy,deep,focused tone. I use mahogony,alder, and swamp ash for my bodies and hard rock maple for necks with pretty much any type of fingerboard. Am I wrong for thinking that tone and play-ability should be the most important factors of my instruments? I have played my basses both sitting and standing and they are comfortable. when I purchase a bass I first and foremost check the tone and play-ability but, it seems that people have become human scales and before anything else, they check the weight.
    Please give me some feedback so maybe I can understand this concept better.
  2. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    For my purposes, I agree with you: I think the tone of a bass is more important than its weight; arguably, it's the most important thing about a bass period. However, people who play long sets, have certain body types or shoulder or back injuries are forced to value weight above other factors.

    FWIW, I don't think it has to be a direct trade-off. Sadowskys are quite light, and have tone that people just can't seem to live without. Not that every bass has to be a Sadowsky. In the end, everyone has different needs, and you'll never be able to build a bass that's beyond criticism. Just figure out what you think is important, and hopefully like-minded people will find you.
  3. I have some heavy ones (above 11), and some light ones (around 8lbs). My favorite right now is one that weighs in at 10.5 lbs.. I just go with a wide strap, and it's not a problem for me.

    Why is it my favorite? It's tone and playability.
  4. tone, why else would people strap on a warwick? :D
  5. The weight on the shoulder is a factor. Depending on the strap size, and your physical make up, the weight of your bass may sit right on a nerve that travels the length of your left arm. The tingling sensation in the hand can last for days - weeks - months - depending on how often you play.

    Save some of the $$ to be spend on a new bass and put it into some exercise/training to increase your upper body - it'll help you carry your rig, too.
  6. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    I agree with everyone here, tone above all else, FOR ME. Im a big guy, and weight is not really an issue for me, but I dont play shows either. If I had to play 3 hour sets, my tune might change.

    That said, you will never please everyone. If your bass is for them, they likely wont care about the weight. Ask some Alembic owners.

    Hanging out with Pete Skjold as much as I do, ive seen people been blown away by playability and tone, and get hung up about a headstock shape or body shape. To me thats just silly, but everyone has their own hang ups and stuff. Id say build a product your proud of, and certainly there will be enough people that share your opinion to keep you in business. And the ones that dont, well thats why we have options :)
  7. rockdoc11


    Sep 2, 2000
    I think I'd slightly downsize the body, or go with different ultralite hardware, or do whatever I could to get them under 10 pounds.

    I love good tone, but shoulder and back pain trumps everyuthing else.
  8. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Tell you what. You just send me an example of your work and I will put it to the test. :D I think the weight factor is important, especially for me, when you have to stand in one place for three or four hours at a time. That's why I loooooooooove my Reverend!
  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I'd try to keep it under 10lbs, but I think they sound great over that. My 11.5 lb. Precision never got played out because of the weight, and it had tone to die for. All of that work went to my Jazz because it weighed 2 lbs less, and still sounded good, but not AS good.

    I'd me more than willing to review a bass for ya too.