Biggest design flaws you've ever seen

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lonnybass, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    From time to time I'm sure you've encountered instruments that made you ask yourself "what the #$%^ were they THINKING?" and it becomes clear that not all instruments were designed by people who actually PLAY them.

    So, let's have an airing of the grievances of the biggest design flaws you've encountered on an bass (aesthetics aside).

  2. Red701

    Red701 Guest

    Aug 5, 2005
    i have a thunderbird and my biggest problem with it is that there is no extension on the top of the body where the strap button usually is. that extension is on almost every guitar/bass to even out the weight and keep the instrument level when your not holding it. the tbirds lack of extension plus its heavy neck causes it to go right down to the ground when your not holding on tight. this also forces you to hold on tight with your left hand when playing which restritcs your movement so you cant move around the frests easy. the best solution i can come up with (without altering the bass) is to press down on the body with my right forearm so that the neck goes up. but this then restricts movement with my right hand so i cant always play fast enough.
  3. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    The preamp on my old BTB had a midrange knob that sounded more like a wah pedal than a midrange control. The only time i've ever encountered that phenomena..."what the #$%^ were they THINKING?" indeed.
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I was going to say the thunderbird as well, the lack of upper horn makes no sense.
  6. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    The only thing that gets me is basses with less than 22 frets....but it's not really a flaw, but it still makes me think "Hey guys, would it have been that hard to stick a couple more frets on?"

    I'm prepared to be reminded the benefits of having less frets, mind you.
  7. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    My Corvette 6 is a neck diver.
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    General nits:

    Battery compartments that require screwdrivers to open.

    Knobs that increase levels when you turn them counterclockwise.

    +/- control knobs without center detents.

    Trussrod nuts that aren't accessible unless the strings are off.

    Non-recessed control cavity covers.

    Manufacturer specific nits (that I can think of off the top of my head):

    Parker Fly - Uncomfortable upper bout cut.

    Curbow/Kubicki - Lower horn too small for sitting.

    Fender Marcus Miller - Preamp isn't automatically off when lead is removed.

    Rick Turner Ren/Steinberger Broomsticks - Neck dives without extra "dongle" for strap
  9. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Mine sits in my lap just fine!
  10. ASAT hollowbodies...SOUND INCREDIBLE...hollowing out an already notorious neck-diver and you get ...NECK PLATFORM DIVING!!! :D

    nevertheless...I still GAS for one, and would put on one of those extender bars that replaces the neck plate to balance it out....

    My wishbass has a design flaw (you say..."NO, *gasp*, a design flaw on a wishbass? NO WAY!")...I'm going to say that wishnevsky has done some things that aren't popular (baseball bat necks, for example) on purpose...but the thing on mine that gets me is the blasted headstock needs to have the bottom cutout bevelled (near the nut). The E and G strings go over the nut and then they contact the headstock as the bend back for the tuners....a little 1/4" bevel around this edge would sold the problem...

    But, I don't trust wish with a router...he only understands planes and hole saws... :D
  11. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I always had a problem with them sliding off my lap. But that just explains why there are so many different body shapes; what works for some won't work for all.
  12. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    it's perfect for me, but I don't like the feel of P bass bodies, I think they're way to chunky. It's all a matter of preferance.
  13. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    Id have to say that while its not a "flaw" because it was custom made that way, the awkward placement of the bridge relative to the body is a HUGE turnoff to the Alembic Stanley Clarke model. I just cant play it..
  14. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Hmm, I find the Clarke bass incredibly attractive, but I've never had the chance to play one...I envy you just for that!
  15. AmPb100

    AmPb100 Guest

    Apr 25, 2005

    Yeah it eventually got to the point where the eq flaked out and the bass control was a wah.
  16. GrooveWarrior

    GrooveWarrior Supporting Member

    A wah pedal IS basically a midrange rolloff control. When you turn the sweepable midrange frequency control on your preamp, it SHOULD sound like a wah pedal. The same thing happens with my EMG setup.
  17. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Hmm...i really liked the EQ on that bass, it was very versatile...Mine is sold, and waiting to be shipped, looking back, I might even miss it!
  18. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    Neck dive sure, but what about trying to reach the upper registers on a T-Bird?! Especially on the G string. You need ET fingers to try & pull it off!

    That & no battery compartment door on my ASAT.

    That being said I wouldn't trade either of those basses for anything.
  19. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    The first bass that comes to mind is the original Steinberger, with that little plastic piece you had to flip out in order to play while sitting down.

    Another is the Zeta bass which was supposed to be playable either as an upright or strapped on like a bass guitar. The concept sounded great on paper. After trying it, though, my opinion was that it didn't really fill the bill as either.
  20. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Basses with high-mass bridges where the saddles cannot get as low as they do on Fender-style bridges. It's rarely an issue on the lower (pitched) strings- I just wish they'd machine the saddles/tracks on the G and C so they can sit closer to the board and match the board radius. I've had to solve this problem on some import basses and my Gibby Renegade by replacing the bridge (I'd rather do that than shim).

    Pup routs on midrange basses that do not match anything but the pups that came in the bass. Hey, you're already gonna get the beginner's money- if you're gonna go thru the trouble of building an instrument well enough that it can be upgraded into a real player, you can attract the knowledgeable buyer as well if your basses accept better pups without extra routing. See MIM Jazz.

    Aftermarket Fender-style neck/body makers whose truss rod adjustment is at the headstock (Hello, Mighty Mite) rather than the body. It screams "MIM" or "SX", rather than "custom builder". Yes, I know Fender used headstock adjustment on their 70s basses, but those also have the brand name on the headstock.

    Most of my electronics/playability/construction issues have been mentioned. The following gripes are purely aesthetic.

    Angled inline (by "inline" I mean 4 on a side, or 4+1 in the case of a 5 string) headstocks. Uh, Carvin- the 80s are past. I'd have bought three or four of your kits already if only you made a flat inline headstock.

    Non-angled headstocks with 2 on a side tuners and a string retainer. Wal does this, and while I'd love to own a Wal (and would never alter it if I were lucky enough to find one in my price range), I do wish they'd angled the headstock.

    Body shapes where the lower bass bout extends further back than the lower treble bout. The offset J-shape looks better than anything out there; let's not go back any further than a P-bass.

    Exact Precision-shaped basses with no pickguard.

    The diamond-shaped knob configuration that seems to be on almost every imported bass out there. Aside from Warwick, few of the better builders use that configuration, and like the headstock truss rod on Fender-style basses, it's usually a dead giveaway. Put those knobs in a line or semicircle already!

    Nontraditional shapes that have paint rather than a clear or transparent finish.

    Nontraditional shapes that have a pickguard. I suspect that even most flatpick bassists don't really need the pg for protection, so why use it?