Body weight. How light is too light?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bkbass2000, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. mkr1

    mkr1 Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2020
    Maruszczyk offers chambered, slightly downsized J bodies similar to Warmoth. I have a 7.8 lb active 32" 5-string and a 7.0 lb passive 34" 4-string that both balance perfectly - roasted neck and ultralite tuners can help.
  2. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    My Empress LB-100 is just over 7 lbs and, with the G&L lightweight tuners, it just balances nicely on the knee without a strap. So I think that in a 4-banger with lightweight, full-sized tuners, you can still be OK at 7+ lbs. With smaller tuners and headstock (e.g. Ibanez type thing) you could likely do even better. :thumbsup:

    By contrast, my Empress JB-5 is 8 lbs and change and, because of the much larger neck and extra tuners, it really dives on the knee without a good strap to help balance.

    When I play sitting down I generally have a strap on and set to support the instrument while I squirm around on my seat—especially during long rehearsals and shows. YMMV
  3. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    well, it's kinda middle ground between my basses that dived and that didn't, so I think that's true.

    also please note that definition of neck dive is very personal, some people notice it where other don't on same basses.
    TrustRod likes this.
  4. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Headless bass design is functionally superior, but looks too non-traditional for many. I have a few 5 string, 34" traditional design basses under 8 lbs. They may neck dive if I try to balance them on my knee without touching them, but that would not reflect how they are actually played. The amount of unconscious "effort" required to keep them in playing position, either with my plucking arm when seated or my strap when standing, is so minimal as to be insignificant compared to the discomfort of a heavy bass (for me). I own 8, 34" 5 strings; none weighs over 8.5 lbs, and the lightest is a hair over 7 lbs.
  5. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    I’ve built a lot of basses. I’ve found that you can go with bodies as light as the high 3 pound range and and still have balance as long as you use light weight tuners. If you go too light and there’s a balance problem, you can switch to a high mass bridge to help balance things out. I’ve built long scales as low as 7 1/4 pounds with perfect balance.
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    For me too light is when the bass starts to float away.

    I have an aftermarket Mustang bass body made of Paulownia that weighs 1.5 lbs. I used Gotoh BG350 Res-O-Light tuners and changed the strap button locations to make it balance perfectly for me when standing.
  7. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Have you considered a 32" Warmoth . Those are usually lighter as they are smaller and the slightly shorter necks have light tuners and not steel bars . So it may be easier to get the weight down .

    This is a super light Warmoth SSB in Sugar Pine with a Ziricote neck

    finished by the late Paul Slagle of Pittman guitars
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    if it has a neck dive, than it's too light.
  9. darwin-bass

    darwin-bass Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    For 32" scale Warmoth (no bars) with the lightest tuners I can find, my fretless P is wonderfully balanced at 6.7 lbs. Body weight on this is 3 lbs 6 ozs. My fretted P uses a 4 lbs 1 oz body and also balances just a bit better at 7.7 lbs

    In both cases I'm using heavy bridges.

    My 34" scale Warmoth (steel bars) also balances great with the same basic formula. Super light tuners, heavy brass bridge, 4 lbs 4 oz body. Overall weight on that is about 8.3 lbs.

    So from my experience I target 4 lbs give or take a couple of ounces. Much lighter than 3.5 lbs and neck dive becomes a thing. Over 4.25 lbs and overall weight starts to go up.
    fretno likes this.
  10. Jonathan C

    Jonathan C Supporting Member

    May 31, 2016
    Holbrook, NY
    When I saw the thread title, I thought it was for TB'ers weight, my bad! :laugh:
    darwin-bass likes this.
  11. darwin-bass

    darwin-bass Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    Well, not necessarily. It isn't as simple as just the weight of the instrument.

    Neck dive is due to the center of gravity being too much toward the headstock. Switch to super light tuners and a heavy bridge and you may be at the same overall weight but the CG shifts toward the bridge and voila, no more neck dive.
  12. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    There are lots of fixes. Bass horn extender, or move the rear strap button up, or use lightweight tuners and a heavier bridge. Then there are all the straps and harnesses.

    I'd go with the lightweight neck as well as a lightweight body, and then compensate as needed.
    Bill Whitehurst likes this.
  13. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Forget the weight of the bass, it's irrelevant to neck dive. The issue is the percentage of the weight for the neck and body. THAT is the formula you need - what is the max % of total weight that the neck can be before you experience neck dive.
    Relayer71 likes this.
  14. BobKos

    BobKos Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2007
    I have a 7.4lb Warmoth Jazz Bass and it balances well. Everything well thought out by builder (not me) to be light. Roasted maple neck. Graphite rods. Don't know if that is a contributing factor. Built on a Dinky J body. Plays & sounds GREAT. It can be done.
  15. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    No such thing as “too light”
    The key is balance
    My sandberg weighs 6lbs with NO NECK DIVE
    I don’t know how they do it
    It must be sorcery
  16. Brinkmeister


    May 26, 2021
    When a clip-on tuner causes neckdive.
  17. I have a 7.5 pound Warmoth swamp ash p body 5 string that has no neck dive. It has hipshot ultralight tuners, no string trees, and all aluminum hardware. It doesn't dive but its right on the edge of it.
  18. kalmar


    Mar 12, 2021
    A P-body with 2.3 lbs made from Empress, a light neck, a sandberg bridge and ultralite lic tuners (14mm) - finally the bass has 6.3 lbs and is too light to neckdive :) . When the body arrived, i thought the shiping box was empty. I have a second body made from empress with 2.55 lbs, but will sell it - it is just too hard to find a lightweight neck (less than 1.65lbs) and one good P is enough.
  19. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I had a body that was too light once. It honestly felt like balsa wood, it was so light. Even with legit hardware, pickups and good strings, it felt and played like a toy. It sounded fine, but it felt wrong.
  20. MotorCityMinion


    Jun 15, 2017
    Nobody has mentioned Sir Paul yet ?
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 29, 2021

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