Can the paint/laquer make a tone difference?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Grahams Groove, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. I ahve a question...

    In my quest for a new bass, I have found "the chosen bass"...which happens to be a stingray w/ rosewood fretboard and 3 band EQ...

    ...the place I played it at only has it in 2 colors, one of them I like...which is like a sapphire (sp?) black (almost looks like a grey-ish graphite)...but theres one other color combo I like as alot that would have to be special ordered...natural w/ shell pickguard. So here's the question:
    If I order the one with natural finish, would it tonally be any different? The one at the store sounds 'perfect' in my opinion. So, I'm almost afraid that by some longshot, getting the natural with the coating (as opposed to the painted one) will give me a different tone...

    Is this a genuine concern? Or will they sound the same?

  2. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I think if the tone is different because of a finish, it's going to be pretty hard to prove. You can build two identical basses, same woods, pickups, finish etc. and they can still sound different.

    I doub't you would buy the identical bass with a different finish and think the tone is so different from the other bass that you are unhappy however.
  3. So now the question is...Do I go with a sure-shot, with a color that isn't my absolute favorite, but is still very slick looking...

    Or do I chance the purchase (spend maybe 100-150 extra) and order the color I like a bit more...

    Decisions, decisions...I wish I could order it, try it and then decide...but that's not a reality. I think when you have a place like GC order a bass, you MUST purchase it...
  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I agree.

    According to the Ernie Ball website, their basses feature a high-gloss polyester finish. Polyester is great because it makes the instrument a lot more resistant to dings, dents, scratches, and so on.

    The downside to polyester is that it's a thick, very hard finish, that affects wood's tone.

    In this case, it's unlikely the color (or natural) finish is going to make any difference.

    It would be different if the finish was a true oil finish versus paint, but that's definitely not the case here.

    Get the color you like.:D
  5. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Always groove.... Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    There can be variations between seemingly identical basses made at the same time. If the bass you played has that "magic" to it and you don't hate the looks, I say go with the sure thing that has the tone you want.
  6. thanks for the input...still undecided though...anyone else, feel free to input. It's a nice predicament to be in, figuring out what color you want your ray to be. On the flip side, it would really suck if I ordered my 1st choice for color, got the bass and it didn't quite have that 'zing'...
  7. GrooveSlave


    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    My advice is to go with the one that sounds the way you want. IMO, don't go out to buy a certain color, go buy the best one they have. I'd be very nervous ordering a production bass sight unseen.

    I had this same issue with my sunburst Jazz. At the time I didn't like sunbursts (??) and wanted all natural with a maple FB. I compared them side by side and the sunburst just sounded better.... SOLD.

    That said, you'll be happy either way. Just jump the way that feels best and don't look back.

    Good luck.
  8. GrooveSlave, that's what I needed to hear. The tone is most important and besides the fact, the graphite color would've been my next choice anyways. I'm sure that next time I'm playing and the sound coming form the bass is the 'sound in my head', cosmetic features will be absolutely irrelevant.

    I'll post pictures as soon as i get the picture.

  9. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    You’re making good sense now. When you find a bass that moves you, a bass that most closely gives you the “perfect” sound you carry around in your head, get it. To hell with the color and to hell with the details and with whatever anyone else thinks. You are the one that will live with the bass.

    I have had exceptionally good fortune (I hesitate to call it luck) with Musicman basses, and if you were to order the natural, it would PROBABLY be very close to the one you’ve played. But if it were me, I wouldn’t take the chance. As others have mentioned, there are variables between each instrument, even with the exact same wood, color, tuning keys, electronics, etc. One alder sunburst Jazz sounds a lot like another alder sunburst Jazz….but the small differences are what cause us to prefer one over the other.

    If the bass speaks to you, that is what counts.
  10. Good news - thought I'd share...just called the place where I have the bass on hold, they said I should come in and buy the one at the store (graphite color) that I have on hold, and then they'll special order one in the other color I wanted, then when it comes in, they contact me and I can come try it out and if I like the newly ordered one better, I can exchange them.

    Sounds like this will work out perfectly!

    I wonder why that is? Maybe they are only able to have a certain amount of certain basses in stock at once, so they need to move one to order one...?
  11. GrooveSlave


    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    See, now you're talking. The best of both worlds. :p :bassist: