Carved bass or laminated?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Kevinlee, May 16, 2001.

  1. Kevinlee


    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    What are the pros and cons of carved and laminated uprights? I've been told that carved can be tempermental and troublesome with climate changes. I haven't had any trouble with mine yet but have not had it through one of these Arizona summers yet. I'm getting ready to see how it does though. It's that time of year. Also what about tone and music style. Whats better for what?

  2. I have only ever played a laminated bass,but i think the general consensus is that laminated basses are more durable and stable in varying weather/humidity conditions.I guess if you have the time and resources to really look after the bass,a carved example would suit pretty much any style of music,but laminated basses are considered by some to be more desirable for bluegrass,rockabilly,R&R etc to get that thumpy sound.It must be nice to be able to afford both!
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    As far as style goes, for things like bluegrass, rockabilly and blues laminated basses are THE sound. Not that a carved bass wouldn't sound better, but the sound you hear on classic records is of laminated basses. They also amplify better because the less resonant top means they are less feedback prone.

    For jazz and classical music, carved is the standard because of the richer sound possible.

    There are always exceptions, like jazzer Slam Stewart who reportedly played laminated basses and had a great sound.

    Some cheap carved basses can sound worse than a well made laminate though, so it does come down to the sound of the individual bass after all is said and done.

    In terms of maintenance, a laminated bass is easier to deal with as body cracks are almost unheard of. If your bass needs to take a lot of abuse, laminated is the way to go. Many players keep a laminated bass around for "combat zone" gigs where they don't want to risk damage to an expensive carved bass.