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Conklin Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassman7365, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. bassman7365


    Aug 30, 2010
    Curious to know if anyone has played a Conklin Groove Tools bass? If so, what are the pros and cons of the instrument? Thanks for taking the time to answer.
  2. markkoelsch


    Sep 6, 2008
    They are a nice bass. They sound good, play well, and generall look good. One thing depending on your stature...they are a large bass. The body is big, and I could see that possibly beign a challenge if you are small.

    I do not own one, but I have played 4 or 5 of them.
  3. I had a GT 7 for a while. Sound was versatile, but kind of a jack of all trades master of none. Neck was large width wise, but very flat and I had no trouble with it even though I have little dinky rat paws. The body was large but the bass balanced well and it was not as heavy or cumbersome as it looked. Fit and finish were very good, about what I have come to expect from higher end brands' import models, very much like Cort's better basses but a bit better hardware (might have been specific to my experience with both brands though). It gave up a little on fit and finish to my skyline, but not enough to make me hate it. All in all, great platform to mod with some pups that are more specifically tailored to what you want out of it, or perfectly fine to leave as is for a versatile bass.

    Oh, and they are wicked cool looking too.
  4. cassius987

    cassius987 Inactive

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I really like the American Conklins--I met Bill and played a few one day. My cousin has a GT5 that definitely fits the "jack of all trades, maste of none" comment above. They are very similar quality to the handmade Conklins except they seem to lack some of the defining tonal character. I struggle to explain how this could be so, but that's how I perceive it.

    Not snobbery on my part either--I have no intentions of buying an American Conklin, the GTs are much more in my price range and I love to buy one. However I can pretty much tell there is a difference in the sound even though both types are good.
  5. It's already been said but the bass is good and can be much better with some upgrades. Throw a Nordstrand preamp and pickups in there, maybe even a new bridge and you're set.
  6. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Inactive

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    All three of my electric basses are Conklins. I have two bill dickens and a GT 7 i converted to a fretless. I love all three and wouldnt trade them for the world.

    I have also played a conklin GT5, and it had a great neck. I really wouldnt reccomend anything else. Is there a specific one you are looking at?
  7. These were the exact mods I was considering, would have fit the natural timbre of the bass well I think. A bridge was a must as I was stringing with the low F# and it was tough to find one that would fit into the slot. I ended up getting rid of it only because I really only need 6 strings. F# was just to low for me eto get practical use out of in what I do, and I don't really need much higher than a high C (espescially on a 24 fret 6 string). In essence, it wasn't the basses fault. Had it been a 6 I would still have it.
  8. If you can, try to find a GT with factory Barts. They sound better (fuller) than the "Conklin" pups. The "Conklin" pups are Mighty Mite....not terrible, just kinda thin sounding.

    Nice necks on the GT's, wenge with purple heart stringers.
  9. behndy

    behndy Inactive

    Nov 1, 2008

    yep. i got a really good deal on a barely used GT7. the normal, non-Budha Bass one. really good condition. and 'parently a sorta rare color.

    i agree with pretty everything (i doubt that he's a)LousyBassPlayer said. except for the sound. i can't remember what brand it was, but when i told the luthier that works on my basses that i kinda hated the sound he told me it was a very cheap preamp. we took it out and it had much more warm and useful sounds.

    i am a passive bass guy tho. i don't really dig on most actives more then the passive version and the signal is too hot for a lot of effects i like to run.

    hope that helps.
  10. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I've got a GT7 now.
    It's not my main bass anymore, but it's amazing.
  11. I didn't try the preamp removal idea, but you are nothte first I heard of trying it. I wonder if big singles and no pre would be a good fit?

    And the necks are wicked cool. Mine was a de-fret too, with a really nice epoxy job. It made that fingerboard look amazing. Lots of "mwah", but the stock pups kind of let it down. IT sounded more growly and mean when it was unplugged.
  12. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Inactive

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Strange. All of mine came with the factory Bartolini's.

    If i had one complaint is it would be its not super bass heavy. But thats with the EQ flat. When i use the EQ i can get the sound i want.

    I realize thats nitpicking, but i believe it should have the exact sound i want out of the box. (ha ha ha.)

    The tonal quality is pretty consistent across all three basses.

    I also rave about the conklin, not the SIT strings.

    So what other mods have people done?
  13. I believe they came with the cheaper bart pups and a mighty mite preamp. At least that was the case with my old GT7. I replaced the pre with a bart system and it was a very nice sounding bass. Mine was one of the heavier ones, balanced nicely but gave my shoulder fits if I played it for a 4 hour gig. If it had been a bit lighter in weight, I'd still have it. Nice basses overall IMHO.
  14. No clue what's in the GT7 or the Bill Dickens, but evidently the GT4 and GT5 came with either Barts or "Conklin branded" pups from the factory.

    According to an email from Bill Conklin, the "Conklin" pups were MightyMite.
  15. bass_lord_mutha

    bass_lord_mutha Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    Odessa, TX
    The only Groove Tools bass I've played is the Bill Dickens signature 7 string. If only all Chinese-Japanese-Korean-Indonesian instruments were built so well. It is now on my GAS list :D
  16. behndy

    behndy Inactive

    Nov 1, 2008
    yeah.... the neck is NICE. my GT7 (not the Billy Bill version) has a fair amount of neck dive tho.

    and while the cutaway kinda NEEDS to be that deep to get in high, it makes it really uncomfortable sitting down for awhile.

    very well made bass. just needs some nice electronics.
  17. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Inactive

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Behndy: That problem goes away if you play in classical position.

    Everyone else:

    Thats right, barts on the 7's
    "conklins on the 4 and 5's"

    Im pretty sure that both preamps offered, are all mighty mite preamps.

    What have you guys been using instead?
  18. I played a Groove Tools 4 and loved it completely, although the body was noticeably big. I did, however love the thing. Not enough to buy, but enough if I had excess room, and extra money, I'd pick it up. It looked cool, played cool, felt cool, sounded cool, and was only about $400.
  19. behndy

    behndy Inactive

    Nov 1, 2008
    what is this..... classical position you speak of?

    i've barely ever taken lessons..... which makes a bit of a goof about terminology. i always heard/read that the best practice is to hang the strap so it's the same sitting and standing.

    but you have opened a whole new world to me. a world that i fear and am intimidated by, but want to find a place in. a better world.

    "...... I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin."
  20. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I've only played a Conklin GT-7 one time and it was a few years ago at Bass Central.

    One thing that really stood out to me was the neck heal. It was the one of, if not the smoothest heal I've ever seen. It felt neck thru without being neck thru.
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