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Contemporary Basses.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Marty Forrer, Feb 2, 2002.


  1. Looking at all the NAMM photos, both here and elsewhere, seems to show a huge lean toward wierd shaped basses made from a piece of timber that most furniture manufacturers would discard,
    and an almost universal lean toward Bartolini pups and preamps, which is going to mean that most of these basses are going to sound quite similar, given that different woods have little effect on the sound of a bass when used in any sort of volume setting. (Quote from the Lakland web site - "a cap of quilted maple will have very little or no effect on the sound").
    Is it me, or have a lot of boutique builders been so obsessed with "being different" that they have mostly all ended up being the same or similar.
    I have been looking for a lightweight 4 to replace my heavy Tobias 6 for gigging (I have a bad back), and after looking at all sorts of exotic stuff on the net, I settled on one of Steve Barr's ltd edition Lakland Joe Osbornes with Fralin pups and J-retro preamp. This would seem to me to be "different" when all else is Bartolini equipped.
    Dont mistake me, I am not knocking Bartolini, or any of the boutique luthiers. I just think they have ended up with the equivalent of "wind-tunnel syndrome", where, because all car designs are wind-tunnel tested, they have ended up all looking very similar to one another.
     
  2. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I agree. It's just that, I think in most bassists mind, Bartolini has a better name/rep. I know, that as a knee jerk reaction, I'd want Bartolini in my high end bass, because that what all the high end bassists have. Never mind that I might like Duncans better, or Aero, EMG or Razor, or something else better. Bartolini is a recognized name in high quality pups, so people lean that way. I think that it would help if we could have modulated pups, so you could swap them by just clicking buttons. Like the Neutric locking jacks. Then you could compare/contrast on YOUR bass, right there...but there might be some inherent problems with that, otherwise, I can't imagine why a process like that hasn't caught on.
     
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    The Lakland quote is indeed correct, but the critical word you've overlooked is cap. Body wood is a critical factor in determining the overall tone of a solidbody bass. A 1/8" veneer over the primary wood is insignificant.

    I would argue that Bartolini pickups have little inherent tone themselves, therefore the natural tone of the wood(s) is better heard. In other words, differences between these boutique basses will be more apparent.
     
  4. EString

    EString

    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    I feel the same. I wish the "modernist" and "retro" groups could live in harmony so we could get a distribution of basses that will please everybody.

    I'm an exclusively fretted, 4-string bass with humbuckers kind of guy, so looking at all these pictures of Koa topped 98 string basses makes me feel left out.
     
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings