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Do eyes decieve?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lamborghini98, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    I wonder if there are any basses that simply look really great but dont sound so good. I mean.. I look at Nordstrand or Benavente basses and I think "thats how they look" but I NEVER think about the sound. Is it something we (rightfully?) take for granted? I mean.. I look at a Fender and the first thing that comes to me is the sound (same thing with Hofner.. but not in a good way)... that doesnt happen with more aesthetically pleasing basses.
    Im not saying its a bad thing that people appreciate basses for their looks, but I just hope that the wow factor of having great looking woods doesnt lose its class (as do so many once-good things in America).
  2. purfektstranger


    Apr 10, 2003
    I am sure you will run across many basses that look good to you but sound like crap. It's subjective to a certain point and then there are basses that look great but just don't measure up in the sound department. That said, it's probably less likely to happen the higher the price tag goes....
  3. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    Good point on the likelihood of a crappy sounding high priced bass.
  4. Looks matter, but I agree that they're not really that important, although I strongly believe that you're per definition a better player when you're playing an instrument you like 100%. But your eyes can decieve you, no doubt about that. The human mind just works that way. Always play, feel, stroke, sniff, lick, and jump around with a bass before you buy. A good bass is an extension of the creative part of your brain, something you don't want to take any chances with, especially if it's costing you a lot of money.

    The other side of the coin but also more proof that you should always try before you buy: cheap instruments nowadays usually look stunning at first sight. Figured tops (could be photo flame!), a forest of controls and switches, gold hardware, elaborate inlays etc. make it very hard for beginners to make a rational, sensible choice without the advice and guidance of an experienced player who's able to see through the 'make-up'.

    Personally I've only bought one bass without a testdrive. I couldn't / didn't want to travel all the way to the USA to try her out. This particular instrument got a rave review in Bass Player magazine and with the great reviews Benaventes in general get on Talkbass in mind I decided to take the chance. But to me it was still a huge gamble and I was really nervous when I picked her up and strummed her for the first time. Luckily it proved to be a fabulous instrument... :)
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I find that there are very few basses being made today that truly sound bad. Even the cheapie Squiers, Rogues and Carlo Robelli basses are miles above the cheapies made in the 60's. However, I must admit that the farther past the $2000 price point a bass costs, the less I like it. There are certain things about basses that cost that much and more that I absolutely can't stand, like exotic woods that do nothing for tone(especially spalted woods), overblown pickup systems, bridges that take 2 hex wrenches and a screwdriver just to adjust the intonation, etc. I find that a lot of those basses sound sterile and lifeless. I'd rather play a bass that has a few flaws and has some (for lack of a better word) personality than these airtight basses that are so perfect they perfect all the personality out of them.
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Excellent point. These days, it's not about "good" or "bad" tone, the challenge is finding out which of the many tones best pleases your ears, whether it's traditional passive or modern active.
  7. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I completely agree. :smug:
  8. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    It's reasonable to expect an expensive bass to sound great, and I think that most boutique/custom basses do have their own personality. I find the problem more in the higher-end mass produced basses, that sterile sound JimmyM talked about above.

    Using my own basses as an example: I have an FBB fretless 6 that has got tons of personality and it's own unique sound. Although it wasn't built to my specs (I bought it used) it sure feels like it was.

    Conversely, my Conklin GT7 feels like a mass produced instrument. Originally priced at ~ $1,250-$1,300 street value, it's not a real high end bass, but it ain't cheap either. The bass, while well built and reliable, doesn't have a lot of soul. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a lot of players love this bass, but for me it's only so-so. It's been a great intro into the 7 string world, but I'll be much happier once I order a 7 string FBB.

    For me, mass produced basses give off a mass produced vibe. That's not to say they're poor instruments, just haven't been properly "funked-up" yet ...... :cool:
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I find that most BC Rich basses don't sound as good as they look.
  10. Shakey

    Shakey Vote for Pedro!!

    Apr 12, 2005
    Roanoke, Va
    Just to illustrate that everything is subjective to personal taste:

    I hope that a BC Rich as least sounds a little better than they look ... because they are hideous!!
  11. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    I want to like Spector basses.
    They do sound nice as hell BTW, but they just don't fit me good.
    I love the shape, the woods and colors. The blue burst with gold hardware just kills me everytime I walk into GC. And the natural finish...WHEW!!!! nice!!!
    But they just don't fit me well. And I want them to, I really do!! I play one everytime I go in there.
    God I want one of the blue ones!!
  12. Low Down Sound

    Low Down Sound Retailer: Low Down Sound

    May 18, 2004
    ferndale, mi
    Mike, why do you go to GC?
    It hurts baby, it hurts.


  13. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    I'm sorry, but the field mice and honey trick stopped working as a ploy to attract customers.
    Plus, I feel insignificiant next to you big strapping guys over there!! BA HA HA HA!!!!! RIGHT!!!
    And if you biitches put out a little more then we wouldn't have this problem no would we?!?!
    Blow it out your gerbil cage tough guy.
    Go play a Lakland or something.
  14. Low Down Sound

    Low Down Sound Retailer: Low Down Sound

    May 18, 2004
    ferndale, mi
    you'll own a Lakland soon too!!!!!!!!

    bwahhhh hahahahahahhah

  15. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    I think part of the reason why you look at something like a Nordstrand and dont think of a particular sound is that they are all different. Each one being made to personal tastes, you may get some very similar ones, but wont get a "stock" sound so to speak. These types of basses are often very versatile as well, so dont have that "one" sound.

    And yeah Ive played a few lookers that were just that, lookers. Fodera's and Warrior's come to mind, allthough both makers have produced amazing sounding basses as well, the few Ive played werent very impressive personally.
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I didn't say they looked good.
  17. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    A bass made of solid gold and diamonds would look incredible, but sound awful and weigh about 50 lbs.

    Also, Hofner "Beatle" basses look great but are (IMO) awful.
  18. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger Commercial User

    Sep 22, 2005
    Not Mars
    The Overlord of Nordstrand Pickups
    i couldn't agree more. same with alembics. both make absolutely gorgeous basses that i simply cannot stand to play.
  19. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    It's not that I can't stand to play them, they just fit my body strange.
    No here's the funny part, Warwick Streamers are nothing but "copies" of the Spectors (in fact Spector sued them and lost, but thats another thread ;) ) and I've owned a Streamer and it was fine.
    Weird huh?!?!
  20. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    Mmm.. I didnt expect that. I mean, I would probably have a rather difficult time telling one Fodera from another based on ear. This is true with a few more makers. I didnt really think that sounds varied that much from bass to bass within the same manufacturer (except if they have obviously different electronic setups -like active or passive or P v J).