do you always analyze what you do / don't like about basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pcake, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Yes, I do

    129 vote(s)
  2. It's enough to know I don't or do like the bass

    43 vote(s)
  3. I prefer to play a carrot neck because they're always perfect!

    14 vote(s)
  1. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i've owned a fair number basses over the last 25 years and played a lot more at stores, provided or rented gear, from friends, etc. when i first started playing bass in the '90s, i didn't really try and figure out exactly what i didn't like about a bass i tried - or even what i did like. i mean, if a neck was uncomfortable, i knew that, but i didn't figure out if it was profile, radius or something else.

    these days, thanks to AGF and TB and years more of playing, i generally can figure it out. instead of thinking a neck is uncomfortable, i find i prefer a flatter radius, and if a profile bothers me, i can figure it out. another example is that early on i had a bass that bothered me, but it took me more experience to figure out that the exact location of the pickup was exactly where my fingers would pluck, so i kept on hitting it - it was only after i had experience with other basses that i realized that hitting the pickup wasn't a normal thing for me.

    how about you? when you play a bass you really like - or really don't lke - do you know or figure out exactly why or do you just know it's one to pass on?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    Earlier in my career I would just play whatever was in my hands thinking "This must be as good as it gets." I didn't know what I didn't know. These days I can hold a bass for about ten seconds and tell you exactly what I do/don't like about it.
  3. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    If something catches my eye, I pick it up, plug it in and play.
    Within a few minutes, I can tell if it's worth playing for another five or ten minutes.
    I used to try out between 50 to 60 basses a year and I've bought 30 over the past six years, only keeping 4 of them.
    Nothing wrong with any of the ones I've gotten rid of, but they just weren't as good as the ones I've kept.
    Now, of course, I know exactly what I want, and even though I might try out this or that Fender, MusicMan, Ric, etc, I know it will only be out of curiosity and not need.
    jamro217 and pcake like this.
  4. Skygoneblue


    Nov 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Of course. I have a mental checklist of things that I like, and when I'm spending hundreds/thousands of dollars on something, those "things I like" are "must-haves".

    - Absolutely no sharp pickup corners or fret edges
    - Good neck/body balance
    - Smooth bridge surface (no screw ends sticking up)
    - Tuners easy to reach and adjust
    - Concave (scooped) body back
    - Easy access to battery, electronics, and truss rod

    I could go on, but you get the idea. If a bass annoys me in even one of those ways, I'll fixate on that one thing and end up hating it. I'm incredibly petty, so yes, I have high standards for instruments.
  5. EmuBass


    Jan 24, 2018
    Vienna, Austria
    Yes / no / carrots?
    Where's to vote?
    pcake likes this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i learned early in my 'bass game' what i liked and why. for me: i still have preferences (on which i depend!) but i'm probably more casual about them than when i was younger and more 'insistent'.
    pcake likes this.
  7. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I didn't analyse anything. I owned one bass for 25 years so I didn't need to know much. I either liked what I picked up or I didn't. It's only since I've been lurking around on the internet that I've considered, if only a little, the reasons why I like or don't like stuff. That's why I was sad to see Ken Jung leave. He explained things in a way that even I could understand!!
    NEBADON2000, ed morgan and pcake like this.
  8. mapleglo

    mapleglo Ancient Astronaut Theorist Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    For me, it's not so much an analysis, as what I don't like just jumps out at me. It's pretty quick.
    M.R. Ogle, maxl and pcake like this.
  9. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    I have been playing for a long long time, probably like 35 years, and pretty much know exactly what works for me and doesn't, I do try new things like asym necks and so on but know right away if its not for me...I wont go to a brick and mortar and pick up a Fender or clone just to fool around because I know they are not for me...I think with age you get the benefit of figuring stuff out, pretty late in the game for me but it was fun getting there, and now I just know.
    Rock on.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    Phud and pcake like this.
  10. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I have the misfortune that the things I dislike don't jump out at me. Usually it's setup related. Can't set the action to my specs because the bridge saddles bottom out or I can't set the intonation because the screws are too short? Nothing that screams at you in a store but really grinds my gears as soon as you get into the nitty-gritty. And yes, I've had both on the same bass... (Solution: 2mm full pocket shim and new screws. Thus nothing dealbreaking but some misengineering going on there...)

    Neck profile, nut width, string spacing? I'll play anything. Not fussy about that. But setup issues... Ugh!
    pcake likes this.
  11. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    I’ve always been pretty analytical, but there were just so many unknowns in my analysis. One example that jumps to mind is fretboard radius — I’d heard of/ read about it many times over the years, but didn’t truly understand it until I bought a vintage-style Telecaster guitar. Now I know I’d definitely prefer not having a 7.25" radius fretboard. My MIJ Mustang bass has the 7.25" radius, too. Interestingly, those are my 2nd favorite guitar and 2nd favorite bass, respectively — I love ‘em. But, if I could change one thing about them, it would be the fretboard radius.

    Anyway, it’s been a long, expensive journey like that. Still more to know, but I’m running out of "lesson" money :roflmao:
    ObsessiveArcher and pcake like this.
  12. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player

    Mar 14, 2011
    There's a basic screening that a bass must pass now before I will even look at it seriously.
    34" scale, weight under 9 lbs, minimal to zero neck dive, well dressed frets, no ski jump, no visible mods.

    I agree with the comments about poor setup insofar as a badly set up bass often has other more serious issues you have to contend with.
    Groove Doctor, basslifter and pcake like this.
  13. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    "do you always analyze what you do / don't like about basses?"

    Absolutely: it's the best way to stifle GAS. I already know what I like in terms of sound, appearance and ergonomics:
    •scale length
    •fret size
    •fretboard radius
    •nut width/neck width/taper and string spacing
    •active vs. passive electronics
    •control layout
    •single coil vs. humbucker pup(s)
    •body size/style
    •overall weight
    •peghead layout (3+3 vs. 6-in-a-row
    •finish both color and poly vs. nitro + gloss vs. satin

    Your preferences may differ from mine or you be more flexible than I am, but it's important to know how you feel about all of the above.

    I can usually eliminate a bass that initially catches my eye just by reviewing the specs, just because they will tell me whether or not it would to feel comfortable for me to play. In terms of appearance, I know what I do and don't like looking at. Not everything is a deal breaker, but I dislike certain things enough to know that, over time, they will eventually cause me to stop playing the instrument. Next stop: "for sale".

    Sometimes being fussy can save you money.

    And sometimes when you start jonesing for a new bass, sitting down and learning a new song instead of endlessly trawling E-Bay or Reverb or whatever for gear can help "calm the beast"...
  14. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    added just for you :D
    EmuBass likes this.
  15. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i was much more casual about basss and guitars when i was younger.

    on the other hand, i didn't run into any D or U necks when i was younger - i find them uncomfortable but clumsy. i hadn't even realized at 40 that not all basses had neck dive :D
    chris_b and JRA like this.
  16. JakobT


    Jan 9, 2014
    Oslo, Norway
    I spent a good deal of time and money figuring out what I like, so I now don’t have to spend so much of either to make a good purchase. :)
    pcake likes this.
  17. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    It's a Zen thing, really, so Door #2 applies, best.
    Helix and pcake like this.
  18. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I always believed an that holding an opinion (or having a standard) that wasn’t carefully considered and fully worked out, isn’t worth having. So yeah…I tend to analyze everything to death.

    That doesn’t mean I’m not a nice person.:p
    thabassmon and pcake like this.
  19. Yes, however im very easy to please. Very low action and light newish strings and decent tone results in my being happy.

    I can prefer certain features and designs, but ive loved thick warwick necks, skinny ibanez necks. Everything.

    If it sounds good and plays how i like, i appreciate it.
    IamGroot and pcake like this.
  20. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I've played music for 30 years, bass on/off for 20. But it wasnt til 2017 when I landed a regular paying cover band gig that I started paying attention to bass specs. Couple that with an interest in learning maintenance, set up, fret work, electronics and neck swapping, I've learned a lot these past 2 years!

    Ive found I strongly prefer P bass pickups. I say I prefer "jazz necks" but it's really just the 1.5" nut. My 2 basses each have a different radius and thickness, but I like em both just as well.
    Davbassdude, Groove Doctor and pcake like this.