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Do you have a reference bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Michael Jewels, May 8, 2002.

  1. Is there a bass that you compare all or most other basses to? This is not a "What's the best bass in the world?" thread. I'm talking about a bass, any bass that just sounds and/or feels so good that you just can't help comparing any other bass you play to this one. It can be your own or one that you just played once, but, can't forget.

    What makes it so good?

    For me it was my friend Bobby's 1965 Precision. It was white with a tortoiseshell pickguard and a rosewood board. The sound this thing had was something I can not get out of my head. So round, so percussive and so balanced. Whenever I play any other bass I know I subconciously compare it to this one. I've lost touch with this guy so I don't know what's going on with him or the bass, but, I doubt if he would have ever sold it. Ah, to hear it again. :(

    Your story?
    Mike J.
  2. Great idea for a thread, Mike. Really thought-provoking.
    I'd have to say -- as crazy as this may sound, given some of the pricier basses I've owned over the years -- that my blue Reverend Rumblefish, #47 (with that number, it would be a free safety in the NFL.. an apt comparison, give how hard this thing hits!) is my point of reference. I've never played a neck that fits my hand as well. In fact, I had Greg Curbow copy the dimensions of my Reverend's neck for the neck of the J-style bass he's building for me.
    Soundwise, the Reverend has J pickups and volume/volume/tone controls, and it's got those three great, basic J sounds: both pickups on full, neck pickup rolled off, bridge pickup rolled off. And the tone control has a pretty wide sweep. Those are the tones that really speak to me, and I'm a find-a-great-tone-and-rip-the-knobs-off kind of guy. The semi-hollow body gives it some "boom" in the attack. It sounds like a good Jazz bass, but sharper and bigger -- to my ears, anyway.
    The Reverend's low price is especially helpful in its role as a reference bass, because it plays and sounds so good that any bass I try over $750 or so has to really deliver to make me think twice.
  3. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I like the fat thud sound of the P Bass. If any bass has that, I can work with it. The more tweaks I get from that point, the better I like the bass. The Carvin had it. The MM Stingray had it. The Warwick Corvette really didn't have it. The Cirrus has it.
  4. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Good question! For me, it's my Sadowsky Vintage 5. It's not just the fact that it always sounds "right", but the workmanship has set a new benchmark for me. This bass (and now also my Sadowsky fretless) really demonstrates what is possible when a luthier is focused on nothing short of excellence and values his customer enough to produce perfection every time.

    The bass balances perfectly and just feels great to play.

    It's the first bass I have ever owned that I cannot envision ever replacing.
  5. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    So far, nothing plays, feels or sounds as good as this bass.

    <img src="http://www.talkbass.com/forum/attachment.php?s=&postid=520588">
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    My points of reference are as such:

    4 strings- Modulus Q4
    5- MTD Kingston 5
    Fretless- Pedulla Pentabuzz
  7. dmaki


    Apr 29, 2000
    I compare every bass I play to my cheapo Ibanez GSR 200 with EMG's... and suprisingly, even $1000+ basses don't sound as good to me as it, its mind-boggling:eek:

  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    This is it. It has all the tones I crave, and the neck plays itself. It looks pretty danged good, as well. None of my other basses come close, and I can't think of any that I've played that were better, with the possible exception of that Fodera that Gard let me put my buckle on at BC.

  9. A good ol' fashion Jazz Bass does the trick for me. MM fretless stingray = Better than my Jazz
    Ibanez Soundgear = Worse than my Jazz

    Ohh I loved that fretless stingray I played at NAMM. And I really don't even like fretless that much!
  11. Harpo


    Feb 1, 2001
    Kings Park NY
    The point of referance for me is my long gone Mid-
    70's P-Bass It a great neck light and a light body
    and a great P-Bass sound (Rare for the error) I regret getting rid of it . But it is still the Bass I compare all to
  12. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    ...is at low volume strictly with the fingers. If it's there, then I can see what this baby will do. I've heard so many would be bass players in the stores grab a bass and start wacking on it. Locate the basics first. After all, when you play in a group, the more likely tone they'll want is the "reference sound."
  13. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    In fact, the Lakland impressed me when I was I BC for the presence of that P Bass sound. I can never really play a bass in a store without playing along with store music, so I just check reference tone and tweak the knobs. It definitely would do the trick for me it I come into cash in the future.
  14. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    For me, they are my 3 Status Graphite basses. Each one is neck-through and all graphite.
    I've got them all set up with light strings and the same ridiculously low action (around 1-2/32 at the 24th fret) and they play perfectly.
    Since the necks don't budge from where they are, I can't help comparing any other basses I try out to these. I've actually cured my GAS pains with these basses.
    The sound is exactly what I want also. :)
  15. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    my music man 5.
  16. For me it would definitely be Jeff's Zon Sonus custom 5.

    I have yet to hear anything I like as much.
  17. I compare everything to my Squier P. Some sound better, others sound worse.

    Since I take it with me when ever I go to any guitar shop, I can play it side by side with anything I choose.

    Since it is also my most played bass, and the sound I prefer, it serves as every point of comparison for 4 strings. 5 strings and fretless basses, I'm open to pretty much everything.
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    For fretless, no doubt, my Sonus Custom 5 string. Nothing else comes close.

    For fretted, it would have to be the Fodera Emperor Elite 5 string I played today. Best playing, best sounding bass that I have ever had in my hands. Better than a Sadowsky, which was my standard until today. But not $2500 better than a Sadowsky.
  19. I've owned lots of rickenbackers, stock and custom.
    A warwick nt thumb.

    But I just cant say no to my Jazz bass !
  20. Munji said...

    This is it. It has all the tones I crave, and the neck plays itself. It looks pretty danged good, as well. None of my other basses come close, and I can't think of any that I've played that were better, with the possible exception of that Fodera that Gard let me put my buckle on at BC.

    I have the same reference bass as Munji. Most everything else comes up short ;)


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