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Discussion in 'Barker Bass Forum' started by jzucker, Aug 28, 2007.
they look very interesting...
AFAIK all of the necks are 34" scale, standard Warmoth necks. It's possible that a different neck could be used, I guess, but that's better answered by the Barker folks. I don't think a 41" scale is possible based on the existing design ... but who knows what may be in the works ...
sounds like your looking for a real EUB or DB the Barkers are kind of an inbetween bass.
Weird that this subject would come up. We are in the last fourth of a two year project which will yield two prototype basses of scale length longer than 34. Or 35. This is in conjunction with another bassmaker. The goal is to have at least one ready around the first of the year, but that is a soft deadline because of some of the complexity we have designed into the project and because of the inevitable surprises, so common in any prototype process. So I ain't namin' names, but soon we'll have another pair of hybrids in the world.
I forgot to ask the Why question: jzucker, I'm curious why you're curious!
I like the concept of your basses but I'm looking for the longer scale. I'll keep checking back periodically. In my case, I don't care so much for the bowing aspect. I just want the extra note definition and "zing" you get from the 41.5" scale though I guess if you're going to make one, you might as well give it enough arch to be able to bow on it...
I was going to make this a new thread but it sort of fits in with this discussion, so off we go.
Last night was our last outdoor concert for the season. Big band shell, the largest system we can run ourselves and the second show since I put a set of Labella flatwounds on my fretted 4str Barker Brio.
Visiting off stage after the show, I'm approached by several local players. Seasoned veterans I have known many years and have much respect for. They were completely blown away by the sound of the Barker and would have sworn from where they were sitting they were listening to a fretless EUB.
I was just gonna post this to share how pleased I was with the sound I was getting, but then took notice of the previous post re the desire for the 41" scale. Not having ANY experience with longer scale instruments, I have to say that if you're at all interested in the Barker concept you owe it to yourself to somehow explore it further.
I think Lee would be the first to say that his instruments are not intended to be competing with, or serving as EUB's but all I'm saying is anyone interested needs to somehow play one or get enough information to know whether or not it is for them. I can only imagine what a fretless could do.
Lee, I'm already scheming...
though I guess if you're going to make one, you might as well give it enough arch to be able to bow on it...[/QUOTE]
This is an apt leadin to my 99-1 discussion. The upright bass, most voluminous member of what one would call the violin family, has evolved to be bowed. And, in orchestral music, it is bowed 99% of the time. 1% of the time it is played pizzicato.
So we insert it into a jazz and or popular music context where it is played pizzicato 99% of the time and bowed 1%. And it probably would get less bowing time if it had more sustain.
So to put a bowable bridge on a Barker would be a step sideways, in my opinion, though it would make an interesting instrument. It would also make an instrument a lot like a Clevinger, and an Eminence, and so on.
If every comment like those above from JKT was appended with, "The only thing that would make it better would be if I could bow it," I'd pay more attention. What I get most often from owners is, "Keep doin' what you're doin'."
This is an interesting discussion, and I'm enjoying it!
I agree with your "sideways" comment but you have to be pragmatic about it. If you want to cater to the DB crowd, you just *have* to arch the fingerboard. Otherwise, you will lose sales. My 6 string bass has a 20" radius and IMO, the flat fingerboard is much easier to play on but if you make a 41.5" scale instrument, you will inevitably be in a comparison chart with no '*' in the column for bowing and that will sway many folks who even if they only bow 1% of the time, would have to rule out a particular instrument for those times that they do have to bow.
Thanks for framing the issue that way--I absolutely agree. There's always something for me to learn, and today already has been good for me!
Your basses are thought as an electric bass played vertically, people seem to like it this way.
Turning it into an URB doesnt sound like a good idea to me.
However, all basses benefit soundwise from longer scales.
What usually keeps builders on a shorter scale is the difficulty to manage a longer scale played horizontally.
With your vertical design, a fretted bass with a 41.5" or so scale wouldn't be that much of an issue to play. I don't see the need to bow it either. It's an electric bass after all.
I like the idea. I feel your pain just thinking about bridge intonation and trussrod design though.
I disagree. I personally don't buy the "longer" is better. It may be better for some things but it's definitely worse for other things. I actually like a 33" scale for soloing on. I think it makes the higher strings and positions ring out with more sustain. I don't care for 35" scale basses for playing solos in the upper register. So my thoughts are that the longer scale would be a way to get into a particular market segment (i.e. DB players who desire an EUB) as opposed to just making a 41.5" scale instrument becase "all basses" sound better with a longer scale.
I don't think of my Barker as a DB, ever. IMO it is as advertised, namely an electric bass played in the vertical position. As someone who also plays DB, the comparisons between the two are minimal, so the idea of a 41" scale doesn't really hold that much appeal to me.
Interestingly, I find that others frequently draw comparisons between the DB and Barker. Probably has to do with the vertical appearance of the DB being so common, therefore anything that is vertical MUST be a DB. As a musician, comparisons between the Barker and an EUB are easier to draw, but even there the difference is readily evident once you start to play the Barker.
For me, the only acceptable DB is an actual DB. EUB's are too skinny and uncomfortable for my girth, the Baby Bass & its Ramirez clone aren't truely bowable and are also too skinny, and the Barker stand-required configuration would drastically change the typical DB bowing techniques.
I'm crazy happy with my Barker as-is ..... the tone is amazing, the playability is wonderful and the design is very unique. So I don't see the need for a 41" scale simply to try to replicate the DB sound/feel. It's a standout instrument in a class of its own, and I, for one, am thrilled with the results ....
I'm sure it's great but that misses the whole point of the discussion. The idea of an arched fingerboard is to create a *NEW* model that might be appealing to folks who *DO* need or want a bowable version. Why not at least consider tapping into a new market? If Barker decides they don't need to, that's fine but just because their current model thrills you doesn't mean they shouldn't pursue other markets.
No doubt .... it'll be interesting to see what comes from all of this ....