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Eb vs D neck

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Marc Piane, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I know I've read other threads on this but I am currently shopping for a bass and was hoping for some advice.

    Currently I play a German plywood with an Eb neck. It is a great bass. Very durable. Plays great. Sounds pretty good but it does have the limitations inherent in any plywood bass. I am in the market for a carved bass.

    Question is does it matter if the new bass is a Eb neck also. I've played other basses at jam sessions. I was also a high school orchestra teacher for a year. I never really had a problem but never had to know any of those instruments as intimately has one I own.

    Any insights would be appreciated.
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Whatever "imprecisions" caused by the switch will dissappear, the more time you put into the new bass. Just like going from a 41.5" mensure to a 42"...
  3. If you have a choice, go with a D-neck. It generally makes life easier. But if an instrument you want has an Eb-neck, don't worry about it. Even if it does bother you, which it probably won't, you can always put an extended nut on.
  4. How do you measure this? Is it the point where the back of the neck begins it's curve out to the heel?
  5. Put your thumb on the base of the neck, and place your first finger on the G-string. What note is it?
  6. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    D neck versus Eb neck won't cause you any trouble in a switch.

    What you might look out for, though, is string length. A bass with different mensure can take some getting used to.
  7. My first bass had (and still has) a D neck. The more recent two have Eb necks. I don't like switching back and forth but it is certainly doable. The third-to-fifth positions take a moment to get used to.

    I was at a music camp with Dave Young last week and this subject came up. Of the five basses there, my old Kay was the only one with a D neck. Dave was pretty firm on the subject when asked what to get: "Get an Eb neck." Trouble is, I didn't bother to ask him why!
  8. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    If you find you have an Eb neck you can always loosen the string. :D :bag:
  9. Others' experiences may vary, but I just made the switch from 41.5" E-flat neck to 43" D neck. I found the E-flat to D switch to be more hassle than the length. I was on the E-flat for 2 years approx. and now I've been on the D for 3 months. I'm just about over the switch. It doesn't affect lower position stuff at all or really even TP, but the stuff in between became a real jumble for me at first, particularly the keys of E-flat, B-flat, and F. I had worked out some arpeggiations right there and now all the positions are harder to reach by a half step, but I've worked it out, mostly by changing some of my shifts around. Ultimately it might be advantageous to work with both on occaision. I still have my E-flat neck plywood bass and after I get a little more sure with the D, I may switch back now and again. If you did that often enough it probably would be not much different from playing a classical guitar and switching to a dreadnought.
  10. I'm not sure I'd agree. Of all the basses I've played over the last 35 years, the highest quality basses I've played were Eb necks. In fact when I was much younger, the only basses with D necks were Kays.

    When going to thumb position, I rather have the Eb neck, as being arm length challenged, I can reach higher easier. Now a single half step isn't much, but it does make it easier to be in tune up high.

    On the other hand if you're playing 1-5-1 in G, D and A and never going into thumb position, a D neck may work better for you.
  11. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Thanks for input.

    Another question regarding string length this time.

    The current bass I play has a 41.5" string length.

    I played a bass that I liked, a Testore?, that had a 42.25 string length.

    That seems really long to me. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Will this difference create a probelm switching between the two basses?
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Are you going from a Plywood Bass to a Testore? Selling or re-financing your home or just mentioning you like the Bass? It just sounds like going from a Chevy to a Rolls.. No insult intended, just curious...

    Now, my first professional Bass was an Eb neck. The next few were D necks including an 18th century Italian Bass I used for 15 years professionally. It was over a 42" SL. but just slightly. If you are fortunate enoght to buy a Classic geniune Testore Bass then don't worry about the length. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds from heaven. My old Italian sounded so good that many people when hiring me would ask if to make sure I would bring my 'good' Bass to the Gig.

    I retiered in late 1987. A few years later I put the Bass up for sale to buy a House and made settlement on the Bass and the House in late 1994.

    When I went back to playing in 1997 (for enjoyment) I wasn't satisfied playing a new Bass so I went hunting. The First Bass I bought and used for several years was the Batchelder Bass I have on my website which is almost 1" shorter String Length than the Italian and an Eb neck. It never made a difference to me about the neck or the String lenght. It is just an adjustment you make. the Italian was also a long 7/8 and the Batchelder a small 3/4.

    It's like when you go on a business trip or a Vacation and rent a Car. Everything is different but you don't crash the car because of it. You just adjust the seat and mirrors first and then you Drive!
  13. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Ken. No offense taken. While I have been playing professionally for about 12 years I am not very knowledgable in bass manufacturers. The ply bass I have is the only one I have ever owned and I have been very happy with it. Here is a link to the Testore bass I was talking about. I don't think it is the same thing. It is under $8000.

  14. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    A real Testore would be made around 300 years ago. I have been looking at one in Italy since last year. They can cost up to and over 100K. The link you sent is a Bass they can call Mickey Mouse if that's what makes it sell. That Bass has ZIP/Zero/Nada to do with Testore other than it's 'also' a Bass instrument. Many Chinese and Romanian companies as well as some in other countries use old Italian names to sell Basses and Violins. It is just marketing. It's funny how the current and past Italians used only their own names if at all. On occassion they would use the Label of their master to sell but this is far from that. There are 10 Billion Strads in the world of which only 500 were made by Strad. The others were made in Shoe factories as far as quality goes.

    Michelle Fiore has a good reputation. When I read your post I thought maybe you had seen one in a shop or played a teachers Bass made by one of the Testore Family. Sorry for the mix-up. You should have no problem buying from her or any other similar type of Bass Shop. Best of luck.....
  15. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Thanks for the info Ken.
  16. azflyman


    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    That seems like alot of bread for a new bass which may take considerable time to play in. Try looking at some of the basses at Steve K's place www.stringemporium.com and I think you will surprised what you can get for 8K. He has one or two I am very interested in checking out.