Epi Jack Casady Signature bass - neck distance and scale "feel"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bluebard, Jun 30, 2018.


  1. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Hey bass friends,

    I'm quite interested in the Jack Casady Signature bass, but I am a bit concerned about the playability of the neck in comparison to short scale hollow bodies and regular long scale solid body instruments. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to play one, since none of the music stores near me carry them.

    I'm aware that the Casady bass has a regular 34" scale neck, but since this is attached to such a large bass body, does this place the end of the neck even further away than it would on your typical 34" solid body? Would I have to reach even further to get to the first few frets, making it feel like its greater than 34" in scale? If so, this might be kind of deal breaker for me, as I perform standing, I'm not a big guy, and this might really strain my arm and slow down what I can do on the instrument.

    If this is the case, it'd be kind of a bummer because I don't hear a similar tone (as far as warm grit) coming out of any other semi-hollows - not even the Guild Starfire.

    Anyway thanks guys!
     
    nixdad likes this.
  2. redstrand

    redstrand

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    Standing it’s great, just get a strap that isn’t slick it’ll sit still. The scale is better than a thunderbird and comfortable. It’s great sitting down too. I’m 6’4” with long arms but it is played by guys/gals around here that are much shorter than me.
     
    96tbird, Bluebard and nixdad like this.
  3. nixdad

    nixdad

    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    @McG will be a great resource for you, as he plays a Jack Casady and will be able to provide valuable feedback (and very smart hardware upgrade suggestions.)
    Grant_zpsdwo71jri.jpg

    My son and I owned a JC a few years back. Beautiful bass, and very well made. However, it did not fit he nor I very well (for different reasons,) so we let it go. However, I still had the hollow body itch, and eventually purchased a short-scale Fender Starcaster bass. I love this thing - very versatile, great sounding pickups, and the playability of the shorter neck with the big body worked out great for me. I strung mine with Thomastik flats, and play it with a pick for my Beatles band. Many Starcasters are heavy, but lighter versions are out there (like mine.) You may want to check one of these out if you have the chance.

    3db69e27-2d1f-4be7-a71c-cd93e4796e1f_zpskbkko3wd.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
    sigterm, Davbassdude, FenderB and 3 others like this.
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Long wide strap, grippy shoulder surface, wear it on the diagonal off the right hip like Jack, you'll be fine:

    maxresdefault.jpg
     
    PillO, jmlee, Aqualung60 and 5 others like this.
  5. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    The bass, itself, is only part of the equation. Casady did it with on-board electronics in his Starfires PLUS a Versatone Panoflex amp (and of course his superb touch and talent) back during the 60s, but you can get plenty of grit running a Starfire through contemporary pre-amp and OD pedals while leaving the bass, itself, unmodified.

    In addition to having a short scale length and narrow nut (1-1/2" [earlier "Newark" MIK production] to 1-11/16" [current production]), the Starfire has less taper (increasing width) as you go up the neck than most Fenders (and, I suspect, the Epi JC). This translates to "fast" neck with narrow string spacing: very comfortable for me (others may differ). Plus the Bi-Sonic pups are hard to beat.

    Personally, I think your best bet is to find the semi-hollow that's physically most comfortable for you to play and then look for the right combination of pedals/amp to zero in on the tone you're after. Some better OD pedals will let you blend clean signal with OD so that you don't lose all your low frequency output (which tends to happen otherwise when you really lay on the heavy pedal grit). Another way to achieve this is to use a quality AB/Y pedal with isolated channels (e.g.: Lehle) and then run your signal through 2 amps of about the same power simultaneously (one with the OD pedal after the AB/Y for grit, the other clean for bottom end).

    BTW: unless you have obscene amounts of discretionary funding, don't bother looking for a Versatone Panoflex. They are very rare and long out of production.
     
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    From what I understand, he still uses it to this day (at least for recording, not sure whether he tours with it).
     
    Bluebard and nixdad like this.
  7. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Thanks Mustang Surly for the very informative response! Any pre-amp / OD pedals you can recommend for Casady's tone on songs like "Water Song" or "Sea Child"? The AB/Y pedal and second amp wouldn't be an option for me at the moment. I've been looking at the Darkglass Vintage Microtubes and Ashdown Lomenzo Hyperdrive, both of which allow for blending the clean signal with grit to preserve lows. And all I have right now is the Behringer V-tone. But it sounds like you may know of better options from personal experience!

    I do know that it'll be impossible to replicate Jack's tone without having his fingers, technique, and rig (particularly the Alembic-modded Starfire and Versatone amp)...but I'd like to be able to emulate his tone somewhat...I already know how to get an attack similar to his with my fingers. It sounds like the Jack Casady bass is better at getting that kind of grit straight from the bass than a Starfire, but it's good to know that with the right pre-amp / OD the Starfire can do the same! Its short scale does sound comfy...
     
    bholder likes this.
  8. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    "From what I understand, he still uses it to this day (at least for recording, not sure whether he tours with it)."

    I've heard that he has several. Maybe that's where ALL of them are. ;)
     
    Bluebard and bholder like this.
  9. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    I go into a Hartke VXL "Bass Attack" Toneshaper (version 1) DI/pre-amp that I found used then split the signal into 2 amps with a Lehle Little Dual AB/Y. The Darkglass Vintage Microtubes is the only one of their pedals that I've tried. Based on demos I've seen of their others, I'd say it's not their most aggressive OD pedal, so you might want to look at some of the others if you're looking for more breakup. It's a great pedal, but may be more subtle than what you're looking for. Try before you buy if you can.
     
    Bluebard likes this.
  10. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    Maybe someone else who has used some of the other Darkglass pedals (there are several) will give you a first-hand opinion.
     
    Bluebard likes this.
  11. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Figures, sure, if I were in his position and used something that rare as part of my signature sound, I'd buy every single one I came across. I would bet he has most of the known working units, actually. Always good to have backups.
     
  12. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    "Figures, sure, if I were in his position and used something that rare as part of my signature sound, I'd buy every single one I came across."

    If anyone deserves t'have 'em, it's him. I certainly wouldn't begrudge him if that were true.

    Was just sayin'... ;)
     
    bholder likes this.
  13. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    "The Darkglass Vintage Microtubes is the only one of their pedals that I've tried. Based on demos I've seen of their others, I'd say it's not their most aggressive OD pedal, so you might want to look at some of the others if you're looking for more breakup. It's a great pedal, but may be more subtle than what you're looking for."

    I'm gonna have to beg to differ with myself (already): that opinion (quote above) was based on how I have been using my Darkglass Vintage Microtubes. Just went and quickly horsed around with it and the Guild NS SF-I (bridge pup only) and found that with the bass's volume pot dimed and the tone backed off to "7" I think I was getting into the neighborhood of what you're after. My DGVMT is the basic, four-knob one, not the "Deluxe" model (the possible permutations with just FOUR knobs is enough to keep me entertained, thank you).

    I wound up with the "blend" @ 10-o'clock, "level" @ 11-o'clock, "era" dimed counter-clockwise and "drive" @ 11-o'clock. That seemed to be a sweet spot which yielded some decent wool without descending into excessive "fuzz" or "murk". Still had plenty of pedal pot sweep left in reserve if further mayhem was needed. Keep in mind that I was running through that Hartke pre-amp pedal, which also alters the tone considerably. But the wool was all coming from the Darkglass.
     
    Bluebard likes this.
  14. I think you’re right to be concerned about this issue. Unless you could make a go of it with that slung low on the hip style it might not work for you. There’s no way I could adjust my playing to that position so it wouldn’t work for me. Maybe if you search around the net you can come across some specs or measurements like how long the instrument is, or the distance from the bridge to the butt etc.
     
    Bluebard and nixdad like this.
  15. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Sounds like if you’re woried about it so much then you aren’t adaptable so might pass on a JC. Really, once i got the right strap height dialed in and get it sitting in the right position it’s one of the nicest basses i have to play. Just angle the head up and the first fret is right there in front of you. It has never fatigued me yet. And the cool TONEZ!

    Plus its like holding air so allover fatigue is next to nil.

    Minez Blue! 5AEBC49F-7375-4A67-8429-E81642E02AF8.jpeg
     
    ivorytower, zon6c-f, Korladis and 6 others like this.
  16. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    I never seriously considered the JC Sig myself because of the scale length and wide neck, neither of which work for my arthritic hands.
     
    howlin and nixdad like this.
  17. mannysilvers

    mannysilvers Commercial User

    Jun 20, 2009
    NYC
    Engineer, Electro-Harmonix
    I regularly bounce between a Ric and a JC and have no issues. Maybe the JC's nut sits a bit further away than the Ric but if so it's never been enough for me to really notice it. The JC's neck actually feels noticeably slimmer (especially at the nut) than my Ric.
     
    Bluebard likes this.
  18. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    With my JC, I do feel like the nut is further outboard to the left than I'm used to; however, I confess that I quite like that feeling when I play so it doesn't bother me one iota. It feels no worse than playing my 35" scale Cirrus.
     
    Bluebard likes this.
  19. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    Wow, the Starcaster looks beautiful!!! I never quite liked it from the pics on the Fender website, it looked kinda lopsided to me, but in actual playing position it looks gorgeous!!! :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
    nixdad likes this.
  20. Shishka Bob

    Shishka Bob

    May 28, 2017
    CT
    Oh, he tours with it.
     
    RichardW, nixdad and bholder like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 25, 2021

Share This Page