Ergonomic Bass: 3 Options, Which Do you Prefer?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass Iniya, Nov 3, 2017.


  1. 1 Body Natural Finished - Carvin Middle Pickup Installed

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. 2 Body Natural Finished - No Pickup Routs - No Pickup

    2 vote(s)
    100.0%
  3. 3 Body UNFinished - No Pickup Routs - No Pickup

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Bass Iniya

    Bass Iniya

    Jun 24, 2006
    Hello Guys

    I'm planning to build some bass guitars with better ergonomics and balance, for both stand up & sitting down playing.
    They would be for pro players who have trouble (tendonitis/tension) with the fretting hand and overall unconfortable ergonomics (and sick of Neck Dive).
    I've made some prototypes these last years so;
    The body shape and rounded/curved parts to make it more ergonomical are clear to me.
    What is standard is:
    - Bass Guitar assembled
    - High Quality Maple Neck reinforced with Grafite Rods and Tiltback Headstock
    - Neck Clear Natural Finished (satin or gloss) with Maple or Pau Ferro Fretboard
    - Alder Body (I like Swamp Ash but Alder tends to be lighter)
    - 20:1 Ratio Wilkinson WJB 750 Tuners 2L + 2R (small & precise)
    - Mono-Rail Bridges for every string, installed with ergonomic spacing.
    - New progressive tensioned set of strings installed.
    - Routs for control cavity and Jack Input
    - multiple strap buttons to adopt different positions for different techniques (studio, live, sitting down, first frets, upper frets soloing)

    BUT there are some little things I prefer to ask you before deciding the final result.
    I would prefer to use the Carvin radiused single coil pickup in a middle (similar to P-bass) position because it is my personal preference but I think It could be good for some people to not rout or install any pickup because everybody has his own favorite pickups and maybe you would prefer to have some kind of blank page to decide what you want to install.
    So this leads me to 3 options between which I have to chose ONLY ONE, and this is where I need your help. What would you prefer?:

    1
    Body Natural Finished.
    Carvin Middle Pickup Installed, wired.
    Control cavity routed, shielded, wired, 1 volume pot, + enough space to install whatever controls you want.
    Holes communicating bridge ground, control cavity, pickup and jack input (& routing) done.
    This way, if you want to install more pickups you have to rout and re-wire all that you want to add.

    2
    Body Natural Finished.
    No Pickup Routs, No Pickup.
    Control cavity routed, shielding painted inside, no wires, no holes, + enough space to install whatever controls you want.
    Jack input cavity routed and installed but NO HOLES communicating bridge, control cavity & inexisting pickup routings.
    This way, you can decide exactly what pickups you want to put exactly in the weird position you want and make it more personal.

    3
    Body UNfinished, fine sanded and ready to begin with finish or stain or what colour or draw you want.
    No Pickup Routs, No Pickup.
    Control cavity routed, shielding painted inside, no wires, no holes, + enough space to install whatever controls you want.
    Jack input cavity routed and installed but NO HOLES communicating bridge, control cavity & inexisting pickup routings.
    This way, you can decide exactly what pickups you want to put exactly in the weird position you want and make it more personal.
    You can also modify whatever you want to customize your body, some drawings, stain, artistic carving, mixing colours, swirl, etc...
    This is just an Orientating Drawing
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  2. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Ugh! I can't decide between #2 and #3! :banghead:

    I'm about to embark on my first-ever finishing job on an unfinished Warmoth body, but I still don't know how well it will turn out, so that casts some doubt on #3 for me. #2 is a somewhat-viable option, since I know a great Guitar Center tech nearby who's done some pickup routing for me in the past, but I rarely go for straight-up, natural finishes.

    The big issue I see with the latter two options are "availability". Not whether or not said bass is available to them, it's the availability of the necessary tools, talent or technicians to make them viable options. Not everyone interested in this prospective instrument will have access to whatever is needed to make it a complete and ready-to-play bass. hmm_zpsjrfywaas.gif~original.gif
     
  3. Bass Iniya

    Bass Iniya

    Jun 24, 2006
    Hahaha well, I see...
    So maybe I had to ask what pickups + configuration bass players like the most?

    The concern is routing and putting the pickups myself would increase the price and working time quite a lot.
    And I'm absolutely not going "the custom painting path" because it would be just too crazy... everyone wants something very personal and the price would increase again more...

    I am hoping that pro players (who try to make a living) have some kind of workshop or tech guy who could rout a pickup hole....

    This is not really addressed to someone who never had the necessity to modify his instrument.

    I don't know, I use to think that someone who has thought that bass guitars need some ergonomic changes should have tried some mods or have searched info about what mods he could do or what luthier or tech he could contact to make the mods on his instrument.
     
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  4. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Yeah, definitely not for the "strictly off-the-shelf" crowd.
     
  5. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    Interesting, do you mean tension falling slightly from low to high? I find that optimum. What gauges or tensions do you mean by this?
     
  6. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    For me ergonomic means perfectly balanced (neck stays where I put it), very lightweight (less than 6 lbs.), shortscale, a narrow neck like a Kay Truetone, Hofner or old Vox Hawk. Then it has to sound right.

    For example, the most ergonomic basses I use for standing are my a Hofner Club bass with a relocated lower strap button to improve balance, a late 50s Kay Truetone, and my DIY "prototype" solidbody with a neck based on measurements from a 60's Vox Hawk played in a shop.

    For sitting, I use those basses plus my recent Hofner 500/5 "President" bass. Even though it weighs 7.25 lbs, the 500/5 has been getting all the playtime lately at our restaurant gigs since its tone fits the gig and I play seated.

    That drawing looks like it would be too heavy for me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  7. Bass Iniya

    Bass Iniya

    Jun 24, 2006
    Yes,
    For Example:
    E 105
    A 075
    D 055
    G 040

    It's just to not fall too far away from the standard 105-45 set
    Sometimes, I use a 110 for the E, it depends from the pickups; if I feel the pickup adjustment height will allow to have a balanced or even sound from a 110 or not.
    As an example, I have a 5 string bass with a thicker progressive set like this:
    Lo B 153
    E 120
    A 078
    D 055
    G 039

    It feels Right tension-wise and the feeling from the hands is OK, I can play pretty hard without having "volume barks distorting peaks" but the pickups doesn't sound as sparky and hi-fi as when I play with lighter strings, so the next set will be lighter, more like:
    Lo B 145
    E 105
    A 075
    D 055
    G 040

    They would still be Progressive-Tension but the sound should be more true to the sound that was intended when the bass (& pickups) was constructed. Because every guitarmaker make their tests with a factory set of strings in mind. So I think that if we go too far away with string gauges or neck relief, we won't be able to reflect the characteristical sound of the instrument.
    I'm assuming that we loved the sound of that particular bass when we bought it, if we are changing things persuing a different sound result, it is another story.
     
  8. Bass Iniya

    Bass Iniya

    Jun 24, 2006
    A lot of things addressing Ergonomy are just personal and subjective.
    It is simple; If you are a very tall guy, you can play a 35" scale warwick without noticing too much if you are struggling or not.
    If you are smaller guy, you can have more trouble with certain shaped basses and others would feel ok for you.
    I am 1m73 Tall and this bass fits me very well (being a 34" scale), I have tried some basses and they fall all very very far from this one in terms of ergonomy.
    I have also a 30" scale one which feels way more comfortable than a standard 34" scale for my left hand.
    But if I have to come up with a 30" scale ergonomic bass, I would need to restart prototyping one from scratch... maybe one day I'll find a pickup+placement+string gauges that work fine for a 5 strings 30" scale bass, but that day is not today yet.
     
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