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Ergonomic bass designs

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by beate_r, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. beate_r


    Jan 25, 2012
    I am in early stages of brainstorming of an ergenomic bass. Brainstroming means that i am still trying to figure out what makes a bass ergonomic.

    Well, the main aspects seem to be:

    - scale length
    (shorter scales are better from the point of view of pure ergonomy. Of course, form follows function, and that is first of all the sound... (but i short- and medium scales...))

    - body shape: freedom of playing had to reach high registers
    - good positioning while sitting
    - good balance on the strap
    - vertical angle of string plane relative to player (torqual necks and similar ideas)

    Of course i know www.buildtheergonomicguitar.com, and henceforce i know the ideas of Toone, Klein and others. I event tried out some ideas in my recently finished shortscale RD bass project.

    I must admit that - although i never had one in my hands - neither Orchid nor the Klein bass fully convinces me - i am especially unsure on the small distance between strings and leg when i am sitting nor am i shure on the best position of the cutout for the leg.

    Any place where i can learn more (in addition to www.buildtheergonomicguitar.com?)
  2. The problem with shorter scale basses is that the tension is much different than regular scale. If you adjust the diameter of the strings to keep the tension closer to a long scale then you end up with some odd guages.
    Not to say that it is undoable. The U bass craze indicates that people will deal with funny strings.
    I gotta ssay, I think the biggest advance in bass ergonomics is the asymmetrical neck. Such as on the MTD and Tobias basses.
  3. EmptyTheEarth


    Jul 11, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    I really don't want to sound like 'that guy', but what is ergonomics?
  4. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    Here is an idea I had. In order to make the first few frets easier to reach while keeping the 34 inch scale length, why not push the bridge to the very edge of the body?
  5. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    That link is broken.
    I did find the site though but didn't see any reference to Kubicki. Even if you don't like the whole Factor package he did a lot of things right with it.
  6. I had a big interest in ergonomics---optimizing the man-machine / tool interface ...way back in the 80s, though not so much as relates to basses.

    I'd consider shifting the instrument body to the right of center of body mass. So for a righty, the plucking / picking hand plays closer to the right hip area than the navel...as if your right arm was hanging down at your side.

    That also moves the fretting hand closer to the body.

    Kind of like Phil Lesh's Ritter Jupiter. Might require a bigger body..probably less neck dive as well.
  7. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    To me it is all about the neck shape and the body shape. A rounded body, easy access to all the fret, neck-through construction, flat fingerboard, wide neck but slim from back to front.

    I'm a fan of small gauge strings on a 34 scale.
  8. beate_r


    Jan 25, 2012
    First of all - here is the correct link to the page i mentionend - i should not have writte the URL from memory: http://buildingtheergonomicguitar.com/

    I am playing short scale because i get strain injury from the stretching needed in the deep registers on a 34" fretless. I am aware that this could be improved a bit by optimizing the neck. But this will not change the plain necessity of stretching the fingers over a distance my left hand simply does not tolerate over the long term. See also the contribution of Xavier Padilla in an old thread here: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f133/ergonomics-bass-playing-237523/
    This is an issue even on the guitar - not as drastical, but at least dealing with it could ease playing.

    A sitting position will require changes in body shape. This is where Toone's bass sculptures and the Klein bass come into play - obviously. My aim is to understand the logic behind these in more detail.

    As i am recently setting up a guitar from cheap materials to test some of the ideas i have overimposed typical ergonomic guitar shapes onto classical shapes in order to see the differences:


    My own guitar will (hopefully) also support more upright playing positions.

    Transferring this back to the bass:

    Quite interestingly, both the Klein bass guitar and the Orchid come with a string placement closer to the leg as in the Klein guitar and its derivatives. That is what not fully convinces me. So i feel the need to learn more before i even plan prototypes (although ideas already exist).

  9. Bass Iniya

    Bass Iniya

    Jun 24, 2006
    I have been prototyping ergonomic guitars and basses these last 7 years and YES:
    The vast majority of bass bodies are not ergonomical at all for sitting position; the leg resting point should be more towards the bridge and the upper horn (strap button) should be longer to avoid neck diving.
    And YES, 30 scale basses are more confortable in general because the first frets are closer to the player. It is really that simple but manufacturers don't give a poopie, they are just selling decorative instruments, they are beautiful to show but not to play.
    Unless you are a very tall guy.

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