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Freedom of Design.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nonohmic, May 13, 2006.


  1. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Do you think that luthiers are allowed more freedom in design of basses than in design of guitars?

    If so, why?
     
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yup.

    It seems like bass players are more open to creative design than guitar players, who seem to be a more conservative lot.
     
  3. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Absolutely, with many examples to the contrary of course but in general yes. I'm basing this on my time as a builder and more than 20 years of NAMM shows.
     
  4. As I see it guitarists all seem to be looking for the same thing, they don't need to stand out because guitar is in the forefront of most music. Bassists want to be interesting and noticed and are always looking for something new to evolve the state of our instrument, therefore luthiers have a lot more freedom when trying to please them.
     
  5. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    I always thought that the difference between bassists and guitarists stemmed from the nature of the instrument and the goals of the instrumentalists. I think that the nature of guitars is that guitarists add lots of effects and stuff, so the nitty gritty details of the guitar dont matter so much (like fretboard and body woods). Therefore, it was easy for a few standards to come around, each of which was pretty much the definition of the perfect instrument for whatever kind of music it was associated with (strats-> rock, teles-> blues/jazz, etc). In short, guitarists focus less on their instruments because the specifics matter less. Basses are just very different. The role of the bass dictates that the sonic characterists of the instrument are very important to the song. Since there are so many types of woods and pickups, there were lots of different tones people could go for. Because of this, lots of different basses were able to become popular, so it was easy to distance yourself from the standard jazz/p-basses without looking weird. Its gotten to the point where its hard for a guitar builder to come up with new, acceptable ideas, whereas its not so hard for a bass builder to have his new idea accepted.
     
  6. yeah, bass players are modernists, though there are some fairly wacky geetarrs out there
     
  7. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I don't know, I seem to remember most of the trends, at least the ones about being very particular, being started by guitarists. Which woods mattered, pre CBS, nitro, all of these trends seem to start on the little strings and then spill over to bassists. This obediance to tradition is more in line with conservative instrument views and not liberal ones. IME guitarists are pickier about specifics while at the same time less open minded but it's not black & white, I find both groups to be very superstitiuous and obsessive overall.
     
  8. +2! Excellently illustrated point!
     
  9. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Good points made there.

    What about from a purely structural point of view? Do you think theres more space available in general for a bass to take on a weird shape? Are there less constraints as far as tension etc go?

    Cause I've never seen basses before like some I see on TB.
     
  10. i'm not sure exactly why but there does seem to be much more willingness to try something new in bass guitars than in guitars. i, for one welcome the multitude of choices in design, sound, construction etc. that we are afforded by being bassists.
     
  11. +1. Thats very true. I must admit, I'm a sucker for the look and feel of a vintage Fender, but I am just as interested in better design and sound. The instruments I design (and that I hope to start building with my father soon...) kind of mix the classic looks with more modern design thrown in (Neck through, higher quality woods, better Pups, preamps, etc...)
     

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