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Good Basses With Bad Designs (Playability)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Jun 13, 2003.

  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I was reading the review for the Parker Fly bass in the new BP, and the main complaint from the reviewer was the uncomfortable body design. I've noticed several basses that are well-made and sound great, but because of the builder's choice to stick with the design, the bass looses its playabilty for a lot of players.

    First bass that comes to mind in the Warwick Thumb, for its neck dive due to the short upper horn, which I've heard is a big design flaw in a lot of Alembics. The Cort Curbow also has the lower horn that slips off your leg while seated. What quality basses have you guys encountered where the design decreased the playabilty? Do you think the builders of said basses should be open to changing their designs to benefit the majority of players?
  2. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
  3. 72beetle


    Jun 10, 2001
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Explorers. Just TRY to get that thing to stay on a stand!

  4. EB3s.

    Lovely neck profile, great sound, nice small body, but the neck dive kills.
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Warwick Thumb
  6. I just got my Warwick Thumb BO 6 string, and I don't find that it has bad neck dive. I find it is meant to be worn up a bit higher than some other basses, and when worn low it does dive a bit. It's made of Ovangkol, so it won't be light, and the necks are pretty beefy.

    I love the sound, and have tried many basses that are better balancing that I don't like the sound of as much. In the end, for me, the sound was why I was buying a bass, not the balance, and when worn as intended, I've had no neck dive.

    As for good basses with bad designs (playability), I don't think such a thing exists. Since playability is one thing you'll have to deal with for the life of the bass (as long as you own it, I suppose), it's not a good bass if it has no playability for you. Pickups, strings, etc, can be changed.
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I don't think this is quite true. I mean, every person has flaws-that doesn't mean they aren't good because of it. I'm speaking more on a non-personal level; as in this is a good bass in general-sound, looks, versatility, etc., but there is a flaw in the design section. I think things can still be good even if there are flaws, and I'm asking about those basses that have design flaws in particular, and if you find that flaw something you have to deal with, or something you just can't deal with.
  8. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    My vote for the king of all bad ergo designs with the best sound is the Warwick Thumb bass,small body,extreme neck dive,bridge position. One of the best sounding instruments I have played. After a year I sold it.
  9. I'm going to go with the Gibson RD Artist. I have a fantastic example of one with killer tone and generally plays very well.

    It is extremely heavy though, and the way the body sits is a little less comfortable than would be desired. The contours of the body also have my right arm sitting in a slightly weird spot compared to what I'd like too.

    Having said all of that, it is certainly one of THE best sounding basses I've ever encountered - certainly the best Gibson bass I've ever heard. If I were them, I'd find some way to redesign the body and really market the instrument (although wasn't the Victory Artist essentially the same bass with a different body? I haven't really played one though. Also a shame that the Victory had the Thunderbird style headstock which propably makes it a neck diver too.)
  10. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i'd vote for warwick thumb as well. the body is so small that it puts 1st fret really far away from your body.

    although i find that the bolt ons are significantly better about it than the neck thrus (the body's a bit bigger)
  11. ric 4001-4003
    good neck hard edged thin body
    poor bridge for setting intonation and string height
    cluttered pup area with the cover plate.excepting the horseshoe magnet models
    i had one and wish i had kept it
    would have another despite the above...
    its just an opinion
    i managed to play mine ok but hung it high so those comments may not apply to a differing style.:)

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