Has anyone else stopped caring about the look of their bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by neo 7, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. neo 7

    neo 7 The bass player doesn't get a sandwich Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    I mean basically the shape of the body. There are some basses that I think are ugly, but other people think are beautiful, and vice versa. So I may think I have the coolest looking bass in the world, but how many audience members will feel the same? The same goes for color. I've noticed that if I love a bass for it's playability and tone, then the look of the bass will grow on me over time.

    I used to think that Jaguar basses looked cool, but the few that I've tried have had neck dive issues, so now I see it as a bass that will fight me. Same for many LP style bodies.

    So what I look for in a bass body now is a small size (to cut down on weight) and a long upper horn, ending around the 11th or 12th fret (for perfect balance) even though I think there are many sexier designs out there.

    Does anyone else feel the same?
  2. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha & Grosbeak. I’m Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    It's funny how your post makes me think.

    The other night, I was showing the fiancee some Fender Ps before bed. I was asking her which basses she thought looked best, going by Fender's catalog.

    She didn't like much of any colors, surprisingly. She really doesn't like Fenders with Rosewood fingerboards, because the headstock doesn't match and she thinks that the four colors on the bass (body, headstock/neck, fretboard and pickguard) begin to make the bass look like "a mess". She also feels that tort guards look like "a mess". I always find myself thinking "ehhhhhh, whatever", but soon after wondering about the merit of what she is saying in the bass' aesthetics.

    Meanwhile, whatever bass I buy, she usually says "wow, that's really pretty Marky!", including some instruments that she thought may not have looked so good before seeing in person. I only hope that she can see some of the new AV reissues with the classic custom colors, which are gorgeous (if not still a bit overpriced IMO).
  3. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    It's tricky making a bass look nice. If the body is of Fender proportions but doesn't have a pickguard it can look really plain and basic. Similarly when figured tops are used on basses they look really ostentatious just because the instrument is so big. On 5s and 6s it's even worse.

    I think the best looking bass I've seen recently is the Yamaha BB----x. I also think basses in natural finishes with understated wood grains (Ash, walnut, bubinga, etc.) can look really nice. Whereas I think the worst combo is heavily figured maple (esp. quilt) with a high gloss translucent colour over it.
  4. most basses, unless you're scraping the bottom of the barrel, sound anywhere from good to great so why waste time on one you don't like the looks of?
  5. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    No. My basses have to look good to ME!!!! Call me shallow but it has to look good, feel good, play good, and sound good. I could have said play well but I just wanted to express the four goods of my bass selection process.
  6. First and foremost, a bass should have good tone from the pickups and the woods' natural resonance, then the next important thing is the feel of the neck and playability. Looks are just the icing on the cake.
    If I can find a bass that sounds and plays great, I wouldn't care if the body still had tree bark on it.
  7. itchy


    Jan 3, 2009
    Bay Area
    The bass has to look good TO ME so that it will make me want to pick it up and play it.
  8. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    4 sure! :cool:
  9. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Looks are the most important thing. If it looks good then you pick it up and consider buying it, and if it's comfortable to play then you buy it. Unless it sounds terrible, but very few basses sound terrible.

    Bear in mind that you're buying something that you're going to wear while people stare at you. Do you really want that to be something ugly? Would you wear the ugliest clothes you've got because they're comfortable?

    Looks are more important than everything else. Of course if it neck-dives really badly you won't buy it but you wouldn't have picked it up in the first place if it was ugly.
  10. I always hated black basses or guitars until I bought one cause it was cheap.
  11. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    I noticed some people of a certain age tend to like the look of basses that I used to lust after when I was eleven years old and reading the Sears catalog.
  12. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Same applies to the lingerie section by the way...
  13. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Humans are visual cratures. So yes, the look is important for me.

    But then again, a great looking bass that sounds bad is not for much use...
  14. Looks are the most important? That's crazy talk. The main objective here is making music that's heard with our ears. It's not a fashion show. I admit I'm a sucker for a pretty bass as much as the next guy but sound not looks is the most important factor of your bass. If every bass sounded great then why are so many people flipping basses all the time in the classifieds. Finding a great sounding and playing bass isn't that easy. If you can get a great looker and player at the same time then great but I'll take the better playing bass over the flashy one any day.
  15. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    The thing is ... there is a rock look which often is a Fender don't try to play your fancy fretless 6 strings bass with a nice flamed koa top even if it will sound good ... no you have to have a Fender to sound as good as you look.

    And so many people here talk about look in the band management section ... so yes look is very important over music ... just open your radio or watch VH1 and Muchmusic ... it is only about the visual because the music is very empty now.

    You need to look into jazz, classical and even metal to find music over look and even then ... look is also important

    Now to respond to the OP :
    My bass as to please me and only me. If someone else think it look cool and whatever : nice otherwise I'm happy with my purchase ... also you can change the tone with different pickup but you can't change the look nor the neck so ...
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Looks are most important.
  18. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    But most electric basses sound good. Even most cheap electric basses sound good. There's no magic to making an electric bass sound good, it's pretty easy, so you might as well get one that you think is really handsome.

    I would bet that in 99% of cases it's not because of the sound.

    Acoustic instruments are a whole different ball game. Materials and construction are really important and it's impossible to find a cheap double bass that sounds like a seasoned antique from a famous maker, so maybe you'd buy an expensive bass that looks a bit of a pug because it sounds apocalyptically grand.

    But the same doesn't hold true for bass guitars. They don't have a great deal of subtlety to the sound, and if the pickups are in the right place and it wasn't assembled by a total beginner it's likely the bass will play well and sound good.

    So most people with any experience in these matters will concentrate on getting a pretty one. :)
  19. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    I never cared if my bass was beat-up or shiny new, but I can't see myself playing an ostentatious bass that says "Look at me, I'm playing this, ain't I cool".
  20. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    To a degree, I don't care about the color of the bass or the overall look. There are certain colors I would rather avoid, but if they sound and feel good, looks slide WAY DOWN on the importance chart.

    This idea of playing a Fender because that is the "look" in the music world, I think it is all crap. If anyone in the audience decides to leave the show because the bassist is playing a non-Fender bass, did you really want them attending? I can understand meeting contract terms and endorsement issues, but aside from that, play what you like.