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high end bass with ultra-low action

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nonsqtr, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    This is a serious high-end bass question. Please don't mention Peavey or Carvin (or Fender) in this thread.

    I need a 5-string fretted bass with "ultra low" action. It would be specifically for fast slapping. The requirements are:

    1. Neck-through. Absolutely straight neck. No curvature allowed.

    2. As quiet as possible, with a minimum of string buzzing.

    3. Perfectly clean sound when playing quietly near the bridge. No string buzzing "at all" under these conditions.

    4. Mad growl when playing hard near the neck pickup.

    5. Perfectly consistent responsiveness and string balance.

    Price is no object, but let's keep it reasonable, say "under ten grand".

    I currently own a dozen basses, including F basses, Roscoes, Alembics, and several others I daren't mention. While all of these are excellent basses, none of them are "good enough" for the purpose I have in mind.

    Those of you who do this type of thing (fast slapping) probably know what I'm searching for.

    What should I be looking at?


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    ...have you checked/considered any Zon models? My Legacy Standard 6 is ridiculous concerning action/relief...

  3. Yep, you're probably talking a graphite neck bass with light-gauge strings... so that means Zon, Modulus or Status. But Status, Moses, etc, make retrofit necks for P and J basses and Musicmans, so if you prefer that type of instrument, you could just go for the replacement neck option.

    Russ :bassist:
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Haven't checked, but definitely will consider Zon. I like the Zon's I've played in the past. Once I had an old Ken Smith that probably would have qualified, but unfortunately it got sold many moons ago. Next time I find a bass like that, I'll definitely hang on to it. Seems they're few and far between, even with the modern computer milling techniques and all that.
  5. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Give George Furlinato a call and ask him.
  6. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Talk to Carey at Nordstrand. The setup on my Nordie is crazy low. I haven't touched the neck adjustment in over a year. The craftsmanship is as good as the best out there.

    Good luck!
  7. Hman


    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    I'll 2nd Jeff to check out a Nordie..you're in So Cal already, you should just stop by and say Hello to Carey...or you should hook up with "AG" to check out his latest. I'm thinking about a trip myself!! :D
  8. Mongeaux


    Apr 14, 2004
    Just wondering here. Do graphite necks sound like wood necks? I have heard they are very stable but what do they do to your tone?
  9. VS


    Jun 6, 2002
    Mountain City, Tennessee
    Discounted Gear: Peavey
    If "F" Basses,Alembic and Roscoe's aren't "good enough" for you,you need to re-evaluate your playing. -Luke

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    It is not neck through but in my opinion a Sadowsky bass would fullfill your specifications, best of luck in getting the right bass for the job.
  11. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, versatile_stile, thanks for that. I was just wondering how long it would take to get input like that. That's okay, no offense taken. But again, this is a serious question. I've been playing bass twice as long as you've been alive. I've owned and played hundreds of basses, maybe even a thousand. I'm not looking for an "ordinary" bass, not even a "custom" bass. This has to be a very special instrument, for a very special purpose. I've already considered that it'll be almost useless for "normal" bass playing. If you're into the fast slapping thing, you'll know what I'm talking about. There are very few basses out there that'll even make the first cut in this search.

    Anyway, thanks for the input on Nordstrand, I'll definitely give Carey a call. Sadowsky's are pretty good, but most of the ones I've tried are kinda traditional-sounding (I suppose that's why a lot of people like them). How about the Benavente's, are they worth looking at? I've heard a lot of good things about them, but don't know how they'd behave in this environment.

    I'm also thinking that a zero-fret might be a really good thing for this purpose.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Have you thoght of getting another custom Alembic built for this bass?.
  13. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, an Alembic was the first thing I thought about. The trouble with this endeavor is that a millimeter makes all the difference in the world, between a functional instrument and one that's completely useless. I'd hate to drop ten grand on an Alembic and then not have it work, 'cause I already have a couple of 'em and don't really need another "ordinary" bass. But, the same is true for any other luthier or manufacturer, and I don't wanna have to micro-manage the construction process. I need someone who understands the requirement "up front", and that'll probably mean a personal meeting and the exchange of design drawings etc. Ron's a complete genius, and he's very good at what he does, but I'm not sure he really understands this type of bass playing (even though the people who do it tend to congregate at his booth during the trade shows). Also I was hoping for a slightly "lighter" instrument than a full-blown Alembic.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Would you be looking for wider string spacing then ?.
  15. Personally, I'd suggest tracking down a Mark King Signature Status... played one of these last year and they smoke! They slap so easily... as you might expect from a bass designed for someone with a warp-speed slapping technique like Mr. King...


    Russ :bassist:
  16. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Status are great basses, but I can't use the headless thing. It has to have a real headstock. That's essential for the left hand positioning and leverage. Nice lights though, those I can definitely use. :)

    Wide string spacing would be nice. Funny you should mention that, I was just browsing the Warmoth page looking at their Gecko bodies, and checking out the "wide" body versus the medium and etc. I like the wide nut, that would definitely work for this purpose. 19mm is okay at the bridge, 20mm would be better but 21 is probably too wide (I have a 21 right now and it's just a little too hard to play this way).
  17. Status do make headed basses too. I'm sure Rob Green at Status would be able to accomodate you... very nice guy and always open to suggestions. If he can make a signature bass for a stickler like Mark King (I know other luthiers who have said that Mark is the fussiest person they've ever worked with) then I'm sure he can do something for you.

    Russ :bassist:
  18. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    All right, that sounds good, thanks Russ. Do you happen to have an e-mail address for Rob?
  19. Use the contact form over at www.status-graphite.com to contact Rob - he checks out TB from time to time, so give the site a mention!

    I'm thinking if it's stability you're after, a Stealth (all-graphite bass!) might be the way to go!

    Russ :bassist:

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Active or Passive ?

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