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How Important is Appearance to You?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by not_jason, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. not_jason


    Aug 4, 2004
    If you played a bass that played easier and sounded better than anything you've ever played before, but you couldn't stand the looks of it, would you buy it? furthermore, would you compromise on playability or tone if an instrument was extremely gorgeous?

    (i looked for posts like this with the search, but as it is such a broad topic i failed to come up with anything similar. if this is a duplicate topic, please point me in the direction of the other, otherwise, please reply!)
  2. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    Well I own one of these. And I own it for the tone, not the look.

    So not very important at all.
  3. not_jason


    Aug 4, 2004
    on the contrary, while the appearance of that instrument may not be the popular definition of "tasteful", i don't think very many people would argue that it is anything short of awesome, if only for ironic value.
  4. It's been a long & winding road for me to find a bass c.q. brand that offers BOTH the tone and the look I love. I can't see those two apart from eachother. A bass that has a great tone but looks like a big dog has bitten a few pieces off & then barfed over the sorry remains just doesn't ring my bell. Some people will tell you that you should testdrive your instruments blindfolded, only because you shouldn't be influenced by the looks of them. That's a funny theory, and I know what they mean to say with something like that, but practically this won't work at all for 95% of us... :scowl:
  5. not_jason


    Aug 4, 2004
    I won't even touch an instrument if i don't like the way it looks or if i can't see myself playing it on stage.

    Music is at least 35% about picking up chicks, so I've gotta look good on stage.
  6. :eyebrow:....................................:p
  7. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    If you look good enough you don't need a nice looking bass. (see above pic!)
  8. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    And when was the last time you got tail after a studio session?
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

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

    Anyway, nosir, if it don't look good, I ain't playin' it. I sat in at a gig down in Savannah, and the guy had a headless Steinberger, and I couldn't look at it while I was playing or I'd start to gag. I've found that basses are a lot like race cars. Crappy looking cars don't win races.
  10. not_jason


    Aug 4, 2004
    i was obviously joking about the picking up chicks thing.

    the percentage is probably more accurately around 12%.

    and obvioulsy it never works unless you are in a john mayer tribute project of some sort that does set-long renditions of "your body is a wonderland".

    no girl is worth that.

    anyway, back to being serious:

    I am primarily only drawn towards fender style guitars and basses, but occaisionally i'll see some whacky instrument that is unlike anything i've ever seen before and has exactly the weird types of quirks that align with my personality, so i sell myself on it before i even take it off the wall of whatever weird salvage store i'm at. such was the case with my (warning, i'm about to mention a GUITAR on a BASS forum) Dillion Jazzmaster copy. Lucky for me, it plays as good as it looked, but the moment i saw the body shape with a standard bridge (an exception to the norm for that body style) and a matching red way-too-close-to-be-legal fender style headstock, i had to have it for my own. It needed a lot of set up work when i got it, but it was worth it to me, and would have been even if it sounded mediocre at best.
  11. Only


    Sep 8, 2002
    Warrensburg, MO
    What's it called....Psychoacoustics?

    The phenomenon that says, if it looks good, it'll sound good. Or bad, bad. I believe it. If I'm playing a bass I think looks sharp, I'll play it better. I tend to play worse on red basses, too.

    I'd compromise on tone for extreme beauty, but not playability.

    I'd say my buying goes 50% on playability, 40% on looks, and 10% on tone. I've got a great-sounding amp, so as long as it has non-abysmal tone, I'm pretty much alright.
  12. If you say so. Define "crappy". I have an Ibanez 5 string, gorgeous gloss black with gold hardware...active EQ....looks so good my Fiancee's jealous of it. Plays like butter and sounds freekin awesome. Ive used it for all eleven tracks on our forthcoming CD and it is my main axe onstage as well. But.....I also have an early 70s sunburst Fender Jazz that I picked up used and abused for next to nothing, that looks like its former daddy never even owned a case, let alone kept it in one. It has more nicks and dings and bumps than James Hetfields face, oh and that tell-tale forearm sweat paint fade along the top of the body...holes where I presume a pickup cover used to be, broken plastic beneath the knobs...all in all its pretty damned hideous, but again, plays swimmingly and has a damn smooth feeling maple neck on it. The frets are sadly worn down and I wouldnt change them for anything! Great action, yet virtually buzz free. And my 80's model Jackson 4 banger doesnt look much better, black and tattered and most certainly was some kids prize thrash metal bass in some Skid Row cover band, lol. But someone along the way (not me) replaced the factory p/u's with genuine Fender P & J's...and the thing has the most killer "biting" tone Ive ever heard out of a 200.00 used "beater" bass. It has a great neck which is very close to the Jazz neck dimensionally. Its a great backup, I recently found an amazing blue dragon decal which now wraps itself around the top front of the bass and produced stunning results. You can always cosmetize things a bit if you are creative and industrious enough. Yet there is something I actually find attractive in vintage and relic basses, road rash and all.

    Oh and the above picture...bit "nipply" onstage, was it? Hahahaha! :D
  13. lmao

    My guitar playing buddy is actually rather fascinated with learning this song right now. Apparently he thinks getting a girl is worth that.

    Anyway, if it had the tone I have buried in my soul, I'd play anything, regardless of looks. Plus, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. At the risk of being murdered here, I've personally thought Rickenbackers were the ugliest things ever made, since the first time I saw one. :bag:

    However, I have this fear of uglying up new basses. Almost to the point where I don't even want to play one when I get it. :( I've actually considered just buying used from now on, to avoid this. If it has already been lovingly broken in, I'm not afraid to get on it a bit.
  14. not_jason


    Aug 4, 2004
    battlescars are funny things. get one scratch on a brand new instrument and it'll look like hell, beat it to the point where it barely resembles the original object and all of the sudden it looks almost as cool as it originally did. it's all or nothing with battlescars.
  15. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I'm with not jason on the subject of battle scars. That jazz Spanky was talking about sounds like it'd look awesome! :D

    When think about a new instrument, it has to either play like butter, or have the ability to -- I do all my own setups (recently got over my fear of truss rod adjustments and both of my basses and my guitar have finally come out with the action I've been dreaming about) so the issues at hand that way are the shape, feel, and finish of the neck and frets and the adjustability of the bridge.

    Looks comes next. Electronics can be upgraded and changed. As long as it's built from decent woods, if the "immediate" sound doesn't blow my socks off, I don't sweat it. I love very broken-in TI strings with hair-width action -- a very distinct sound in its own right -- and I've never seen a bass like that on the shelves. I've had very, very few instruments make me feel like I've been blasted out of my seat -- 1 G&L Tribute L2500, 1 MM Bongo 4 (HH/J), 2 Alembic Orions, 1 Geddy Lee Jazz, 1 Yamaha TRB4-II, a Fender FMT Tele, and a Yamaha NE (not sure what exact model, but it was neck-thru, all white, three band EQ, four strings, and $2300 CAD). Looks are what makes me what to pull an instrument off the shelf. In all honesty, every one of the instruments I listed above looks incredibly swank, except for the Geddy, but before I played it I saw a couple of TB'ers modded Geddy basses, one of which was the swankiest piece of swank I've ever seen.
  16. For me, bot are important, I would say 70% for the sound and feel, 30% for the look!

  17. yes, i am in agreement with everyone here. looks are 50% for me though...if the bass doesn't have the look, i can't play it. for me, p-bass don't have the look (but they don't have the sound either [for me at least]) and i haven't played one in years. and i don't plan to, they are so ugly!

    just my opinion, i don't want to start a p-bass war, i am just showing my point!

  18. fatbassjazzer


    Feb 27, 2004
    The looks of a bass are probably only about 5% for me. If it plays great and sounds great then I'm all over it. I used to hate the look of buckeye burl, but now its grown on me and I want to get my hands on one. Looks of a bass is not very important to me.
  19. I think it depends on the person, like some people like to look nice and dress with beautiful clothes and others dress with a 20 years old t-shirts and some old ugly pants and they don't care what they look like and what others might think.

    I think the same applies to bass if you don't care how you look or if you like to have a nice appearance.
  20. I will barely ever pic up a bass in a store if i don't like how it looks. I seem to drift towards fender jazzes (4str) and anything with a nice natural finish or light stain that is a 5'er. I like wood, only basses i can stand solid color finishes on are fender Jazzes and i guess Ric's.