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How much of a bass makes a bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jimulate, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. jimulate


    Dec 21, 2007
    Berkshire, UK
    Hi, I've been reading TB for a long time, but this is my first post so go gentle on me!

    I'm interested in people's opinions on what parts of a bass constitute what that bass actually is - for example, if I have a Fender Jazz and I replace the neck with a non-Fender neck, is it still a Fender Jazz? More importantly, is it still the same bass, or is it now a different instrument?

    The main reason I ask is that I have an old, battered P bass which I love (it's just a cheap copy that's pretty much worthless, but I've had it a long time and modified it quite a lot), but which has "neck issues". If I exchange the neck for a shiny new one, is it still going to be the tattered wreck that I love or is it going to be a new bass that happens to have a battered-looking body?

    Just wondering what people think about this.
  2. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? :rolleyes:
  3. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Seems to me it'll be the tattered wreck that you love with a new neck. :confused:
  4. The body makes the bass what it is, especially on Fenders. I have a Precision bass with a Jazz neck, but it's still a P-bass because it has a P pickup and a P-shaped body. So, you can replace the neck on your bass and it'll still be a Precision. You could relic the new neck a little if you want to retain the battered look.
  5. mjolnir

    mjolnir Thor's Hammer 2.1.3beta

    Jun 15, 2006
    Houston, TX
    I never understood why people care. I'm not trying to bash anyone who does, your instrument is your instrument, do what you want with it, but I always viewed my basses as simply that: my basses. I don't care about resale value or keeping them in pristine condition, and I definitely don't care if some elitist walks up to me playing my very obviously modded single coil P and tells me I destroyed that instrument and should be burned at the stake for it. If you want to put a new neck on your bass, put a new neck on. Don't worry about the technicalities, because how it plays for you is all that really matters IMHO.

    I'll admit I mod the hell out of every bass I get my hands on, so I may be a bit biased in this matter. :D
  6. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Once you swap out the neck for a non Fender one it becomes a FrankenFender at best.
  7. pjmuck


    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
    Are we talking aesthetically or sonically? Many components make up the final sound of an instrument, from choice of woods to PUPs, hardware, your playing technique, etc. is my J technically a J with a Badass II bridge and Duncan Antiquities installed? I think so, but others might not.
  8. bickele


    Dec 29, 2003
    Bergen, Norway
    If I understand the OP correctly he has a bass he loves but it has issues; he wants to fix the issues but wants to retain the sound/feel/look of his bass.
    I don't think his is a philosophical question on whether changing a part will still give him the right to call the bass with its original name or resell it for a certain amount.
    He just wants the bass he knows and loves, but without the issues (the neck)

    So, my first suggestion would be: can anything be done without replacing the neck? Intonation, truss rod adjustment, bridge saddles tweaking, fret job, new tuning machines?

    I think the sound of your bass won't change dramatically with a new neck, especially if you find the same wood combination. It will definitely change to a certain degree.
    The feel, on the other hand, will probably change quite a bit.

  9. If the neck is shot, put a new one on. You must disregard others' opinions at times. This is one.

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