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Hybrid v. All Ply in the Sun

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Wilbyman, Mar 13, 2008.


  1. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Hey guys-

    For the last few years, my weekly Martini hour gig has been moved out on the spot's patio in the summer. This is really nice, but I have been loathe to take my carved bass out there...as the patio feels quite a bit like a kiln in July and August, and there is a ton of direct sunlight on my bass.

    So instead of just ditching my upright for electric as I have in years past, I'm looking at a battle-conditions backup bass.

    I'm going down to see my friend Bob Beerman at the Bass Violin Shop in Greensboro and hope to pick something up.

    http://www.bassviolinshop.com/basses.html

    My first question is: Do you guys feel that a hybrid/carved-top bass is alot more susceptible to heat/sun damage than an all plywood bass?

    Will
     
  2. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I have a similar occasional gig down here - go ply or stickbass. Would be nice to be able to use a decent sounding jazz bass but not worth worrying about wrecking an instrument in a stupid outdoor venue.

    Ike
     
    RSBBass likes this.
  3. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I bought one of the Kohr laminate Busettos for the college (it's a sort of upgraded Christopher) and thought it was a very good bass for the money - and the conditions it would be played in.

    Louis
     
  4. VicDamone

    VicDamone

    Jun 25, 2000
    I had a similar job, I ended up bringing a very neutral tan patio umbrella along with my laminated instrument and even then it was brutal. I think the Bass actually sounded better all heated up and there were no problems. I can't comment on a hybrid.

    Since then I make it a point to mention the possibility of the umbrella only now the umbrella is a hideous multicolored beach umbrella. I actually carry a picture of it to show the customer. If they offer their umbrella I point out how tall my "special" umbrella is and that I need the extra hight. After seeing the picture it's simply amazing how they can come up with a place in the shade.

    A giant umbrella, as if we don't already have enough **** to carry. If it gets windy be prepared with some line and bar bell weights.

    Vic
     
    Randy Ward likes this.
  5. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Hi Louis, this is actually what I ended up with (today). It is a very good instrument for the money, better than the hybrids I played so it was an easy decision. I think it will work out just fine.

    Will
     
  6. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Good! I think you'll be quite pleased.

    Louis
     
  7. Bigbassguy

    Bigbassguy

    Jun 5, 2017
    I have a playing situation coming up and the conditions will probably be hot and dry.
    Do i go with my Kay or use my upton hybrid?
    It will probably be in the 80's and very dry.
    Yikes!
     
  8. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    What kind of music are you playing?
     
  9. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I'd go with a cheap hybrid. You have to consider the bass and the bass player. Too many who settle for ply basses don't understand that the sound as well as how play playable the instrument is are affected by the ply or carved top. There are zero magical pieces of plywood that vibrate as freely as a single piece of wood. Zero.
    Outdoor gigs are more work, more strain on the body. A hybrid will help redirect energy already put into the bass as opposed to each note needing it's own force to get out of the instrument.
     
  10. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    I'm not Mr. Science Guy, but I do know that a surface in direct sunlight can significantly exceed the ambient air temperature, and I think hide glue melts at around 145 degrees.

    Heat index here in Texas got up to 121 the other day.

    If it's hot and no shade, I'd play the slab.
     
  11. Bigbassguy

    Bigbassguy

    Jun 5, 2017
    I'll be playing jazz.
     
  12. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    A new hybrid should be able to handle any heat you can handle for a couple hours.
     
  13. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    Arizona
    This is why (besides the fact that over 2k is way past any budget I could hope to have these days and even if I wanted to if I had a hybrid it would stay in the practice studio since it would be worth as much as my car) I play a ply outside in AZ in June...
     
  14. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    Arizona
    I agree that hybrids in general are nicer than plys in general and I don't think anyone would argue otherwise... however, not everyone can afford one and if you do play a ply it is completely possible to play and sound great in any number of situations especially if you are running through a pre and amp/FOH anyway (mine sounds great through my rig). I was even able to play un amped when it's a small quiet gig or rehearsal. A lot has to do with the player as well as the bass.
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  15. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    Playing in an open air situation with the summer sun beating down on a solid top instrument is about as prudent as leaving your bass all night long in an unlocked car with the windows rolled down. There is a chance that it could work out okay, but ...
     
    salcott likes this.
  16. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    You also say this as a strong young man. As I outline above they are much more physically demanding it has to do with more than the sound. With all the great Chinese options a hybrid is as affordable as any playable plywood bass. While people certainly make do with them in many settings it just isn't a recommendable option for any serious bassist anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  17. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    That's a really strong statement. I ordered a full ply 7/8ths as recently as 2015. I already owned, and still have, a 3/4 hybrid. While I don't play music for a living, I consider myself a "serious" bassist, at least based on how much I play, practice, and play in front of people. The ply can go anywhere I play in southwest Florida, in side or out, regardless of humidity, direct sun or other conditions. The hybrid sounds different, and has held up so far in similar conditions, but I don't regret buying the ply.
     
  18. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    The hybrid also works different. I would seriously concede to having a ply as a second bass for outdoor work in harsh weather or being left in an office or whatever. I play too much arco to have patience for a ply bass and my entire approach to the instrument is based on working with the freely vibrating top.
    In terms of the actual question, a ply is certainly more durable. The hybrid is going to play better and not be more expensive than any ply bass that a pro would be happy playing.
    So, the expense thing is out the window in 2017.
    I would still say that a new hybrid can handle anything a human can.
    At the same time, a plywood bass can be a great work out. My drummer friend has nice sounding ply that I prefer to play for sessions over carrying my bass up three flights of stairs, I am usually worn out after playing it but pull a bigger sound from my own bass when I get home.
     
  19. Bigbassguy

    Bigbassguy

    Jun 5, 2017
    My concern is having my hybrid is a really dry climate. Am I putting the top at risk of Cracking?
    My ply bass I have dragged all over NYC for years in all kind of weather with no problems. I took it across county on the roof of a car!
    No problem!

    I rather play my hybrid, but I don't want to put it at real risk. Maybe I'm over reacting.
     
  20. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    It is a risk, but a dampit or two should do the trick. If it is stored in a dry climate for a long time you have a problem, but like I said, a human being will get sun stroke by the time you are really at risk with a new hybrid.
     

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