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I Don't Even Like These: A NBD Drama

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bovinehost, Apr 12, 2021.


  1. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    IMG_2262.jpg

    For reasons I can’t explain, I’ve always wanted one good hollowbody (HB) bass. Many of you know that I prefer Music Man basses over everything else and I could easily survive with just one Bongo or Big Al. I understand that I don’t NEED a HB. I don’t even really understand why I want one, but I do. I chalk it up to some kind of chemical imbalance. Or bad wiring.


    I can’t remember how many I’ve bought and sold. The best of the lot was the Lakland from way back before the Permian extinction, but that relies on faded memories, nostalgia, and martini-based fog. It might not have been that great, but I seem to think it was better - so it could even be true.


    I gave up for a few years. My “market research” was too expensive. Music Man basses were far better than any HBs I tried, so I called it off….but I still secretly wanted one. We all have desires that we dare not talk about in public.


    When Chowny built a mid-priced (semi) HB a few years back, I had an opportunity to pick up a NAMM model at a bargain price. And so I did. The thing looked great. It sounded great, too. I had a few little questions about the electronics, but I’m one of those “get one good tone and go” guys. I got good tone from it, so I mostly ignored the knobbage. It was super playable. I wanted to gig it in my ridiculous snarky semi-rockabilly band, coWpilot, but I could never find a way to make it work on a strap. The front of the bass always wanted to stare at the tops of my feet. It was a wrestling match. I listened to but did not implement suggestions that may have worked. I’m a bassist, not a tinkerer. Off the shelf, the instrument should perform properly, right? I’m not slagging the Chowny HB at all. I really liked the bass but it wasn’t going to work on stage (for me). I am thankful that there are so many decent instruments out there at reasonable prices. Chowny is doing good work.


    A few more years flew by. A Casady? Nah. (Not yet, anyway.) Others caught my attention, but I resisted. Then, Leland Sklar appeared with this outrageous Warwick HB, but I wasn’t going to own a Warwick, was I? Of course not. Plus his was quite spendy. Were I fabulously well-to-do, sure, I would have tried it, but I am most certainly not fabulously well-to-do. Oh, they make an Asian import version? Oh, and there’s a used one on the Talkbass classifieds? Oh, and I scored on taxes this year?


    So of course you known what happened. Anyone could guess.


    And it isn’t perfect. It still hangs a little weird (some have said the same regarding me) but it’s not as pronounced as the last few I’ve tried. It doesn’t neck dive. I guess really that if you want to play a HB, you’re going to have to make peace with certain ergonomic aspects. And the edge of the body where my forearm crosses it can be annoying, too. Again, make your peace with it because they’re all like that as far as I can tell.


    So I spent the Big Money on strings, wanting to give this bass every advantage (because I don’t want to buy any more HBs!) and strung it up with Thomastik Infeld Jazz Flats. Yes, they’re expensive but I guess they’re worth it because these will probably be going strong long after I’m dead. I let the bass sit for a few days after I strung it up because other stuff was going on. The strings settled in nicely and don’t even have that initial tacky feel that flats sometimes have.


    I’ve been working on a tune with my musical partner; he’s actually off in Florida while I am working solo on the basic tracks with horns and stuff – it’s a remake of a Louie Armstrong song and needs organic sounds, which I’m attempting to pull off. I initially recorded the bass track with a 5 string Music Man bass and it sounded great. They always do, even when I am playing them. But I got to thinking about it and decided that I wanted a HB bass just for this sort of thing. Maybe. Like I said, why I want one is a mystery to me. I plugged it in, though, and did two complete passes at the bass part and sat back to choose one. This thing is GREAT. My musical partner, when he saw it, said, “I really like this bass so I know you’ll sell it by the end of the month”, which is sometimes accurate, but I don’t think so.


    The tone is definitely organic. Very woody. If I stuffed a nappy under the strings at the bridge, it might even fool you into thinking it was an upright (I’d have to play fewer notes to make it convincing). I still don’t care for the vibe of the Warwick solid body basses, but they did a good thing here. And I hate to admit that, but it’s true. I do kind of wish it was green, though. Oh, and – I found out they make a five string version! I found this out after buying this one. Dang. But the search, I sincerely hope, is over.
     

    Attached Files:

    Phud, Fluid Power, Bassaga and 32 others like this.
  2. Samatza

    Samatza

    Apr 15, 2019
    Australia
    Well congratulations are in order. Enjoy it, it's a great bass.
     
  3. It's like a Gibson EB-2, but with a properly functioning bridge system and electronics that rely on results instead of "vintage vibe".
    Cool bass.

    I'm in a prog/metal band but have been wanting a semi-hollow for recording the last two songs we wrote, so I appreciated your story.
     
  4. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Congrats on that, and welcome to the Star Bass, a bigger bass than I expected when I bought mine. My (Korean) Pro Series Star Bass 5 is definitely one of the best basses I've owned. Superior IME to any other HBs/SHBs (only owned an Epi Viola, but tried A LOT, including Tanglewood, Ibby Artcores, the Jack Casady, several Hofners), probably because it's like cheating, the Star Bass plays and sounds more like a solid body bass. Most of the use my Star Bass sees is rock/punk/HC music. For reference, my main basses are a couple Stingray5s, most of my recording is done on those and maybe about 2/3rds of live work too. The Star Bass 5 is a great alternative to have for me. Mine's real jazzbass'ish, just fatter and with supernatural sustain (you can feel it in the way it pushes preamps, the lows of a note last real long if you need it). Packs a lot of punch too.



    It does hang horribly from factory tho', as most hollow basses and guitars do. The stupid pin at the neck heel, as "vintage" as it might be, not only makes it more prone to neckdive but also makes it face down (instead of front) if you have the slightest "belly/beer/happiness curve". I modded mine right away (3rd day of owning), relocated the strap pin to the upper horn, solidifying the tip of the horn with a few ml of epoxy (related post here). Not only it hangs way more naturally now (facing FRONT), it also helped mitigate neck dive.

    sb_strap_pin_4.jpg

    The other mod I did was replace the VVTT control layout for VVT + rotary switch for tone cap value selection, I can have any of 5 combinations, ranging from 10 to 57 nF.

    SBVaritone2.jpg

    Also (most might not like this) I made it more "forearm friendly" with this ghetto armrest, basically the kinda' rubber cornering you put in certain furniture so your kids don't get their skulls "reliced" (can be taken out easily).

    sb_armrest.jpg

    Even tho' you can rock this semihollow real hard, as I mostly do, it can also do many other things. Had it on flatwoulds for some months and I equally enjoyed it for softer/popier stuff, a much more versatile bass than one would 'a priori' presume. Despite me thinking the Korean Pro Series is probably the best bang 4 the buck Star Bass out there (same materials as the German Pro Series, but crafted in Korea, was lucky to grab mine used -RARE- for 600€, which is what the RockBass ones go for 'round here), I've tried the RockBass version before owning mine, many times, and I still can't tell much of a difference.

    No "drama" to dwell upon here, enjoy your Star Bass sir! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  5. BassmanM

    BassmanM

    Feb 17, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    The bass is not for me, but I enjoyed your write-up. :thumbsup:
     
  6. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Now you can really get yo “Peter Tork” on baby.

    Sweet bass Jack. Bet it sounds great.
     
    Solarmist and bovinehost like this.
  7. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    That’s a cool bass. Congrats! I’ve got a semi hollow Duesy and went through a similar process. Because they all look cool. Go rock it.
     
  8. Great reviews of the Star bass bovinehost and andruca, but damn you! you've sown a seed. :banghead:
    I've tried a few HB basses before and never really bonded with any of them, but looking over the Warwick offering on line made me think it may just be the hoped for," better mouse trap".

    I haven't bought a production instrument for about twenty years, as I make my own, but read what you guys had to say makes me think, I'd just be reinventing a probably less resolved and efficient wheel and I should just consider the Warwick.

    Like your mods andruca, moving the front strap button is the way I'd go too, likewise probably the varitone, I like varitone's in passive basses and guitars.

    Thanks again guys, I think....;)
     
    andruca and bovinehost like this.
  9. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

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    yeah, it's "kid stuff" for me --- they just look cool! :D

    per the OP: great 'inside the mind' post! :laugh: i hope you can make some peace with your ax --- it would be great for you both --- congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
     
    bovinehost likes this.
  10. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Nice bass.
    “Organic” tone is not in my memory bank.
     
    _Obra_ likes this.
  11. BarfanyShart

    BarfanyShart

    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    I like these a lot, too. I'm probably not running out to buy one any time soon, but my main BG for 20 years was a Warwick, and if I did buy another it would be one of these HB's or an Alien acoustic.
     
  12. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    I might have to try this with my Guild Starfire II. I don't trust myself to do it, but maybe a tech friend of mine would do it. That is my only complaint with it. Looks great. Sounds great. But unless I keep my right forearm over the body while standing and playing, it'll definitely be watching the floor. Thanks for this!
     
    andruca likes this.
  13. 2112

    2112

    Apr 30, 2005
    I've been GASsing for a Guild Starfire II in Emerald strung up with Labella Black Tapes. But that's just me.
     
  14. Congrats! Very underrated basses. I've owned two MIK ones, a four and a five, and they are IMO one of the best basses Warwick ever made. Like a jazzbass, but larger sounding.
     
    andruca likes this.
  15. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    We're on a similar wavelength. I had been lusting for one as well. Mine's Natural, but I did put D'Addario Black Nylon Tapewounds on it. Made a world of difference (for the better) from the stock rounds.
     

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  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    That Warwick looks pretty sweet. Congratulations on finding it. :thumbsup:

    The two best semis I’ve played to date are a Spector Spectorcore and a Guild Starfire. If I had to pick just one I’d get the Starfire.
     
  17. dusterdan70

    dusterdan70 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2014
    So Cal
    THIS had me rolling, too funny:roflmao: Congrats on the NHBBD!:bassist:
     
  18. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Congrats on the bass! Those Warwick Rockbasses are very nice. I'm normally a Guild Starfire guy through and through, but I played in a psychedelic rock band that tuned down a bit, so the slightly longer 32" scale of the Warwick coupled with some heavy gauge flatwounds was perfect in that regard. I loved the stock single-coils, which were nice a clear sounding but still had plenty of girth. I also did a few passive filter mods to it. A friend of mine borrowed it for a recording session once and fell in love with it, so I sold it to him once I parted ways with the psych rock band.
    My 1970 Starfire does everything I need and beyond, plus it's the most comfortable bass I've ever played (no neck dive, weird hang, or pains of any sort; just perfection) so I wouldn't say I miss the Warwick, but it was a super nice bass for sure!

    13051598_1812453248985870_4976186586175565945_n.jpg
     
    lowendrachel likes this.
  19. lowendrachel

    lowendrachel

    Sep 11, 2012
    GTA, Ontario
    I like hollow body basses because of the looks. Been wanting a Guild one but lately I've been thinking of selling my Artcore...
     
  20. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    ok, cool
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 11, 2021

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