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I Just Don't Understand...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JDJen, Apr 18, 2010.

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  1. JDJen


    Mar 18, 2010
    I REALLY don't understand why everyone is so concerned with how much a bass weighs. It always seems to be one of the first 2 questions asked in the For Sale section.

    It has always been my experience a light weight bass just doesn't have the sustain or tonal qualities as a heavy bass does. I don't care what kind of electronics it has in it, passive or active.

    Please explain.... There really can't be that many wimpy bass players in the world to make "How does it weigh" a question that determines the purchase of a quality instrument.
  2. Tim C.

    Tim C.

    Feb 4, 2010
    Weight is a big issue these days. Heavy basses, heavy speaker cabinets, heavy amps... All on the way out.

    Bass players are evidently an aging and ungainly population and have certain needs accordingly. :rollno:
  3. For the same reason some people have to have an hour of preparation to bend over to pick up the paper in the morning.
  4. Not wimpy- old(& wimpy). I don't mind a chunky bass, to a point. 8-9 lbs, no prob. 10+, it's for some strapping young pup.

    Edit: Besides which I haven't noticed a correlation between weight & sound/sustain/etc.
  5. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    For me personally, I broke my neck a few years back....so if I have to play a heavy bass for any length of time it leads to getting a migraine.


    In the many thousands of basses I've played, I've found tons of horrible sounding heavy basses and great sounding lightweight ones....and vice versa. In direct answer to your statement :

    Go out and play ten heavy weight late 70's Fenders. A couple might be good, but you'll find a couple of real dogs too.

    A well designed instrument is good "regardless" of what it weighs.

    If someone likes light basses, more power to 'em. If they like heavy basses, frickin' awesome. If they don't care about weight, that's cool. People are entitled to "like what they want", and they are entitled to "ask questions to help them find what they want".


    PS: Also keep in mind that the tonal qualities that "YOU LIKE" aren't necessarily the same ones "I LIKE"...or anyone else for that matter. We can have different likes and needs.
  6. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    Standing for four hours with a 12lb. bass on works ones back and shoulder a bit. Light basses are nice for long gigs. As far as tone goes, from light to heavy, I don't think there is a drastic difference between them. But then I've only really compared my ash (heavier) and alder Precisions. Even as far as sustain is concerned, I don't see much of a difference. I have a 7.5 lb. Precision that sustains longer than my 9.5lb. Jazz and my 10.25lb. Stingray5. I say if you can find a light bass that makes you happy then buy it.
  7. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    OP, as you age, you will very likely come to prefer lighter weight basses.

    In regards to your observations about weight and tone, there is no correlation between weight and tone. On a solidbody electric instrument what contributes most to the tone is the strings, pickups and placement and the electronics. Construction style, materials, etcetera offer only the most subliminal of differences. For more on this topic, search tone woods and tone wars/warz in Luthier's Corner...
  8. and again?
  9. IMO, bassists that can't support a heavy bass on their shoulders, why won't just play sitting down?

    EDIT: Of course it looks stupid on a heavy gig but if here's jazz/pop/folk etc. bassists, that should solve their problem =)
  10. Without getting into the pissing contest, maybe it isn't an issue for you but a 10 or 12 lb bass on a 4 set gig is a drag.

    BTW - I find some light weight basses sound deep and have plenty of sustain and some heavy weights are lifeless.
  11. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    I build a bass myself out of Aussie wood (most of which is damn heavy) and it weighs a tonne, a good 7-8kgs.

    Now I had always thougt 'Who care about weight, blah blah', obviously back problems would cause a problem, but someone healthy should be able to hack a heavy bass, shouldn't they?

    Well let me tell you.. This thing is bloody heavy! I still enjoy playing it an it has a great tone, but for a simple home made P bass shape, its madness, give it 10-15 minutes and im often buggered.

    So I also care about weight :p
  12. Weight has NEVER been a consideration for me when looking for a bass. Every bass feels really light compared to my main guitar anyway.
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    1) We have this thread all the time, and it is just an ignorant, rude, and childish question.

    2) There is no correlation between weight and tone, and if you think there is then you've only compared a small sample population.

    3) The older you get, the more it matters.

    4) Why not be comfortable, regardless of age? Since the whole weight=tone thing is just a myth, why not just get a bass that has great tone and doesn't weigh a lot? I've owned several basses that weigh between 7 and 9 lbs that have incredibly nice tone.
  14. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA
    Weight is an issue for many players with very specific reasons on why they look for lighter basses. Personally, a bass over 10lbs causes discomfort for me on long gigs. Why on earth would I spend money on a bass that I was not comfortable playing?? There are many light weight basses that I have played over the years that have had way more punch and tone that a heavier bass. It's like asking why people prefer a jazz neck over a precision neck...it's personal preference.

    My question is, why do you care? Play what speaks to you and enjoy...
  15. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Sounds like you'd be asking about the weight of a bass before buying it, too.;)

    Personally, I just like to know the weight before forking over my money, even though a 10 pounder isn't a big deal to me. But yes, people have very legitimate reasons for wanting a light bass. Here's a 500+ post thread on the subject.
  16. I find that better made instruments often weigh much less... I think this is mostly to do with the wonders of chambering.
  17. I built a Warmoth P/J with a hard maple body.

    I own an Epi Ripper with a hard maple body. It is much lighter and thinner, although the body is much wider. They are both bolt-ons.

    I also own a Ric 4003, which has a maple body the same thickness as my Ripper, but is a neck-thru.

    The Warmoth's thick, heavy body sounds deader in comparison to the Ric and the Ripper, acoustically. You can play them both without an amp and hear them fine. Plugged in, you can hear the difference as well. It also seems my lighter basses sustain longer and louder than the 12.5lb Warmoth, and they are all made of the same material.

    Keep in mind, the Warmoth is not a dead sounding bass, but this is an observation I noticed from building a few of them. In fact, I have another maple P body, and when I get around to building it, I will shave a little over a 1/4" from the back of its' body, strictly for tonal reasons.

    The lighter weight is just another benefit.
  18. Some of them have thin bodies rather than chambering, such as Rics.

    I no longer believe the myth of "Heavy body = good tone".

    I still believe a significantly harder tonewood will give you more brilliant highs than a much softer one, though.
  19. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    "Good" tone is a matter of opinion. I personally think lighter basses sound better.
  20. The thing I like about a bottle of beer is it weighs a little less every time i lift it.

    now if only the would make a p bass that worked on the same principle.

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