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I want a big and boomy Bass, 4/4 plywood?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by ericsmith, Sep 8, 2016.


  1. bassmastan

    bassmastan Guest

    Jun 25, 2011
    As someone who owns a real 4/4 bass I can attest that bigger does not equal louder! I have found that with my bass the sound is actually softer pizz than many other basses, but the bowed sound is big and lush. The nice thing is with a big bass in an orchestra is that you can create a pillow of sound to help your fellow bassist blend. (Specially with a big boomy low C). However my bass doesn't always want to speak right away and I typically have to play for about 1-2 hours before a rehearsal to get the bass to wake up. It's sensitive to the weather, and I had to work hard to get around those big shoulders...

    Big pizzicato sound can also be achieved through amp,pickup and preamp combos... Some people make czech ease basses sound massive (Dave Holland cough cough). Think about portability and also thing about future resale...

    Today big basses are not as desirable as they used to be, my bass in terms of over all length of the top/back and width of the ribs is a 4/4 however the string length is a playable 41.5, and if I went any bigger I could see problems... Even 42.5-43 is massive, too massive. Bigger isn't always better and you should always see and play what you're buying before you do (some of those 4/4 outfits are just a slightly bigger 3/4 they can add a few hundred on to)

    My advice: you can't go wrong with a large 3/4 rather than a full size... Be ware that a full size instrument is not only big but very difficult to play...(Plus taking it to gigs as a pizz-er is going to be a pain!)
     
  2. Sure, 3/4 all the way.

    Having said THAT...I acquired some kind of ostensible CCB 7/8 (branded "Infinity") in a trade, and the thing DOES have a big, booming sound (oddly, it also has a nice arco tone). It's about 42.25" SL. I was surprised as hell that it has such a decent sound, and I (right or wrong) attribute it to the large size

    While I would always hesitate to recommend something like this - surprises happen I guess.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  3. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    BSO's are not necessarily bad, they just have variability issues that may need addressing. After enough TLC, my BSO-folly actually got to be quite a useful instrument, both pizz & arco. (It says it's a 3/4, and has 42.125" SL.)
     
  4. bassmastan

    bassmastan Guest

    Jun 25, 2011
    But after all the money you would spend on making a BSO playable you could buy yourself a decent instrument already set up... Plus the reliability of a good maker and peace of mind that nothing will inexplicably and inevitably fail...
     
    HateyMcAmp likes this.
  5. Oh, absolutely .. better safe than sorry -

    (But...there are some things roaming around out there you might snag that will surprise )
     
    bassmastan likes this.
  6. Reiska

    Reiska

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    " Go out and play some basses ", not like that in Finland. There`s propably something like 12 DB`s in showrooms of all finnish DB sellers :) I hope you find your big-ass plywood, and post some pics / vids when this happens!

    R, Helsinki
     
    ericsmith likes this.
  7. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    Based on experience I respectfully disagree sir, and this topic has been discussed ad nauseam. If you can't get a BSO working adequately, other than by paying someone else to do the work, that doesn't mean the same also applies to me. It just means a BSO is not the best choice for you. It has cost me $15 to repair (knowingly bought broken) & optimise my BSO, and it is now an eminently playable & fine sounding ply bass, costing well under $200 (including new strings & a PU).

    But that does not mean I advise others to go the BSO route. To each his own, and know what you're getting yourself into. And while investing more money does not necessarily guarantee quality, it does enhance expectation value thereof.

    Reiska, I appreciate the 'try before you buy' advice is not practical in all places around the globe. Sorry. Then try the next best thing. Life's not perfect & full of compromises.
     
    Reiska likes this.
  8. bassmastan

    bassmastan Guest

    Jun 25, 2011

    Just a disclaimer; I do not want this to come off as an attack, but simply a healthy and educational debate. This only comes from a place of love and understanding.

    Eventually you come to a point where you have to say that the problems of the bass shouldn't be fixed by anyone other than a professional, and when that day comes and you bring it to the luthier they will turn you away, not because they can't fix it, but because they know your money would be better spent buying a decent instrument.( Or you may decide that the type of stuff you're playing doesn't require taking it to a professional but some DIY experiences are successful)

    Not only do I know this from speaking to luthiers, I used to own one as my first bass back in '10/'11 and within a year I bought myself a good reliable bass and have yet to look back. (2012) I thought the Palatino was the greatest bass ever simply because it was mine, I even remember trying to start a club on talkbass about Palatino's. I learned within a few months (and through the guidance of some of my friends here) how wrong I was. Since then I've upgraded again, scraping pennies and getting a professional level instrument. I spent over $1500 making a $800 Palatino playable, with what I spent I could have easily purchased a Shen... Now it sits in my basement collecting dust because it is unplayable, the bridge is too high/warped, the top is sinking and the nut is loose... I would give it away but I would feel bad giving this to anyone, I keep it as a reminder to myself how lucky I am, and to show my students so they know to avoid at all costs.

    It's great that you use a BSO and are proud of it, however I don't think that you should recommend them to someone looking for an instrument. It's sort of like going to the supermarket and looking to buy Peter Pan peanut butter or the Organic stuff at a slightly higher price... But you know that Peter pan just had another batch of e-coli contaminated product, and decide to take your chances...

    Often I have lurked on threads and have seen you defend BSO's but I understand where you are coming from. Also understand, I am not a rich kid complaining about cheap basses, my nose is not so high up in the air the word budget is meaningless, I do know what it means to work hard and do things I don't want to, and I do know what it means to be a working musician (Just this weekend I played in a professional wind ensemble for the first time crazy fun experience for a different time :) ). My advice comes from my experience growing up in a hard working small business family, simply put: sometimes you have to spend more to have the piece of mind, reliability, and quality that returns on the investment that is your musical career. Our instruments are our tools, our practice room is our workbench and the stage is our showroom.

    To the OP, I would recommend you stay away from BSO's. Thomann I believe has had a decent reputation with basses (You should ask Mikmann) but if you are in the states a Shen may serve as an alternative in the same price range (not sure of their availability in Europe). Shen does have a 7/8ths model that is a lot of bass. You could also take a look at Christopher instruments, I believe most of their models are offered in a 7/8ths ply which may be just what you're looking for. A 7/8ths ply goes for about $1500, and carved Christopher goes for about $4800 new in the states.

    Someone said earlier that the OP has two really fine basses already so I would assume that they know what their looking for and are probably trying to find a bass that will last.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
    ericsmith and Jsn like this.
  9. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    Bassmastan, thanks for your long reply & no worries, as I said: to each his own. No attack perceived, and you're entitled to your opinion; as I am. I'm done debating this issue anyway, nor do I want to be Mr. BSO (I mean there are even people who think I'm selling those things...).

    Nevertheless:
    Is that so? Why? I respectfully disagree. It is always a choice, and I have not yet come to that point (in more than 35y DB).

    What makes you think I'm proud of it? And more importantly: why on earth do you believe I would recommend one? Please see in my post #27, where I underlined the word "not". That means I do not advise others to go the BSO route. Please accept that.

    No, I don't. For instance, saying "BSO's are not necessarily bad, they just have variability issues that may need addressing." or the like is not defending BSO's. In my mind the 'corporate' view is just too dogmatic, prejudiced & not based on reality. But: believe what you want & choose the instrument that you want. But please respect others in their choice.

    Anyway, thanks.
     
  10. bassmastan

    bassmastan Guest

    Jun 25, 2011
    I can name about a dozen or more cases here on talkbass where necks have snapped, tops have warped, backs split apart, or endpins were destroyed. In person I have seen the work Cremona does with our tech instruments for non majors at the school. The basses are in horrible shape with 0 arch to the top, enormous cracks and splits, and even some crazy strange glue here and there...

    Through digging I have found numerous occasions where you have recommended these things... or at least phrased things in a way where it seemed like you were. I think that's why people think that you gear things towards BSO's, I have seen many posts about you saying that they're great instruments or they just need some TLC ect. This gives a mixed message which to me at least tells me that you are recommending them. I

    The reason why I personally can not stand a BSO is because there are wonderful affordable basses out there for students to own and play, and when these instruments flooded the market all Chinese basses were bad, and people are afraid to buy. I have one parent and student who refuse to even look at a shen because of all the BSO stuff they read. In capitalism we vote with our dollars and by purchasing BSO's we are electing to keep having more made.

    I have ghost pepper hot sauce on the stove (I make it home made) and I need to finish practicing Heidenlieben. :) If anyone wants some pickled stuff or hot sauce shoot me a PM and Ill send some your way (free of course)
     
  11. @Otrsom Did you reset the neck on your bass by any chance?

    Some of those that I've seen...indifferent too generously describes the workmanship.
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'll second the recommendation for a New Standard Cleveland play. It's a whole lotta bass for not a whole lotta $, all things considered. They can be articulate or dark and thud, depending on the strings you use on 'em and the way you play 'em. And they are great workhorse basses. I've always told people that new Standard basses are like Honda cars: they might not be the most stylish, but they always run and you always get where you're going.
     
    ericsmith likes this.
  13. ericsmith

    ericsmith

    Dec 22, 2008
    Finland
    Thanks Chris, I've read a lot about the NS basses now and even got in touch with Wil. He answered quickly which was nice but told me that laminate Cleveland basses wouldn't be available for atleast six months... Well, must be a sign of popularity.

    Wil told about some of the basses he had ready which is tempting but out of my budget.

    Hopefully I'll get my carved German bass sold and can invest in something like the Cleveland. The Import taxes and shipping costs are what they are and it's true that there's no chance to try before I buy but I just have to trust my instincts.

    But like Reiska said, it ain't easy selling or buying a DB here....

    And I've ditched the idea of buying a 4/4 Thomann bass, good that I thought about it, wouldn't have found info about the NS basses otherwise! :)


    Edit: Another option could be a Duke Peacemaker bass. That's a laminate bass as well, based on the American Standard it seems.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
    Reiska and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  14. Reiska

    Reiska

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Those Dukes certainly are interesting. I quess it`s a quality product, as prices are on level with generic hybrid basses and if I recall they are made in Germany. I saw one in How Violins workshop, it was blonde and strung with guts and at least looked like a true quality product. Bassico.eu`s basses might be worth checking out, they have Dukes there too.
     
  15. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    Oh well, we're back... Why can't people simply respond to what is actually said, rather to their personal (and incorrect) interpretation of what they think is said... Reality is sooo important...
    Please either link to those, or concede that is simply not true. I have always maintained that quality control is an issue with these cheaply produced instruments. Just as I said here in this thread:
    That is not defending them. That is saying that BSO#1 has this issue, #2 has that issue, #3 has yet another issue, and that it is up to the owner to decide what he does with these issues. What I didn't say here (but have said elsewhere) is that the variability is all due to sloppy production procedures executed in the cheapest possible way using the cheapest possible raw materials, and that it is actually admirable that something of this quality level can be produced at such cost at all (even making a profit!). That is a description of what I think is reality, and if you perceive that as 'defending BSO's', well... I'm speechless. But of course you're wrong. Just like you apparently overlooked the underlined 'not' in "that does not mean I advise others to go the BSO route. To each his own, and know what you're getting yourself into." Anyway, think what you like, preach what you like & do what you like, as long as you respect someone else's choices; I'm done on this particular soap box.

    @KUNGfuSHERIFF: No, I have not reset the neck on my BSO. I have reset several necks, but not on this BSO. On that BSO, the head had come off, and I re-attached that. That is described in a post somewhere. The heel is fine & has received no work. There are several things I did to it, but no work on the heel/neck block/mortise. Yes, 'indifferent' is another suitable adjective describing the workmanship in this class. FYI, I currently have 6 DB's & 3 EUB's + some smaller stuff, this BSO folly was just my latest addition (and my only BSO).

    On the OP's new bass: the NS Cleveland is doubtlessly a very suitable bass, but import duties (also levied over transport costs. Sic!) may make it commercially less attractive. What is probably a good deal in the US might be less so in the EU, at least under the current rules.
     
  16. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    Oops, forgot that.. You said:
    , to which I asked:
    , to which you replied:
    Well, no doubt you can name about a dozen or more cases, but in no way does that support the position you took in the first quote. Those cases don't have to be fixed by a professional (and in no way do I have to say that). They can also be fixed by a hobbyist, or dumped in a landfill, or used as firewood, or ...

    But the more important thing is: 'professional' does not necessarily mean 'high quality'. Think of the people who assemble & make the cheapest of BSO's. Many of those have been doing that sort of job (if not the exact same job) for years, as their profession, and are therefore by definition 'professional', but somehow I think that's not quite the category you had in mind... By contrast, I think there are here, on TB, quite a few hobbyists that can deliver outstanding quality work. It is not being 'professional' that is the deciding factor, it is 'attention to detail' & 'willingness to go the extra mile' that are important. Of course tools, tuition & experience help.

    Please consider reviewing that paradigm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  17. bassmastan

    bassmastan Guest

    Jun 25, 2011
    Not sure

    Enough of this sophistry, this thread isn't about you or I it is about the OP. Be that as it may, I am asking you to just stop arguing about nothing, you're getting very defensive over nothing and it's cluttering up this thread. I am ashamed to have responded to nitpicking of my overall statement. If you would like to talk more on this subject send me a PM (Ill give you my contact information) and I will happily debate with you over the phone, skype, email, anywhere this sort of thing would be appropriate. The thread was hijacked and I am sorry for that.

    To the OP @ericsmith I sincerely apologize for taking up clutter and space in your thread and hope that you find a wonderful bass. I remember speaking to Mr. deSola about a bass a while ago and he was very friendly and willing to accommodate if I needed. I hope in terms of the sound you were looking for you could find something fantastic
     
    ericsmith and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thank you.
     
  19. Meh, go big or go home:

    Octobass!

    Vc-RWrWxaCw-2-600x315.jpg

    Wishing the OP the best in his search of 4/4 nirvana.
     
    ericsmith likes this.
  20. ericsmith

    ericsmith

    Dec 22, 2008
    Finland
    Thanks, I have no idea what a BSO is anyway.

    Let's just leave it ok :)

    I'll post to this thread what sort of bass I'm able to find, anyone with any experience on the Duke Peacemaker?
     
  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.

     
    Apr 22, 2021

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