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In search of a less physically demanding bass...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by stephanie, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I'm particularly looking for a bass with a nice, slim neck. I played a friend's Ibanez Soundgear not too long ago and thought 'wow this is much less effort to play than my bass'. I'm just getting frustrated that it hurts to play which is leading to less motivation and more discouragement.

    My wrists, fingers, and back have been hurtin..., half due to my day job, half to my regular old health problems (not to mention I'm getting old and arthritic :D). Anyone who's worked fast food knows the strain from the constant repitition of lifting pans and heavy fry baskets. And it takes its toll when I come home and try to practice.

    I realize more and more that the neck on my bass is too thick and my small hands fight to reach frets. I can't reach the low F on the first fret without intense pain in my wrist. It's a struggle to play the majority of the time.

    I'm not exactly looking for a short scale bass, though, as I like basses with at least 22 frets (actually I'm wanting one with 24 frets like the Soundgear. Weather Report's "Cannonball" goes as far as that high G, 24th fret. I gotta be able to play my Jaco :D).

    Are there any basses out there besides Ibanez that fit what I'm looking for? Hopefully something for my limited budget...

    I'm also trying to stay away from active basses if possible.

    Thanks! :)
  2. centralharbor


    Nov 21, 2005
    Schecter C4, thin neck, Ibanez like, crazy finish, even does your laundry.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
  4. ibanez, and if it hurts to reach that fret, rase your bass up

  5. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA

    Agreed. Meaning pull the headstock closer to your human head. It will give you a more comfortable angle for your wrist and save you some straining.

    Do you, or have you played a fretless? I find that you can keep the action nice and low due to... well... the lack of frets and the need for mwah. In my experience, fretlesses are far less physically demanding than instruments with your standard "jumbo frets".
    My fender Jazz fretless is definitely the easiest to play of the instruments that I own.

    On the other hand, my new 5 string with it's wider neck is forcing me to use better left hand positioning, and actually making it easier to play. Perhaps you need to look into technique? Make sure that left thumb is in the middle of the back of the neck, not wrapped around to the E/B string.
  6. my fretless is way harder to play than my five string ibanez. they both have really low action as well

  7. SGT. Pepper

    SGT. Pepper Banned

    Nov 20, 2005
    Ibanez SR or a Fender Jazz.
  8. adept_inept


    Jan 9, 2006
    ibanez all the way.

    my sr 400 is lightweight, and has a superthin neck.
  9. amistybleu


    Jan 15, 2006
    Thornton, CO
    +1 on the Schecter, I play a Studio 4 and it's "easy like Sunday Morning":eek: I cant believe I said that:bag: OH, and I'm not selling this one!!!!!!
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    FWIW, there are a few short-scale basses with 24 frets. Check out the Ampeg AMB-1 reissue from a few years ago, you can find them on Ebay occasionally. Super easy, fast neck, good access to all frets.
  11. RyansDad


    Jan 31, 2006
    Tolland, CT
    Ibanez is probably the way to go. If that is hurting your wrist, you're either going to have to practice more to get the wrist stretched out or, if that is not going to fix things, just play with the neck up.

    I have a Soungear and a BTB. Fastest necks for the $$.
  12. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    A good choice if you don't slap a lot. I found slapping/popping more difficult on the Jazz 24.

  13. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    What are you playing today?
  14. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I have an amazing Landing Custom short scale bass for sale now. Maybe check out the thread in the classifieds section.
  15. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    I found the 24 to have the worst nasal-sounding, mid-squashing active tone I've played in recent memory. It is a fast neck and lightweight, but a tone monster it is not.
  16. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    Stop all this nonsense. The best neck out there are on Reverend RUmblefishes, but they don't make them anymore. So you need to find one used---and look at it as an investment. I will never sell mine.

    I just put flats on her, too. And wow. So nice. LOVE my reverend.

    Great thin neck. Great feel.

    My memory tells me the Warwick thumbs had real thin necks, too.

  17. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004

    I have a Landing and it is by far the least physically demanding bass I've played. Thin fast neck, medium scale (mine's a 32"), and weighs 7lbs 5 oz. Love it!

    The only catch-- I'm not sure if Jimmy makes a 24 fret model. I may be wrong about this though. Check www.landingbass.com for details.

    Peace and best of luck finding the solution,

  18. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Actually, scale length has nothing to do with # of frets.

    Another vote for the Ibanez SoundGear. A girl who is my student sold her old Fender Precision because it gave her back problems and switched to a SR400. A wise move, not only because of the weight but also because she has small hands and this super slim neck fits her hand perfectly. According to your requirements, I think you'll hardly find something that beats this instrument.
  19. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Lots of good recommendations here (Landing, Ibanez), but you may also want to try Fender's Deluxe Zone. It's active, but sounds very good for an active Fender, and it has a downsized body so it's light. And it has a slim neck. If you can spend more, an American Deluxe Jazz with an ash body might be the ticket. They have 22 frets, sound great, and the ash bodies can be very light. If you generally avoid active you probably don't want the Jazz 24. I think it sounds good, but very modern to my ears. The others I've mentioned have more vintage tonality IMO.
  20. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    The old (pre-96) neck-through ones. however, they are a different price range.

    While Soundgears do have thin necks, they are lacking in tone, however. When I bought my next bass, I couldn't believe how alive it sounded and how muted and dull was the Ibanez compared to it.

    You might also check your hand position and technique. When I switched to a thick-necked 6, it was uncomfortable and a bit painful at first. Angling the neck to about 45° and pulling the neck closer helps with both.