Lightweight solid body basses, the latest fad?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Deleted member 368008, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Hi all!
    This is my first thread, in here, I hope it turns out alright. I have tried to use the search function first, but didn't find anything about it.

    It has come to my attention, with all these lightweight solid body wood, for 4 string basses, that people seem to want lightweight bodies with some resonance built in, rather than half acoustic, hollow body basses, and chambered.

    The thing is, I tried two Sandberg basses at a trade show last fall, and one of them was labeled "light weight" and they flaunt it. I then took the "regular weight" equivalent, from the same company, sat down on a chair and noticed to them that this doesn't neck dive while the lightweight did. The people at the booth claimed that people wants this lightweight, for standing on stage 4 hours a night, and it was a welcome boon to them having lightweight basses.

    Then I told them, hey, but when the weight increases (using the same build and lighweight wood as on their 4 str basses) when using any 5 or 6 string bass, all of a sudden that weight is acceptable? They turned silent and had no replies. I e what I meant that a 4 string bass with a weight of a 5 or 6 string is all of a sudden unacceptable? Like if your shoulders and back should care for the amount of strings the bass has. Beats me.

    conclusion: Bassists complain about a 4 string bass weight that is not made for lighweight purposes, like the 70s boat anchor designs, but if a 6 string bass made of lightweight wood, weighs exactly the same, they have no complaints.

    - - - - - - - - -

    Also, when trying out newest fads, like Strandberg Guitar works headless basses (different from Sandberg above) they make everything as lightweight as possible, pickups, and aluminum hardware. I've heard from may resources now that the wood is not dense enough and all the small screws that holds hardware together, pickups, and especially mono bridges of aluminium has a tendency to mechanically vibrate out of their threads, and loosen up eventually. Same with the headpieces screws for individual strings.

    This is also the first headless bass (their 5 string) which I've encountered the slightest neck dive on. This is definitely a first. But that's another topic and thread.

    - - - - - - - - -

    What is your opinion on the latest fads, that manufacturers seems to strive for the most lightweight body and wood, as a trait and desirable asset?
  2. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    My Marcus Miller 5ver weighs about 8lbs and my Jazz 5ver weighs 9lbs
    My stingrays closer to ten and I feel it.

    You will find good manufacturers like Fender ...Sadowsky...Lakland , Music Man etc. offer 5vers and 4 bangers at similar weights
    GregC, JEDI BASS and Chickenwheels like this.
  3. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Problem with some of the "lightweight" offerings is the manufacturer focuses on the body design (woods, size, chambering, etc) then mates it with a conventional full-size neck replete w/ Fender-sque headstock, standard tuners, and upper horn which enhances the appearance but detracts from the ergonomics. It's Physics 101: the first class lever...or a complete disregard.

    In 46 years of playing, the best design I've encountered is the Kubicki Ex-Factor.

    Atshen, JIO, dune and 6 others like this.
  4. magic8161

    magic8161 Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    I made both my basses. one is 6.5 the other 7.6. both are easy on the back and I like playing them much more then the old boat anchors of the 10 to 13 pounders. if its 8 pounds or more i pass.
  5. EmuBass


    Jan 24, 2018
    Vienna, Austria
    This is a nice bass for less money than you think, and it's solid AND lightweight (Talman TMB 100). Bass Waage IMG_20191018_160911 kl.jpg
    ERIC31, pcake and EatS1stBassist like this.
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    When I started over 50 years ago I was wondering why basses are so heavy and I started looking but not always finding lighter instruments. If I had known about the Hofner Club bass back then I would have gotten one of those.
  7. jallenbass

    jallenbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    For some of us who are older this is not a "fad" but a necessity that will hold true the rest of our playing days.
  8. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I'd suggest lightweight isn't a fad, but an option, like humbuckers, preamps, flats etc. Some prefer it and some don't.
  9. I'll know better end of next month. There's a blank of torrefied Ayous (sometimes called Obeche) for the next build.
    Balance is my main concern and I've not even started it yet :laugh:
  10. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    Heard many good things about Birdsong though I believe the models I've heard most about are lightweight short scales though they may have other lightweight long scale designs.
    RodRy likes this.
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    Hardly a fad. Bought my lightweight over 20 years ago.
  12. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    Will you be posting in the Luthiers Corner with your build? I’d be interested in following.
  13. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
  14. I don't know if I'd call it a fad - when I first started learning more about vintage basses, I'd always hear the weight criticism of 70s Fenders, and that wasn't a recent opinion by any means.

    I know what you mean about basses with more strings, but once you add another tuner, wider bridge with extra saddle, wider neck etc I think everyone understands that it'll weigh more. Just because people bear that in exchange for the extended range doesn't mean they'd prefer a lighter instrument.

    I don't know how heavy you're talking about, but my 34" scale P and J basses, & short scale Stingray, all around around 8lb dead (maybe a pound or two each way). To me, they're much more comfortable than basses I've had in the 9.5/10lb bracket, and I leave a 3 or 4 hour practice feeling much better - especially my left shoulder! I'm mid 30s and it's a good preference, in 20 years time I'm sure it'll be a necessity.
    woodyng2, gebass6, JEDI BASS and 4 others like this.
  15. I don't normally post there.
    I do slab body P-basses and they generally aren't that interesting. Now that you've mentioned it,I'll make a point of keeping notes and photos. It is quite light,the over-sized rough cut weighs a touch over 4lbs.
  16. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    That bass has a real cult following. Saw Steve Earle not too long ago and his bassist played one.
    woodyng2, Zooberwerx and TN WOODMAN like this.
  17. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO

    Atshen, imabuddha, Marihino and 4 others like this.
  18. I have a very light-weight Lakland 55-02. Sitting down, if you centre it over your leg in the cut-out, it will neck-dive. However, if you shift it so the forward-edge of the leg cutout is now somewhat pressing against the inside of your leg, it instantly stops neck-diving.
  19. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Total respect, but the first post has several unfounded assumptions about what things are done when building and why, plus generalizes one personal experience to "many". Weight is a factor because it impacts playability, and as @Turnaround pointed out, it's hardly a fad. I've been discussing weight in players' circles going back to the 80s. :smug:
  20. Welcome, Mats!!

    Many (most?) bassists who gravitate to lighter weight tend to do so for the actual reduced weight, not the tonality.

    You will notice the difference in weight after a 4 hour gig! The importance of that difference is totally dependent on you and your individual preferences/needs.