Looking for Ideas for a new bass design

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Warrior, Sep 4, 2000.

  1. Warrior


    Sep 3, 2000
    Ok guys here is a chance to tell the luthier just what you want.
    the criterion for this new design is that the sky is the limit.
    aside from pearl or other forms of embellishment, tell me just what makes a bass more playable than any other. and let me know what equipment (pickups ,preamps, bridges ,keys...) that you would like to see on this instument.
    I would like to hear about wood choices and construction styles (neck-thru or bolt on)
    4,5 or 6 string or even 7,8,9 I want your opinions.
    If you have drawings then email me
    Give me your best shot
  2. Hey Warrior,
    Thanks for your posts so far, they've been very informative!
    This is my chance to daydream, since I can't even begin to afford a new bass right now.
    I would say the thing that makes a bass the most playable is the neck profile and string spacing, especially when you get into extended-range instruments. I played one of John Turner's 7-string basses the other night, and because of the narrow string spacing at the nut, it was more playable in the lower register than a lot of 5-strings I've tried.
    I'm not sure how much more input I can give you, since I only play 4-string. If I could design my dream bass, it would be a Jazz-style with a swamp ash body, some kind of outrageous figured wood top, 21-fret bolt-on neck custom-carved to fit my hand, rosewood board, and Bartolini passive J pickups with active bass and treble boost. I have pretty simple tastes, though.. I'm sure you'll get some more specific answers from some of the others!

    [Edited by Dave Siff on 09-04-2000 at 03:04 PM]
  3. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    As in Warrior the luthier/and manufacturer.?!!!! :)

    I've always been interested in the line, but probably more than my bank account could aford.

    For wood I prefer a Alder body with a hard wood top(Flame maple etc.) For a single wood that looks good I like the zebra woods. Possibly with a contoured body.

    For necks I like neck thru and bolt on. Usually bolt because of cost. But I prefer a maple neck NON-gloss, with a rose wood or similiar. I like lighter weight tuners because of balance. 35 inch scale for a 5 sting or above.

    For pickups- I prefer Barts or EMG's But would like to check out some Lane Poors.

    Bridge as long its heavy and solid. String thru body if it is a 34 inch scale bass.

    If it has a battery for pickups it should be in a separate compartment other than the electronic cavity.

    Brass inserts for the cavity.

    With a hipshot, and recessed strap locks.
    And cable like on the Conklin basses.

    I would also like to have three band eq along with a soap bar or two or possibly a soap with a jazz.

    [Edited by odie on 09-05-2000 at 07:59 AM]
  4. Warrior


    Sep 3, 2000
    the J-bass thing has always been in the back of my head but I really hate that body style . wonder just how far I could modify it without making everyone mad?
  5. I think there's some room there. The Elrick New Jazz Standard really turned my head.. it's not exactly like a Jazz, but close enough so you know where he's coming from.
  6. Have you checked out the Pedulla Rapture J2. It is also an interesting improvement on the standard Jazz styling. I have to agree with Dave on this one. I think you have as much room here as you are willing to take. Good luck.
  7. RickenbackeR


    Mar 28, 2000
    My dream bass has a fingerboard with a curvature of radius infinity (that means flat). It is waxed, not glossy, and with triangle marble fret marks, a la Rick.

    It is a four string, with the nut high enough so its designed specially for extra-light and piccolo strings.

    It has a chrome bridge-guard a la 70's P-bass and it has a rickenbacker pup right by the bridge. The other pup is an active bartollini sitting right by the neck (which is a bolt-on).

    In the large space between the two pickups there is a sweet carved picture of some sort. :)

    The plug is NOT sticking out of the side of the bass, but it is slanted, like a stratocaster.

    The straplocks are placed so, that the neck of the bass comes up naturally.

    It's also cheap so i can afford it!
  8. Scottzo


    Jan 20, 2000
    Here's an idea how...about a bass that can be switched from fretted to frettless. I wish I had one.

    How you ask?

    You tell me!
  9. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    I actually have authorization from "she" to order a Sadowsky, but I'm hesitant because I am happy with my maple board Lakland dlx55, except wish it had a touch more bottom. I could probably get closer by replacing the stainless strings with nickel? Or buying one with a rosewood board? Or getting a standard without the maple quilting?

    On the other hand, the Sadowsky is 34" scale, and has a "P" neck pickup, but only a single jazz type bridge pickup. I'd rather have two 35" scale basses for continuity.

    If I could have a bass built, it would be the Lakland with a P bass pickup instead of the single Jazz pickup while retaining the bridge soapbar, and a zero fret. For looks, the lower horn would be less rounded.

    As for Jazz bodies, I agree the Pedulla Rapture looks good, but wish it was a little thicker through the waist, or the lower part of the body was a little more narrow - it is hard to balance while sitting.

    [Edited by Thumper on 09-06-2000 at 01:38 PM]
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I have a Maple board 55-94 Limited that I use Lakland's Nickel light gauge strings on. It sounds great, especially the lows. They're deep and clean. The mids and highs aren't too shabby either. I stopped using SS strings a few years ago, for me Nickel gives me less of an overly bright sound and more of a better full range sound. Nickel sounds especially sweet on the Zon fretless, too...and everything else I have.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Warrior, if I were going to commission a new bass the first requirement would be that it not sound hi fi...meaning all lows and highs with nondescript mids. I know this isn't the traditional meaning of hi fi.

    21 or 22 frets would be fine. It would be either a 5 or 6 with 3/4" spacing between strings at the bridge. I prefer the sound of Bartolinis and would probably want a 3 band EQ, maybe with selectable centers for the mids. Fairly flat fretboard. A neck that was reasonably stable in different climates. A good balanced body with the neck set farther into the upper horn area. Two pickups mounted perpendicular to the strings (not slanted). Alder or Ash body. HipShot Ultra light tuners would be nice but not mandatory. Your through body stringing system would be a plus. Scale could be 34" or 35", more concerned with the result than the spec.

    I'm partial to a G&L L2000E I own but can't find a 5 or 6 with the versatility and oomph, for lack of a better term, this bass provides. G&L doesn't make a 5 set up like the L2000, they seem to only want to build narrow spacing, which I dislike. I'd guess if I could get something with the sound capabilities of the G&L (maybe without the weight...maybe not) and the playability of a Yamaha TRB6 or Ken Smith I'd be happy. I'd still use the other basses I have but this would definitely be high in the rotation.
  12. ytsebri


    Sep 1, 2000
    I would have to start at the head and work down.
    First, the bass would have a choice of 5,6,7,or 8 individual strings (I prefer 6, but others are more adventurous). I would have to include Gotoh-style tuners. It would have to have a graphite/composite neck for stability and durability. I would love to have the string spacing be roughly equivalent to a Yamaha RBX6JM or a Modulus Quantam 6 (not too thin, not too wide). Instead of fret dots, as purely a decorative feature, there would be inlaid bass clefs.
    Now the body. Roughly standard shape, w/ a larger upper horn for better balance. I would have to vote for two Bartolini humbuckers as the pickups, but I'd also like to add a piezo bridge. I'd like to have a master volume, magnetic pickup blend, a stacked mid/bass boost/cut, a treble boost/cut, a three way switch (Mag p/u, mag p/u & piezo, piezo) and a piezo/Mag mix knob for the middle toggle position. A body of swamp ash/Flame top, swamp ash/Quilt top, or bubinga. A set of clear, black, blue, and red stain for the ash/maple tops. Also, on rear, a pop-out battery compartment.
    That's about it. Kinda standard, but I'd love it.
  13. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Scottzo, that's my question too. Not just a bass where you can switch necks, but where either you flip a switch or unscrew something. That would be cool. I think John Turner has the closest thing to that... a doubleneck. But wouldn't it be cool if there was one that was just 1 bass?

    BTW, Warrior, though questionable how effective this will be for you, it's great to hear a luthier asking the public what it would like to see... though custom orders may be exactly what one person wants, trying to get a consensus is good for more mass produced articles. Maybe the big guys should do this too.

    I'd like to see more solidbody basses with a piezo bridge and no magnetic PU. Those are cool.
  14. Yeah, a piezo bridge! That's the ticket! With a Walnut or Koa body with a Contoured back like the Old Spectors,Maple Neck w/Radius of the '62 Fender J bass, with a rosewood or wenge fingerboard with alloy frets like the Warwick, on board preamp with active tone and volume. And how about a Stereo
    Option, like the Rick 4001? Combine the piezos with a Bartolini Soap bar or P-Bass Pickup, or run them separate.
    Oh, I have to stop, my mouth is watering....
  15. Warrior


    Sep 3, 2000
    Hummmmm ... I'm starting to get that itchy feeling.
    Seriously, You guys are giving me some ideas ,but nothing is standing out real clear yet. This new bass will have to be mass produced to be affordable and by that I mean it would still cost about 2000. per unit.
    What I need is a clear idea of the features bassists want on their instruments.
    as for fretless/ fretted I already did that one and no one wanted it.Novax did it also, as well as some others.
    I had a half fretted and half fretless (fretless from the 13th fret up) that seemed to be more acceptable to players but I never got much feedback on it.
    Piezo bridge unit sounds good. how about the lightwave system? and whats everyones opinion on the Seymour Duncan Basslines pickups. also the Hipshot keys are a must for me.
    Dave at hipshot gives me a GREAT deal on them.
    still haven't heard much about neck thru or bolt on.
    or body wood choices. how about dual truss rods any thoughts there?
    Someone mentioned graphite neck reinforment . sorry but thats OUT. that stuff causes more PROBLEMS than you can imagine in manufactureing.( wrecked my Planer) and I still don't believe it does any good. the 12 test basses we made never showed any gains over our normal basses under stress testing OR studio RTA tests.
    Hopfully, this is going to be a bass that represents everyone across the board and will be usefull to anyone that enjoys playing .
  16. Warrior


    Sep 3, 2000
    Oh yeah , I thought I would let you know that the big manufactures do watch these boards. they just don't post.
    It was M. T. that turned me on to this board.
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    A belated welcome to the board, Warrior!

    I would like a 7 string (with optional 4,5,6 string versions as well if we are talking production models) with dual truss rods, wenge/maple laminated neck through construction, birdseye maple board, 12" radius, very wide string spacing(like a P Bass or a Rapture) but with a thin J like profile(front to back), alder body wings, J, or Rapture (or some variation of the J)style body, snakewood top (j/k ;) ), actually a 1/2" quilt top and (veneer)quilt headstock overlay, and some kind of abalone inlays, nothing fancy, but larger than dots. Blocks, trapezoids, whatever.

    ABM bridge, Hipshot ultra lights will do nicely, if you can manage to fit them all on a fairly small headstock, if not, Gotoh minis, nickel silver plated hardware, straplocks, Neutrik locking jack, bone nut, medium height skinny frets.

    Now the electronics - Barts, J-J or 2 soapbars, 3 band EQ, 18v circuit, maybe an option of P-J or MM-J for other people, either parametric middle or a trim pot in the cavity. A copper foil fully shielded cavity, threaded inserts for the screws, and a popup compartment for the 2 batteries.

    Finish, color bursts like Carvin or Dean offer - poly for me, sunbursts for the traditional guys, nitrocellulose lacquer for the vintage crowd, and of course optional oil finish as well.

    Tell me, Warrior, can a bass be mass produced with all of these features for $2000 list?

    If it hits the market, for that price, I promise you I will be first in line to buy it.

  18. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    Embellisher, that sounds like a bass I would like to live with, but I would want a bolt-on neck (always a butt isn't there?). 'Course the string spacing will be adjustable so it can be narrowed a little for us non-slap types.
  19. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU

    Wax as finish, coloroptions clear and various
    seethrus with nice wood and an adjustable nut. NO traditional design, but something with class..
    we have million fendercopys already. (Perhaps you could contact some woodsculpting carpenters to help
    you with design) These things make Warwicks nice,

  20. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Warrior, I'm less picky than most players, "I think (in a Carl Spackler voice)". If it sounds, plays, and looks good, and I can afford it - sold! I'll try to address your latest post.

    Piezo bridge - maybe as an option, but not standard. It would see very little use from me.

    Lightwave system - haven't tried it - seems like it would drive up the cost of the instrument.

    Duncan pickups - I've had Seymour Duncan pickups on my guitars, and I have all Duncan electronics on my 4-string, and I couldn't ask for anything better. Also, all rear mounted electronics - no pick-guards please.

    Hipshot hardware - nothing wrong with that.

    Neck-thru or Bolt-on - I actually like bolt-on necks better. I like the "open" sound they provide. Also, it would be easier to provide a satin or oil finish neck with a gloss finish body (I think that thing Carvin does looks horrible). Finally, they seem to be lighter on the wallet.
    I would also like to have 24 frets, and a hard fretboard made of a wood like maple or ebony. (I don't like wenge though.)

    Body woods - I would trust your R&D to find the best woods to produce the best tone/sound in combination with the other features of the instrument. As for looks, I like figured tops on a swamp ash body.

    To get an idea of what I would buy today if I had the cash in-hand. It would probably be a Ken Smith BSR "B" 6-string.