Luthiers: Gaze into your crystal balls...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by DanGouge, Apr 24, 2002.

  1. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I just thought I'd ask those of you closest to the construction of basses what we can in expect in the next few years (or decades). Where is the bass going in the future? Reports of the 4-string's demise have been, as Mark Twain would say, greatly exagerated. Is it around for good? Does anyone want to predict its death? What about deforestation, will we have enough wood in decades to come? Or will we all be playing graphite (or whatever) instruments?

    Any opinions, comments, or predictions on these or other issues would be appreciated.:)
    Where are we going?
  2. Heiko

    Heiko BassLab

    Apr 24, 2001
    Kassel, Germany
    Hi, Dan!

    Think everybody wants to know that...... ;>)

    For me the most interesting point is, if wood will be the main material for instruments.
    Availabilty, quality and prices of wood have already changed during the last decade and the big ones have started to think about alternative materials.
    The Ibanez Luthite body is only the first one........

    Maybe we will see more systems like the Lightwave optical pickup and other integrated electronic devices.
    (See the thread about the SSS-bass.......)

    Whatever will come, I think there will also be 4-strings.

  3. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Being a top luthier :rolleyes: , here are some predicitons for, say, 20 years from now:

    Wood will be the main material, for traditional factories (Fender et al) and for small, one-man operations. With exceptions like BassLab....
    Big producers with less tradition, like Ibanez, Samick, and others, will experiment with man made materials of all sorts. Not because wood gets scarce, or for better sound, but to make an extra buck!

    We will see more crossovers! Intermediates between guitar and bass have already won some terrain, and that will continue. Also will we see more of, e.g, bass dobro, bass lap steel, etc.
    But to bass players of today, the erasing of the border between bass guitar and double bass will be of the most significance. This trend has been started by e.g. Zeta and Conklin, but also with bass guitars with 37" scales!

    However, the major development, at least the next decade, will lie in electronics. New pickup principles, yes, but mainly post instrument signal processing. Meaning more, and better, digital effects, equalising and emulation.
    I also hope this will include power amplification, but I am not too hopefull - not as much return per spent research dollar there.

    Finally, perhaps the recent breakthru's in mid- and high range speaker technology will reach nice and low frequences as well. There is good hope, but it takes someones dedication - and money...
  4. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I think Suburban is right - the next major inroads will likely come in electronics. I don't know about advanced materials completely replacing wood, because I don't think accurate reproduction of wood's acoustical properties is quite in the cards yet (unless something is found by trial and error, as in the case of Rockwood)

    If you think about it and compare with other new devices out there, the magnetic pickup is an antique. IMHO lasers, capacitance dilatometers, transducers, etc. could eventually be modified to replace the magnetic pickup, but there is apparently a real resistance to innovation going on... I know Lightwave and things like that are out there, but they don't seem to have caught on all that well. :confused:

    I guess time will tell!