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Meaning of looks and colours?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Em_K, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Em_K


    Oct 16, 2011
    This may sound like a stupid question but...I'm curious. :oops:

    Have you ever regretted the colour (or other looks) choices you've made?

    I'm in the process of buying a new bass, and pretty sure that Fender Jaguar is going to be my choice. I have so far two options, a used MIA in Hot Rod Red and MIJ in black. I've read from many sources that there is not so much difference in the means of quality between the MIA and MIJ versions when in comes to the Deluxe line. (Correct me if I'm wrong!)

    But, I'm looking for a bass that will be my "companion" for a long time. When I invest money in any instrument (I play several) I want to get it right. That means that I won't buy something that I will grow out of very soon. If I want to change, the need for that comes from the urge for something new, not from the fact that the instrument won't meet my needs technically anymore (like being a student model or something).

    I am a twentysomething girl and currently playing in a punk band and in a shoegaze/alternative rock band, the latter being my "main band" at the moment.

    Of course it is the playability, the specs, the quality and the sound that matter the most. But I've found myself thinking about the looks as well.

    I really love the Hot Rod Red, since it reminds me of the Fender Jaguar guitar that Kim Gordon used when touring with Sonic Youth (she has been a great inspiration for me since I was a teenager). I'm also pretty edgy when it comes to looks, I don't look like someone from a mail order catalogue myself either. But then again I think that black is a safe choice. But also it is not so edgy.

    I know this sound ridiculous, but I've been thinking, that do the colours we pick relate to the music styles we play? And if I pick a colour that is very flashy or edgy, will I grow out of it?

    Has this ever happened to you? Have you bought an instrument that is fine in the means of specs and sound, but then noticed one day that it doesn't meet the eye anymore?
  2. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    I think most of us are LOT more influenced by colors & shapes than we like to admit. I think you'll be happy with red or black. Of course, Kim Gordon makes any bass look great!
  3. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    I don't regret any of the colors that I bought (except a refin in yellow which is currently being refinned again!) but my preferred choices have changed!

    When I started it was black, but then it was sunburst, then black again, then white, and lately natural. However, black does seem to work in almost any style.
  4. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    No ridiculous at all IMO, when I buy a bass I make sure that I am ok with many aspects: shape, color, weight etc, when I am on stage my bass become an extension of me, I need to feel 100% comfortable.
  5. StevieMac

    StevieMac Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    Vancouver, BC
    There’s nothing wrong with colour being an important factor. I have a couple MIJ p-basses that are great instruments IMO.
  6. taikatsu


    Oct 3, 2012
    I'd say wait a month, and see if the red version still speaks to you, or you find yourself thinking of it in black, or another color.

    Also, I've found that my first "pro level" bass was used, and not a color I particularly liked, but it felt and sounded great, which honestly made me grow to love the look of it. I still have it.

    That being said, I recently purchased a new bass, in the color I've been daydreaming about for a few years now, and I love it. It's not overly conspicuous, as I was not trying to draw the wrong kind of attention (thieves), but it sure is pretty, along with all of the other desireable qualities one would want in a bass.
  7. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Color matters. If you have certain on-stage clothes that round out your perfoming image, consider those things too.

    On the other hand, we've all seen our favorite musicians sporting the nastiest looking instruments yet making the sweetest music.

    You choose the instrument that makes the notes come out of it the easiest. It's a plus when it looks good on you too.
  8. Casting Thunder

    Casting Thunder

    Oct 7, 2012
    Get the red one!
  9. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    IMO, black goes with everything. Red, not as much.
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I'm in the camp that believes music is about putting on a show. Yes, you want an instrument that plays well, sounds good and feels right in your hands. Those are the most important things. But you're also going to be standing in front of an audience with the thing hanging from your shoulder - it's OK to want it to look right.

    In the extreme case, if there's a bass you love the sound and feel of but don't like the color, you can always get it refinished. That will cost you a couple hundred, but might be worth it.
  11. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    That's all I need to know!! :bassist:
  12. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Get the black one, and change out different color/pattern pickguards to suit whatever level of "flash" or attention you require.
  13. As a 19 year old guy, my favorite fender colour is shell pink.

    Really means nothing, just like the colour.

    Though if I were in a pitband I would get a more conservative sunburst as to not detract from the actual show.

    Get what colour you like, regardless, neither is a ridiculously outlandish colour so you have nothing to worry about. (Personally, I{d go with red)
  14. I don't consider color as much as having a nice wood grain like quilt, spalt or flame, but I'd think most of us would like more colors to choose from our respective fave bass manufacturers.
  15. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I am pretty conservative so I really haven't bought anything that I regretted due to color. I don't go for crazy colors or unusual designs.
  16. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Also I believe they're all CIJ/MIJ. And usually need a bit of work and bits to reach their potential.
    Here is mine:

    Mine has been shielded, pups are Fender CS 60s, BAII bridge, Nordstrand preamp, controls are stacked Vol/Tone - Blend, Hipshot Ultralites, and a shaved heel with Fender Deluxe 5 bolt contoured neck plate.
    Now it didn't have to have all these changes but I think at least shielding and pups are necessary. The stock pups are cheap ceramic ones to help keep the price point down are are a little harsh.
    But I gotta say mine is really magical and I highly recommend them. Hope this helps.
  17. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    The only thing that matters is if YOU like your bass.

    I had a hot rod red Jag for a while, and I got a lot of positive comments on the way it looked from audience members, FWIW.
  18. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Well, in your case, I would say that colour (haven't spelled it this way since I was stationed in the UK) is fairly important. For a working musician, music + talent + visual appeal = $$$s. If the colour works for you professionally, and you like it, that's a win-win in my book.

    As far as preferences changing, in my experience colour likes/dislikes don't change that much over time. Your favorite may change, but if you like, say, black, white, and red now, you'll most likely still like them in the future.

    Have I ever bought an instrument in a colour I don't like? Yes; several times. I'm a lefty, so I usually have to take what I can get. When a lefty Rick 4001 comes along, for example, you snatch it up, regardless of the colour. I also have a Gretsch Broadkaster, and it's orange -very,very orange. I really dislike orange. But, Gretsches are supposed to be orange; plus, it's the only lefty anybody has ever seen, so I just live with it. And sometimes, there is no choice of colour, anyway. All '70s Epiphone EA series basses and guitars I've ever seen are red - period. Not my favorite colour at all (sunburst, natural wood, blue, or black); but the Epis are sweet (I have 3), so....:meh: Enjoy your red Jaguar!:D
  19. Thunderhead


    Apr 5, 2008
    You could have the best bass in the world in your favorite color, but eventually you're going to catch yourself looking at it and thinking "hmmm... wonder if I should refinish it in (insert random color here)?"

    Or at least that's the case with me. Good excuse to buy another bass :ninja:
  20. Can you describe your personal style and/or the style of the band? Post pics, perhaps?

    My background from waaaay back when is in theatrical performance and design; so I have some opinions for you...

    This might sound crazy; but, after many years of performing I've come to realize that I wanted the bass' appearance to "pop" and not get lost in the overall milieu of the band-on-stage. I'm not one of those stand-back-in-shadows kind of bassists. I'm also not a showy or flashy player... I firmly believe in "ensemble performance." ...but, I DO want to be noticed. I mean, why should the singer or lead guitarist get all the attention?!? ;-)

    Originally, I was a sunburst-all-the-way kinda guy... and I would wear lighter colors (white, tan, light blue) to contrast the bass with what I wore. I find that the dark edges of a 3TSB instrument get lost against dark clothing; making the instrument's body appear smaller than normal. Always thought that looked kinda funny. As for black? That can get lost entirely!

    These days, I wear darker clothing on stage (earth tones, black, shades of grey), and so I now have lighter colored instruments. They pop out against dark clothing and/or on a poorly lit stage...



    An instrument with a bound body is a good way to have a dark instrument stand out against dark clothes... though it doesn't always work. It kind if depends on the angle you're bring viewed from.

    I no longer play a Ric with a bound body... but it IS red, and still stands out pretty well (as evidenced by my avatar pic).


    That being said, I guess I'd pick the red bass over the black one.

    Do you have any new thoughts; based on everyone's feedback?