modern vs vintage

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by msangster, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. What's the difference between modern and vintage sound? What are some basses with modern sounds and what some basses with vintage sounds? What does hifi means?
  2. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    I guess the easiest comparison is: vintage = Fender Precision bass.... and modern = Ken Smith or MTD535.

    Basses aren't ususally considered hifi. This is typically more often associated with amplifiers and speaker cabinets. But the more modern sounding basses with preamps could be thought of as hifi.

    I hope that this helps??

    Pronunciation: hI fee, h'If'I

    Definition:[n] the reproduction of sound with little or no distortion
    [n] equipment for the reproduction of sound with high fidelity
    [adj] characterized by minimal distortion in sound reproduction; "a high-fidelity recording"; "a hi-fi system"

    Vintage is any instrument 25 to 30 years old and yes, Fender basses from 1974 are considered Vintage.

    Modern sound basses would be the Sadowsky basses and others along that line, IMHO.

  4. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    IMO, a modern sound is one that is clear and punchy, and a vintage sound is one that's less bright or eqed and more thud like. When I think modern tone, I think EMG electronics, and when I think of vintage, I think of a Fender Jazz or P bass.
  5. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, that's kinda my interpretation too. Vintage sound is rounder and fatter, with some "thud" in it. It's very low-midrangey, with emphasis on the 100-200 Hz region. Modern sound tends to emphasize the extreme highs and lows, at the expense of the lower midrange, so it's used more for the slap sounds, and the grainier more aggressive sounds of alternative music. A modern sound would tend to scoop more of the lower mids in that same 100-200 Hz range. I've usually associated the term "hi-fi" with a very clean sound that emphasizes the high end treble frequencies.

    And, the sound is a combination of the instrument and the amp, so you can probably get a "modern-ish" sound out of just about any instrument. Although, there are definitely instruments that sound more vintagey than others. Just the other day I had the pleasure of playing through an old (really old) Kay electric. It was an ancient instrument, with ancient pickups, and it sounded, well, ... ancient. Definitely very "vintage". :)
  6. Vintage- EB-0

    Modern- PBass.

    If you can hear anything above 100hz it's modern :D
  7. It's possible to also have a bass that's both modern sounding, and warm. The main thing about all modern sounding basses, is that they sound very clear.
  8. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    If you hear a low B, lots and lots of finger-on-string noise, and/or a buttload of hi-mids, it ain't vintage. If it's made from funky exotic wood or graphite, it ain't vintage. Active electronics are probably not vintage.

    Vintage is often more felt in the body cavity than heard. i.e. John Paul Jones. Vintage might have a little grind in it, like Geezer Butler or John Entwistle. Ric's are classifiable as vintage, with yer Geddy Lee and Chris Squire.

    True, so true.
  9. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Then there is the contradiction. An early 70's Alembic Series I that for all intents would be vintage but can dial in a very modern, hi-fi sound.
  10. 12notes


    Jul 15, 2003
    "Modern - PBass?"

    P bass is pretty old. Half a century old.

    "If you can hear anything above 100hz it's modern "

    Did they invented, created 100hz during "modern time"?

    Did 100hz never existed before "modern time"?

    To me. Vintage is if one has been playing the instruement before 1972. One who had actually lived during that time period. (NOT learning about the period by reading a book, listened to a few old albums, watched a few old movies, etc.) It's vintage, even if his instruement is made / designed in 2004.

    But if a young lad, under 40 something, even if he/she plays a real old instruement, originated back to the 50's. It's still modern. Because he/she can looks and pretents to be vintage, but won't be able to deliver the true vintage feels and vibes. Because the young lad had never live in the vintage period.

    Just like Steven Stills wrote: "To sing the blues you gotta live the blues."

    So, young lads can only be a vintage wannabe. True vintage sound can only really comes from older (40+) musicians.
  11. 12notes


    Jul 15, 2003
    Low B / finger noises not vintage?

    Many double basses are tuned to low A. Listen to some old mono recordings.

    Did somebody reinvented the frequency spectrum during the "modern time?"

  12. Very true. There aren't to basses which I could say are more modern sounding than Alembics.
  13. byrdsfan


    Feb 9, 2004
    To me it's more looks than anything else. Almost all modern basses have an extended like horn where the top peg goes. I think Yamaha/Ibanez started the look and it just gets more exaggerated as time goes by.
    I just got into playing again after a long long layoff. I bought a CD-Rom as a refresher course and the guy in the video had a Yamaha. i liked the way it sounded and the look to me is not offensive. I was shocked to see how cheap they are (i know there's different levels) and was thinking about getting one.
    My friend said. "You'll never play that in a band with me."
    He's a Fender/Rick/Gretsch guy and has very expensive stuff. Yet he rather see me playing my $229 Dano DC than a two-grand thing with a branch growing out of the top.
    I think it goes back to when Ibanezes were the cheapos, just copies of good stuff. Another friend said it was ironic Ibanez is now top notch when we used to laugh at it.
    Another thing. I saw the Concert for George on DVD and it featured maybe eight bassists. Everyone played either a Jazz or a P (or something that passed for one). I bought an Essex P the next day.