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Most important aspect of a bass to you?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jfh2424, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. I'd be tempted to say the setup, cause without a decent setup, everything sounds bad and the feel is just horrible. But a close second would be the pickup. Generally, if it has a decent pickup, the thing will sound good.

    What about you? What's the most important factor when you think of a bass?

  2. Idroppedit


    Jul 22, 2012
    I agree set up first. But, I cannot play a bass if the neck isn't comfortable. It makes or breaks the entire experience for me.
  3. DrSpunkwater


    Sep 17, 2012
    1. A monster sound - If it ain't got that, it ain't got anything worth having.
    2. A good setup - If it doesn't feel good to play, chances are I won't be playing it for long.
    3. Weight - I'd rather not feel like I've just been playing a slab of concrete.
    4. Neck - 1" thick is the way to go. The chunk keeps the funk, baby.
  4. A setup can always be improved but if a bass has a bad neck that doesn't feel good to my left hand then it won't be a goer with me. I have to like the look of the bass before I'll even entertain buying it.
  5. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    The neck shape. Anything else can be fixed, but the neck has to be comfortable.
  6. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Ergonomic fit, tone and cost. That's about the only things I actually care about.

    For fit:
    - does it break my arms to play it in the lower registers? Upper registers?
    - Neck dive/overall balance when seated? On the strap?
    - Location of the bridge PU?
    - Does the body shape dig into me anywhere?
    - is it available in a unlined fretless model?

    For tone:
    - how hard do I have to hit it to get a clean, clear note out it?
    - Is it audible in a mix at low volumes and on fast passages?

    For cost, is it available in the configuration I want for $1500 or less?

    Appearance is very low on the list, though some are so ugly or flowery/bizarre looking that I won't even consider them (eg. the Carvin SB series, most Alembics, wishbasses and many other strangely shaped boutiques).

    That's basically it for me.

  7. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Brace Audio; Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    The neck is most important to me. I can get a good sound with different pickups and setup. Oh and as long as the body is solid wood too, not plywood. lol
  8. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    playability, looks and sound is top in my book

    I dont mind if the bass weighs abit on the heavy side, or if its full of dings and whatnot. Infact I like it to be full of dings and scratches.
  9. beatdatthang


    Aug 29, 2011
    For me, it's this too.

    Mine in order are:

    1. Neck profile, shape, etc - how long can I play it without hand fatigue and does it accentuate my playing or detract from it.
    2. Body ergonomics - if it doesn't feel right or is badly balanced (lots of neck dive) it causes fatigue to both my arm and shoulder. weight is less of an issue for me because if a bass balances well, it normally feels "lighter".
    3. Tone - having "your tone" is of course essential, but changing electronics is an option if the stock stuff doesn't cut it. Lots of guys do this anyway.
    4. Looks - it has to look right around your neck to you. I like Jazz basses, but they look and feel ridiculous around my neck, IMO, so I don't have one anymore.
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    It's all in my sound. Once I get the Eq and volume set to sit in the mix I'm good to go. At that point nothing else really matters. I Don't care about the neck finish, or width, or shape. As long as the action is somewhere within Spec I'm happy. Thunderbird style neck Divers don't work for me at all. I also don't bother with any bass over 12 Lbs.
  11. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    With power I mean huge output, better if it's like that as a passive bass or in passive mode, whenever active/passive one
    If it's powerful as electronics in a full active bass like, say, Peavey Cirrus, Yamaha Trb or Ibanez Atk, I'm fine, but I much prefer an already huge output bass even if passive only, or in passive mode: think about Yamaha Attitude Limited II or G&L L 2000/L2500.

    This leads to edge

    A passive bass, sometimes a bit less loud of an active one, tends to better sit in the mix. There tonewood have the floor.

    Given that, disregardin' pickups and electronics they adopt, I avoid basses with average/poor tonewood like plague, you get how tonewood (edge) and, then only, pickups/electronics (power) encompass all features I look at the most whenever I'm choosin' a bass.

    So, if power can be checked at the shop, whenever tryin' the bass out, edge is displayed only at rehearsals/gigs, to appreciate how much of the initially investigated power, survives against all the other instruments in the band.

  12. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Feel. It's primarily ergonomics with me.

    It's all about how much physical input (and comfort) it requires to get a sound I like out of it. (This is the "Plays like buttah" meme, re-phrased.) I won't play a bass I have to fight or is uncomfortable, no matter if it sounds like the hammer of the gods.

    I've bought basses before that I liked the feel of, but the sound wasn't exactly what I was after. That's when you start experimenting with strings, and later maybe electronics. But it has to feel good FIRST.
  13. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    That's why I feel envy for the great part of you: you don't probably have to struggle against dual active 7 string downtuned guitar attack. I do.
    That's why I ain't got neither MusicMan nor Lakland in my collection. All beautifully finished and ergonomically pleasant instruments
    But no hammers of the gods

    I play metal and, even if I'm not that into pointy goin'-nowhere-kinda-design usually reknowned as bein' "metal", I aptly mentioned Yamaha Attitude Limited II and G&L L2000/L2500 - but I could easily tell Thunderbird Pro & Classic - for they're like Hammer of Thor

    A struck

  14. tbplayer59


    Jan 20, 2013
    A good stiff neck.
  15. Zentner

    Zentner Supporting Member

    What it looks like.

    ....for serious.
  16. Green1

    Green1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2010
    Scottsdale, AZ
    The neck profile......if it doesn't play well or you don't like the neck, you probably won't play it much
  17. GG7


    Mar 14, 2013
    The overall playbility followed closely by the tone. I like an action that doesn't tire out my fretting hand, but that doesn't mean it has to be super low. I don't think the action on my Jazz Bass is much lower than Fender's recommended string heights. But the best action and playability in the world doesn't mean squat if the bass sounds crappy!

    I have never liked the feel of most P basses. Just too thick and wide for me, but I LOVE their tone! Thats why I just bought a Rick 4003, cause it is kind of in between the tone and neck feel of a J Bass and a P Bass.

    Since bass guitar is just one of several instruments I play, I am never going to have the chops that most of you guys have, but as a Hammond Organ/Piano Player player first, I can come up with some compositions that require a pretty decent skill level on bass to pull of the lines I want, so that comes back to me needing a bass that works with me and not against me.

    I have to sit down and learn the line slowly and work up to it. I can't just throw stuff out there like I'm sure you guys can, but once I learn a certain line, I come off sounding like someone that plays Geddy Lee or Chris Squire stuff all the time, but believe me when I say... I can't deviate off that long practiced part like they so easily could! lol! :)
  18. I'm in the "neck" club. If I don't like the neck, I move on. Obviously the instrument has to have other things going for it, but that's where I start.
  19. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    You're gonna catch heck for that.... and so am I, cuz +1. :D

    Or at least, I'll call it a tie between looks and neck. I won't even try a bass that doesn't make me go "ooooh" when I look at it. Once I've fallen for the look, I try it out.

    I like all different necks (two of my fave basses are my P bass, with it's fabled "baseball bat" neck, and my Carvin BK40A, with an unbelievably slim neck). But sometimes I'll try a bass that just doesn't feel right to my fretting hand. I've yet to try a Stingray that I like, much to my disappointment, because they sound (and look) great when others rock 'em. My buddy's Epi T-bird? I can't stand to play it, although he loves it.

    Tone? Very important. But generally fixable, IMO. New pups will do wonders for mediocre basses. Although I will admit that I am of the school of thought that says a bass that sounds poor unplugged will not likely be improved by a pup upgrade.

    Weight? I'm a fairly big guy, and haven't given it much thought until recently. I'm closing in on 40, and also thinking of transitioning from originals (1-hour gigs) to covers (4-hour gigs). My aforementioned Carvin is made of walnut and weighs a ton.

    As for setup, I figure I can always fix that. I do my own setups and I've gotten pretty good at it.
  20. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    1. Looks - not very easy to alter the appearance of a bass.
    2. Natural timbre - when I'm checking out a bass, I don't even plug it in.
    3. Tone - if I don't like something about it, I can change it.
    4. Playability - the easiest fix of all.

    Nothing else is really an issue for me. My basses range from 8 1/2 - 13 lbs. I can handle some weight. I do like a narrower neck. But my busier basses have a 1 9/16" and a 1 3/4" nut, 1 MIA 1 MIM, and are both active. The lesser played basses are both 1 1/2", 1 MIA 1 MIM, and passive. I do prefer active basses, but not a dealkiller.

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