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most important criteria

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wrench45us, Dec 14, 2012.

most important buy criteria

Poll closed Dec 17, 2012.
  1. Neck feel/playability

    140 vote(s)
  2. Tone

    82 vote(s)
  3. Overall balance/feel

    51 vote(s)
  4. Fender American Standard Precision

    30 vote(s)
  1. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    1) neck feel/playability
    2) tone
    3) overall balance and feel
    4) it's a Fender American Standard P bass
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I voted "neck/feel playability". If it feels good and plays good I can swap out most of what makes it sound good/bad.

    But I'm not sure how you can have #1 without #3.
  3. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    +1 on the #1 = #3

    and you are missing an important factor for some (me included)...
    The Price!
  4. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I guess I'd have to say tone, although I don't believe I actually emphasize that more than the other factors when buying.

    My logic is this: If all the basses in the world were laid out before me, I would probably single out the subset of basses that had great playability and balance for my purposes, and then choose whichever of those basses has the best tone as "the one." That makes more sense to me than picking a bunch of basses with great tone and then making my final decision based on playability.
  5. Should have included an all of the above selection in the poll.

    I wouldn't buy a bass with neck feel/playability, if the tone or balance wasn't to my liking. Similarly, if the tone was right, but the playability/balance was off, I may look elsewhere.
  6. Most important criteria is the freshness of the carrots.
  7. bigchiefbc

    bigchiefbc Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Rhode Island, USA
    Definitely tone. I'll suck it up if it's not the neck profile I prefer, or if the ergonomics are a little different, or if it's a pound heavier than I'd like. As long as it sounds like I want to sound.
  8. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Sound first, or nothing else matters. It's a musical instrument so its function is to create a good sound. And my experience (both with my personal instruments and the ones I modified for customers over 11 years managing a guitar store) is that there are a LOT of things that can't be fixed with electronics, strings, or hardware. A heavy ash bodied bass that's all attack and sustain without blossom or warmth acoustically will have all those characteristics no matter how you EQ it. So the first factor is sound.

    If it sounds like I want it to, then how it feels is the next criteria. But, "feels good" is a very very wide range for me. I'm always alternating between any of my basses, as well as widely different feeling guitars, both acoustic and electric. That means I'm switching from two different guitar scales, strings ranging from 10-46 to 45-135, and scales from just over 24" (I think) to 35". The shape of the neck being comfortable is important, but I can adapt.

    Here's the thing about all this though- there's enough good stuff out there that you don't have to make any of this an either/or case. I've had some I didn't like- I had a Geddy Lee Jazz, and the bass's neck was just too skinny for me to be comfortable with it. Had it sounded better I'd have been able to adapt, but the bass was too twangy and edgy for me so I didn't bother adapting to that neck.

    An important aspect of what's important to me is that I've had a lot of experience playing a lot of different instruments since I started being serious about music playing around 1974. I also know a lot about setting up instruments, and so I can play something that's not set up great and still get an idea of whether the things I don't like about the feel are things that can be adjusted (e.g. action, nut height, relief, fret condition, etc.) or things that are inherent in the instrument (neck shape for example).

    Bottom line is that when I buy an instrument I want one that's comfortable for me both physically and sonically. There's enough good stuff out there that yous really don't have to settle (with budget being a consideration). I've been seeking "MY" Jazz Bass since about 1999, and haven't found the exact right combination (the search has been severely curtailed by economics and not gigging) of feel and sound. But I don't have any reason to settle for an instrument that wont' sound great to me or won't be able to made to play great. So I wait.

    The last choice is totally pointless. I'd play a '70s Antigua Jazz bass with blocks 'n' binding (my personal choice of the absolute worst crap Fender ever made) if it sounded and felt good. What it says on the headstock, who made it, when or where it was made are all pretty meaningless for deciding if the bass fits my needs. They only factor into the price the market sets for them.

  9. bill reed

    bill reed

    Apr 2, 2012
    I would say Tone first. when i look for a bass i have some sort of idea of the sound i want from it. i have 5 basses and all sound diffrent. when i find a bass with the sound i want then its a choice of how the bass feels and plays.
    i would say that 1 and 3 come into it also.
    if the bass does not have the tone i want then no matter how good it plays its not what i want!
  10. +1
  11. HertzWhenIPlay

    HertzWhenIPlay Last Chance Riders Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    Roswell, GA
  12. What about factors like appearance, overall build quality and value?
  13. 1) Slim neck
    2) Buckers w/3band active EQ
    3) Aesthetics
    4) Lightweight
  14. wednesdayagain


    Sep 28, 2012
    Indeed. That option needs to be added.
  15. AuntieBeeb


    Dec 12, 2010
    I can be incredibly shallow: I won't buy a bass unless I'm sold on its appearance. So I always put tone first, and then probably how the neck feels. But then some Yamahas or Ibanez - or even a lot of the more common Schecters - would lose out straight away for looking too 'modern.'
  16. IngerAlb


    May 11, 2007
    1. Neck feel / playability - for me that's critical.
    2. Looks / aesthetics - critical as well.
    3. Tone - 3rd position because I only play 1 brand / 1 model basses, so the tone is overall the same :)
  17. you neglected to include

    "resale value"
    i guess "Fender American Standard P bass" is synonymous for "brand"

    and probably even more

    to me its tone first then feel then craftmanship (build quality) then aesthethics then brand (yes)
  18. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    For me it's about everything. The first thing I notice is the neck and feel. If I don't like that immediately upon playing I won't even consider buying the bass. If I like the way it feels and plays, I listen for tone and how versatile it is. I won't buy a bass that doesn't feel right or doesn't have the tone I am looking for.
  19. sevdog

    sevdog Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2008
    When I'm looking at basses in a store, the first thing I do is grab it around the neck near the nut. I can pretty quickly eliminate many from any further consideration that way. If it passes that "feel" test then I might keep scouring it...but then there's the question of why did I decide to grab that one first over the others...

    So, that isn't necessarily the most important factor but it's a deal breaker in so many instances that it's a quick way to make a "might be a keeper" pile and a "no thanks" pile.
  20. IPA


    May 5, 2010
    To be honest, looks is #1 for me


    Can't play it if I hate the way it looks. Necks I can be forgiving as long as they aren't too sticky or too insanely thin. Pickups can be swapped, strings can be swapped, hardware can be swapped.