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Natural or Painted Bass Finish

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Neveragain55, Apr 15, 2015.

Natural or Painted Bass Finish

Poll closed May 16, 2015.
  1. Natural Only

  2. Paint Only

  3. Mixture of the two

  4. Different type of finish altogether

  5. Other

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Neveragain55


    Mar 19, 2014
    Not sure if this question has ever been asked before (no I didn't do a search) but all of the recent postings of those gorgeous natural basses posted lately got me to wonder where all of you are on this.

    I own 5 basses and the most gorgeous by far is my ESP LTD B-4E.

    The other thing I'm wondering is all of your thoughts on how paint may or may not affect tone.

    Please vote: natural only, paint only, both, mixture of the two, different type of finish altogether.
    (you can vote for all that apply)

    Also give me your thoughts on how you think paint may or may not affect the tone of your bass.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  2. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    Virginia Beach
    I have 2 basses with a transparent tinted finish (1 green, 1 amber), 1 sunburst (does it count as painted if it has a visible wood grain?), 2 naturals, and 2 painted (1 black, 1 silverburst). The spice of life!

    I sincerely doubt that paint will affect how effectively the pickups translate the metal strings vibrating in their magnetic field.
  3. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    Well, it doesn't seem to affect tone as it's a low frequency instrument with magnetic pick-ups. Maybe hollow body basses might get a slight tonal Change, but nothing that would cause alarm or a disturbance in the force.
  4. warrplayer


    Apr 16, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    Lead based paints. Heavier. ;)
    wintremute and tfer like this.
  5. Some of the natural finishes have have seen are really impressive and would make great...ahhh.....furniture or a door or something.
  6. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I like 'em all.
    Dogbertday, 5below, JIO and 1 other person like this.
  7. Neveragain55


    Mar 19, 2014
    So I take it you don't like the "natural look" on basses?

    That's cool, just wondering...
  8. gpx1200


    Apr 24, 2013
    spencer mass
    I love natural and transparent finishes that let the grain show threw.
    I have painted many guitars and basses, the only notable change was in a very old hand made acoustic that had undergone a complete restoration so the change was inevitable
    and when I say natural I mean clear or tinted poly,urathane or other protective coating, I don't like oil finishes.
  9. Neveragain55


    Mar 19, 2014
    Cool, by far my favorite is any natural finish.

    I really like painted finishes, but there's just something about a bass left alone that really resonates with me.
  10. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    I prefer both.

    Basses 1.
    Basses 2.
    Fender RW FR.
  11. In my view trees are sacred and they are alive. Each and every tree - and hence every slice of wood - is a miracle of nature, and there are no two exactly alike. Like people, each one is different and remarkable. Even slices from the same tree can exhibit wildly different characteristics in terms of resonance, grain structure, moisture content and appearance. The size, type, and arrangement of the wood cells differ with the species, and this also affects the appearance of the grain. You should honor the wood and show your respect by allowing the individual character of the grain to shine through. Each slice has it's story to tell. Even bodies pieced together can be very appealing.

    Unless that wood is over-the-top plain and lacking character or, unbearably fugly to you, I say - keep it some kind of transparent.

    Paint to me is a last resort - like slathering make up on an already naturally perfect and beautiful woman.

    Do I own any painted basses? Yes, I have two out of soon to be twenty:

    Hot-Rod-Bass Sideways.

    Hamm Sideways.

    When I stripped the P Bass down above, which is now 30 years old - it was Japanese basswood - I wouldn't say ugly but beyond plain. There was very little grain, so I decided to go with hot rod flatz black to match my hot rod.

    The Urge I is a rare prototype or employee build, so I won't mess with the original body - but I am still considering having a new body made. I will keep the original body in the rare event that I would ever want to sell it.

    But if I am having one built you can bet it will feature some species of wood with a trans finish. Just the way I am wired.

    EDIT: To me, when you see the grain, even in a burst, even if you only see SOME of the grain - some degree of "transparency" is involved. If it's a solid color in the automotive sense, then that is what I would call "paint". Not to put words in Neveragain55's - the OP's mouth - and maybe it is a bit of an oversimplification - but that would be the most obvious interpretation as far as I am concerned. So I would put bursts in the TRANSPARENT category and not the PAINT category, while solid opaque automotive type colors would be PAINT.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
    5below and Neveragain55 like this.
  12. gpx1200


    Apr 24, 2013
    spencer mass
    my whole crew,... not a solid color among them, cant tell from the pic but the iby on the end is transparent black, the one in the middle will get clearcoat as soon as I can bring myself to rip it apart, I also painted the geckos and the black iby susan 003.JPG
  13. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    Another excuse to post my latest family shot!

    Suffice it to say, I voted Natural (Alembic and Spector) and mix (Fender)...

  14. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I prefer natural. It's gotta be either a nice piece of wood or you have to hope the pieces they glued together match. I bought my Fender okoume jazz sight unseen and lucked out with one that looks good.
    alaskaleftybass and Neveragain55 like this.
  15. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    To me natural means no added coloring, as close to the real wood look as possible. That look always grabs my attention, but I like variety, so I choose not to have all one finish.

    GT black Pahoehoe700.
    LP Bass converted.
    Tele Bass2.
    Rondo blue pick700.
    alaskaleftybass and Neveragain55 like this.
  16. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    There are lots of beautiful natural finish basses out there (and in this thread), though I personally would never buy one. Earth tones and I just don't get along, but I did vote for the mixture of the two ... being able to see a nice wood grain under a painted finish is rad.

    And mine is not nearly as spectacular as some I've seen > Spector1_zps5f4251da.
    alaskaleftybass and Neveragain55 like this.
  17. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Here's a thousand words worth. :)


    and one more.

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
  18. Doctor_Clock

    Doctor_Clock The Moon Machine Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    I say mix it up! over the last few year I have had a bunch of basses come and go. I really love a nice natural finish but sometimes the good old burst is great too. It's hard to say.
  19. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I hate untinted clear finishes on musical instruments. Why? Who knows. Tint 'em and I love transparent finishes on the right piece of wood. All of my bass guitars are some kind of transparent but colored finish, either red or burst. So, is that "natural" or "other?" I voted other because natural, to me, is plain old clear finish.
    Neveragain55 likes this.
  20. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Best for metal.
    MasonMinor and alaskaleftybass like this.

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