New to site; need some critical ears.....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dave251, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. dave251

    dave251 Wendler Instruments

    Feb 5, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Hi all...just found the site today as I'm looking for a resource of "ears"...I've just completed a bass for myself(I design and sell a specific style of bass and guitars). After selling my prototype nearly a year ago, I finally got around to building myself another. Please don't take this as spam; I need some good ears to help me better the instrument. This is a fretless, acoustic/electric design with passive electronics.

    Here are the instrument specs:

    Western red cedar body
    Douglas fir neck/34" scale
    Pao ferro fingerboard, tailpiece and peghead overlay
    Double acting truss rod, bone nut, Hipshot ultra light tuners.
    Magnetic/piezo passive hybrid pickup system
    Maple bridge/aluminum saddle.
    Thomastic-Infeld jazz flatwound strings.

    The bass weighs around 5 1/2 lbs.

    Here's a quick mp3 clip(now, I'm not much of a bassist, so please forgive my ham handed playing....but I'm learning)

    electroCoustic fretless 4

    Your critical ears and criticisms would be most appreciated....
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Sounds nice. Round and woody. Got a clip with no reverb? Pics? Those are some unusual materials, kind of like a cross between a Turner or Allen and Nordstrand's Spruce Goose.
  3. Sounds very uprightish. Very nice!

    Welcome to talkbass.
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Well, Dave didn't want to get in trouble by posting a picture of his own stuff, but he did email one to me, since I asked. I think it's really cool, so here it is (BTW he did not ask me to post it!):

  5. That's a sweet looking bass!
  6. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    nice bass.... prices? will you make more? nice bass, not too crazy bout the head stock, but that's not really a complaint. nice bass :bassist:
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    dave - I'm not worried about the bass at all. It seems to be a fine sounding instrument.

    Moreover, as you said, you realize you're in the early stages of getting your technique together. Fretting properly and being more critical of your ability to produce pure, well-fretted, notes will come on time if you keep listening to yourself and being humble enough to know you need improvement.
    Hell! I've been playing bass since 1968 and I get humbled every month!!! But it's more about choosing "delicious" notes at the right time than about technique.

    What I don't hear in your sample, above all, is an accurately-tuned bass. Get yourself a good tuner like a Boss TU-2. If you already own a good tuner, pay attention to it more. And get your intonation right. There are just so many sour notes in your sample.

    Secondly, you need a better sense of time/the beat/rhythm. That can come in several ways. Some use a metronome.....(I had that thing thrust on me when I was learning piano and hated it). Some people have or develop a natural sense of the beat and you don't need a metronome.
    You must find what works for you because if you can lock in the the drummer's right foot, you're lost. Me - I never needed a metronome.

    Above all - you are so smart to put your s""t out here for us to hear. That's very humbling but can be so helpful. I think you have real potential and will stick with it.

    Best of luck!
  8. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    Dave- thanks for the PM. I think the bass looks great! We'll talk more when time allows (at Work) :crying:

    'NY NY NY
  9. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    WOW! that's nice!

    not what i expected. a definite departure from what we usually see from new builders.


  10. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    The bass sounds great! And it's light too! A few questions that you might or might not want to answer.

    Was the sample recorded with the tone control wide open? Was the blend about 50/50 magnetic/piezo? Assuming it was amplified, was it recorded fairly "flat"? Just wondering about the range of usable tones. I like it as a passive bass to keep that upright feel.

    Maybe a different pickguard color like mother of pearl?

    I think it's best as a fretless bass, and you might want to consider making one with a double bass shape (no pickguard) and an attachable endpin (in addition the shape pictured). All of this is of course, just my opinion.

    Great job!

  11. dave251

    dave251 Wendler Instruments

    Feb 5, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    There is no "tone control" per se...but rather a "bias control" that determines the timbre of the pup system. Since both pickups have to be ON all the time(that's how I get around having to use a preamp), the bias control swings from about 80%mag/20%piezo to 30%mag/70%piezo. For this recording, bias was about 40%mag/60%piezo. The recording was eq'd flat, no compression...just a touch of 'verb. No preamp before direct in to my DAW.

    The bias control, in practical terms, is more mid range apparent all the way towards the magnetic pickup, and has a familiar "P-bass" vibe to it. When rolled over the the piezo, the midrange falls out, and you get an added deep bass and a kiss of breath on the high end. I've been very pleased with not only the functionality of the pickup system(which was really developed for guitars), but with the simplicity of the design....two pots, a magnetic pickup, a piezo pickup(specially tweaked), and an output jack. That's it. I've been able to run direct into the hi-z input of mixers and bass amps without the need for any buffering.

    Essentially, I'm using the capacitance of the pi to control the "electric" tonality of the mag, and the inductance in the mag to reorient the phase shift anomalies so apparent in the highly capacitve pi. A win/win situation.

    Thanks for your comments and listening.

  12. naughtry


    Jan 31, 2004
    NYC / D.C.
    thas awesome I'd almost buy that on looks alone.
  13. The body reminded me of a Fender Mustang bass.
    The tone made me think of a P-bass, but less percussive.
    If you didn't tell us that it has piezos, I don't think I would have caught that. :confused:

    And I have a fretless bass with piezos!

    After listening to it twice, it did sound a little bright for a bass with the pup so close to the neck.

    I like the non-adjustable bridge to achieve a more acoustic vibe.

    Overall it had a very nice tone.

    Simplicity. I love it.

    Keep building; I think you've got talent.

    Good luck.

  14. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    To my ears, the intonation sounds off..


    sorry, im an @$$ like that ;)
  15. Nice one! That pickguard, bridge and pup give it a cool retro-vibe... sort of reminds of those wacky 60´s cheapo guitars like Eko and whatnot. Maybe you could make it with a metal-flake finish to complete the picture...

    Please don´t take that as an insult, I really love those exotic designs. And your bass of course sounds superb.
  16. dave251

    dave251 Wendler Instruments

    Feb 5, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    I hate to burst your bubble, but I'm the one that usually gets accused of that. :smug: And yes, my intonation is off....I'm usually a guitar player and am used to having frets.... :confused: