Newbie Lightweight Bass Question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by glenn in NC, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. glenn in NC

    glenn in NC

    Aug 18, 2005
    I'm playing a standard jazz bass and the weight of the thing hanging off my shoulder after an hour or so is killing my back, so much so that I need to find something lighter in weight.

    I was considering a Spector as I've read some of the reviews and seen that people were impressed with it's smaller size.

    Anyone have other recommendations on lightweight basses in the $500-700 range?

    Oh yeah, I recall seeing a cross the back guitar strap, designed to spread the load to both shoulders. I've looked online for one but to no avail. Any help there would be appreciated.

    I've been lurking for a few months now and enjoy reading the reviews!

  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Jazz basses are not what I'd call heavy.
    All-maple Spectors are not what I'd call light-weight.

    If you want lighter weight in a Jazz, then pick up an alder or swamp ash-bodied one. If it's still tooo heavy, then go to a doctor to see if your shoulders are alright. If they are okay, then you are too weak :p

    If you want a really lightweight Jazz-shaped bass, then there's still the BassLab Soul at 2,5-2,7 kg (~5,5 lbs), but it's a bit beyond your budget
  3. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    Glenn, there are several designs for "dual shoulder" straps available. If you want to see if this will help before spending the money, and can get your hands on a second strap:

    Connect both straps to the bass, one inside the other. If you have Dunlops or similar this will work fine; if you have regular strap pins, be careful as the "outer" strap may want to slip off. Remember, this is just for testing.

    Use a few tie wraps or something to join the straps together at your lower back. This gives you sort of a "Y" shape; the straps come up as one from the bottom of the bass, split at your back, then duck over opposite shoulders before going to the horn. This helps keep both straps on your shoulders.

    I messed up my left shoulder something fierce doing yard work a few months ago. The above was my temporary solution (I couldn't order and receive a mail-order strap before the next practice). I was able to use one of the strap buckles for the "Y" point, and it all worked so well that I've stayed with the dual-shoulder thing every since. Does it look dorky? Probably. Do I care? Pfft.

    If you decide it's an answer and want to buy one:

    Slider Strap

    Dare Strap

    Y Strap

    There are others, but the above should get you started.

    Good luck with this, I know from experience it's not fun.


    EDIT: P.S. If it's more of a BACK issue than a SHOULDER issue, and you can deal with drilling another hole in your bass for an additional strap pin, there's also the Bass Brace.

    Or you can pick up one of those ZZ Top style spinners, but those things are bloody expensive! :)
  4. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I second the strap idea, I have a bad back due to a bad car wreck so I can I D with back pain. Get you a good 3 or 4 inch wide padded strap, this will distribute the weight evenly across your shoulder and the padding will soften the basses weight.
    Btw, I own a bunch of jazzes and find none to be heavy :)
  5. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Where in NC are you? I could maybe help out with comparing some basses and see what fits. I am in Raleigh.
  6. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    a wider strap should be enough. i`m able to play 4 hours straight with my 17lbs bass without ANY back fatigue - i do now that in the long-term it`s not the best idea and been loking for something more lightweight - but, again: an hour with a jazz bas should not be a problem.
  7. glenn in NC

    glenn in NC

    Aug 18, 2005
    Maverick, All, thanks for the strap links and comments. I'm going to try that route first. The one I use isn't padded and the discomfort gets me right below the shoulder blades.

    Lamar, I live in Greensboro. I'll contact you if I decide the straps are not going to work for me. Thanks for the offer!

    While I've got everyone's ear does anyone have a link for some type of stage stool or elevated chair with a back on it and foot rungs? I've seen the thing called the "guitar chair", it's not what i'm looking for.

    Again, thanks for the comments and help. I was a lead guitar player for years and switched to bass. It's been an interesting learning curve and reprogramming for me.

  8. trainsales


    Jun 24, 2005
    Glenn - The Fender Aerodyne is within your price range, and weighs less than 8 lbs.
  9. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    $70 gets you a thick leather, durable strap...

    Think of straps as bigger the better. The thicker the strap, the more weight is distributes through more of your shoulder...

    If you have fishing line putting a lot of pressure on your hand, it will start to indent your skin, and cause pain...
    Not take a shoelace and do the same with the same amount of pressure. It will hurt much less....

    Straps are a great back saver. I can bet you have one of those cheap "get it free or thrown in with the bass" ones...