P bass slab vs contoured body - effect on tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by boristhespider7, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. boristhespider7


    Jan 27, 2008
    I'm interested is there much of a tone difference in P slab bodies (51P) vs the contoured body, assuming they are both made of the same wood?

    I appreciate that contoured will be lighter and more conformable. Just wondering whether the slab will have any advantages with tone?
    Member8675309 likes this.
  2. Member8675309

    Member8675309 Inactive

    Aug 19, 2017
    Nashville, TN
    EdBo, Novarocker, Atshen and 30 others like this.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Everything has an effect on tone - the wood, the shape, the finish, the weather, the number of bodies in the audience.......

    Could you reliably detect the difference slab vs contour? Highly doubtful. If you had some pretty sophisticated scientific measuring tools you might be able to detect a difference. But if you can actually hear a difference, you should be hiring yourself out as an audio super-sleuth and charging mega-bucks.

    Or to put it another way - no.
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  4. Member8675309

    Member8675309 Inactive

    Aug 19, 2017
    Nashville, TN
    “Just wondering whether the slab will have any advantages with tone?“

    No, not necessarily, not without expressing what exactly you’re looking for. Even then, I think the differences in tone, considering the same wood species, would be minimal and/or impossible to detect (See Above). And, even then, different does not equate to worse or better.

    I ordered an Ash “T Bass” from Rosser Guitars on New Years Eve. I’ll begin working on it in a few weeks. I can say, with all honesty, that tone had no impact on my aesthetic decision. If a lighter body is perceived to be an advantage to you, I’d go light, or lighter anyway, w/the contoured body. Word is that contoured is indeed lighter.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  5. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Contour vs slab has no desernable effect on tone, comfort, or weight in my experience.
  6. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    How does one answer that? Very few people have both, and rip out the electronics, and take off the strings, swap it all, just to find out.
    Lvjoebass likes this.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    unfortunately: the biggest impact on 'great' tone comes from the wood which is sacrificed during the contouring. it becomes sawdust. :crying:
  8. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Once again, saved from five minutes of typing by a friendly answer.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
    Lvjoebass, Helix, tonym and 2 others like this.
  9. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Technically, the more mass of the slab body will in theory lead to more sustain, but the amount probably would not be noticeable at all.

    Pick looks or comfort. I like the cool factor of the slab, but for me, the contoured body is a must for comfort.
    Ampslut likes this.
  10. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    If both instruments were built to the same spec, there would be no impact on tone. There technically could still have the same weight.
  11. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    All else equal, which ever one is more comfortable on you is going to get a better tone. Especially since "tone is in the fingers".
    Ampslut and BlueTalon like this.
  12. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
  13. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Simply, "No."
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  14. Negligible at best. Go for the contour (If your gut is like mine, lol!)
    Ampslut likes this.
  15. What happens to the tone when you put a high-mass bridge on a slab body??? ;)
  16. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    The better the coupling to the body, or worse will affect resonance but the issue is it may be negligible.
    Warhawk likes this.
  17. boristhespider7


    Jan 27, 2008
    The same as what happens when you put a high mass bridge on a contoured body?
  18. I would think that if there was a discernible difference one way or the other there would be nothing to discuss.
    navijaz and Warhawk like this.
  19. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    Welcome to the internet

  20. What material will your fingerboard be made of?
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Aug 4, 2021

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