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pancake bass? flatbass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bassmonkey144, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. i saw a picture a while ago of DB that was thin in thickness, and had a small body. i remember it being called a pancake bass, or something close to that. can anybody enlighten me on these basses, and where i might get one?
  2. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    ya , come up to canada during maple syrup season.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Ah, yeah, that was very helpful, thanks for that, eh? Now somebody close the gate to BG land....

    Bassmonkey....You might be thinking of the Knilling Thinline bass. I think Meisel makes one as well.
  4. I gotta ask what is it about these basses that attract you?
    I've played a few, and no big deal.
    I think in terms of looks, they're really unattractive and the thin-ness just doesn't make any sense sound-wise.
    Do a search on Knilling or Karl Knilling. Carl?
    Randy Ward likes this.
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I've a feeling that most DBers don't understand the appeal of the thin bass to a newbie or an electric bass player, and I can understand that. If I was playing a DB for years I'd look at one of these like a back packer guitar or something. For someone who just wants to kinda have a DB in their arsenal though, it's an attractive deal. It's already electric, it's cheap, it's a little easier to lug around, and to us - it looks cool. Edit the above please to the first person - I'm speaking for myself. I don't know what others find interesting about them.
  7. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    If all we are concerned about is size then we'd all play piccolo ! I play bg too and i just don't understand why you wouldn't just get a regular DB.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I believe Kay also made thin bodied basses at one time. I wouldn't buy one. It doesn't make sense from a sound perspective.
  9. You can find both the Florea and the Meisel on Music123.com. Each time my back hurts after carrying my bass I have GAS for one...
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Thin Bass, Thin Sound!.. Thin Sound, Thin Wallet !!

    Big Bass, Big Sound... Big Sound, FAT Wallet..

    Fat Wallet, Fat Belly.......

    I'll stop at that...lol
    gebass6 likes this.
  11. well actually, i had one in mind for jazz band at my highschoo. we tend to travel a lot, and this year, my director wants me to play DB instead of my electric. and i didnt want to lug my large, heavy DB around, and i remembed at one jazz competition at Purdue that i saw many thin bodied basses. so thats the reason why i was looking at them. thanks for all the input, i love these forums.

    ah yes, also. if i werent to go for a thinbodied bass and i had a very smal budget, and i went looking for a DB to use for jazz band and my school orchestra, what brand/model should i be looking for?
  12. Newbies Links under Basses!!!!!!
  13. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    I still don't understand the point of these basses. Any perceived savings in weight or size I'm sure are negligible in reality. You still have the same sized top and back plates, the same maple neck and scroll, the same talpiece, the same linings, the same glue, the same FB, the same endpin, the same heavy-a$$ tuners, tha same etc....... I doubt that losing a couple inches off rib depth will have much impact on anything other than tone. With the bridge in place, it's still going to be more or less as awkward to carry and navigate through doors and into and out of vehicles as a full-depth counterpart.

    As for the appeal to electric players crossing over or newbies, I don't get that appeal, either. The business ends of these are the same as on a "regular" DB, so again -- what's the point? Unless you just HAVE to have less tone??

    Go for the real deal... as far as those go, there are plenty of good options for relatively small price tags. The newb links will come in handy on that search as well.
  14. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    From how these basses look in pictures at least, it seems you'd be losing a good 7" in depth. If you're not used to lugging aroung a DB, but more accustomed to strapping a bass on your back and not knowing it's there - this seems like a prety significant difference. Getting the DB I have now into my Honda took a whole lot of maneuvering and work. It wasn't easy, especially since I didn't have a case and it isn't my bass. Losing that 7" would mean it would probably be a lot lighter (and easier to handle), plus I could put it in a lot more positions in my car and be able to fit in other stuff also. I could probably stand it on it's side.

    As fer the less tone, if ya know know nothing about micing a DB the idea being able to simply plug one in is incredibly appealing. In my case, if I got one, aside from playing in my house I'd only be using it amplified. I've a feeling the "thin" tone you talk about wouldn't be all that much of an issue with the right amplification and EQ. If it WERE an issue, I it would only be to someone who has experience with a regular DB, knows what they're doing, and is expecting it to sound like what they're used to. If someone buys a Squier, never plays a high end bass but loves the Squier to death and really learns how to use it - he can make some beautiful sounds with it. More than a guy with a lot of money who can't play his Fodera for crap.

    Finally, the cost difference does seem significant. You can get these things new for about $800 and while many people have complained about the thinness, quality wise i believe they're fairly decent. From what everyone here says you can't get a decent DB for less than $1000, and then to hook it up with a decent mike is going to cost another 2 to 3 hundred bucks. That's $500 difference - which is pretty significan't to me.

    Some of us also think they look cool.
  15. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Hey Joe --

    If you were to shave 7" off the rib depth of an average laminated bass, you'd have a bass with about a 1" rib depth. In fact, if you shed 7" off an Engelhardt, you can skip the ribs altogether and just glue the top right to the back and be done with it. Again, I highly doubt the thinner ribs will make a SIGNIFICANT difference in weight, all other components remaining dimensionally in-line with a "standard" bass.

    The cost thing... well, time and time again, we find that you generally get what you pay for. Most basses look great in pictures and descriptions are always flattering... Even of these basses appear to be of decent quality, there are reasons they can offer them for 800 bucks complete with Realist. Aside from that, it's still going to need a good setup, just like any other bass.

    I talk to folks pretty frequently who are considering transitioning from electric bass to DB. Questions like "I like a J-bass neck... should I go for an Engel with a thin neck?" and others which relate the DB to their current electric playing come up all the time. The first thing I try to explain is that you simply can't approach the double bass like you approach the electric. It's a whole different animal. Again, if someone HAS to have one of these pancakes, great - more power to 'em. But I would think that if I was about to make a serious investment (whether it be $1000 or $20,000) in the Dark Side, I would approach it as a double bass player would, NOT as an electric player trying to make my DB experience as easy and electric-like as possible.
  16. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Because I'm incredibly thick headed I just got out a ruler to measure the thickness of the DB standing next to my bed. Guess what? :eek:

  17. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    You keep a ruler next to your bed?
  18. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
  19. I play BG, EUB, and DB. The EUB is easier to transport than the DB, except I have to bring a big amp to make it sound good, so all in all it is actually easier to bring the DB. I have done DB gigs with no amp, or with a little amp. The EUB is actually the heaviest of them all (it has a 3" thick slab of mahogany for a body). I can do any of the three rigs in one trip from car to club. I feel like the actual transportation, setting up, tearing down, and everything, is easiest with the DB.

    These thinline basses would be equivalently difficult to transport as a DB. I totally don't get it. The limiting factor is the length from top to bottom, not the depth. An EUB is at least somewhat more compact. You can also sling an EUB on your back easily enough.
    (My DB soft case actually has straps like a backpack, which works fine as long as you don't go through doors or anything. I don't really use them.)

    This analysis assumes a car. (I have a Ford Focus hatchback, and my DB can lay down flat in the back with the seat down, or it can be put in the front seat, as in any car) If I were going on a plane, I would bring my cheap fretless BG, and expect an amp to be there. I could probably swing my EUB as carryon as well.
  20. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Joe, I hestate to point this out, prolly cause I hope you figgered it out already. When you cut you're inches off the ribs and back of the DB, all you're really doing away with is AIR. the sides and back of a bass are relatively thin (cause it's hollow, right?) pieces of wood.

    Air just doesn't weigh that much.