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parts that affect tone

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JackWhite, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. JackWhite


    Apr 2, 2007
    hey guys! of course i know that most of the tone comes from the fingers of the player, but i just was interested what you think what parts of a bass guitar affect the tone really obviously (u can also write down the less obvious parts like bridges and such)

    in my opinion:
    wood body, wood neck, wood fretboard, pickups, preamp, top, strings.

    lets hear your opinion!

    btw.. do you think the scale of the bass affects the overall-tone?

    thx, hve a nice day!
  2. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    ide probably have to say pickguard screws.
  3. Probably easier to say that the instrument affects the tone most, then that encompasses the materials, the construction, the scale, the strings, the lot. Then of course there's the amp. And the player.
  4. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd

  5. JackWhite


    Apr 2, 2007
    ;) dont think that im a guy that think fret-dots affect the tone or such! but i need that info for a university project.. so please, serious answers here :)
  6. sublime0bass


    Aug 2, 2007
    Boone, NC
    the kind of soap you wash your hands with
  7. JackWhite


    Apr 2, 2007
  8. Jordan


    Feb 22, 2004
    Some say that finish affects the tone quite a bit.
  9. JackWhite


    Apr 2, 2007
    thank you very much jordan! great input
  10. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    This is just what I think but...

    After stating the electronic parts, (pickups, preamp, amplifier, etc...) and the player's style, the initial thing I hear is the fingerboard wood. To me, that is where the tone comes from on the initial attack. After that, I would say that the body and neck woods create the resonating tone.

    I think hardware can make a some difference in resonation to a point too.

    I don't think tops make much of a difference unless they are pretty thick.
  11. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    definitely the strings. you can hear the difference a ton, even with the same bass. so i would say those, and the electronics mostly.

    one of the guys at Nordstrand told me a basses is affected tonewise in this order.

  12. Tryxx

    Tryxx Sputnik Forums: Bass Mod

    Jun 1, 2005
    Hurst, Texas.
    I personally think when it comes to the build of an instrument, and we're omitting electronics and metal, it all comes down to density.

    I agree with CapnSev in regards to the fingerboard, and that comes from A/B'ing Fenders with a maple and rosewood board. I really haven't had the opportunity to really look and work with different body woods, but I do believe they make a difference, just not sure how much.
  13. DSB1


    Mar 8, 2006
    What you eat for lunch that day and what color the ball end of the strings are ;)
  14. JackWhite


    Apr 2, 2007
    what would you say about body-shape?
  15. Come on jack, knowing that different factors affect tone is pretty lame in itself. Shouldn't you be asking in what way changing certain things affect tone, such as Jordan's comment about Finish? If this is a university project, I think you're going to need a little more in-depth research than a list of objects off a forum.
  16. newfuture


    Jul 13, 2007
    IME, removing the player / amp from the equation

    PU location, Strings, PUs / electronics, body wood/ density, fingerboard material (not terribly convinced of this for fretted instruments. Fretless, though, it's huge), somewhat in that order.

    Think about the difference between rounds and flats, or new and old for strings, the difference between the bridge and neck PU on just about any bass.

    To fully cop-out, it all plays a role.

    Scale has an enormous role in tone.
  17. I think a lot of people overlook strings. I mean they know they're important, but maybe not just how important. I mean they're like the tires on your car, without 'em you're not going anywhere. Then pickups. Then where the pickups are located.

    But don't mind me, I'm a pretty simple guy when it comes to all that. I don't like people trying to make it all mystical and crap.

    And maybe this is just me... but I have NEVER "heard the fingerboard" wood... ever. Maybe I just don't care enough.
  18. Ray Holt is what most affects the tone of your bass.
  19. Most of it, what percentage would you say? How do you know this?


    Similar questions have been overdone on this forum, which means there is a wealth of information available here. Read the stickies, apply some research skills and you'll find many answers related to your question.

    But this forum is only one source. If you're writing a paper then credibility will be in question depending on who you're sourcing or referencing. There are credible sources available on the inernet and in books also, but the stickies have pointers to many of these.
  20. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I think your expectation of what you are going to hear based on what you've read on forums has a huge impact on the tone you hear.

    I used to believe a lot of the common wisdom about "tone", but when I started seeing people who believe they hear a difference between power cables, I began to look at the whole thing with a huge amount of skepticism. Since I know now how colored people's experiences are based on what they expect to experience, I believe everyone far less.

    As far as I know, no one has done any real scientific research on this subject, and until I see some sort of measurable data, I don't give people's opinions on the subject much weight. That's not to slight anyone here or this forum, because I think discussing gear is fun, but I realize now that the way I perceive nebulous concepts like "punchy" or "bright" is very different from that of other people, so I can't really trust that something that sounds "punchy" to someone else will sound punchy to me (or whatever).

    Maybe this seems snarky, but people often discount the impact EQ has on your sound. A lot of people are into keeping the EQ flat, and I think this is part of why people stress so much about minute differences that some part on the bass might impart. If you know how to work an EQ, however, I think this obsession becomes moot. Want more high end? Don't worry about your fingerboard. Use your EQ!

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