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Plastic bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by geoffkhan, Dec 4, 2004.


  1. Today I played on a fretless bass that had what appeared to be a white mottled plastic body. It could've been some kind of weird compressed wood, though, but I doubt it. It certainly felt like plastic. And it sounded really good, too.
     
  2. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ibanez uses a plastic material called Luthite in a line of their basses. Could have been that. It has many of the same resonation qualities as wood i believe.
     
  3. luthite

    i also thought of the Reverend basses, recently no longer in production. the wood block is on the inside, couple w/ some fancy rods. The outside is plastic. they don't call it plastic though.
     
  4. kingbrutis

    kingbrutis

    Aug 10, 2003
    Phoenix AZ
  5. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    Chicago
    Luthite is petroleum by product and sawdust. I doubt that there is any plasc in it, as it would initiate a caustic reaction.

    My Ibanez EDA smells like gasoline.
     
  6. Just informing those who don't know..

    Plastic is also a petroleum product.
    So perhaps the ibanez do have some form of plastic involved.
     
  7. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Plastic IS a petroleum by-product, made from the same petrochemical as polyester fiber.
     
  8. Heh. Sorry Teej, I think I beat you to that one !

    Although.. another thing confusing me is why it would cause a caustic reaction... plastic and petroleum and wood... combining to make a very high pH substance (basic/caustic)
    I think that would be cool.
     
  9. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I was definitely typing that comment before you. :smug:

    I'm gonna scoop some sawdust out of the bin, mix it into a jar of vaseline, and see what happens!!
     
  10. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I'm thinking EB/MM SUB or SUB Sterling at this point - the textured finish could be mistaken for a plastic-like substance, IMO.
     
  11. FireAarro

    FireAarro

    Aug 8, 2004
    austr-
    SUB, that was my first thought as I read the first post :p.
     
  12. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Has anyone tried/bought an SUB sterling here? I know people own the SUB, but i havent heard any feedback on the SUB Sterling.
     
  13. Where did you learn this?

    I've done a little more research on Luthite and it is not discussed much at all, anywhere, except by the players. But when I had a Cort Curbow in my shop for a refinish, I was able to really get into the composition of this stuff and I discovered exactly what it is...

    It is one of a number of resin products designed for casting and machining. It is used in industry to make high resolution mockup parts in the same machines and with the same tools as would be used to make the real parts from metals or other materials. The resin is usually a light tan in color and can be made in different densities depending on the need of the machinist. I say "made" because although it can be bought in blocks, slabs, and sheets, it can also be bought in raw liquid component form and mixed to specification by the end user. This would be necessary if the material were to be poured into molds before curing. This was all comfirmed by by observations of the Cort body. The shape and the "carved" contouring were all gained from casting - you should see the imprint of the mold surface in certain places like the control cavity. Then the pup and neck inlets were routed - evidenced by the CNC tool marks in the unpainted areas of the body. Of course, by the time the body is primed and painted, all of the tool marks are smoothed over with the paint film.

    All in all, it's a pretty neat idea - even if it does smell like a garage floor. The material is fairly cheap, especially when bought in the quantities these guys would buy for making guitars so the savings are substantial over wood and it's finishing time. My only gripe with Luthite is it's lack of true character. No one that I've heard from can put their finger on exactly what a Luthite guitar sounds like compared to wood.

    Here's a link to a photo on a website that shows what this stuff is used for (outside of guitars)
    http://www.goldenwestmfg.com/assets/images/Image_06.jpg
     
  14. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I don't see how mixing plastic and wood affects pH, unless the sawdust soaks up a certain chemical in the plastic, throwing the plastic out of balance or something. Then again, I'm not at all familiar with luthite.
     
  15. Hmmm, sorta. It was white, and wasn't shiny or anything -- just a dull white. I was also really mottled, and the surface felt kinda hollow like plastic tends to.
     
  16. teej

    teej

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Wait a minute! Isn't polyurethane a type of plastic? A "petrochemical," at least??
     
  17. FireAarro

    FireAarro

    Aug 8, 2004
    austr-
    Yeah, they have a white colour. The finishes aren't shiny.
     
  18. zeronyne

    zeronyne Recovering Keyboard Player

    Nov 24, 2003
    Chicago
    My sincerest apologies for spreading misinformation. Of course you are all correct in that plastic is a petrochemical byproduct.

    I was incorrectly parroting what I was told when I purchased the bass at a NAMM show years and years ago.

    Again, my apologies. I hate reading crap like what I wrote. I have no excuse except that I was very tired when I posted. :crying: :rollno:
     
  19. I feel the same way. I like the neck profile of my Cort Curbow, but compared to my Fender or any other decent wood bass, something just doesn't feel right. It's not really the sound of the bass, but more the way it feels. It's hard to describe, its a really neutral feeling, not dead but not live either. Just my piece.