Question about Bass Bodies & Their Weight???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jokerjkny, May 16, 2004.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hey all,

    i'm thinking of getting an alder bodied parts bass for me to tinker around with and was wondering about the weight of the bass' body itself, sans the neck.

    on the warmoth site, there are a few thrift shop jazz bass bodies that hover in the 5 lbs. range, while Tommy at USA Custom said his alder bodies have been averaging in the 5 lbs. range as well. he said if i wanted a lighter one, i'd have to wait a bit.

    anywho, with the rest of the parts, i.e. neck, ultralite tuners, badassII bridge, how heavy would this bass turn out to be?

    what weight should i be looking out for that will not only be lightweight and easy on my back, but also be balanced and not result in a neck heavy bass?
  2. Hey Joker......

    This sounds like a good thread so I am going to bump it for you...I would say in the under 2 pound range or so for an overall light bass....the problem is finding light weight components at a good price point...some of the reason that the higher end/lighter instruments fetch such a premium might want to try posting this question in the luthier's corner forum as well....

  3. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    It's really a crap shoot on this. You may get this really super lightweight body but the neck may dive like crazy.

    Tommy has been supplying really great, light weight bodies to a buddy of mine who builds guitars. But the 6 string bretheren are a bit easier to match up. Most of his Tele type guitars have been running in the 4 to 5 pound range and he is SO picky.

    Then there is the issue of whether the mating of the neck to the body will be a good sounding bass or a great sounding bass. It isn't just pickups and electronics.

    You may want to check in with Nino-Brown as appears to be able to make so good stuff happen with the parts basses. He might have some tips.
  4. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    If you have a light body, and it does produce some neck dive, how uncomfortable could it be? Would it be anything a Comfort Strapp wouldn't help? It seems to me a light bass with some neck dive wouldn't be near as annoying as a medium (9.5 lb.) or heavy (10 + lb.).

    I had an awesome Infinity 5 in the 9.5 lb. range which had severe neck dive and I couldn't play it for more than 30-40 minutes. My SKB 3005 was around 9.2 lb. and had a little neck dive, but I could play it for 4 sets. My Rob Allen 5 was 6.5 lbs and had moderate neck dive, you could probably play that thing for 10 hours...
  5. RuppertJiles


    Apr 14, 2004
    I'm new to fulltime bass playing and the TalkBass forums and wanted to ask the opinion of some experienced players. I apologize if this question isn't appropriate in this thread.

    Back and neck stress are real issues for me. I have a 70s Fender Jazz that I don't want to give up but I can't take the weight. I tried a Gracie Stand but it wasn't practical (and it malfunctioned after two months; the manufacturer won't respond to my emails). I tried a Slider strap but it was uncomfortable and I couldn't position the bass where I wanted.

    The options I see are find a better strap or get a lighter bass. Any info on the Comfort Strap that was mentioned? Also, if I wanted to seek out a new bass with a top criteria being low weight how could I go about that efficiently?

  6. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    Welcome to Talkbass :bassist:

    Do a Search for Comfort Strapp, they have been discussed at great length here so you'll find quite a few threads, most people (including me, I was once a naysayer) like them quite a bit.

    I have back and left rotator cuff issues, and IMO the bottom line is weight. I can do 4 full sets with any bass I've had which was at 9 to 9.2 lbs and under, yet if I go up to 9.4-9.5 lbs., the 3rd or 4th sets are tough (not to mention a long practice), you wouldn't think a few ounces could really make that much difference. Of course the ideal weight will be different for everyone.

    The real problem is buying a bass which you haven't personally weighed with an accurate scale. I've had 4 or 5 internet transactions where people I've trusted have claimed basses to be around 9 lbs, and they've turned out to be 9.5, 9.8, 10, and 10.4 lbs. I don't believe anybody purposefully misrepresented anything, they all used the "bathroom scale" method which is very unaccurate. I personally bought an accurate digital fish scale so I could be accurate in my bass deals.

    Another thing to be careful of is going by feel. I've played some basses briefly or just picked them up in a shop that felt fine, but when I went back with the scale they were all well over 9 lbs., so fatigue can also be a factor.

    I guess if you're healthy enough, you can just lift weights and get a little stronger to deal with a heavy bass. When things start wearing out though....light is best.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    It depends on the design of the bass. My Sadowsky weighs 7.5 lbs and doesn't have any neck dive. The Yamaha BB(Natan East) that I ownded for a while weighed 11lbs, and it had huge neck dive. I think you are going to find that a Jazz design balances out better. I would say as long as you don't go ridiculously light you are going to be ok. I have seen some of the Warmoth basses go down to 4 lbs(Swamp Ash mind you).
  8. Seems like we've got guys here quoting weights of stripped bodies and fully decked out basses. The difference is substantial.

    My latest chambered jazz, in full dress, is under 8 lbs.
  9. I built a P from warmoth parts- hard ash body. maple/maple neck, badassII bridge, hipshot ultralite tuners-
    the weight is 11lbs.
    it balances well, but I suspect with a lightweight (eg. alder or swamp ash) body it wouldn't balance.

    warmoth necks are heavy with their steel reinforcement rods.
    for balance i'd go for graphite reinforcement (USA Custom offer this?), and a 2+2 headstock to keep the overall length down.
  10. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    With a Warmoth 5 lb Body & Warmoth neck, you will probably end up with a bass that weighs about 11lbs. You could get a weight reduced body from warmoth which will reduce the weight. I'm not sure if USA Custom does this.

    I've never really noticed any neck dive on any of my Jazz Styled basses. Then again, I never let go of the bass.

    I also recomend a WIDE, HEAVY PADDED strap with any bass.
  11. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    thx guys!

    FYI, my parts ash/maple bass is maaaaaaad light. prolly under 8 lbs. the neck is warmoth, and at first it had terrible neck dive, but after going with a set of hipshot ultralites, the problem went away. its amazing how much regular BML tuners can add to a bass' weight.

    problem is, forget how much the body weighed, and wanted to be sure. i guess with a 5 lbs. body, i'm might be getting more weight than i'd like. :(

    anyone have a 3 lbs. alder body they can sell me? :eyebrow:

    nicely appropriate avatar, btw, nino... :smug:
  12. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    yo jk,

    you've played my fender jazz, right? that body is from usa customs and it was just about 4.5 lbs. the neck and tuners add a little over 4 pounds on my bass and it's right at the edge of feeling neck divey. ultralites would make a big difference, and i'm not sure you want much lighter than 4 lbs on a full sized jazz body.
  13. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    If you have neck/back problems, you need a light weight AND well balanced bass. That is rather easy to find, just walk about the music shops and try out everything that weighs les than the others. Hint: Danelectro Longhorn or BassLab. Or Wittman.

    Hint 2: if you like what you have, put a strap knob in the center of gravity, then sling the strap over your right shoulder and attach both ends to the strap knob. Voilà: balance, and the weight on the relaxed shoulder! Splendid!
    Or, if you want to be really cool, look at Wittman-Spins.


    What size of body are you talking about? My LoW weihgs some 3 kg complete! The body alone, with birch top and back, weighs less than a kilo (2lbs). But then it is rather slim.
  14. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    joker, did you originally install BML's then go to the Hipshots? The reason I ask is the holes for the BML is different than the ultralight's hole.
  15. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    I'm pretty sure you can get hipshot ultralites, w/ a couple of different peg sizes... 1/2 or 3/8...
  16. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    Ah, I was refering to the mounting holes. I have a Warmoth fretless neck that has the BML's already mounted.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I have a Bass made by Mike Adler(it's a 4 string)and it's lite as a Feather.the neck is Maple and Purple Heart with a Maple Fingerboard.the neck has Graphite rods.the body is Dragon wood with a Maple top.the machine heads are Hipshot Ultra lites.neck dive does no exist on this Bass and the over all Balance is perfect for a Bass that weighs about 5 to 5 1/2 lbs.
  18. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    0_0... Wow.. Any pictures?
  19. Sadowsky

    Sadowsky Commercial User

    Nov 1, 2000
    Owner: Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.
    My rule of thumb is to add 5 pounds to the body weight. So a 4 pound body will yield a 9 pound bass. I try to keep my bodies between 3 and 4 pounds to produce basses in the 8-9 pound range. Sometimes they go to 9.5 pounds, but that is my absolute maximum.


    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    Here You Go.