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question about refinishing a bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by vic_6, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. vic_6


    Dec 19, 2004
    Manila, Philippines
    so ive been hearing that getting a bass refinished changes the tone of the bass. is this true?

    thinking about it, it could. but im just not sure. so i'd like to hear what you guys think..

    hmm...would stripping the bass of all it's paint let the sound ring out more?

  2. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    I doubt it.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    The type, amount, age and condition of a finish has MUCH, MUCH more impact on a thin walled, chambered resonating instrument such as an acoustic guitar or violin family instrument than it does with a solid body.

    There are those who claim to hear tonal distinctions between nitrocellulose lacquer, the finish traditionally found on "vintage" solid body instruments and polyurethane, the finish more commonly used on contemporary solid body guitars. I can't say as I can hear it.

    I would wager it has more to do with the other differences in build than it does the type of finish.

    To answer specifically, I would not expect a refinish to impact the sound of a particular instrument.
  4. vic_6


    Dec 19, 2004
    Manila, Philippines
    hhhmmm... true about the solid vs hollow bodies and the effect of laminates on them.

    actually, i just talked to a luthier friend of mine and he said that it does and that the best refin job would probably be done in nitrocellulose.

    i have two basses he's refinished with nitro. (the previous owners were the ones who had it done) a pre-eb ray and a 77 precision fretless and both sound beautiful.

    just wondering if anyone would have other ideas both in agreement or against.

    thanks for the replies guys.

  5. IMO...there is NO WAY...you can here the difference on a 'ray or a precision by the type of finish you use.

    we're talking about changing the resonant characteristics of the instrument and unless you plan on refinishing in 1/2"+ of lamb's wool or rubber, it's just not gonna change.
  6. vic_6


    Dec 19, 2004
    Manila, Philippines
    yeah i know what you're saying Pilbara and im actually in agreement with that.

    i just thought there's probably a reason for people to think like that. or could it be that refinishing a bass actually does affect the sound. but only so slightly and minute that it's unnoticable already and that these people who believe that refinishing affects tone are just hallucinating and it's all psychological. hehe
  7. Might it just be a case of "the emperors new clothes" ? i cant tell the difference.:crying:
  8. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    Many people think that the finish on the bass affects the tone, likely because this is what they've been told. I don't believe for a second that this is true, and it would make for a very good episode of Mythbusters.

    1. Purchase 2 identical basses (SX, or something of the like).
    2. Strip one of the basses.
    3. Play both basses for an independant panel of say 30 people, and have them guess which one is stripped.
    4. Perform a statistical analysis on their responses.

    Last week, my drummer painted his crappy seafoam blue Maxwin drums black: they went from looking stupid to looking great. I joke with him that they sound much better.
  9. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    Perhaps it helps to consider the components that have the most effect on the generation of sound. The strings vibrate and disrupt the magnetic field, the pickup converts the movement of the field into electrical current, and the current is sent to the amp. So the components that would most affect the sound are:

    1. Pickup.
    2. Strings.
    3. Bridge.
    4. Nut / frets.

    I suppose metallic paint could affect the magnetic field, but I don't see how a neutral finish would.
  10. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Not that it's a major cross-section or anything, but I've refinished a coupl eof my basses, and have yet to notice a change in tone after doing so... As was already mentioned, I could see it having an effect on hollow bodies, but no solids...

    - georgestrings