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question for Lightwave bass owners

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by moonfire, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. moonfire


    Mar 25, 2010

    I'm considering treating myself in 2012 to a Lightwave Saber VL. I was curious, because of the optical system, what affect do string types have on these basses, if any? round vs flat? nickel vs steel? etc.

  2. moonfire


    Mar 25, 2010
    bump :hyper:

    any LightWave owners here?
  3. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I had a Zon with Lightwave setup. I used Zon nickel strings, round wound. It was a fretless and I liked the combination.
  4. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Banned Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
    The optical system reproduces sound based on the vibration of the string through a light source, so the characteristic of the string will be perfectly translated. For example, you can string a Lightwave with Bronze strings, like they use on acoustic basses, and it will sound very much like an acoustic bass.

    Having said that, the optical system is amazing at giving you the feeling that you are hitting tones an octave lower then you are, essentially giving you the true tone of the instrument. The Piezo system is incredibly sensitive, so you will get some great highs as well as pick up all nuance of your technique.

    Changing the strings to say flatwounds will give you old school flatwound tone. If you string it with tapewounds, it will sound like an amplified upright.

    I learned from Chris Wilcox, founder of Lightwave, that the bass is optimum using taperwounds so that you get piano like quality, especially on the low B for the five string. I have found that they do give me the best overall sound.
  5. bertbass666


    Mar 6, 2009
    I'd love to try one as well but they don't do left handed.
  6. GolemTB


    Dec 22, 2011

    The LW verry definitely responds to string type.

    Mine is strung with nylon core bronze RWs [TI].
    It's FL with a maple FB, and I've never had any
    other strings on it. OTOH I've had those strings
    on various other basses, FL and fretted ... and
    they sound even MORE like themselves on the
    LW. I bought this ax FOR those strings and I'm
    very happy with the result.

    Over time, I've kinda been getting the idea I'd
    like an extra copy of this bass, to have another
    string type also on hand. BTW, LWs are not for
    the "fickle of string" bassist. The bridge is very
    tedious to set up.

    Somebody should be building a "bodyless" EUB
    with LW sensors ! Haaallooooh ? Somebody ??

  7. moonfire


    Mar 25, 2010
    thanks for the replies!
  8. moonfire


    Mar 25, 2010
    wow...thanks for informative reply!
  9. moonfire


    Mar 25, 2010
    you mean the string set-up or the optical sensor set-up? Ed Friedland did a demo of setting up the optical sensors and it looked pretty easy.

  10. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I had a first generation bridge/system. The setup is fairly straight forward - you just need to read and follow directions and be willing to spend 10-15 min the first time you do it. You really don't need to do it again though unless you make a drastic change in strings or setup.

    Also on my 1st gen system the piezo was fairly harsh and only provided hi frequencies. The "ice tone" was kinda like an ice pick. I would usually just dial in a bit of it to give some bite. But this was with a Zon fretless so you have to take that into account. I personally was not a fan of the LIghtwave setup on a fretted bass but I also don't like JJ basses so take that with a big grain of salt. Lightwave and fretless though can be a pretty magical setup.

    And again, my personal experience (10 years with the bass) was with the 1st gen setup. I have no doubt that they have improved the system since then (bought mine in '00).
  11. kiwi60


    Nov 1, 2011
    I'm a recent Lightwave convert having recieved VL 5 fretless on Dec 23rd 2011, and so far I've had three sets of strings on it;

    the orginals
    Everly Bass Rockers
    TI Flat wounds

    I wanted a more jazz vibe that the round wounds and the TI have certainly given that. (however those tape wounds might be worth a go as well...).

    I have the action low and get a lot of mwah even with the flats.

    Bottom line - I love it :D
  12. jon5252

    jon5252 Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    Boise Idaho
    It's cool you are excited about your new bass. I ordered one of the first generation Classica basses, and was really turned off be the quality of the instrument. Do you have any comments how your new bass compares to some other mainstream brands? I would be interested to hear.
  13. kiwi60


    Nov 1, 2011
    Hi Jon,

    Over the years I've had Peavy, Ibanez, Rickenbacker, Pedulla and a few Lakland basses.

    For me, being more jazz orientated these days, I thought I'd found the perfect basses from Lakland (Bob Glaub PB and the Joe Osborne Jazz), but the Lightwave has some advantages that for me anyway, make a significant difference.

    First off, it's a light weight instrument (8lbs) and well balanced which makes it easy to play on stage for extended periods. I came close to breaking my back a couple of years ago in a motorcycle racing accident so instrument weight must now be considered due to the on going lower back problems.

    Second, it's got a really nice fast neck profile that instantly felt familiar and works well with my stubby little fingers.

    Third, now that I've got my head around the tonal possibilities I find that I cam get everything from a cutting funk tone through to an almost double bass sound.

    I guess the clincher for me was the first time I played it with my band. My drummer made the comment "don't bother getting the Lakland out, stick with the LW, I just love the sound".
    He picked up the most important thing about the bass before I did, it cuts through the mix with a clarity and definition that the Lakland just doesn't have.

    To be 100% honest, the scallop was not finished as well as I would expect for a mid-range instrument, showing a couple of machining makes, but these were easy to fix. However I would expect the manufacturer to have taken care of this at their end, but otherwise I can't fault the quality of it, and the music shop bass expert was stunned by the quality of it and the tone when I took it down to buy a hard case for it yesterday.

    I took a big risk buying this as no one sems to have even heard of them here in New Zealand, but after reading and watching reviews of them (Ed Friedland - bass whisperer Lightwave Saber VL5 fretless bass - YouTube), I took a punt, and it's paid of for me.

    Do I recommend them - yes, will I buy another one - yes - soon.
  14. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    I have a Lightwave, and honestly, it’s been a slight source of frustration for me.

    (This pic I took recently to speak on the cab, but the LW was there so I stuck it in the pic.)

    I’d never heard of Lightwave basses, but someone on the TB’s “Hot Deals” forum posted one at amazon.com, a red SL 5 selling for ~$553.

    Amazon.com: LightWave Saber Bass SL 5-String Fretted, InfraRed: Musical Instruments

    At the time I’d been experiencing some back pain on stage, even in the first set, so I had a lighter-weight bass in mind. (later that pain went away- never figured that out).

    So I did a bit of research on it, and the whole concept piqued my interest, but the slim red body over my wide, big-bellied body didn’t seem right, but I bought it anyway.

    When it came, the body was even smaller than I’d imagined, I don’t like solid colors, and the shape didn’t do anything for me, so I decided I’d just enjoy playing it in the music room, and even put it away for band rehearsals. I did crank the truss rod over the course of a couple days to get the action lower, and did the easy Allen wrench adjustment on top to get the sound back, and the intonation was good enough for a music-room bass (I'm lazy).

    A few weeks later the guys came over, and I’d left it out, so they spotted it. Well, I played it, and the sound and clarity was a hit, so I did start gigging it, and it continued to impress.

    A couple months later, the band broke up, and I’ve got a new band formed and rehearsing, but I’m just kinda spoiled with the sound of this little red thing.

    I miss my other basses…
  15. jon5252

    jon5252 Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    Boise Idaho
    I really appreciate all of your comments. I have been through a number of pretty good quality fretless basses. I play with a jazz oriented piano trio. Current bass, which I have stuck with for a couple of years is a MM Stingray 5 HP. Plays great, nice neck, and I have tried just about every string on the planet and can't seem to find the fretless sound I am looking for. In fact, I played with my current keyboard player for almost two months before he realized I was playing a fretless. I watched Friedland's demo, this might be the trick. My experience with their first generation product had me gun shy. I have the back thing going as well. Best of luck, and thanks for your comments!

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I own a Lightwave Saber VL and it surprises every one who hears it. The lows, mids and highs are some of the most balanced on just about any bass I have played. I think whats even more interesting about the Lightwave system is the low end response. The lows are super clean and very keyboard like if you dial in the proper setting(s) for that desired tone.

    I like the weight and overall balance, very comfortable for sure.

    I have used flats,round wounds, acoustic bass guitar strings on my Lightwave and they all sound great. I don't think you can find a string that would sound bad on a Lightwave bass, I think it would just come down to string preference in relation to what the player is striving towards in tone.

    Lightwave Endorser.
  17. jon5252

    jon5252 Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    Boise Idaho
    Here we go again, I think I'm about to t
  18. jon5252

    jon5252 Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    Boise Idaho
    That one got away too fast! I think I am going to take the plunge. Thanks to everyone for your input!
  19. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    I love my Lightwave Saber SL, I put the Dean SR2000 Double Taper strings back on it when it came time to change them out.
  20. MrSaxoBeat


    Sep 13, 2012
    What ever came of this? Did you get the LW?

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