Question for tb'ers with 5+ string boutique basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ras1983, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Many of the wonderful and extravagant boutique basses that tbers post pictures of are absolutely stunning :cool: . my query is, with the smaller and sleeker bodies on some of these 5+ string basses looking like they weigh less than the wider 5+ string necks, it looks as though the balance of the bass sould be biased toward the neck. is this the case? :confused: how do you guys find the balance sitting down or standing up? i have always wanted to know...
  2. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I had my custom built with a 32" scale. Also, the long upper horn helps to balance things out. I think many builders use a long upper horn on these instruments. Same is true of the single-cut basses except their horn is actually a lobe.
  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    none of my sadowsky's feel neck heavy at all.

    but i get really annoyed with those Warwick Thumb's. :(
  4. My Benavente SC5-B is perfectly balanced (playing strapped and sitting down). Yeah, the lobe-horn-thing gets all the credit for that, I love those Single Cuts! :cool:
  5. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    When sitting or standing a player's technique should allow for the neck to be at a perfect playing angle and height without any use of the fretting hand. This is a basic technical fact and rings true with any and every bass guitar, period.
  6. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    lowphatbass that is an interesting point that i had never realised. :)
  7. But a perfectly balanced bass makes this a lot easier. And there are huge differences between basses. I believe that the more relaxed your bass allows you to play, the better it is for your body, your mind, your technique and your music, period. ;)
  8. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I have 4 basses with 5 or more strings and not one neck-diver on the team.

    My Alembic 5 has such a big body, neck dive is not an issue, even though the crown peghead is absolutely massive. I use a 4" strap to manage the weight (13+ pounds)

    Both my Hanewinckel 6 stringers have relatively small pegheads considering the amount of hardware mounted there. That probably helps them balance well.

    My Marchlewski is my lightest bass and has the smallest body, but it balances perfectly.


  9. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Same with my custom Conklins..

    Perfectly balanced.
  10. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I have a Sadowsky PJ5 that balances just fine.
    I have a Tobias Classic 5 that has significantly less body and more balances just fine...
  11. phatbass, therefore every instrument made is balanced and neck-dive is just our imagination?

    anyway, the topic is 5+ instruments i believe. A lot of the more modern basses have a semi-hollow, or chambered design. I think this would make them lighter than you would expect a larger, 10 or 12 string instrument to feel.

    Have a look at the Jerzy's for an example.
  12. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I think part of the factor is in the weight of the woods on the body and on the neck, and the weight of the tuning keys. My new Linc Luthier 5-string is way more balanced than my Linc 6-string. The 5-string has a wenge/maple neck, and a cocobolo/walnut body, the Impression version (which is thicker and has a patented bracing). This bass is lighter and less neck heavy than my 6, which has a purpleheart/zebrawood neck, and a maple/bubinga body with no bracing. Both my Modulus basses are pretty well balanced, including a Genesis 5-string, which I think is due to the body shape.
  13. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
  14. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    My Spector balances perfectly well.... and of course, the thing weighs two tons (I dunno the actual number, but it's a beast).

  15. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    No balance problems herer. Keep in mind that when the neck widens, so does the body. Imagine trying to fit a 12 string neck on a standard Fender jazz body. It wouldn't work. The weight of teh body to neck stays relatively proportional, and thus so does the balance.
  16. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I've had a couple of Carvin 5 and 6 string basses that didn't balance all that well. The BB76P I had for a while balanced fine, but it weighed a ton.

    My main instrument these days is a Matt Pulcinella Level 6. The upper horn extends out to the 11th fret! And despite having wider spacing than that BB76P, it's a fair bit lighter.
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  18. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    IME, a strap alone won't help a bass that's inherently neck-heavy.

    There's also your body type to consider. Someone with square shoulders and no gut is going to have fewer balance problems than someone with rounded shoulders and a beer belly.

    I've found it's absolutely crucial for me to have a bass that sits at about a 45 degree angle. In this position my fretting wrist is at its best angle for avoiding wrist pain and maximizing speed and dexterity. The classic CYN (cover your n*ts) position doesn't work for me. Bodies with long upper horns (Matt Pulcinella, Carvin Bunny Brunel series, Conklin, etc.) are my favorites for this reason.
  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Brad, I would agree with this post on 90% of basses out there.

    But what about extremely neck heavy basses like Thunderbirds, RD Artists, Thumbs, and most 34" semi hollows?

    I have not found any strap that will keep these basses from being neck heavy. A good wide suede backed strap does help, but you still have to hold the neck up, or it will start moving towards the floor. Not as fast as it will with a 1 1/2" nylon strap to be sure, but it will not stay in place.
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Well, Chucko said guys like us have more problems;)

    I'd think that "extremely" hevy-necked basses would be a special problem. I have no experience withT-Birds or RD Artists but I have played a Thumb with my suede-backed Levy's 2" strap and it didn't budge (I had a Zon strap like it but I lost it somehow). With a nylon strap it immediately headed for the floor. The same was true for my Alembic. I "had" to support the neck with a nylon strap, if I let go, down it went.

    The funny thing is I don't get any neck dive with my smooth leather 3" Levy's strap either. Maybe Chucko's got it backwards and we experience less dive;). I know I do.

    Or maybe I will the basses not to dive...with the power of my mind :eyebrow: