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Researching Basses - Please Help

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SK Guitars, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. SK Guitars

    SK Guitars

    Nov 22, 2013
    New member here.

    I have a question for bass players.

    I'm a luthier...a little ways from actually making a bass but I'm designing tooling these days to accommodate various scale lengths. I need to get the basic design work done on the longest instrument I intend to make in order to complete the tooling for the guitar I'm building now.

    If you had to pick the conventional four string bass that you think represents the "middle" of the bass world...the most comfortable instrument to play...what would that be?

    Thanks in advance for weighing in...your response is very helpful.

  2. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    You might wanna repost with a poll. You're gonna get a whole lot of answers.
  3. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    The entire "middle" of the bass guitar market is overwhelmed by Fender Precision and Jazz basses. Of those 2, the Jazz would probably be the choice. Problem is, by cloning a Fender Jazz, you'd be entering into the most crowded market segment.
  4. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Huge +1
  5. SK Guitars

    SK Guitars

    Nov 22, 2013
    I'm not seeking to clone any particular guitar...rather...I'm trying to get the scale, neck shape, dimensions, ect. together for a common bass...so that what I make as a first effort feels normal for players.

    I have a Fender Jazz Bass for recording but I'm a guitarist primarily and haven't owned many basses in my life. The idea here is for me NOT to make what I want but to make what the rest of the world wants. :)

    Thanks for your replies.

    I'd have made a poll but I wouldn't know what basses to even put on the list....other than a P and J Bass.
  6. SK Guitars

    SK Guitars

    Nov 22, 2013
    Btw...if those replying could be so kind as to include what their string gauge preference is...that would also be helpful. I'm assuming .045, .065, .085, .110TW is right in the middle somewhere. Please let me know if I'm wrong.
  7. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Standards would probably cover the P, J, Ric 4003, Thunderbird, StingRay, Beatle bass, Ibanez SR, Gibson SG type EB basses, Spector/Warwick Streamer

    for 4 strings I generally run around 45-105, but I have 100s on a couple of basses too
  8. SK Guitars

    SK Guitars

    Nov 22, 2013
  9. Gaolee

    Gaolee Outta my way! I'm caffeinated! Supporting Member

    Well, if you were building a bass for me, it would have a neck that's approximately 1" deep at the nut, approximately 1-3/4" wide at the nut and would probably have about a 33 - 1/2" scale. It would also be shaped more like a Thunderbird than a Fender and would have a strap button at the heel of the neck so it hangs more vertical than horizontal.

    Nobody but me would want one.
  10. Most common scale length: 34"

    Most common neck dimensions: Either a P bass or Jazz bass neck, I'd say. Fender kind of dominates the bass market but there are of course tons of other brands. The 1.5" nut width seems more popular than the 1.625 or 1.75" nut width of P bass necks, but it depends who you ask.

    If you want to be unique at all don't make a Fender clone.

    Strings = .100, .80, .065, .045 I'd say are the most common gauges. I prefer a more "balanced" tension set with heavier low strings and lighter high strings.

    Good luck.
  11. Ricky Caboverde

    Ricky Caboverde

    Feb 26, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Great looking guitars by the way!
  12. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
  13. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    In terms of scale length, if you are setting up tooling that cannot easily be changed later to make longer scale lengths then you want to be able to go to 35 inches. That is the scale many people prefer for five strings if you have any intention of doing five string basses and some four string players like that scale too and there are relatively few 35 inch four strings on the market, making it a market hole that it MIGHT make sense for you to cover. Don't depend on my word alone for that however. In four string basses 34 inches is the most popular scale followed by 30 and 32 inches, probably in that order.

    As far as neck shapes and dimensions go I can tell you what necks I like but you would be better off borrowing basses to measure rather than relying on us to measure for you. I like Jazz necks, Precision necks, Ibanez SR necks, Peavey import necks, pretty much every neck I have ever tried in stores when it comes to four string necks. I am not particular at all when there are only four strings.

    When it comes to five string necks I like 19 mm spacing at the bridge, the nut spacing does not bother me within reason, and I like them thin or better yet asymmetrical.

    I prefer two pickup basses. So I would rather have a P/J than a straight P but please put the P pickup in the Precision Bass "sweet spot". I like Jazz bass pickup configurations too and I prefer split coil, hum canceling jazz pickups to anything other jazz pickup type. I also like dual humbuckers like the Ibanez SRs and many others. If you are going to use MusicMan style humbuckers the in makes sense to put the bridge bucker in the MusicMan "sweet spot" but the narrower soapbar humbuckers suit me too.

    Oh, I tune my basses in fifths so my string gauges won't help you a whole lot. My CGDA basses are typically 0.0128-0.145, 0.084-0.095, 0.055-0.062, 0.035-0.040. I also use a 0.028 E string when I tune GDAE or on a five string tuned CGDAE.
  14. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    Most basses are 34" scale (that's the scale that Fender uses for the P-bass and the Jazz Bass, as well as the scale length Gibson uses for the Thunderbird).

    As to string gauges... .105's are the most common.

    Personally, as I play a Rickenbacker, mainly, I prefer 33.25" scale, and for strings I like them a little looser than most, so I play .100's. Another thing that I like about the Rickenbacker neck is that unlike Fender necks, there's very little taper... the neck is basically the same width the whole way down.
  15. SK Guitars

    SK Guitars

    Nov 22, 2013
    Thanks gentlemen...for the nice comments and the responses. I was pretty sure I couldn't go wrong using P or J bass specs....but this helps shove me down the path.

    Thanks again.
  16. Loving that red guitar although I'd like it even more if you could see the neck laminates go all the way through the back.
  17. SK Guitars

    SK Guitars

    Nov 22, 2013
    Then it might as well be a neck-through...:)....which I'm designing now.
  18. Ah, I thought it was a neck-through with a cap put on the back or something.
  19. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    You might consider going for a bit smaller body than the conventional Fender size. A lot of threads on TB deal with bass weight as a factor to many of us "more mature" players. My Fender Precision Lyte weighs in at just over 7 lbs., about 2 lbs (20%!) less than the typical 9+ lb. bass! This one has the same 34" scale, with a Jazz bass width, P bass depth, neck. Every bass I have has a different size neck, so I can live with any, but my favorite is a modern Jazz 1.5" width at the nut, thin front to back.

  20. Do you have sound clips of that lyte?