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Routing to cut down weight

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by retslock, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. I’ve got a maple bodied through the neck bass that is quite heavy. Otherwise I like it and enjoy playing it. I’m looking at the possibility of routing some of the body to reduce weight. Has anybody done that successfully? Did it affect the resonance in any way?
    I’d love to hear suggestions.
  2. How do you plan to conceal the route? With a Fender, almost all the wood under the pickguard could be removed and the 'guard would conceal the route. Not so with this bass.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Same thing, only on the back. Aka, an extra big control cavity cover. Or two.
    Not that it's a great idea, but it can be done.
    saabfender likes this.
  4. Thanks for your comments. I had thought of installing a pickguard but I’m not convinced that’s the way to go. The wood is nice but something’s gotta give. The bass weighs 10.4lbs. Not the heaviest I’ve heard of but it makes for a long, hard night on a 3 set gig.
    Taking it from the back is still a possibility but how? To be honest I’ve given it a lot of thought and don’t have a good answer, hence my post. I tried to sell it but no takers. Pity, it’s a nice player with a crisp sound suited to harder rock or metal styles.
    I could get really radical and remove a whole layer from the back and replace it with lighter wood but that’s a pretty major job. In the end I suspect it might just get dragged out now and then at home since I’ve got some other good basses to gig with.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  5. 10.4 isn't way bad.
    You might be able to get under 10 with lighter tuners and wooden knobs.
    A wide strap is always some help.

    You might also consider switching off and playing a lighter bass,
    with different tonal qualities for parts of your setlist that would be better
    served by something with a different sound.
    I have a 10.4 pound PV Cirrus 5 with rounds on it.
    It will do almost anything except sound like a P bass.
    I cover that and give my shoulder a break by using my 8ish pound
    P with flats. :smug:
    retslock and MattZilla like this.
  6. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    a) sorta successful-ish a couple of times, completely ruined a couple of other guitars.

    b) minimally. The bigger issue is balance. To remove enough material to have a drastic effect on the total mass, you'll find that you need to do a similar treatment to the headstock.

    ...or cut it off and fit some steinberger type hardware.

    Option 1) 3.5" wide or wider strap

    Option 2) dips, crunches, more dips, medicine ball chucking, more dips, handstand push-ups, more dips, back arches, more dips... turn that thing your soul's stuck to into the Viking Beast for which that beautiful bass was created to be wielded by. Bonus to this solution: women will actually notice the bass player!
    saabfender and retslock like this.
  7. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    First thing I'd try is lightweight tuners, Hipshot Ultralites or Gotoh Res-o-lites. The neck acts as a lever, so taking 5 or 6 ounces off the far end of the neck has a huge impact - it'll probably feel like losing a pound.

    Easy way to "try before you buy" - try taking off one or two of your current tuners - that'll about equal the weight saved with lightweight tuners - and see how it feels on a strap.

    If that doesn't do it, and you really want to keep the bass - as suggested above, go headless. Not a very cheap option though, good headless hardware will cost $300-400US.
  8. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    IMO if you want a lighter bass. . . buy a lighter bass.

    Routing this one might make it light enough (might not) but you'll almost certainly destroy it in the process. You also run the risk of removing so much wood you'll change the sound of it.

    Really this doesn't sound like a good plan!
    godofthunder59 and Zooberwerx like this.
  9. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I'd look for a lighter bass. By routing it you are going to kill the resale value by half.
    Beautiful piece of wood though.
  10. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    If it’s too heavy, sell it. That simple.
  11. cavemanbass


    Nov 5, 2010
    I was able to remove 1.5 lb, turned a heavy 10.5 into a manageable 9 pounder:
    Removed heavy gloss finish from the entire instrument - about .5 pounds. Used a French polish instead, oil finish would work just as well.
    Replaced 5 tuners with Gotoh resolite - another .5 pound saved
    Sanded a belly and arm contour (was previously a slab); additional sanding on the top and back, headstock and neck which was way chunky when I started. Made for another .5
    The bass balances great and much nicer to play with the contours. It changed the tone though hard to really quantity. Sounded great before, sounds great now just different.
    No ugly routes, no balance issues.
    Worth saying - Chris Squire had his main Ric refinished twice, in interviews he credited the thin body and neck from all the sanding with giving that bass its unique sound. Yeah I know it’s all in the fingers.... apparently nobody told him about that.....
  12. Johnny21


    Mar 19, 2018
    I can't imagine routing (while still keeping it aesthetically pleasing) would shave off more than a couple of ounces.

    Maybe half an ounce? You'll be around 9.9 lbs--which is not that huge of a difference.

    The more wood that is removed the more harder it would be to conceal.

    Just doesn't seem to be worth the efforts and risks IMO
  13. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    Both of my basses are 10.5 lbs.
    I use a Confort Strapp to alleviate the weight.
    It's three inches wide and 3/8 inches deep.

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