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Single Factor that Makes or Breaks a Bass...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mike, Apr 1, 2003.

  1. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    Aside from extreme scenarios, warped necks, failing elecs or whatever, and assuming it's a solid instrument to begin with, what single factor turns you off most in a bass and makes you put it back on the rack without another glance?

    For me it's fret work. If it has sharp edges and poorly dressed frets the poor bastard just doen't have a hope with me, regardless of brand name. I'll throw it back on the rack in disdain and hold it in contempt.
  2. As the sun sets

    As the sun sets Guest

    Dec 10, 2002
    N. Easton, MA
    What kind of finish is used on the neck.

    I love my Rick's neck, and I like Fender necks, but I hate Warwick necks because of the way they're finished and whatnot.
  3. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    1) Ugliness if its a REAL bad lookin bass that I can't see myself playing I wouldn't even touch it
    2) I'd play it and see how it sounds (if there's flaws in the ones I'm holding I can ask em to ship me a brand new one)
    3) If I'm buying the floor one I check out the overall thing (frets, action, neck curve, the truss rod, blahblah etc.)
  4. I'd say neck size/width. If it's too fat (like some Warwicks), then I'll pass. Also, the finish would help me decide, though that'd be easy enough to sand off and refinish.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Aside from your givens... nothing.

    Protruding frets can be a very temporary and very inexpensive to fix issue. Less than $100. You can even do it yourself.

    It depends on the bass... the cooler the bass the more flexible I am. An Emperor with protruding fret tangs with a low price tag will get my interest. A $150 bass with the same problem might not;)
  6. Darth_Linux


    Oct 12, 2002
    Spokane, WA
    tone . . . .
  7. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA

    if by finished you mean un-finished ;) warwick necks are all-natural, baby.

    the one thing a bass has to do for me is have that quack when i play it in a quacky manner. i can't stand basses that don't growl, unless it's a P-bass with flatwounds.

    fretwork is a big one too, though. sloppy frets seem to be more pervasive in guitar land though - or maybe that's because gibson is more pervasive in guitar land :D
  8. Looks. If I see a bass and think

    "eww , that's ugly"

    I won't even pick it up.
  9. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I agree, actually - it's the frets.

    i.e. if it has any, I'm not interested :D
  10. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Straight headstock, a la Fender.

    Bad fretwork can be dealt with if necessary, but that headstock will stay.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I'm the same - since I discovered how uncomfortable Warwick necks are this has become a big thing for me - so it is something that is almost impossible to tell from photos, but is so important and the main reason that would stop me buying a bass that was pefect in every other respect.

    If the neck doesn't feel comfortable for my left hand/wrist - that is, too thick, front to back, then I will reject it outright - no matter how good it sounds.
  12. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    Yeah, I agree with the neck shape too. I hate that Warwick radius. Too small of a radius in that "C" shape. It does nothing but beat the hell out of my wrist. Something I really don't need consequent of my "mild" case of Carpal Tunnel.

    Brad, you have a solid point also. If I found a Fodera with poor frework for the right price, I 'd buy it, repair it and sell it for profit. I just hate dealing with ailments as large as poor frets when I purchase something. I want it to be good from the start.

    I bought a Lakland Skyline JO 5 about a month ago and sold it in about 2 weeks. The sharp edges pushed me over the edge and just solidified my feeling that, IMO, it was a very overrated bass to begin with. Good componentry and solidly built, but not necessarily (woodwork) of the best materials for something in its price range, but... ehh... I want that unmistakeable boutique feel. The Skyline JO didn't match it and wasn't really meant to.

    Just my other two thoughts... ;)
  13. To me it would have to be tone.If I get a bass and after trying different strings,EQ on bass and amp and setup it doesn't cut through with a band I'll get rid of it.The neck is the first thing I check, if it's a pain to play and doesn't feel good I'll put it right back. I can tell if I like the way a bass plays right away but to see if it's sound will work in a live situation takes a little more time.Tone's the kicker for me.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I like Warwick basses' tone - but the neck shape means they are unplayable for me - so what good is it having a bass with good tone if you can't play it at all!?
  15. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    String spacing too close. If it's not comfortable to play right away, I put it down.

    Also, basses that are too heavy. I owned a Fender Roscoe Beck V (over 10 pounds) and it killed my back on nearly every gig.

  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Narrow string spacing for me too. As much as I'd love to have a 'Ray 5 in my collection (I adore the tone), I can't play 'em. Ernie Ball doesn't care about me.

    I'm not thrilled about the RB5 being so heavy but tone and playability are so good that I deal. FWIW, my RB5 felt a lot lighter once I got my Warwick Streamer Stage I... :eek:
  17. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Neck and weight. Neck can't be too thin or too thick. The bass must be light enough to play for an entire evening. Everything else can be repaired provided the deal on the price of the bass is a good one in the first place.
  18. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    1- I try the bass unplugged to evaluate basic acoustic tone and playability;

    2- If I like it, I plug it into an amp with the EQ set flat. If possible, I compare the tone with that of a bass I'm familiar with (ex. a J-bass);

    3- If I still like it, I make a visual inspection;

    4- If there is no major bumps, I take it home. Bad fret jobs can be fixed quite easily.
  19. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Neck shape. If I don't feel comfortable playing it, then it doesn't matter what else it has going for it.
  20. i rather like warwick necks. it's wide, flat necks that i can't stand.