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Slab Body Discomfort

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Doner Designs, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Is there a technique or trick to playing a bound slab body so it doesn’t hurt or do you just have to suck it up?

    I just built this one knowing it would be an issue. Much better than my real acoustic but still not exactly comfortable.

    My others are J basses. I’m keeping this one but hope I can learn to make it fit better.

    0FC2011E-463F-4409-B917-7D6632589884. 38B50CDD-818B-4501-A52D-8D9C8ECE73AF.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  2. nonohmic


    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    If you're right handed do the left knee acoustic guitar style.
    ExaltBass, wraub and Doner Designs like this.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I fear this topic is going to go the route of heavy basses for me. I used to think everyone who complained about them was nuts... 15 years later I get it.

    I don't get the problem with slab basses. Suck it up :).
  4. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    Just buy a ric , you will look so cool playing it that it will actually just stop hurting.
  5. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    It hurts literally so I must be doing it wrong or Leo was onto something with the contours.

    I see some guys using those wristband things. Not sure what the purpose of those is.
  6. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Play it low :)
    five7, sludgetail, sneha1965 and 7 others like this.
  7. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I never had an issue with slab bodies until I suffered a minor stroke affecting my right side and found I had difficulty controlling the pressure my right arm placed on the side of the bass so I now use the longer type of wristband a bit further up my arm as a cushion to prevent the edge from digging into my arm. It works very well and I imagine it would also work well for those without my impediment.
    ExaltBass, wraub and Doner Designs like this.
  8. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    Trying to see this...seems as if adjusting the angle of your hand/wrist/forearm might be a possible solution? Last week I played a three hour gig using a bass guitar with a body 19 wide, 6 deep, and 25 long...with sharp edges. The key is that you dont rest your forearm on the edge and bend your wrist...have to reach over with a straight wrist, get the forearm parallel to the top of the instrument.

    Ok, nobody plays an ebg that way, I know. But ebgs aren't that big either, so maybe just using a little of that angle would help. Sometimes a guy has to adjust his style to the instrument, I guess is what I'm suggesting.
    Malak the Mad and Doner Designs like this.
  9. Some playing positions don't press on the corner. None of those are used by me so I can't stand square corners on bodies though I understand for others it doesn't matter.
    TomB and Doner Designs like this.
  10. gebass6

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

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    There is a reason why most basses aren't slabs.
    I think you found it.:meh:
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
    petch, dkelley, sludgetail and 10 others like this.
  11. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Savoring time on a spinning, shimmery, aqua sphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    If you're a purist: Ignore the pain

    If you're a designer and builder: 1) Lose the binding in the area where it hurts; 2) Reshape body for ergonomic relief contour; 3) Refinish and paint the unbound edge to make it look like binding

    If you're an amateur modder: Ditch painful body. Replace it with comfortable

    If you're a pragmatic bassist: Use a more ergonomic bass and enjoy playing pain free

    If you're a beer drinker, drink more beer. 1) You won't notice the pain; 2) You will likely build a belly to insulate you from the offending body shape and binding edges

    If you find many painful elements in playing a stringed instrument, switch to keys and emulate the sounds you love.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
    ExaltBass, mikewalker, chadds and 8 others like this.
  12. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    If you already own one and still can't find it comfortable, maybe you should sell it and buy something better.
    If you're planning on buying one stop and think. Is the discomfort worth dealing with when there are so many great-playing, great-sounding basses around?
    Not for me, there isn't. That's one of the reasons I'll never buy a Ric, well, one of the reasons, or anything that isn't in my comfort zone.
    We all know it has to sound good, but shouldn't it also feel good?
  13. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    It it isn't just slab bodies that do this. All of my acoustic guitars and my ES335 style guitars do this. There are a number of places they can be uncomfortable. For me it is where my forearm rests on the body. I use medical stockinette on my forearm, sometimes folded over a couple times to make some padding. Not the coolest looking, but it works. The stuff comes in different sizes. Most people will wear 3 or 4 inch.

    In the acoustic guitar, they also make arm rests. Modern Classical Guitar Design Part 4: Armrest
    gebass6, mikewalker and Doner Designs like this.
  14. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    i played a Ric for years. I never knew this was a problem until I came on TB.
  15. rashrader


    Mar 4, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    Replace the hard sharp binding with a comfy foam rubber binding. Problem solved.

    Or, suck it up and suffer the consequences is being an aesthete.
    pcake, mikewalker and Doner Designs like this.
  16. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Mostly harmless Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    You’re gonna need a fatter forearm. More cake!
    Guiseppe, wraub, sludgetail and 7 others like this.
  17. rockscott


    Aug 28, 2010
    I only suffer this with my jumbo fat bodied epiphone acoustic bass!
    Guiseppe, wraub and Doner Designs like this.
  18. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I believe the edges were rounded off on the Strat and later the basses for comfort related reasons. To make these basses work I guess you have to change the way you hold them.
    mikewalker and Doner Designs like this.
  19. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Belt sander or file the edges, then work up to a finer grit.

    You can refinish it or leave the mojo.
    mikewalker and Doner Designs like this.
  20. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    Don't sit down, get a strap that will extend to 56 inches long. Be like Dee a. Dee Ramone. If it's a Fender style, I'll trade you a lake Placid Blue Squier body for your sharpie, mine has the contours. I think they are ugly.

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