smaller body, smaller tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kezekiel, Jul 10, 2001.

  1. kezekiel


    Sep 24, 2000
    I'm partial to smaller-bodied basses (as opposed to the fuller-sized Fenders) - I'm not a big guy, and I like the more slender look of them. I'm thinking of building a Warmoth bass with the "Dinky J" style, and I'm wondering if the smaller mass of the body would have a significant effect on the tone. If so, would having the body made out of a denser, heavier wood (like maple instead of ash) compensate for this? Thanks!

  2. Cat


    Apr 5, 2000
    Penn State
    i just got an ibanez sr800. this thing is TINY. it weigh's less then many GUITARS. however, since i just put nice new GHS boomers on it and fiddled with the active eq a bit, i found that it sounds terrific. so it depends on the bass and the wood i guess. mine is made of basswood. the tone is fine but the lows aren't very impressive without some electronic amplification. otherwise i like it.
  3. kezekiel


    Sep 24, 2000
    I have an SR810, made of ash instead of basswood. I like the smaller body, but I am looking for a different direction in a bass (passive electronics, with only a volume pot, and maybe a blend knob - or one stacked knob). I've pondered changing the electronics in the Ibanez, but I think I'd like to get exactly what I'm looking for - smallish, J-style body, one or two passive pickups, and no onboard tone control.
  4. oo0o00o0oo


    Apr 30, 2000
    Curbows and warwicks have small bodies, those aren't too shabby in the tone depot. They are made out of heavier woods, I think heavy small bodies sound good.
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Larger bodies or/and heavier wood don't automatically equal good or better tone. It's also a myth that heavy wood gives longer sustain.

    It's the overall wood quality and construction that makes a good-sounding bass IMO, not wood weight/density and body size per se.
  6. Another example is the Sadowsky Standard 4.
    Undersized Jazz body, weighs about 7.5 pounds and one of the best sounding basses made.

    Plus the Fender P Lyte , a very good sounding 7 pound instrument.
  7. CJY


    Apr 30, 2001
    a bass may have good tone but can it cut through the mix?
  8. In my case with the Sadowsky and P Lyte, without a doubt, yes.
    Although I think amplification is also important.
  9. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I've got a Curbow Int'l petite that has tone, and sustain for days. The body is teeny, but it has a brass tone block imbedded in the body that sandwiches the topwood between the tone block and the milled brass bridge. It's small, but it weighs a ton. And, I have never had a problem being heard live, or on tape.
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The Pedulla Rapture has a small body, although being made of maple it is about average weight.

    My Rapture 5 has a bigger booty than a lot of those 12-15 lbs basses I play at music stores.
  11. kezekiel


    Sep 24, 2000
    I checked it out on your gear page. Nice looking... I even played a four one time, and it played quite nicely.

    I didn't notice that the strap lock is positioned at the end of the body atop the bridge, rather than the traditional center. Any idea why they did that?
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    To improve balance, I guess.

    The body is a little more severely offset than a Jazz, so in relation to the axes of the body, the strap lock is almost square in the middle of it(them).
  13. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    if you like the feel of your sr810, and can live without the j-style body, and have one more knob than you want, you could look into an older sr400 its only got a volume, blend and single tone knob.
  14. I second that my Fender P-lyte has good lows and punch and the humbucker makes it more so.
    And the Amp also makes a difference with EQ settings.
  15. Hey kezekiel, you've just described the Yamaha BB4NII bass to a *T*! It does have a tone control, it's controls are exactly like a Fender Jazz. It's got two humbuckers on it, and they're dead quiet. They also have a very Fender like tone, but more growly. And it's passive.

    To everyone else, one thing we should all keep in mind when checking out a bass with a small body is:
    How well does it balance? Sometimes if the body's too small you can have neck dive problems.
    Gibson/Epiphone EB3 as an example.
  16. My Yamaha has a tiny body on it but the sound is still booming, i think it has to do with the strings.. i could be wrong, but when i went into play some fenders at the music shop, they didn't sound that much deeper.
  17. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    when i think "small body" two basses pop into my mind

    warwick thumb
    alembic series I

    both have anything BUT small tone.

  18. ...Steinberger XL-2's were really tiny...just a box and no head. Not enough? How about GRAPHITE instead of WOOD.

    Yet somehow it's still a popular bass if not manufactured anymore... why would you think XL's are highly regarded?
  19. I learned from SAT practivce books that a good way to tell this is to use extremes. If a bass had a similar body style, made with similar componants, but where scaled differently, would the tone suffer. Put the same neck on a 1/2 sized bass vs a full size, and Id bet that the full sized would have bigger sound. Does that make sense?
  20. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    From what I've understand "less mass = less sustain"