Like many of my fellow bass players, I tend to get obsessed with certain things to do with tone production for a while, then get hooked on investigating some other aspect. It's a rewarding journey to be on. I have found it to be true that the tone of a bass is, obviously, the sum of a its parts. It always surprises me which of those parts have more or less influence. Here's my list: Pickup type Pickup position Pickup height String type string height fingerboard wood body wood Wood density Wood stiffness Wood weight (and yes, I hear a HUGE difference between lightweight and heavy basses, and hear sonic benefits and downsides of each) Fret material Fret size String thru vs non-string thru body Tap tone of neck, unattached from body Tuner weight/density Headstock mass/shape Pots (250k vs 500k, etc.) Capacitor (.1uF vs .47uF, etc,) Bridge mass/material Finish (poly vs nitro) Truss rod tension I'm intentionally leaving out amplification. That's another huge topic. I am primarily a Fender man. Not a Fender snob by any means, but after putting myself in thousands of gig situations with good and bad groups, musicians, sound engineers, and venues, Fender P's and J's are almost always what sounds most appropriate to both myself and bandmates in a band context whilst fulfilling supportive role duties to the best of my ability. I currently have basses that range from Custom Shop, US vintage reissue series, Squier China, Squier Mexico. Some cost a lot, some cost me next to nothing. A $100 stock Chinese Squier with 10-year old dead sounding round wounds and super high action may be a better bass for a very specific song than say, a $4500 custom shop thingy. Here's the thing about that: I have to spend a lot of my time in pawn shops and checking out Craigslist basses in order to find that very rare cheapo bass that kicks ass. It's usually about 1 in every 100, or less. More recently though Fender's quality control on US-made instruments has been awful, in my opinion. So it's fun to just go on a hunt, playing hundreds of pawn shop basses until I find a great one. I choose basses only by playing them acoustically first, then plug them in. Also, mixing and matching bodies and necks seems to produce drastic changes in playability and sound. Lately my #1 favorite bass is a heavy-ish Alder 4-string Precision body with nitro finish, babicz full contact bridge, D'addario Chromes, '62 AVRI pickup/electronics, very lightweight rift-sawn tele bass neck with an extremely thin nitro finish, lightweight hipshot tuners. Another thought: A bass that I think sounds fantastic by itself does not necessarily sound great with a band, and vice versa. It has taken me years (and I'm still learning) to accurately imagine how an instrument will fit in a mix. What I want to hear from TBers here are your thoughts on tone production. Add to my list of factors. Talk about them. Discuss/compare. Let's see where this goes!