Too picky?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Skygoneblue, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Skygoneblue


    Nov 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Has anyone else ever gone through bass after bass after bass, but no matter what you try, there is something small that bothers you about it?

    I'm kind of at my wit's end with basses. I can't seem to find *my* brand, or *my* bass. I've tried sooo many...

    Fender P - Hate not having a bridge pickup, and miss the jazz sound

    Fender P Special - Hate the neck width

    Fender Jazz - Hate the lack of balls with two J pickups, and the exposed poles

    Stingray 4H - Neck width

    Stingray 4HH - Neck width, and pickups hissing

    Stingray 5H - Neck dive

    Stingray 5HH - Can't get a tone I like at all

    Sterling 4H - Feels like a toy, and has no bass/balls

    Ibanez BTB1306E (Prestige) - Sounds clunky, heavy, uncomfortable

    Ibanez SR700 - Feels like a toy, hard to get any tone from Ibanez Barts

    Warwick Corvette 5 - Constantly scared of nicking the exposed wood finish, and distinct lack of bass despite the tone controls

    I could go on, but I think you get the idea...

    Has anyone else ever just been at a loss to figure out what to try next? If so, what did you do to find something you liked finally?
  2. The only way I overcame my pickyness about buying a bass was realizing that it doesn't matter how the bass sounds but how it feels. Give me an amp with any half decent EQ and I can make a squier sound like a musicman. Try basses for feel only and worry, or don't, about its inherent tone later.
  3. Dude...just go get a P bass special and put a P neck on it...sounds like thats what you want. Hate not having a bridge pup on the P, but don't like the neck on the P a P neck on a P special.
  4. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Why not get a custom one? You could contact a luthier and specify exactly what you want, or try getting one from Warmoth.
  5. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    I've picked up most of those basses too, and can agree to being annoyed by one thing or another.

    I agree with Pullman, you have to be comfortable first, then worry about tone. My Thumb is very comfortable, and has exactly the tone I want (for now), but it loves to hang flat. It doesn't neck dive, like a Gibson Ripper, it just hangs almost level with the ground. This may be a problem some day, but for now its fine. Buy a bass you feel comfortable holding, that has the pickup configuration you're into, tone wood, string configuration, etc... make sure its of good build quality, and buy it! You can always upgrade the pickups later.

    Have you tried a Warwick Streamer Stage I or II? I know they are pricey, but I understand them to be very comfortable to play, and have a really nice tone range.

    Keep trying basses, find the company you like most out of all of em, and save up for a custom shop bass that is exactly what you want. That's super pricey, but you will get exactly the bass you want, no compromise. Off the rack, you are limited to what companies find marketable.

    I myself can't stand the shape of Fender basses, so have no interest in ever owning one, no matter how 'good' it sounds. There are other companies that sound as good or better with better ergonomics (for me) and better aesthetics (for me). That said I do respect Fender basses, and I do think (the high end ones) sound great, but man... not a pretty instrument... MHO, of course. So, that's my bag.

    I have tried the Schecter basses, and love the way they feel, and look, but didn't get on by the way they played (again, for me) or sounded (again, for me). So though just looking at em, I'd consider a Schecter top of my list, playing em, I have no use for one. And again, MHO....

    So... I totally understand your predicament.... I got lucky finding my Thumb used and in need of refinishing (which I did and it looks and plays great!). Don't worry about nicking a oil finished bass. They are much easier to repair than a painted bass anyway; sand, stain, buff, done!
  6. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    buy a P bass that you like the feel of, have a jazz PU installed...

  7. treekiller


    Mar 4, 2010

    I'm putting together a MIM Jazz with an Allparts P(maple) neck. I love the necks on both of my P-Basses but I wanted a Jazz that was comfortable for me to play. The Allparts neck is pretty close to the necks on my P's and reasonably priced. If you sell off the neck of the special, it really won't cost much at all...... Or you could just rout a P for a bridge p-up! :bag:
  8. That's why some people start building their own... their 'perfect' bass just isn't made.
  9. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    You know when I was the most picky? When I wasn't gigging. When I'm gigging, things come into focus. I play more, worry less.
  10. I am going through the same thing with my search for a five string I find comfortable. I find string spacing at the nut is the problem. My main 4 string is a 1997 ATk, the neck is perfect for me. Nice and wide at the nut, but still slim and fast. I thought I was the only one with this issue. glad to have some company in this department. My friends think I'm picky or just plan nuts.
  11. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I had a similar problem, tho it was helped by identifying exactly what was wrong with the basses I kept trying. i.e. with the ones I have experience with in your list:

    - P bass: muddy sound, neck dive.
    - J bass: muddy or nasally sound, neck dive
    - Stingray/Sterling: neck dive.
    and not on your list:
    - Rick 4003: muddy sound, neck dive

    In fact, the more instruments I tried, the more general the problems became. Obviously, I have the most problems with... exactly: muddy sound and neck dive. But before I realized those were problems, I kept looking at basses with, well, a muddy sound and neck dive!

    So I started looking for basses with a clear sound and good balance instead.

    I eventually landed on the Carvin Bunny Brunel series because it specifically addresses both of those two issues: good balance is its main design feature. A good clear sound is another because of the PU configurations available and the availability of fretless as a no-cost option.

    I now have two Bunnies and haven't looked elsewhere since.

    In fact, the only little thing I wish they had were radiused faces on the PU's. A small compromise for all the other problems they solve....

    So that's what I'd suggest: define what you don't like and then define what you do like. Then look for that.

  12. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    You don't like the width of the P Bass Special neck - so look for the Jazz Bass Special ! Jazz bass with a P pup at the neck.

    I'm looking for the same thing myself, and go through the same pickiness. I LOVE my P sound for our Classic Rock band, but really would like the J neck and wouldn't mind a little added growl.
  13. hesham8


    Mar 21, 2008
    I had that problem for a while, but, I ended up getting a G&L L-2000, and couldn't be happier.

    For a while there I thought I'd have to commission someone to build me a bass, but with the G&L, I can make it sound like a jazz or a P or a 'Ray (and you've got the point) with minor modification (literally just flipping a switch or turning a knob).

    I hate neck-dive, it's a deal-breaker, and a muddy or nasally sound is just as bad.
    Oddly enough though, I didn't actually start liking my G&L until I started treating it differently - The pickups were just way too high output and it was clipping all over the place. So, I started treating the knobs like boosts instead of cuts and now... Well now it works like a charm.

    Are you giving yourself enough time to grow into your bass?
  14. honeyiscool


    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Why don't you build one then?

    It makes me shake my head when extremely picky people aren't willing to mix 'n match between various instruments.
  15. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
  16. Skygoneblue


    Nov 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Haha, thanks to the people who actually read my question instead of just telling me what I needed... :cool:

    I appreciate that advice - comfort first, then screw around with tone.

    After reading that, I thought back to the most comfortable bass I ever had - it was one of those old luthite Ibanez basses, the EDC705:

    I loved the sculpted back, the string spacing, the way it set (neck up, not level with the floor), the 3-band EQ and scoopable mids. I loved it.

    [In before someone says, "Then why'd you get rid of it!?"]

    I sold all my bass gear years ago, and got back into it after the fact... ;)

    Since then, I think it's been hard to find a bass with all those good features. A Warwick SSII has been the only thing that *appears* to come close, but I'm not about to shell out $2,000 on a bass that I can't even try first. Iowa doesn't have much in the way of nice music stores... :\

    Anyway, if anyone has any good suggestions based on all that ^^, I'm all ears. Thanks again for all the replies everyone!

  17. To the OP: have you considered the flute?
  18. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego

    Or just get a P-bass and have your local chop shop add the bridge pick up. Then if you like go hunt down a preamp if that's your flavor.

    I do agree with some of the prior posts that recommend worrying more about feel and playability with the bass than the tone, as your amp will have significantly more affect on your sound than your pick ups. Pick ups do change things, but an amps affect is much more dramatic.
  19. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Buy an American Deluxe P.
  20. I went the Warmoth route. Started with a perfect (for me) neck and built it down from that.