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Weight, weight don't tell me......

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DenverontheOne, Jan 14, 2017.


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  1. Does the weight of a bass mean anything anymore in terms of sound quality? The 10+ lbs babies are rather heavy on my older wimpy body. I know more push ups!

    It seems a lot of the older vintage stuff could be quite heavy. And still today there are some heavyweights out there. Does heavier, denser wood make better sound? Weight vs wood/body type. Cuz now it seems many high quality basses range all over the place in weights. Many seem to be 8-9ish lbs.

    I know that where the weight is on the bass can change the balance. But does body weight, wood weight, overall bass weight make a difference to the sound? Not talking about cheap materials/construction vs high quality but more equal quality, heavy vs light. Do heavier materials resonate better? If so, do some lighter materials resonate just as well? Do today's build technologies make weight irrelevant to sound/tone?

    Weight, weight please tell me...
     
    Salicete likes this.
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    In my experience, having owned about 100 basses and currently owning 23... no.

    And I'm not sure if it ever did.
     
  3. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    I have an agathis body Jag, a swamp ash nrt, and a mahog schecter. They all 3 sound good. Different, but good. I don't want to start a tone wood argument by any stretch. Would one of my basses sound better if it was made of the he other's wood? Maybe. Point is that I don't think I've ever heard a bass played by anyone that turned me off b/c of the wood it was made from.
     
    dbbltime and Roberto Nunez like this.
  4. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Yes, No, Maybe. Take your pick.
     
    esa372, alack, gebass6 and 2 others like this.
  5. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    When I was in my 20's weight meant nothing ( I could play a heavy bass all night), and it did kinda feel like a heavier bass would sustain more. Now I'm a lot older, all my basses are under 8 pounds (no heavy bridges either), and all my basses still sustain really well. When the sound guy has a bit of compression going on, they sustain far longer than they used to way back when.

    A string has 2 ends. If the body of a bass had to be really heavy to have sustain, then the neck would have to be massive as well to not lose sustain at that end. Yes, some weight is necessary for the string to have a mechanical ground to work against, but it turns out that 6 pounds (my lightest bass) is plenty.

    ....and by the way, I'm going to see "Wait, wait, don't tell me" this Thursday.
     
  6. We all are seeking our own 'thump playing in my head' sound so I'm not even saying how one bass sounds because of wood weight/type. And glad to hear weight is not a factor. Lighter is righter for my old body!

    I guess I'm wondering because folks have said if the body and neck are original even if everything else gets changed, that bass is still a 2007 Fender American Standard or whatever. So to me that implies that at least some tone/mojo/identity of a bass comes from the wood. That the same pickups/hardware on different body and neck would sound different.

    Are the modern pickups/hardware more important to the sound than the body materials these days?

    A lot of coveted vintage basses are heavy. Was that because the only available materials were heavy or was fidelity better with the heavier wood of the times?
     
  7. Glad someone caught it! In this turbulent world, good to know there still is some non controversial flat out funny stuff out there. Please have a few belly laughs for me!
     
    flojob, Aberdumbie and Malak the Mad like this.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Honestly, maybe it's just coincidence, but I have actually found that some of the basses that resonated best to me were lighter ones. And that goes for both new and vintage.

    Welcome to TalkBass!
     
    FenderTuni, woodyng2, REV and 4 others like this.
  9. Thanks
    ...and your granny couldn't be more right!
     
    two fingers likes this.
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Just touch your toes every morning about 50 times. Your back will thank you by holding up even the heaviest basses with no complaints. Unless of course there's a medical condition....
     
  11. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I have to agree with this. Also, cheap bent plate bridges seem to add punch IME.
     
  12. Lighter is better,more resonant, so you got it the wrong way around. Only thing better with heavy is the sustain, but how often do you need a note to sustain for so long that that even matters? Vintage instruments are lighter, unless you consider 70s instruments "vintage". I agree with Roger Sadowsky on this one, and his target weight is 8-8.5 lbs with some leeway at both ends of that spectrum.
     
    Joebone likes this.
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Some believe that mass equals sustain. But of any instrument in the world, bass is the last where sustain would be a priority.
     
    wmmj, Jay2U, Joebone and 1 other person like this.
  14. Agreed.
     
  15. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    I had an MIJ Jazz that was a feathery 7lbs+ and it sounded great. No lack of sustain, either. :thumbsup:

    As far as exercise goes, you want to strengthen your core muscles, as well as improve their endurance. I get by with long stints on an elliptical machine…good cardio/fat burning (depending on your age & peak heart-rate) and it also gets the lower body involved a bit too. Just don't get too aggressive or use too much resistance. And for Bob's sake, stay away from "isometric exercises", where you're exerting force against immoveable objects/structures. They can do damage to your connective tissues. :bookworm:
     
    Wfrance3 likes this.
  16. Aberdumbie

    Aberdumbie

    Jan 22, 2016
    South Carolina
    IMG_2250.JPG I bought this RD new in 1978. One day I'll put it on the scale but that means I would have to pick the beast up and throw my back out. I am sure it has to be one of the heaviest brutes ever produced. I bought it because it looked cool to my teenage eyes. It has all the tonal characteristics of a landscape timber. No, weight does not equal tone.
     
  17. JJR58

    JJR58 Dirty Bird Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY.
    I tend to agree with this, and there has been much debate here regarding this topic.

    I am of the opinion that lighter basses, do resonant more then heavier ones.
    I also believe that a lighter body has an inherent midrange acoustically that heavier bodies don't have. Call it reality or perception.
     
  18. pbass74

    pbass74

    Sep 19, 2015
    Sunland, CA
    Your bass will always sound better when your shoulder is not in pain. So, maybe weight does have something to do with it.
     
  19. Yes...
    Heavy basses get played less frequently. Consequently they produce tone less often, or less tone.
    Lighter basses are typically played not only longer but more frequently thus creating more tone.
    Other than that they sound pretty much the same.
     

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