Weird body shapes

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KingRazor, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. I'm not intending to insult anyone's personal tastes or opinions here, but it seems to me like builders and players on TB like the look of very...odd body shapes. I mean, body shapes I never would have even imagined existing. Before I joined TB I had no idea lol.

    In fact it's to the point that I very rarely see anything more "traditional" without going all the way to being a full-on Fender knock off. Don't really see very many Ibanez or Spector/Streamer body styles or such. At least in regard to custom basses. I understand for some people that's part of the point, to get something that looks unique. It just seems kind of weird to me that more people don't get custom basses that look a little less "off the wall".

    Anyway, "weird" and "funky" can have positive meanings too, and people like what they like. I don't judge, I just think you're weird, lol.

    ***Seriously though I do NOT mean to offend ANYONE by this post. Just expressing an opinion.***
  2. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Nothing wrong with expressing an opinion. There are many people who do weird shapes, generally to be personal to them, it's a very personal thing to design an instrument. I have a couple more traditional shapes, but I also have some more creative ones. Doing something original is hard.

    As for the Ibby and Spector shapes, they are done by others, but because they have been done so well (Spector/Warwick) you think why. With Fender bodies, everyone on the planet loves the shapes, and want to make a better playing version. Thus the reason companied like Warmoth, USACG, Musikraft, WD, Allparts, Mighty Mite etc. etc. etc. do such booming business. I even did a 12 neck order for a guy a few years back who was doing Fender clones. I think it's all about what you're into and capable of. A lot of clone builders can do a backyard finish and a great set-up but have few woodworking abilities, so they build parts guitars, other builders can make necks and bodies, are good to great woodworkers and prefer not to join the thousands of clone builders. It's all personal no matter how you look at it. ;)
  3. Speaking of which, I think the bass in your avatar looks awesome! That was a cool build thread.
  4. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    thanks man, only time I have ever built one in 10 days....LOL but at least now I know it's possible. :D

    My Trinity shape is more creative, but is also my most popular model, I have built 34 of these for customers...This bubinga one is my personal 5 and was the prototype for this design back in 2005.

  5. Smilodon


    Feb 18, 2012
    I'm not a big fan of those "weird" shapes myself. By that I mean that they can look awesome, i just wouldn't want to own one. I think the reason is that to me a Fender P-bass is how a bass should look like.

    But as already mentioned, everybody have their own own preferences. Just look at the bass posted by Musiclogic. It's really a beautiful bass, but doesn't fit my "internal reference" of what a bass should look like.

    I guess it's like discussing "good" music. If someone hates a genre it doesn't matter how good the musicians are.

    Having that said, I really enjoy to see all the different shapes and ideas people come up with.

    I'm also making a bass myself soon. It's going to look like a P bass, but won't have a single Fender part in it. Some may hate my shameless ripoff, but it's mine! ;)
  6. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    I actually prefer to see weird body designs, even if I don't particularly like some of them. It shows some thought has gone into the design process and generally makes things more interesting. Don't get me wrong I like all the more traditional stuff too, just prefer to see some new designs.

    Even with some of the unusual designs out there, I still feel creativity is lacking in general when looking through some sites. I have even seen people say "if it was a good design it would have been done by now"....which I think is terrible.
  7. Smilodon


    Feb 18, 2012
    I just thought about another thing to consider:

    There may be a big difference between how something looks in real life and on pictures.

    When I bought my first electric guitar i hated the shape of Les Pauls-like guitars. I thought they looked old fashioned and boring. I was more into the general look if Ibanez.

    When I actually went to a music store and looked at guitars i fell totally in love with a Hagström Super Swede in sunburst. It did cost about twice what I intended to pay for a guitar, but I just had to buy it. To this day I still haven't seen a picture that can give it justice.
  8. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I often wonder what the response would be if no one had ever seen this body shape before and someone posted it as a custom shape here on Talkbass:


    It's VERY far removed from Fender, Gibson or even Warwick/Spector shapes.

    What would people think about the 4003 design if they'd never seen it before?

    Obviously a large part of the appeal traditional shapes is that they are recognizable and therefore comfortable to them aesthetically. Because objectively speaking the Ric has a pretty "out there" shape.

    But what do I know - here are the shapes for my two upcoming customs:



  9. First off, I think most bass designs that some consider 'different' are essentially derived from the Fender shape. Ibanez, Spector, Warwick - yes, they are obviously not Fenders, but they have all the same essential "Fender-esque" attributes - a long upper horn, and short lower horn, the hourglass shape, etc... Even Rickenbacker's most common models embrace these moves.

    I think what you find when you see these wildly different approaches is the result of people very purposefully trying to NOT look like that. The real challenge there is the reason that look is so ubiquitous is because it is so functional and the more you deviate from it, the more you discover why it's one of the most useful shapes. The challenges of balance, being able to reach upper frets, house electronic components and remain playable are all answered so nicely by Leo's original shape - so most bass shapes tend to fall right in line.

    I am personally not a big fan of instrument designs that demand too much attention. The instrument shouldn't up-stage the player, IMO. As a person who appreciates cool designs, I love interesting, innovative experiments - but as a person who enjoys watching live music, I am interested in the music and don't want to see some 'freaky' instrument shape that pulls my eye. There are certain genres of performance art where the props are integral to the show. Gwar, Kiss, and other more 'theatrical' styles are enhanced by instrument designs that are grotesque, outrageous and otherwise noteworthy, however. Those genres are more about the showiness and having instruments that are crazy along with over the top stage elements are all part of the package.

    But in more common performance situations, instruments that draw too much attention because of their design feel very out of place to me which is why when I try to design a body shape, I embrace the Fender ethic - simple, functional and attractive without being distractive...
  10. timbob1986


    Jul 12, 2011
    I think whats really hard is not "over-designing" a body. I like the more traditional shapes like Fender or Gibson but whenever I go to design a body shape it's really hard to get away from ripping off their shapes so I automatically start doing something abstract.

    I've been racking my brain lately trying to come up with a design for my next bass but coming up with dead ends all over the place.
  11. My favorite body shapes are the Ibanez and Spector/Warwick Streamer shapes. Which in turn are kinda sorta P bass shapes that have been heavily contoured. The P bass shape is actually a little boring imo. It looks good, but there are more "attractive" body styles I think.
  12. ryansalmond


    Nov 21, 2007
    Jared Lash, those both look awesome!
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Almost all of my basses at least hint at the jazz bass shape. I just feel that's the way a bass should look. The one major difference is the LeCompte VB5 I have on order.
  14. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    Thanks OP for being honest. But it reminds me of the Dr Seuss story, "The Sneetches" (a worthy read, if you've never read it). Most people, it seems to me, follow what is called "good", "accepted" or whatever by the majority, OR someone they really respect.

    So, I want to ask, "What exactly makes a bass shape, "weird"? While you are thinking about that, muse on the following:

    1. Once upon a time, the Fender Broadcaster, predecessor to the Telecaster, was looked down upon as a cheap joke, and described as "a paddle".

    2. Hammond was actually trying to create an electric pipe organ... he failed. Ohh, but what a wonderful "failure"!

    3. When Les Paul tried to get Gibson to build (based on his "log" guitar) what eventually they DID produce (as the 335), they weren't interested (what did THEY know).

    4. The Les Paul guitar that Gibson DID produce sold so poorly that it was discontinued, and didn't become popular until some influential guitar players started making this weird style of music that became rock.

    Diversity is a really wonderful thing! And the line between "weird" and "genius" is really, really hard to define.
  15. For someone highly opinionated, it doesn't sound like you've played a whole lot of basses.
  16. Hm. Before I landed on TalkBass, the only Fendery bass I'd ever owned was a cheapo PJ that I'd landed by accident about 20 years ago. Now a P or J shape is pretty much what moves me. That being said, I think that some non-Fender-based designs are really sweet: I love the shape of Lakland's 55-02, I also love the Rob Allen MB2 and I find the US MTD shape to be wicked. I also like what I see from Musiclogic's pic above.
  17. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine

    Attached Files:

  18. That the 'anti' shape
  19. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I've always been (strangely?) drawn to that bass.
    I'd have one if it weren't so crazy expensive.
  20. Some oddities just speak to us for no known reason.

    That 'shape' looks like one created by someone purposefully trying to defy all common shapes. It's funky, for sure... I'm trying, but I can't find much love for it myself. As a novelty, it's cool, but living with it long-term would be a challenge for me - an admitted 'Fender Shape Fan'