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what in your opiion is the mark of a good quality bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by steve_man, Feb 28, 2003.


  1. steve_man

    steve_man

    May 15, 2002
    Just wondering what other TBer's think good quality is.

    here just point out the number one (or one and two if necessary) factor and then explain why.
     
  2. CS

    CS

    Dec 11, 1999
    UK
    If you take three factors, playability sound and looks, they are often subjective. However if the majority of people agree that a certain make of bass is good on all three then that's IMHO a high quality bass.

    I also use PD5string's opinions as a reverse barometer (talkbass in joke)
     
  3. DanGouge

    DanGouge

    May 25, 2000
    Canada!
    Attention to detail: good wood selection, good pickup choices (in design and brand), nice tight neck joint (if a bolt-on), sleeved screw-holes (so you don't strip 'em out replacing batteries) on active instruments is nice, attention to neck profile (especially on 5+ string basses). All these things are somewhat subjective as far as what "good" is but the general point is that an instrument is well thought-out, and that corners are not cut. A lot of manufacturers achieve this attention to detail, the trick is finding out which one suits you...
     
  4. jivetkr

    jivetkr

    May 15, 2002
    NJ
    I always nitpick the fretwork. IMO, if the bass is over 1K the fretwork should be perfect or near perfect. I look for level frets with NO sharp edges. The fret slots should be cut to match the fret so there are no gaps between the bottom of the fret & the fret slot. I've seen this happen on so many high end basses.

    Threaded screw inserts should be placed where ever there is a screw. I do not understand why more bass builders do not do this.

    I've also seen many high end basses that have loose control knobs. ***! How hard is it to tighten those things up so it feels new?

    And the mother of all things that bothers me is a messy control cavity. If you are building a bass without a pop up battery compartment, I think the control cavity should have a seperate section for the batteries (props to salas for this). I had a modulus (actually 2 of them) & they just wrap the batteries in foam & place them on top of the electronics in the cavity! I paid over 2K for my quantum 5 & the control cavity looked like a chimp assembled it. The least they could do is put some battery clamps in the cavity to hold them in place. The bass cost over 2K for christ sake!

    Sorry for ranting....I just hate half ass jobs.
     
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Anything I can grab by the volute/neck and smash into a monitor without going out of tune.
     
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    As CS said, the big three are playability, tone, and looks... for me, they go in that order. If a bass doesn't have playability I like, I'll reject it regardless (narrow fivers don't make my cut).

    While looks are the least important factor, they can still eliminate a bass from my audition list. The way I see it: plenty of other nice choices exist so I don't have to play an ugly bass. That said: I'm fairly open-minded about the look of a bass. To prove this: I'd consider owning a Spalt Matrix (haven't played one though).

    Tone is hardest to classify. I simply go for variety. I own the Fender RB5, therefore I don't want/need another bass that sounds like a Fender Jazz. I own one Warwick, don't need another. Etc.
     
  7. steve_man

    steve_man

    May 15, 2002
    Spalt Matrix yikes that thing is hideous!:eek:


    What do you guys think about hand made vs. machine made craftsmanship? Why?


    What do luthiers mean when they say good wood selection? What's the difference between tone with two different alder bodies.:meh:
     
  8. CYoung

    CYoung

    Nov 30, 2000
    Gainesville, FL
    1. Good components. This is especially critical in the electronics and neck construction.
    2. Good assembly and construction.
    3. Attention to detail in areas often overlooked.
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Careful here. All instruments are both hand made and machine made. There are varying degrees of automation. There are no hand builders that use no power tools, and probably no worthwhile ones who use no templatesor fixtures at all; on the other side, there are no factories where workers simply move parts from the output of one machine to the input of the next all day.
     
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Amen to that. The whole "hand-crafted" rant seems so quaintly "old-world" and triggers visions of some gray-bearded guy with wire-frame glasses lovingly sweating over a piece of wood with sandpaper. And that definitely has a place in fine luthiery. But sometimes, you can't beat technology.

    For the inlays on my custom, my luthier used someone's CNC because nothng could execute the routings or the fleur-de-lis shapes as precisely as that thing.
     
  11. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    it has to be asymetrical and have a grabber orange finish.:D :bassist: :p
     
  12. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk

    Apr 14, 2001
    Pennsylvania
    Construction, materials, components all way more important than the name.

    However, all of those measures being equal - tone, feel, reliability are how I thin the herd.
     
  13. rickreyn

    rickreyn

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    ;)
     
  14. DanGouge

    DanGouge

    May 25, 2000
    Canada!
    Mike Tobias? ;) :D
     
  15. rickreyn

    rickreyn

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    Seriously, a high quality bass, IMO, will look like it WAS NOT made with human hands. You want it to be, but you don't want it to look like it.
     
  16. steve_man

    steve_man

    May 15, 2002
    [​IMG]

    I'd say that fits the bill alright
     
  17. steve_man

    steve_man

    May 15, 2002
    thanks for cluing that last little thing up

    I meant what do you guys think about mass production comapred to guys who do say 200-500 a year

    also I'm more curious about this question

     
  18. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Dan - Dave Pushic would fit that physical description too.

    But his background in Physics and Electrical Engineering told him where micrometers are better left to a computerized machine.
     
  19. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Y'know, I think rick has something there. If I'm gonna pay my hard earned money for a bass, it better be solid, dependable, and useable.

    Now, I respect Fodera, don't get my wrong. But, of the 8 or so that I've played, all felt light and flimsy. Like slapping might well break them in half. This is not the case, obviously, but it was a sort of feeling I got when playing them. Now, Sadowskys are light, but they feel solid; like they could take a gig in a bar every night of the week.

    On the other hand, I feel like I could take a Pedulla, Modulus, or a Roscoe to the floor and have it laugh at me.

    I look for that in a bass. As well as the obvious things like fretwork, construction, components, electronics, ect.
     
  20. Skerik1

    Skerik1

    Sep 21, 2002
    Saint Paul, MN
    Balance is the number one thing that makes a "good" bass "good". If I have to actually hold on to the neck so it doesn't try to kiss my knees, than that bass is NO GOOD. I have a Spector, and it balances better than any other bass I've ever played. Whether sitting or standing with it strapped on, I can play, then totally remove my hands from the entire bass, and it won't droop down. I love it.

    Second, it has to have a solid neck. Good fretwork and solid feel. I don't really know how to describe this criteria. I just know a good neck when I feel one.

    Looks don't matter THAT much to me. If I had a bass that had a triangular body that balanced well and felt nice, I'd be happy.

    --Matthew