What is the point of horns on a bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by njones89, Dec 8, 2017.

  1. njones89


    Mar 27, 2015
    Sioux Falls
    I know that the top horn has to be so long to prevent neck dive, but apart from that, what is the point (no pun)
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Overall balance.
  3. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    Things have to look nice. Is this the world you want to live in? Is it?

  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    ^ :roflmao:
  5. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    There isn't a point... something of a moot point.

    Cutaways come into the world of basses from the world of guitars. Cutaways were devised for acoustic guitars before anything else. The horn is all that is left once you remove enough material on that side of a guitar body to allow upper fret access. The cutaway allows guitarists to extend their hand up the neck beyond the neck-to-body join which, on some guitars, is down at the 15th fret or so. The cutaway on the bass side is a later innovation. I want to say Leo Fender designed it when he devised the Stratocaster and '57 P bass outline, but it could well have been somebody else.

    This Gibson is from 1949, and has a cutaway:

  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

  7. I always thought the lower horn was for comfort over your leg and the inside was cut away for access to the upper frets. The upper horn was for balance and a handle to carry it. Besides, the whole "coke bottle, womanly figure" thang...

    Then again, I may be having flashbacks from 80's night club drugs. :cautious:
    Atshen, Wisebass, rtav and 6 others like this.
  8. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    I believe Paul Bigsby was making double cutaways in the late 40's. He beat Fender and Gibson by several years.
    bdgotoh likes this.
  9. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I believe they evolved to help ward off predators. :beaver:
  10. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Dunno. But horns on a contralto adds serious vibe.


    Sorry. Please carry on. :bag:
    dannylectro, JACink, Radio and 21 others like this.
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    If you don't like horns, get an upright. ;)
    Dr_Feelgoood212 and MYLOWFREQ like this.
  12. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Place to hook your headphones whe your are done practicing if you use a bass guitar stand do and silent practice.
    DaDo625, project_c, Mark_70 and 5 others like this.
  13. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Gives you a place to drape your left forearm when you're trying to look cool for a photo. In my case, this is negated because my fly is usually open.

    El-Bob, Mark_70, J-Bassomatic and 7 others like this.
  14. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Oh no!
  15. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Scottsdale, AZ
    You just mentioned it - to prevent neck dive.
    jefff100 likes this.
  16. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    Lest we forget violin-ish basses.
    fermata, Coolhandjjl and Stumbo like this.
  17. Whil57


    Aug 7, 2013
    Long Island
    Plenty of basses with horns still have neck dive. Plenty of basses dont have horns. Alot still have neck dive.Balance was long neglected IMO.
    Stumbo likes this.
  18. Whil57


    Aug 7, 2013
    Long Island
    PS- note my avatar. On the back is a reel with 50lb line, so when its diving i can at least go fishing.
    Herrick and mikewalker like this.
  19. Getting the upper strap button up to the 12th fret. Making playing sitting down more comfortable with easier upper fret access on the bottom. A little bit of weight reduction on the bigger bass body. The p bass was double cutaway from day one in ‘51.
    Toddcaster64 likes this.
  20. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I have long looked at this bass with wonder.
    Herrick and Stumbo like this.