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What makes "the sound" of a bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bobbykokinos, Oct 22, 2005.


  1. I have a dumb question. Say I'm looking to part together a bass or use parts from a bass I currently own to build a new one. What part of the bass (other than the pickups of course) effect the way the bass sounds the most??

    For instance, say I have a new jazz bass with a rosewood neck on it.. But I find a 60's body. Would putting the new neck on a 60's body really change the sound enough from they way it is now to really justify the price?? Or would I get more "bang for my buck" in keeping the body I have and finding a 60's neck??

    I hope this makes sense.. I know the ideal situation is to find a 60's body, neck, and pickups. But, I dont know about others, I can't afford that right now..

    Any help?
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would keep the pieces from the same vintage as close together as possible. I don't think I could bring myself to put a new neck on a 60's body.
     
  3. From the children's song:

    The sound of the bass goes boom, boom, boom. :D

    You can use the luthiers technique of listening for "tap tone" of the seperate pieces. I do this when I build a neck or body. I'll suspend it by a wire so as not to inhibit vibration and I'll thump it with my thumb - funk style. If I hear a nice defined, even ringing tone from the component, I'm pretty well assured that it will be suitable for use. If I could match the tap tones between the body and neck it would be even better. If I get a dull thud without an audible pitch in it, then that component will be a tone killer when it's incorporated into the instrument. Luthiers use this technique when selecting wood. Trained ears will listen for the particular characteristics in the tone of the wood for the type of instrument being built.
     
  4. Although I appreciate the responses, no one has really answered my question yet..
     
  5. stevo4

    stevo4

    Jun 6, 2005
    the vibration of the strings....
     
  6. I think youre asking if the neck or the body have more to do with the sound. Am I right?

    For a jazz style bass, my vote would be on the body having more to do with the sound than the neck, since pickup placement plays a big role in the sound of a jazz bass. If they were both Maple necks with Rosewood fretboard, Id say you wont hear much of a difference in sound. But thats just my opinion.

    So, I would say put a new neck on a 60s body, if you dont have the money for both. Then I would say get the correct electronics and hardware on it.

    Hope that answers your question some.

    Dave
     
  7. Yup, that's what I was looking for.. I'm looking at eventually putting together an older jazz bass (60's era). I'm not looking for anything thats going to be an "investment" bass, otherwise I would buy one already put together with all original parts. Im looking for the sound and the character of a 60s bass. Thats while I'm looking to part it together piece by piece because I can't afford to do it all at once right now. Thats why I'm looking where to start with the build that is going to be the biggest bang for the buck.

    Right now I have a jazz neck (even though its from a cheapy SX bass) and Fender 60's reissue pickups. Once I find one for a good price, I'm going to start with the body. Then electronics. Then decide if Im going to do a neck or not. I feel comfortable with the neck I have right now but if I come across a good deal on one, I'll get it..

    There is just something about playing a bass or bass parts that are almost 50 years old that just feels right in my hands and to my ears.. Dunno how to describe it.
     
  8. Thats the way I feel about a Lakland 5 string neck. Theres just something about it that sings to me.

    From what youve said, I would definitely go with the body first, IMO. Im sure one of the "old" guys (just kidding) can give you actual information from experience, but in my mind, the body will get you closest for the least amount of moolah.