Over the last few weeks, I've been involved in a lot of threads, discussing quality of build and quality of sound. I'm going to leave amps out of this, because if you like Aguilar tone and I like Traynor tone, it would be silly to discuss what makes one sound better than the other. That's preference. But if we both play a 2010 American Standard Precision bass, we should be able to figure out why two of the same bass can sound a lot different... First things first... before the egg heads chime in... Nobody changed the strings, or pickups, or pots, or caps, and no "legends" Leo Fender wasn't arguing with his wife that day, causing him to melt his wedding band down into fret wire... Just two of the same basses sounding different... begging the question, what ACTUALLY makes a great bass sound great... or even a not great bass sound great? Disclaimer: For the record; up until this point, this topic has been a private discussion between myself and three other TBers, but in my futile quest to make the world a better place, I thought it should be public. And in a world where "What flavor of Pop Tarts do you eat before the gig" seems relevant... It just makes sense to discuss bass tone. Ok... so saying "My $3,700 designer bass sounds great" means nothing to me... saying that paint color effects tone, means a heck of a lot though, and that's what I want to hear. Music Man HH Sting Rays... they coat their maple boards with gun oil, Rickenbacker clear coats their rosewood boards! Are these tone secrets? Do they matter? So my friend comes to me and says "wow, this sounds great" , and I say... "Did you get the build sheet? If so, check the specs to find out why your bass might sound great to your ears. The G&L Magnetic Field Pickup (MFD) is sweet and makes killer tone, but digging deeper, is the body Ash or Alder? Also, what kind of nut does it have... Strings? G&L's come stung with DAddario's, but they could've been swapped out on yours. What about the neck... It's what led me to G&L. I like big, fat, old-school Fender necks... 1.75" width nuts with a bulky profile, heavy radius, and high gloss polyurethane covering the front and back of a maple neck and maple board. Mass affects tone, so a bigger neck has a different tone than a smaller neck. Are the frets stainless? They might be on a G&L." In closing, we all go to the store and try something, which sounds good or bad. Knowing "why" matters. The best sounding bass that I ever heard had a maple board and Duncan 1/4 pounder, so now, that's all that I use, but were they what made it sound great? For a few weeks, I've been saying that the neon green, Dean Zone is the best sounding bass that I've ever heard. Well today I'm going to start building another G&L... but why not just buy that Dean? Well I'm not going to buy the Dean, but if I can figure out why it sounds so awesome, maybe I can build that into my next bass! And yes I'll buy the Dean anyway. I know that we ALL have preferences, loyalties, and opinions... but there's more to it than that. Don't tell me that your Alembic sound the best because it's an Alembic.. Tell me why that passive Dean sounds as good as a $2500 bass. Oh and also, what flavor juice box do you drink while practicing?