When does a bass lose it's identity?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ImSquare17, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. anything other than strings.

    14 vote(s)
  2. the Pups, hardware or electronics.

    5 vote(s)
  3. the Pups+hardware, or hardware+electronics, or Pups+electronics.

    7 vote(s)
  4. everything BUT the body and neck.

    14 vote(s)
  5. everything+body, or everything+neck, or body+neck.

    37 vote(s)
  6. everything including the body AND neck.

    21 vote(s)
  1. Poor little basses out there, scared, alone...

    Lol, sorry. Ok, here's my question, when do you consider a bass to have really changed? This question is difficult to word, so here's an example of what I mean:

    Say you have a Fender MIM J Bass, a popular bass to upgrade/mod. Say you replace the pups, would you still call it a Fender MIM J? What if you replace all the hardware (new bridge, pickgaurd, tuners, strap buttons, plates)? What if you redo all the wiring and electronics? Replace the body? Does it matter what body you put on it? If it's a MIA body would it still be a MIM J? What if you put a warmoth body? An SX body (dunno why you would but...)? What if you defret it? Change the neck? At this point you've replaced every part of the bass, so it couldn't still be considered a Fender MIM Jazz right?

    My Question is at what point do you no longer consider it a Fender MIM Jazz?
  2. Shearstown


    Oct 15, 2005
    I find it's always the same pretty well as long as it has the headstock. It's just when you say what kind of bass it is it is mandatory to state all big mods.
  3. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Change out the big hunks and yup, it's an orphan, or a 'love child'?
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I'd say its the piece of wood that the body is.
  5. darkblack99

    darkblack99 Supporting Member

    Neck and body for me.

    All other changes (pickups, electronics, bridge, tuners, etc.) merely enhance the preexisting characteristics and/or playability, ideally.
  6. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    This reminds me of the guy who said, "I love my grandpa's old axe (a real axe, used to chop wood)- it's had four handles and three heads, but it just keeps on going", or something to that extent.

    Really, it depends on several things, IMO-

    1) who's identifying it. If, for example, it's an MIM with upgraded pups, hardware, neck and pre, there are plenty of people (more than a few of them are MIA owners) that will still consider it an MIM-level instrument IF they know the body's an MIM.

    I personally consider a bass w/a neck or body change to be a different bass, even if nothing else is swapped out, and even if the parts used in the upgrade are from the same manufacturer.

    2) how drastic a change from the bass' traditional sound the upgrades cause. If you rout into J-bass and stick a P pup in it, it ain't a J anymore, regardless of the shape. The Mark Hoppus Sig, JP-90, and Roscoe Beck are not Jazz basses, and the instruments with humcancelling J-size pups come close to being something else, IMO.

    3) whether the bass is "identifiable" to begin with. I have a Peavey Foundation with Super Ferrite single coils. While I love its sound, I wouldn't say it has a personality of its own. To me, it sounds more like some of the Jazz basses I've owned than they sound like each other.

  7. taffae


    Oct 4, 2004
    I think if you buy a Fender Jazz and as long as you do not change the body, neck or pickup routing I think it remains a Fender Jazz. In my mind any changes to those three things and it becomes a pure hybrid.
  8. gamera


    Sep 20, 2004
    Gloucester, MA
    If you change anything other than strings it is a Fender MIM with mods to it. Even a pickguard change makes it a MIM Jazz with a new pickguard. It becomes a Frankenbass when you replace body parts.
  9. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    When you go from this :

    to this :
  10. I own a Fender MIM Jazz. It is the quintessential example of a "eye of the beholder bass." Allow me to explain.

    I've read from various sources that it often has a lower quality of workmanship than the American made Jazz and, therefore, is often a substandard instrument.

    In my mind, it ceases to be a "substandard" instrument (MIM) when I achieve a sound and playability that I believe is equal to that of a $2000 American Jazz. I may be able to do that with nothing but a new pair of DR HiBeams, or it may take a fret job, new pups, and a new bridge. Either way, the term MIM Jazz becomes ethereal to me and the bass turns into what I want it to be.

    Now in the minds of the Elite, I will NEVER make an American Jazz out of a MIM without replacing the neck, body, and everything attached to them! Because these folks feel that there is more to the bass than the sound, shape, and playability.

    That may be.

    But to limit my instrument to the label "MIM Jazz Bass" regardless of its sound, playability, etc., seems a bit narrowminded. Therefore, I think that anytime somebody modifies a bass from its original condition, there is at least the potential for it to be a new and different instrument.
  11. Anything that is that bass's special weapon...

    for instance, a Stingray without either the MM pup or the Stingray neck isnt a stingray IMO.
  12. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    ... agreed , imo ....
  13. tadawson


    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    When it enters the Federal Witness Protection Program for basses . . . . ? ? ? ?

    Do I win?

    :D :D :D :D

    - Tim
  14. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I think that maybe once a bass gets to college and starts to experiment with various aspects of it's life it could potentially lose it's identity. New significant others, new living quarters, and whole new slew of responsibilities can really have an impact on how one perceives themselves.
  15. And don't forget that when your bass starts messing around on your computer without "protection", ... theft, theft, theft... :eek: Identity gone!!! :bawl:
  16. IMHO, if you change out the body, obviously it's not the same bass anymore. As far as the neck is concerned, it's got specific shape and feel as a Jazz compared to a "P", or other basses, so that could also be an indication that it's essential to the bass staying a "Jazz" bass or not. If changing the neck is considered only modification, I would say that it's the most major mod you can do without losing the identity altogether. It may still be a Fender, but maybe not a "Jazz" anymore... Then again, if the pickups, hardware and sound are still "Jazz" and all you've done is change the neck for playability, then it could still be a "Jazz"... Then AGAIN>.... :scowl:

    I'll stick with "Body" as the deciding factor.
  17. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I tihnk when you change either the body or the neck. The body, being obviously the more drastic of the two because then you lose the electronics usually too. I think that the neck of a bass adds a lot to making it the bass that it is. I think changing electronics and hardware is fine but once you change wood,nu uh
  18. +1
  19. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    I'd say the neck and pups truly make the most difference. That's what Matt Schmill (FBB basses) once told me and years later, I'd have to agree with him.