When will it be too light?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RichSnyder, Jan 28, 2023.

  1. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Sandberg has had their lightweight series, Spector now has basses that are 6.6 lbs. Manufacturers are listening and lightening their instruments. When Sire first hit the scene, the instruments I was able to try were ungodly heavy, just picked up a rack full of Sire basses (individually) and they were all decent weights. No scale, so I can't tell how light, but another manufacturer that's listening. But at what weight are we going to start complaining that it doesn't have the sustain, doesn't sit right on the shoulder, miss the tone, etc? Personally, I like 8-8.5 lbs for a four string and 8.75-ish for a five.
  2. LadyLoveStingRay5


    Jul 17, 2004
    8-9lbs is just right for me. I’m strictly a 5 string player .

    I’ve played one of those super light 6lb Sandberg PBass. It sounded kind of airy in the notes.
    Rezdog, Winton, TrevorG and 3 others like this.
  3. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    People already complaining about paulownia, okoume and other soft woods denting too easily, screws stripping out. I imagine there will be more some good carbon composite basses soon.
  4. bigdaddybass12


    Feb 26, 2021
    Tone wood guys should pitch in. Does weight affect the sound too?
    MrClassicMetal and scott sinner like this.
  5. Well light can be great but not at the cost of tone, density, build quality or neck stability especially. I remember the graphite fad back in the day with guys like steinberger, zon, modulus, status making necks that they didn't even bother to put truss rods in them because they were so confident that the neck wouldn't move. Some are pretty heavy but I really love the idea of a neck that won't go anywhere even if that means more weight.
  6. RichterScale


    Feb 21, 2021
    I bought a board of muninga (kiaat). It has a good strength to weight ratio and I'm going to use it in a 6 string build. I'd be happy with 8 lbs.
    I'd be perfectly okay with a 4 string under 7 lbs.
    There are hardwoods that are light weight for their strength, but you still have hardware and electronics, so I think it would be tough to build a relatively normal looking bass out of hardwoods and have it be under 6 lbs without major neck dive. Im not worried about the weight affecting sound, as long as the structure is strong enough. I'd build a 3 lb bass if I could. But it's not really possible. At least not for a typical bass, made of wood and a full body.
    I also wouldn't use soft woods to save weight. Maybe as the center core of the body wings, but I'd rather use hardwood and chamber it, than use soft wood. I definitely wouldn't use soft wood as the whole body slab. I grew a Paulownia (Chinese empress tree). They're one of the fastest growing trees on the planet. Way too soft for an instrument in my experience.
    TrustRod, Matthew Morter, Max and 4 others like this.
  7. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    My empress bodied G&L seems strong as a rock with no dings or dents.
    I like 7.5 to 8.5 lb. bass.
    Rezdog, Murch, EatS1stBassist and 9 others like this.
  8. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I guess we can do neodymium magnets in the pickups, onboard preamps are smaller now than they used to be, I can't say that they are lighter, we can save weight in the tuners, bridge, and knobs by using lighter weight materials. EBMM Stingray Special went this route. But the wildcard is really the woods. Roasting has been around since the vikings, but mainstream use in instruments has really been the past few years. I think we'll experiment with other woods and settle back on roasted / terrified swamp ash and alder for weight savings. Other woods are lighter, but less desirable. Cheaper woods on less expensive basses, roasted on the more expensive. If someone could come up with a horrification like process that maintains the natural color of the woods, that would be ideal.
  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured

    Modulus of elasticity and inherent resonances affect tone.

    Weight affects shoulder pain.
  10. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    I’m banking on composites. What Fender needs to do is build a P-Bass out of composites - I refer to carbon fiber, or some such - and make it light, make it tight, and make it right. The problem is, the neck joint wouldn’t be necessary - you could make it one piece, and purists would never accept a monocoque P-Bass. To them, that’s like adding a twelfth secret herb or spice.
  11. Can that be done and still be in the price range of the stuff we are buying now? Just asking, I have NO idea about what that stuff costs.

    I'll say this tho, my favorite bass in my collection is a Squier Affinity J bass. It's as light as you can get and still just heavy enough to feel like a "Real" instrument. (It, to ME, is the perfect bass. Perfect weight, feels just right, plays just right, it's the whole package)
  12. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Anything under 11lbs, is light weight.

    Anything under 9, feels like a toy.
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    No bass can ever be too light for me as long as it has the sound I like.
  14. I've often found it amazing how much the right strap can help.

    Years ago when I was a young bull and that 14lb RD Artist wasn't the manhole cover it would feel like today, in those days Reunion Blues made guitar straps, and they made a fabulous leather one with the padding in three seam-to-seam rows across the strap, and I've never had a strap that took so much weight off my shoulders. Sold a bunch of 'em to wimpy guitar players moaning about the weight of their Les Pauls.

    I'd give anything if they'd ever reissue those.

    For me, any bass weighing around 5-7 lbs would just feel strange.
    Pontiac Thrasher, Max and bassandboy like this.
  15. Michael Stanley 2112

    Michael Stanley 2112 Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2020
    This may sound weird, but I've had no choice but to play, sitting down for about 6-8 months now and weight doesn't bother me near as much as it did, when I stood.

    For reference: I can't put the bass on my thigh and play (like I used to do, when practicing). I have to use a strap.

    So I'm wondering: could weight issues be more a matter of posture?
  16. I’ve got two of those Reunion Blues straps, and they were worth every penny. Damn shame they don’t still make them or they’d be on all my basses. Even makes a Warwick Thumb a pleasure to wear.
  17. You dog ! ! ! I've never seen one again since the 80's.
  18. I found ’em in the 90s deep in the strap rack at Rudy’s in NYC. I was living in DC at the time and I only bought the cognac one, but loved it so much I called them up and made them go dig through the rack to find the black one and send it to me.
  19. Ricky Rioli

    Ricky Rioli

    Sep 29, 2020
    I've two G&Ls made from empress / pawlonia. They both have the standard G&L bridge, ultralight tuners, 6-bolt join and 1⅝" medium C quartersawn necks. The SB-1 is 7.2 lbs, the LB-100 is 7.0 lbs.

    Neither of them suffer from head dive, and neither of them sound sonically weak in the slightest. They are both responsive instruments producing a full, rich sound with good attack and sustain. If the empress takes away anything, it's being more than compensated for elsewhere.

    I know that neither of them could satisfy a craving for having a heavy weight hanging round my neck, but somehow I cope.
    Murch, Alivefor5, TyBo and 8 others like this.
  20. InnerCityBass


    Apr 14, 2011
    Not to start a fight or anything, but I've always considered statement such as "wide thick padded straps takes weight off the shoulder", or "My heavy weight basses suddenly feel like a breeze", to be not really true.

    We all got different perceptions and opinions (and thank god for that!), but I think it needs to be said, that unless it's a magic strap made out of a unicorn's tail, no strap will reduce weight on the back or the shoulder. A wide strap will maybe spread the weight from one inch of the shoulder, to maybe five inch of the shoulder, on the surface, which might benefit the skin, for some, but the weight on the shoulder is identical. A few cross-straps that sits on both shoulders might reduce the weight on the one shoulder - but still not the back. I would say that a wide soft strap simply gives a softer landing on the shoulder, but the long run back and shoulder wear is identical.

    That certain straps reduce weight is a myth that needs sorted out, so we can add it to this universal talkbass truth list:
    -1 watt is 1 watt is 1 watt is 1 watt.
    -Tone wood in an electric bass or guitar means jack.
    -P basses sounds better with flats and torts
    -Carrots is a gateway drug
    -The Mothman is one helluva bass
    -Wide straps doesn't reduce weight on the back or shoulder