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Why 60's and not 80's?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by heath_the_great, Apr 29, 2004.

which era, bass and why?

Poll closed May 13, 2004.
  1. 60's

  2. 70's

  3. 80's

  1. im just a bit confused, why are basses from the 60's and 70's more popular than basses from the 80's, like i was born in the 80's and its my favourite era, but why is it that there is always 60's and 70's bass reissues and the 80's seems to get brushed under the rug, i mean, great basses came from the 80's, like warwicks, status, steinbergers, kubicki's

    so basically, what would you prefer, an 80's instrument or a 60's instrument, not taking value in to mind
  2. Their are two reasons I can think of: first, the sixties basses played on the records that laid the foundation for today's rock, R&b, and pop; second, older players have the disposable income to buy all of these reissues. As your generation gets older, you will make your demands and the reissue market will reflect your desires.
  3. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Late 70's & 80's began the era of the corporate buy-outs, & quality started to wane... If you ever compared a Pre-CBS P-bass to a current revision MIM P-Bass, you'd be flabbergasted. My old p-bass was heavy as ****, & I'm not a weakling.
  4. dirtgroove


    Jan 10, 2003
    Taipei, Taiwan
    Most people would rather pretend that the eighties hadn't happened. I can't think of too many great reason's to remember the decade in a good light save, from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and the Transformers.

    It's very hard to resist the appeal of an old p-bass or an old Rick. Let's face it they are a part of musical history, as much as a harpsichord, and during the 60's and 70's they dominated popular music. My warped take makes The 80s more about dodgy synth musc Jean Michel Jarre (cringe), Axel-F and that theme tune to Miami Vice and hip hop a la def jam.

    Plus I've never seen a headless bass that I could consider a thing of beauty. It was just a dodgy moment.
  5. I like alot of the music that came out of the 80s....at least rock. There is something that is so pure about the way the hair-metal bands played...like - no depth whatsoever - just fun. I dunno - I think it's refreshing! Plus, alot of those guys could PLAY! But getting back to the question...I'd love to have a 60s just for the coolness factor. I do own a mint 83 P that sounds better then any other P I've ever played...
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    People have hinted at the reasons - so, in the 60s it was before "mass-production" or factory production. The idea was to produce a quality instrument for professionals, that was hard-wearing and sounded good.

    In the 70s, most big companies went over to factory production and big facilities designed to churn out basses as cheaply and quickly as possible to meet the huge demand. So - the sheer volume produced meant that it wasn't possible to have the same level of quality control

    Particularly in the late 70s and early 80s it was the era of the cheap "knock-off" - Japanese and then far eastern copies from factories.

    So - by now - anything taht has lasted frometh 60s must have been good to have survived that long and been considered worth playing - but there is nostalgia for an era when there weren't so many instruments produced.

    I think that in the late 90s on, the mood changed and I think a lot of people are aware that if you are prepared to pay more , you can get a modern instrument of high quality - higher than 60s instruments.

    So, I know that I would rather have something like a Ken Smith, Sadowsky, MTD etc etc and would rather pay for genuine guaranteed quality - rather than paying out "silly money" for a vintage instrument that may well sound good - but will also, almost certainly, be less versatile and harder to play!! ;)
  7. what about prince, cameo, george benson, joe satriani, steve vai, SRV, jacos word of mouth, even marcus millers suddenly came out in '83, and the '80s also saw the chili peppers 2nd best album mothers milk...so IMO the 80's did produce some crappy music (wham, boy george and culture club :p ) but it did produce some of the best albums and music, but i do now understand about the whole thing with 'vintage' basses, but undortunately p, rics and viola basses just dont appeal to me, i did try a ric but just seemed clunky and tinny to me....

    but not all companys went to mass production factorys in the 80's look at kubickis
  8. staus mark king signature, not beautiful? it looks like a headless alembic


  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think they look alright on their own - like in the photos above - but they just look weird when somebody is playing then - you're just constantly drawn to the fact that something is missing!! ;)
  10. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    When I think classic rock the 60's - 70's come to mind, but when I think 80's the picture that pops into my head is a man wearing makeup with a Flock of Seagulls hairdo playing a Steinberger. Great music was recorded in the 80's, but the popular music (the hair metal/glam/synth madness) from that era is pretty bad on a whole, in my opinion. Primus, Metallica, Fishbone, The Clash and many others willing to be different are some of the better things from the eighties in my opinion.

    The reason the 60's and 70's are considered golden eras for music is because that was when creativity, talent, musicality and popularity met. Where nowadays, all you have to do is make a depressing album that sounds like a Nirvana ripoff to make it big.
  11. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    I think you answered your own question.
    "warwicks, status, steinbergers, kubicki's"
  12. :eek: :confused: :eek:

    warwicks? :eek:
  13. another question, would a fender jazz standard made in say 62 sound better or worse than a fender jazz standard made in 2002.....cos the impression i get from some people is that they say that older basses sound better
  14. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Companies tend to make reissues (Geddy Lee, MM 62 J RI) to cash in on both nostalgia as well as vintage demand. But why are 'vitage" basses in demand? It is not because they were made better (tho some may have been), rather it has to do with a phenomenom known as "wood aging". As basses, and gtrs, get older, and are played, they are subjected to to repeated sonic vibrations. Studies have been made that show that over the course of years these vibrations actually change the molecular makeup of the wood. In the world of acoustic gtrs this has been a well known fact: the older the gtr the sweeter the tone. This holds true for electriic basses, too. Perhaps even more so since the vibrations they are subjected to are much more intense.

    As the wood ages, the tone sweetens. Also the pickups undergo similar changes, and the finish gets worn thinner due to use. All of this effects the tone and so produces the "vintage" vibe which is so demanded.

    Several years ago there was a company which developed a machine which could "age" gtrs by subjecting them to constant vibrations for several days. From whjat I heard it worked well....

    Of course, a new reissue bass will not have any of these characteristics, and hence the marketing ploy. Even those custom shop relics need to be played to undergo this little magic. I recently played a mint 57 p bass, which had over the course of its' life been barely played (there was not a mark on it). It really did not sound that good. A friend of mine has a rather beat up 57 which is probably the sweetest bass I have ever heard.

    Oddly, in the 70s, the same basses which are now being reissued as vintage models, or are fetching high $, were considered boat anchors, and not too desirable as instruments ( as a beginer I had a number of mid and early 70s Fender basses). Tone wise they were not very outstanding (in reality, the 70s were not such a good time for gtrs, basses or cars). Ironically, those same "boat anchors" today have, for the most part, much better tonal characteristics and "personallity".

    So why no 80s basses? The vintage market simply has not infiltrated that far yet. Most 80s era basses sport heavier finishes and do not yet have the "vibe" and pedigree of 60s and 70s basses, which have so only because they have gone through the aging process and have mostly taken on these new tonal characteristcs. Yet, there is a rise in vintage demand for the late 70s and 80s era Gibson basses now, which is quite ironic since at the time of their release theywere really not considered to be very good instruments.

  15. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    There were some great 80's bands and by far was and still is my favorite era of music. As far as the quality of mass produced Japanese basses are concerned, I pretty much played Jackson basses that were made in Japan and I had them for many, many years and played the hell out of them. I have never had any problems with any of them and in comparison to some of the more recent basses I have bought in the last two years, I would have to say that they were more consistant in quality in certain ways.

    For example, I have owned two Roscoe LG 3005 basses that have both had electronic problems, one went back three times, the other will be going back for the second or third time. I finally ended up selling one of them to buy my F Bass BN 5 which has the worst finish ever, after only a few hours of playing showed excessive wear on the finish, more wear than I have put on my 80's basses after years of use. I had a Warwick Thumb 4 NT that would overdrive my amp even with the trim pot turned all the way down, the volume on the D and G strings were crap no matter what I did to try and solve the problem. I finally sent it back to DBG and with reluctance, they changed out the pickups and preamp. That took care of the overdrive problem but still the volume on the D and G strings were horrible.

    Considering the amount of money spent on these basses, I expected much more than the problems I have encountered with them, and after looking back at all the 80's and eary 90's Japanese produced Jacksons I have owned, I kind of wished I would have kept all of them and kept the thousands of dollars I have spent on the newer "custom" basses.

    Out of the basses I currently play, which include my F Bass BN 5, Roscoe LG 3005, Warwick Streamer Stage II, and Suhr J bass and I have never had any problems with the Streamer II or Suhr J bass and I do enjoy playing all of them very much but I think companies should go the extra step to complete their masterpiece such as F Bass putting a better finish on their products.

  16. rubo


    Aug 25, 2003
    Max, do you have more info on that aging machine company?

  17. Bass of Galt

    Bass of Galt Guest

    Mar 25, 2004
    Scrotillia Falls
    The 60's & 70's had several things fall into alignment - radical musical creativity and the emergance of FM Radio (so people could hear this weird new music)

    The sounds produced during that period became the defacto standards to which everything that has come after is judged.

    This not only true with instruments but the vast amounts of studio gear -(neve pre-amp, consoles - LA-2A & 1176 Compressors, original Pultecs etc...)

    Coupled with Fender basses and guitars - these sounds informed an entire generation of music lovers and musicians about what music generally and instruments specifically SHOULD sound like. So much so that the average person even has an idea of what a bass guitar SHOULD sound like (within degrees obviously)

    I call this sound - "the big dumb Fender sound" as it is the default bass sound in contemporary music. Fender was there with basses as this time of radical creative expression and the birth of the outlet which would allow it be become mainstream - and they ended up on almost everything. (beatle bass is the high profile exception)

    Bassists know how to produce this sound- get a Fender (and when they do they sound like the record) engineers know how to record it (they've certainly done it enough times) and prefer it - and listeners fully accept it having heard so often.

    So important is this sound that many of todays "boutique" bass luthiers respect the "big dumb fender sound" in their designs and simply make custom basses that play better and have much wider tonal variety than the original Fender.

    Anyone craving those sounds today naturally seek the gear they were made with. If you hang out in any studio production forums you'll see the exact same craving for vintage pres, eq, compressors etc... and a clear disdain for "re-issue" or "re-release" "copies" as "inferior garbage".

    The same thing is also happening in Synthesizers.

    People want the real deal - the gear that was used on what is largely considered to be the greatest music ever made.

    The quest for "authenticity" is the driving motivation behind all of it.

    essay over. :smug: :D
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I was playing in rock/pop bands then and I thought it was a great time - but really it was characterised by an explosion in digital effects and synthesisers. So - every bass player had to have their sound covered up with loads of effects and everything had gated reverb and loads of synthesisers padding out every nook and cranny.

    I think people's tastes have changed now towards more basic, good tone and less "novelty" factor - so 80s music has a distinct sound that is very "dated" to me now - "over-produced" and full of massive digital reverb sounds.

    So - I knew a few producers then and it was a case of "wow man, listen to the length of decay I can get on that new digital reverb and so natural....etc. etc. " Then taking 10 hours to set up the drums and get the reverb right - before any notes were played!!

    So - you would have long conversations about production values - and somewhere the actual musical content got lost in the priorities !! ;)

    In the late 90s, I noticed a trend for more emphasis on good basic tone where you can actually hear the sound of the bass, rather than the effect the producer had just "discovered" :rolleyes: - so in the last ten years or so, there has been more interest in high-quailty hand-made basses and also in the search for the great vintage tone - i.e. before the 80s obsessions, obscured this!! ;)
  19. I think the whole 50's-60's vintage thing has to do with a few things. First, probably most importantly is a perception of quality ("they don't make 'em like that anymore") when Fender sold out to CBS in 1965 there were reportedly problems with quality. Secondly is the aging/drying of wood and lacquer, as intertwined as that may be. Also is the selection of wood (ie. use of Brazillian Rosewood was discontinued after 1965), there's theories to the sourcing of maple and mahogany that "old growth" wood is less dense, and transmits tone better... if you believe it fine... The issue of lacquer is another thing. As nitrocellulose lacquer ages it hardens and cracks, allowing less of a 'seal' around the wood, it's also a factor in 'feel.' In 1969 Fender stopped using nitro and started using polyuerothane. While poly is more durable, it's basically spraying plastic. Whether you like that or not... Also magnets lose their strength, which adds to a 'vintage' sound. Probably one of the biggest factors though, is identifying with a celebrity or idol. To play the same model and year of your hero is some sort of attachment that's not unnoticed by the manufacturing industry.

    Also, I seem to recall that 1965 was the big turning point for the music industry, as it was the year that HUGE profits were realized and that it became "investment fodder" for large corporations. Fender was bought out by CBS in 1965, Gibson's parent was bought out by a Ecuadorian brewery conglomerate :confused: in 1969. From this point on, the 'big' manufacturers weren't 'guitar people' running their companies, it was bean counters running the companies- which explains a lot of the really bad ideas in the 70s... but not necessarily plaid leisure suits.
  20. MY KUBICKI :p :D ...and hopefully a few more of these over the years...

    and i do agree with the big dumb fender sound..ill have to remember that one...but theres also the big dumb ric with pick sound....and the good ol slapped musicman sound.....

    But what really gets me, is that you listen to vai's passion and warfare (great album = the audience is listening and sisters) and satrianis flying in a blue dream and the songs that stu is/are on you can distincly tell the kubicki sound. :smug:

    my old high school (6 months outta there lol) had a charvel bass, which i admit i liked same kinda same shape as a kubicki but smaller and more rounded p&j pups, i liked, had the 80's vibe and everything, theres a 5 string version down at my local pawn broker, but its a higher model i think, it has an arched top....

    i thought that RHCP & SRV had great tones, i found out that his fender amps were modded and had a 15" speaker in em, but listening to prince and vai, i understand where youre coming from about all the effects, speaking of effects, what the hell does stanley banks use on benson tracks? (breezin and give me the night in particular) its got me confused