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Why do people consider old basses to be "beautiful"? when you can get same model

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Oreomeister365, Mar 2, 2008.


  1. I'm with you Oreomeister365, I don't understand the appeal either. There's always somebody to bring the old car argument, but it certainly isn't the same ie: you can't buy a 1967 Mustang brand new today, there is a car model that's called a Mustang but it's a completely different model down to the last bolt.

    As to, say, a '67 Precision, well, it looks exactly like the one new one hanging at the guitar store, except old and decrepit in most cases and doesn't have the same fit and finish quality that the new one have. It may well turn out to have some esoteric playing quality (believe it's called mojo around here) that some believe them to possess, who knows, but looks?
     
  2. WoodyG3

    WoodyG3

    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Overall, I'd have to say new instruments are nicer looking to my eye. There are some exceptions. A Guild Starfire in good shape is really a thing of beauty. But I admit I like poly finishes better than nitro, and I've always thought chrome pickup covers and "ash trays" are really ugly.

    Being a Mustang lover, I've always thought Cameros are kinda' boring to look at. I'd never tell a Chevy guy there's anything wrong with his car or his choice, though.

    The thing is, I don't play a bass because of how it looks. I have a couple of basses that are kinda' plain looking to me, but I love the way they feel in my hands, and they sound good. That's what matters most, after all. :bassist:
     
  3. sup3r_k

    sup3r_k

    Mar 2, 2008
    England
    I think its a sensory relationship for some people, let say you walk in to a guitar shop and spy a 62' p bass, everything is original apart from the finish. First thing i think when i see it is "i bet that sounds great". yeah its about 2 inches thick, probably weighs a stone and OK compared to the more slimline "refined" designs of modern p basses doesn't look as nice (to some people) but because you know its going to give you a wonderful warm tone its aesthetic appeal is far greater.... in my opinion!
     
  4. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I have a bass that is over 150 years old. The iron tuner ends where probably hammered out on an anvil in a Tirolean village by a 15 year-old boy and his little sister. "Crude" carving tools were used by different households around the valley to make the neck, top, back, etc. It is an expression of the desire of working craftspeople to create something musically valuable and practical that would enable them to earn their living. It is old and they are dead. I play it for Jazz, bluegrass, and radio/TV/studio gigs.

    The sound of the instrument is beautiful, though it is obvious the bass has had a long life by looking at it--kind of like a grandfather.

    My grandfather was an orphan, a cowboy, a farmer, a machinist, and a real estate dealer. He lived to be 106 years old and died in his sleep in his own house. He was a happy, kind, and wise person who shaped my life in many ways.


    Sometimes, older is better.

    IMHO, using the expressions "trip down memory lane" and even "back in the day" reveal your youth, at least in terms of worldly experience. It is no sin to be young or inexperienced, nor to ask questions, assuming they are not driven by hidden anger.

    I think it is fine that you want to know what is beautiful about old and often beat up basses. Yet I doubt you can understand the answers in terms of Bass lore, so think of grandfathers. Youth is beautiful, but young people often make the mistake of thinking that once something is "explained" to them that they will actually understand it. Music, knowledge, and life are just not that explainable.

    Consider this. To me, my 1955 P-bass sounds better than the "Sting" basses I have played--though I think they sound pretty darn good.

    Is mine more beautiful than a "Sting" single-coil Fender P-bass?

    It depends on what you see when you look. When I see my bass, I see an instrument I have owned since 1973 and played on thousands of gigs. Take a look. You can't see or hear what I see and hear, so it is not beautiful to you. That's OK. It is not sentimental, it is life.

    bodywear22.
    body9.
    back.
    headstock21.
     
  5. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
     
  6. superfunk47

    superfunk47

    Sep 9, 2007
    Dang, Jim...that was beautiful :bawl:

    And one beautiful bass, to boot.

    VERY well said.
     
  7. chris818

    chris818 Supporting Member

    +1.
    I just read every post and could not put it better than Jim just did so I'll save my two cents. I think that ought to end the discussion.
     
  8. Rakie

    Rakie Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to...

    Yea, this kid is a little mixed up.

    You're looking at it the wrong way, and I doubt this thread alone will change your opinion.

    You cant JUST qualify vintage instruments by looks... its every aspect of it, Looks, sound, feel, quality... I'm fortunate enough to live in LA, where there is an abundance of musicians and instruments. I've played through some of the finest hand made instruments created.. Ritter, Fodera, Fbass, MTD, Zon, Skjold, Sukup, Nordstrand... You name it, i've played it. Including some really nice old Jazz basses, and you know what ?

    The Old J basses hold their own against any boutique instrument i've touched. Looks included. (And this is from a guy that generally dislikes fenders)




    Also, please keep in mind... The tools Luthiers use are usually pretty old, and are not fancy by any means... Well, except the computer they use to get emails from people placing orders. You got me there.
     
  9. People can see themselves playing that old piece of gear and in their minds it is a beautiful sight.

    I for instance find rat-rods (cars) beautiful. I have a sort of rat-rod motorcycle that I love. Flat black and stripped Suzuki from 1978. You just have to have an appreciation of the path these old things have taken.

    It's sort of like comparing a reprint of a piece of art to the original. There is something beautiful about the original that the reprint lacks. A journey the reprint hasn't taken.
     
  10. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago
    The part I put in bold is highly debatable. In fact, I'm not sure I've heard anyone before say that new Fenders have better fit and finish than, say, a '67 P.
     
  11. homerL0510_228x299.
    Mmmmmmmm...aged finger cheese....
     
  12. Hence why I said lets not get into it, yet that user seems hell bent on putting the boot to me.

    If you bring all other aspects into play, a vintage instrument is understandable in its beauty, this is dedicated to looks only. If you have a history with the instrument then I can easily see why it's beautiful. But if you're buying a 65 P today that you haven't seen until you saw it on ebay a week ago...well, all the mojo (good mojo) belongs to someone else...
     
  13. Quite true.
     
  14. ysand

    ysand

    Mar 26, 2005
    Athens/Greece
    Well, i find old basses nice to look, but i doubt if they sound better than today's basses ( i mean of equal quality).
    Plus, the prices to get one are outrageous for what you take, if u're not a bass collector.

    So to sum up, i don't think that there's a reason for the average bass user to get an antique instrumenet and spend a fortune, when he could get a new super-bass :)
     
  15. GreaserMatt

    GreaserMatt

    Sep 4, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Let me guess: you're a Lakland guy, right? Or whatever those basses are called...It's all personal taste. Matt :)
     
  16. I like vintage basses much for the same reasons I like antique stuff. They have unique character and there's a story to be told behind those wears and dings that you wont get out of a new bass.
     
  17. Hmmmm.. lemme go thru my "flame-proof" check list really fast:

    1. umbrella
    2. hip waders
    3. electrician's gloves
    4. thick skin
    5. kevlar vest (15 layers)
    6. full face shield

    I think I'm set.. so bring it on :rollno:
     
  18. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    I've read through this entire thread, and I'm still not clear what the original point was.

    But the above quote did remind me of something. I've bought a lot of old, well worn instruments in my day. And I often wonder what their history was, where they'd been, who owned them, how many notes were played on them, were they ever used in a bar-fight, etc. Just an object, but also a tangible contact with another world of experience. I wonder what tales they could tell, if they could talk. You can look at every mark and ding, and in a way it does tell a story. Most of which will remain a mystery. There's something I find very cool and appealing about that.

    /rick
     
  19. RONQUITO

    RONQUITO

    Dec 27, 2007
    I think that the OP is a an extremely Trollish TROLL!!!
     
  20. You bet.
     

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