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  • Bass Guitars: A debate. What are your thoughts?

    Many people have their opinions. Opinions (And facts) are what keep things in focus. I'm curious about what people think about all of the options out there.
    Pickups: Active or passive, split coil or single?
    Woods: Mahogany, Basswood, Agathis, etc.
    4,5, or 6 string?
    Neck through or bolt on?

    I prefer a four string (though some say you aren't any good unless you play a 5. I dig passive over active. Still not sold on any one wood though.
    So what are you guys opinions?

  • #2

    Passive, P-Bass, bolt-on neck, 4 string, 500k pots.

    HCBF Mesa Brigade Member #2

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    • #3
      I like Rics miss the one I used to own. I like Pbasses, alder, swamp ash, even pine ones. I like a P/J even better. My #1 right now is a Guild Starfire, short scale, semi hollow, and mostly mahogany. I never tried 5ers or actives but I would got nothing against any brand or style I'm very open minded.

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      • #4
        This post wasn't supposed to be a debate about anything lol. I was just curious to hear the reasons why people play what they play, not whether they think one thing is better than the other. Lots of guys own multiple guitars, but they usually have one that is their favorite.
        Simply put: what makes you love the guitar that you love?

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        • #5
          I tend to get electric basses he i have a need for one for the band I'm in/project and when that peters out I've always wound up selling it to fund some other gas. My upright I've never sold because its always in demand. I've owned quite a few, a couple of jazzes, a P/J, the Ric, a couple of nice acoustic electrics. This last time I had settled onto a cheap Rondo P/J w flats but I was gassing for a Nice shortscale.
          When I tried the Starfire I had to have it. Super fast neck even nicer than my old Ric. The Bisonic pickup is awesome and super versatile. My fingers fly over the thing. This time if my current project peters out I'm gonna resist temptation and keep it. I don't think I'll ever find another bass I like better for what this one cost me.

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          • #6
            I have either owned or played almost everything made at some point in time. My very favorite rig is a P with a V4B with all the EQs set dead in the middle which is now reissued (Yeah!). But, it is not a complete solution. I take 3 or 4 basses on stage to switch out depending on what I want to sound like.
            I prefer passive pickups with tubes because it is the most natural sound and is very warm.

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            • #7
              I like em when they make whumpy noises, and 4 strings is enough for a knuckle dragger like me
              Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. - Plato

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Matt82 View Post
                though some say you aren't any good unless you play a 5
                Anyone who says that knows nothing about bass playing. I'm not even a bassist and I realize that this is idiotic.
                http://biblerants.blogspot.com/

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                • #9
                  I think everything can be valid in the right situation. I myself prefer a passive bass because I tend to use a lot of dirty tones, and actives sound pretty terrible with any sort of gain pedal in the signal path. The only exception to that rule that I've used was a Wal bass, but they have passive pickups with an active EQ section.

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                  • Klatuu
                    Klatuu commented
                    Editing a comment
                    G&L has some exceptions to that. As I recall, the 2500 has a switch to go from passive to active. IMHO; however, active pickups are a marketing tool. I don't see the need when you have effects, pedals, preamps, etc.

                • #10
                  Originally posted by Matt82 View Post
                  This post wasn't supposed to be a debate about anything lol. I was just curious to hear the reasons why people play what they play, not whether they think one thing is better than the other. Lots of guys own multiple guitars, but they usually have one that is their favorite.<BR />Simply put: what makes you love the guitar that you love?
                  I have a Scion xBox, a Scion FR-S and a Chevy Silverado z71 4x4 pickup. And a tractor. I love all four of them for whatever I use them for. But for each driving condition, one is a favorite.

                  Same with my basses. When I'm playing country, I pretty much HAVE to use my fiver. When playing classic rock, I like playing this one (mine has a rosewood neck): http://www.rondomusic.com/photos/bas...tmnash3ts1.jpg

                  With bluegrass or some pop songs, I like the four string acoustic-electric with flat wounds. And for all three the five string fretless works with some songs. I actually bounce between favorites depending on my mood. For almost a year I only used the bass in the link above (wasn't doing a lot of country), but the last few months I've been focusing on my Yamaha fiver.

                  Regarding passive vs active, Although active gives you a lot of flexibility, so does a good amp. I've found I really like the simplicity of the passive basses, plus they don't let you down with a dead battery. Fortunately my Yamaha has a bypass switch, which I've had to use for two gigs when the batteries went dead.
                  "If there is anything that links the human to the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it." -- Abraham Lincoln

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by ninjaaron View Post

                    Anyone who says that knows nothing about bass playing. I'm not even a bassist and I realize that this is idiotic.
                    Except for outlaw country. You have to have a 5-string to play outlaw country.
                    "The Web puts all of the world's knowledge at our fingertips; unfortunately it's mixed with all of the world's bull****************."
                    -- Bob Parks

                    "A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it."
                    -- Oscar Wilde

                    "No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true."
                    -- Oscar Wilde

                    "It is a trap of history to believe that eyewitnesses remember accurately what they have lived through."
                    -- Theodore White

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                    • #12
                      True. Jonny Cash would never have tolerated a 4-string in his band.
                      http://biblerants.blogspot.com/

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                      • #13
                        Biggest factor in choosing any instrument for me is having the neck fit my hand.
                        I cut the tendon between my thumb and first finger as a kid with a broken milk bottle (they were glass in those days) and it healed shorter than it should.
                        I can and do place my thumb on the back/center of a neck playing allot, especially bass to get the stretch on the notes. O can reach about 5 frets on a guitar
                        and 4 frets, one for each finger comfortably on a long scale bass. I don't especially like a wide neck though. I play bass as well as I do guitar but bass
                        is a different instrument requiring techniques to be developed that aren't always suitable to playing guitar.

                        You can build up muscles overextending that are great for bass playing but can harm a guitarist which uses a more aerobic method of building muscles.
                        You can wind up having a monkey grip on a guitar and have issues getting up to speed playing leads. For this reason, I stick with 4 string basses, slim
                        necks, and something I can move around on before all other considerations.

                        Second would be tone. This trumps how an instrument looks. I don't play out as much as I used to and recording quality is my main focus.
                        I own three basses now and have a precision to get all those tones but the bastard weighs a ton. My short scale if great for recording but
                        its not the best live bass. I have build with a Washburn neck which is allot like a Jazz bass. I can play that one all night with my fingers and
                        not get fatigued. Its got Precision shaped body made of south American wood that is laminated to have racing stripes and is much lighter than my precision.

                        How a bass looks is the least important thing on my list. Its nice is the body is shaped for comfort and looks good because you'd play it more,
                        but its not a deciding factor for me in most cases.

                        None of the bases I own are what I'd call my ideal bass. I can more than make up for any of their shortcomings through playing ability
                        but its not like I went shopping for them out of many and settled with what I found best for me. I'll likely do that one of these days, its just not on
                        my high priority list.

                        What I want to get is another Hoffner for recording. I like the neck shape, You can dial up killer recording tones on them.
                        They are neck heavy, which is their one drawback. I don't like an instrument taking a nose dive when you let go of it.
                        I have used them for recording before though and owned a really beat up one back in the early 70's .

                        When you put some compression on them, you get some incredible woody tones you just cant get from a solid body.
                        Its got some string touch of an upright bass I suppose that gives you those nice mid tones.
                        They sound even better if you dump the wood bridge and put a TOM type adjustable bridge on them.
                        Last edited by WRGKMC; 03-17-2014, 08:59 AM.

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                        • #14
                          I’m so acclimated to five-strings, I can’t really play anything else, nor would I want to.

                          My basses are bolt-on, and I prefer that for practical reasons, but I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another type if I liked the bass.

                          I prefer passive, but I have actives that I also like and play.

                          I tried to play with a pick a couple times—didn’t put forth a lot of effort, but I didn’t do well with it, and don’t bother to keep trying. (I play some rhythm guitar and don’t use a pic, either.) If the song calls for a pick sound, I just don’t care enough to worry about it.

                          I don’t use effect at all.

                          I don't play with mixed cabs, and don't care what anyone else does, but I will never, ever do so.

                          Wood type means nothing to me, not even multiple pieces so long as it looks okay—I don’t believe it makes any difference in tone/whatever.

                          I don’t have a preferred brand at all.
                          Last edited by Marko; 03-22-2014, 10:04 AM.
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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Marko View Post
                            I don't play with mixed cabs, and don't care what anyone else does, but I will never, ever do so.
                            Such an adamant statement. Why so dogmatic on the subject?
                            "The Web puts all of the world's knowledge at our fingertips; unfortunately it's mixed with all of the world's bull****************."
                            -- Bob Parks

                            "A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it."
                            -- Oscar Wilde

                            "No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true."
                            -- Oscar Wilde

                            "It is a trap of history to believe that eyewitnesses remember accurately what they have lived through."
                            -- Theodore White

                            Comment



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