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How important is weight to tone?

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  • How important is weight to tone?

    I was looking at a Fender PBass on Sweetwater and they have a cool feature where they show pictures and specs of each guitar they have in stock, so you can see the exact guitar you're getting. I noticed that one of the guitars was 8lbs and another was 9lbs. That seems like a surprisingly large difference between two supposedly identical guitars.

    I know for solid-body electric guitars, mass has a lot to do with its down (think Les Paul), but how much does it matter for basses? Basically, should I go for the heavier one to get a better sound, or the lighter one to save my back because the extra weight makes no difference? Also, why would there be such a discrepancy between the two?

    What do folks think?

    -mike


  • #2

    mikepinkerton wrote:

    I was looking at a Fender PBass on Sweetwater and they have a cool feature where they show pictures and specs of each guitar they have in stock, so you can see the exact guitar you're getting. I noticed that one of the guitars was 8lbs and another was 9lbs. That seems like a surprisingly large difference between two supposedly identical guitars.

    I know for solid-body electric guitars, mass has a lot to do with its down (think Les Paul), but how much does it matter for basses? Basically, should I go for the heavier one to get a better sound, or the lighter one to save my back because the extra weight makes no difference? Also, why would there be such a discrepancy between the two?

    What do folks think?

    -mike


    Weight has to do with how hard it is to hold for long period of times on stage.   There are all kinds of stories (urban legends, old bassist tales, mis-science, truth and lies) about how different woods affect tone, but the actual weight would seem to ahve very little effect on tone.   Now some of the harder woods seem to be slightly heavier, but the weight is a side effect of the better wood and not a direct relation to the tone.   You need to be comparing the woods, the tones, the pickup placements, the pickup types, string types, etc and not weights.   Weights are listed just so you know how much you have to haul around with you....    YMMV.

    The Smarm has left the building...

    Comment


    • ThudMaker
      ThudMaker commented
      Editing a comment

      I found that as I ate more and more and got heavier over the year, my tone improved greatly.


  • #3

    The ONE TIME you need Lug's input and the bastid's awol.

     

    sonamabeech.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally Posted by MattACaster : *Runs 2 blocks down the street to Guitar Center, grabs detuned Schecter off the wall, plugs into Line6 Spider and proceeds to bring teh brootalz*

    Comment


    • Perfessor
      Perfessor commented
      Editing a comment

      The weight might be indicative of different types of wood, which would make a difference with the tone.


    • lug
      lug commented
      Editing a comment

      flemtone wrote:

      The ONE TIME you need Lug's input and the bastid's awol.

       

      sonamabeech.


      Wait....what???   ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT!!?!?!?!?!?!

       

       

       

      I get my tonez from rubbing fried chicken greese on my neck.  Since I have to eat a lot of fried chicken to get that checkin greese, I gain a lot of weight. So indirectly, weight effects tonez


  • #4

    There may be a noticeable difference in tone based solely on weight. A heavier body, all other things being equal, indicates a denser wood, which will tend to sustain longer due to the wood's inability to "compress" and absorb the vibrations transmitted through it. For the same reason, denser woods tend to emphasize the fundamental, leading to a bassier, darker tone.

    However, weight is just one determinant of tone. A much more important one in wood selection is rigidity of the wood; softer woods will have a darker tone as the high frequencies are more easily absorbed and cancelled out, while more rigid woods will have a brighter tone for the opposite reason.

    Beyond wood selection, there's pickup choice, electronics design, on-board settings, amp choice, amp settings, cabinet size and porting, and the number, size and response curve of speakers. All of these will have a noticeable effect on what you hear out of the complete instrument, and most of them will make a much more significant difference when you change them. So, I personally would choose your tonewoods more for aesthetics and weight than for their effect on tone.

    Yamaha BB404Fender Mexi Jazz, customizedYamaha TRB-1005Fender Highway-1 Strat, customizedEpiphone Les Paul, Worn BrownTakamine Jasmine acousticTaylor 114ce acoustic/electricPeavey 210TX+ext 2x2x10 comboFender Bassman 150 1x12h comboWhen shopping for an axe, you will probably find yourself negotiating with your checkbook. This is normal, but do refrain from talking to it out loud.

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