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So, if I was going to build a bass

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I’ve been asked when am I going to build one and have some ideas rolling around in my head but I’m curious what hardware, pickups etc those of you that play bass like and why. 

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Posted (edited)

I would love an original design, basses can be cool, with Gravelin pickups and an Audere 4 band preamp with Zmode switch.     Hipshot tuners and possibly a Hipshot bridge.   A neck similar to a Fender jazz neck.   If you decide to create a bass, I would suggest your own headstock design and if there is an inaugural run, count me in.  This is a bass with the Audere preamp.  The top is Cocobolo, a slice of maple and alder back   The headstock has a cocobolo overlay   

0B48683E-7232-4EEE-A3CF-866248C0EB5A.jpeg

Edited by ptm1diver
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Build it and they will come!

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I have a number of thoughts,  but I'll leave it to the bass players / buyers to comment. I will say for a 5 string,  a 35" (or 36") scale helps to keep that low B tight. 

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In my experience, bass players are curmudgeons about gear. I primarily gig as a bass player, and have used the same two basses for nearly 20 years. My main bass is an old Lakland 4-94 deluxe. It has a Bartolini “J” pickup at the neck and a “MM” pickup at the bridge. 3 band active eq, pan pot for pickup balance, I love the pan pot- I can move it just off center in either direction and get nice variations in tone. it can do everything from ‘60s Jamerson to full on Flea slapping. I also have a very early Music Man Sterling that covers less ground than the Lakland but is super light and great for long gigs. I also prefer maple boards on basses, but that’s just me. This is probably no help at all...

 

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I could probably fill a few pages with ideas, but Mike's stuff comes out great.

My thought is that if looking for something different/unique, I'd say:

1. If a 34" scale solidbody, there aren't many out there with "REAL" T-Bird pickups.  If Josh or somebody (besides Mike Lull?) would knock out those pickups to get that '63-'64 Thunderbird thang, maybe with a 2TEK bridge...I'll send my deposit in now.  ;)

2. There aren't that many great semihollow/hollow/centerblock basses out there worth a damn.  Maybe something along the lines of the current spruce top/mahogany back SC/DCs and a medium (32") scale with Duncan Bass PhatCats (or something similar?)...

Two totally different ideas, but something that just isn't your everyday P or J derivative.

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For me, its as much about light weight and good balance.  That also would mean light weight tuners, not super heavy bridge and most likely passive, which I prefer anyway.  Chambered or semi-hollow would be sweet as well, something like a Newport body in a bass.

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3 minutes ago, G Man said:

For me, its as much about light weight and good balance.  That also would mean light weight tuners, not super heavy bridge and most likely passive, which I prefer anyway.  Chambered or semi-hollow would be sweet as well, something like a Newport body in a bass.

That's pretty much what I was going for above - you pretty much nailed it.

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6 minutes ago, G Man said:

For me, its as much about light weight and good balance.  That also would mean light weight tuners, not super heavy bridge and most likely passive, which I prefer anyway.  Chambered or semi-hollow would be sweet as well, something like a Newport body in a bass.

What was the model of the Bass Hamer made for Jack Blades towards the end?  Is it something similar?

Hamerica

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As a guitarist, I say don't do it.

 

 

 

:P

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Maybe slightly larger versions of your double-cut and single-cut?

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9 hours ago, G Man said:

For me, its as much about light weight and good balance.  That also would mean light weight tuners, not super heavy bridge and most likely passive, which I prefer anyway.  Chambered or semi-hollow would be sweet as well, something like a Newport body in a bass.

IIRC, the Monaco Bass was along those lines. You could do worse as a starting point for tweaking.

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Having owned every major brand, I'd have to say my Hamer Impact is the closest to perfection in sound and feel. I know active EMG's are not for everyone, but on this bass they are incredible. For some reason, the Impact is a sustain freak with no dead spots. 

If that design could somehow be improved upon, I would have a real hard time resisting...

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9487156_orig.jpg

You said 'bass', right?

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5 hours ago, hamerhead said:

As a guitarist, I say don't do it.

 

 

 

:P

 

1 hour ago, hamerhead said:

9487156_orig.jpg

You said 'bass', right?

The first one was good enough, but then again you can't quit while your ahead can you?

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You're just mad because you don't get it.

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I have more guitars than basses, but always ended up bass player in any group or recording session.  I have been pondering which basses I would let go if I downsize, and that is a problem because there are features of different designs that make them all good. 

Here are the basics: 
 

My Music Man Stingray has a bolt on maple neck and an ash body.  It is an evolution of Fender's P-Bass. 

My Hamer Chaparrals have set maple necks and either mahogany or maple bodies. 

My Hamer Blitz Bass has a thick mahogany neck set into a lightweight mahogany body.  My Cruise Bass is a thinner version. 

Jol once wrote about using a specific type of flamed or quilted maple for tonal purposes, and my maple bodied Chaparral sounds good acoustically and plugged in.  The mahogany basses have their own voice, and my Blitz was used a lot.  The mahogany necks make a big difference in tone.  My preference is for maple fretboards on bolt-on necks. 

The Schaller bass bridges Hamer used are fine with me.  Simpler bridges are OK, too, as long as the string resonates. 

I do not want a heavy bass, but I like wider bodies or at least one with an armrest like an Explorer shape has. 

All of my basses have active electronics, and what I like about that is being able to have a great deal of EQ control right on the bass.  There is little need to tweak an amp with so much control on the bass.  While it would be fun to have an Alembic to get a piano like tone, all I really want is a tight thud.  For a soloist, bright bass tones might be necessary.  For a band setting there is no need to get into everyone else's range. 

My preference is the wider 1 5/8" nut of a Precision as opposed to the Jazz Bass nut width of 1 1/2".  The wider nut is what I have gotten used to.  I understand that five string basses usually go with the narrower nut spacing.  My eight string Chaparral has a wider nut and it never has been a problem. 

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Dood, do you even know what a Bass-o-matic is?!?

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Posted (edited)

Just make it, Mike.....just make it....

It will be perfect.

but since you are asking, something absolutely classic sounding with the Shish quality but that can do something else as well.

Edited by Jakeboy
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One of my favorite HAMER bass styles is actually the Chaparral 12 string. Basses in general are all over the place, but if I build a prototype, I’d probably take the same approach I’ve done with the DC and SC customs - start with a platform that hits the basics but leaves room for customization.  The challenge at this point is what qualifies as “the basics”.  I appreciate the feedback- keep it coming. 

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Mike, I think your single cut, slightly larger, would be a friggin sonic bomb! I'm sure you can get great pickups for it! I know a guy! LOL. I think I may hate you.... don't do it! LOL., the 2Tek could put people indentured to you, for a long, long, long time!

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You know my preferences...😀

 

What about a Super-C shaped body with a flat fretboard termination, appropriate pickups/hardware and a different headstock variation?

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Been thinking about my bass journey since this topic popped up. I have gone thru a little of everything over the years. In order-

Fender Mustang Bass

late '70s Rick 4001

Aria Pro II SB-900 (the two pickup version of the bass John Taylor used in Duran Duran)

Kramer Duke in RED, because the '80s (would love to have this one back for laughs)

Steinberger L2 

Pedulla MVP 4 string with Bartolini JJ pickups

'72 Jazz Bass

Music Man Sterling (very early example with bridge mutes, neck dated 7/8/93, bought used for $600 in a pissing rainstorm at a rest stop on the Merritt Parkway), still have it

Music Man Sterling lined Fretless (should have kept this one too)

Music Man 20th anniversary StingRay (kept a short while, never bonded, weird dead spots in the neck-good thing it was a great looking bass so I could sell it easily)

Lakland 4-94 Deluxe bought new in '97, still have it

I have to figure that deciding where to start with a bass would be much harder for Mike than it was with guitars-not because the end result won't be amazing, but because I would think there isn't nearly the audience to scoop up whatever he decides to do than there was for the Ultimates and eventually the Cobra/Maverick no matter what it ends up being. If he wanted to get a bunch of orders up front the logical thing would be to do something with a J Bass/Cruisebass flavor, but there are a million of those in the market already. Suhr makes a killer "J" bass that doesn't seem to get much attention in the marketplace. I'd guess Dan Strain builds at least 12 guitars for every bass, and his basses, while great instruments, are basically Fenders with zero design deviation from 50-60 year old instruments.

 

 

 

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