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Help me find the so-called "Light weight" Bass, how heavy is that?


saranac

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I've spent about three hours searching for these "lightweight" Basses on the web, and rarely is the actual weight provided. All the evidence is anecdotal, people will say, "..this lightweight Base..." yada yada. Means nothing to me. But an extra half pound after three hours surely will. I have only one Base (I know thats probably unusual), a Fender Precision for two years now and i love it, but I have occaisional back trouble.

Can anyone offer suggestions regarding Quality Lightweight Basses i can try out, and provide a source of information for the actual weight?

Has anyone here who has had back trouble and switched to a particular Base that made a difference, and did not sacrifice much in the quality of their sound?

sincerely

saranac

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Wood densities vary enough to make it problematic if a manufacturer also has to adhere to a figure it would supply. Carvin among others does give a good estimate. If you want light, go for a chambered BASS or a semi-acoustic, or at least go for the swamp ash or lighter alder basses.

 

You don't sacrifice anything by going with lighter woods. But it potentially limits you to a certain blend of tone and sustain - just as going with heavier woods would potentially limit you do a different subset of tone and sustain. Some people make a big deal of this, but construction can largely negate the differences.

 

Often, people who make a big deal of this often can't actually hear the differences (though the feel of wearing the bass may give them certain ahm, er, impressions) - they just have convinced themselves that for their bass to be THE BESTOR that there's got to be some things they can point to when saying that others' basses are the WORSTOR ; }

.
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Get an Epiphone Jack Casady.

 

That is, provided you like it. I know I do, but I'm not you.

 

Most makers' websites do tend to list weights. But even so, it's still another question whether you'll like those basses, & it can be hard to tell online. (Carvin have good sound samples & a generous return policy, though.)

 

I'd recommend taking your strap & heading out to the shops (if possible where you are). Pull 'em down & strap 'em on. That way, you can check weight, tone, & playability all at once.

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My Bunny Brunnel and my SRX505 are the two lightest I own. The SRX is basswood bodied. Basswood tends to be quite light compared to anything else but maybe Balsa. :D The Bunny is 8.75 lbs (8.25 for the 4 sting model) according to Carvin.

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You could get a Danelectro Longhorn...they just reissued them... they are really light.... and look pretty cool.

 

When I had my Mike Lull bass built, I asked for a lighter than average bass. Mike graciously complied. My bass is alder and a little lighter than most jazz basses.

 

The lightest bass I have is my Wendler bass...it's got a solid body and weighs almost nothing. It doesn't sound much like a traditional electric bass, though.

 

As Greenboy says, there are many companies making basses with chambered bodies these days...that cuts out a few pounds. Otherwise you could just take a regular bass and go after it with a hacksaw and a drill.

 

Here's a beauty from Zachary Guitars

 

http://www.zacharyguitars.com/0NS1_13.JPG

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That's a pretty bass, Jeremy.

 

Y'all be careful where ya drill now, okay?

 

I had a student once with a back problem. He settled on the superlight Cort by Curbow. Made of Luthite. Really a pretty good sounding bass that weighed almost nothing.

 

The "slapswitch" on his was a distortion nightmare, though.

 

Here's the link: Cort Curbow

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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My definition of light is around 6 lb for a 4 string bass. I've found that my favorite vintage Fenders are right around the 7 lb. mark. Most of the basses I see reviewed in Bass Player are in the 8 to 10 lb category.

Personally I've found that a hollowed out body doesn't necessarily help the balance issue which I consider just as important over the long haul.

Unfortunately high end basses tend to use heavier exotic woods.

Don't overlook the possibility of getting a custom bass built from woods like swamp ash, sassafras, pawlonia, butternut, peruvian walnut or easter alder. A mahogany neck can save some weight over the usual maple. A wenge neck is one of the heaviest choices...

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I'm thinking really hard about moving on to a light weight bass, since first enjoying my rob allen mb2's gracile profile.

I'll be checking out some options tomorrow. Commencement, it's a pretty cool thing. My rob allen weighs probably half the weight of my yamaha bb series bass, warwick thumb, and the musicman singray I have with me right now. Heavy, these basses are.

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It seems like this is similar to bass cabinets...you can get very lightweight basses that sound and play fantastic, but they aren't cheap.

 

I was going to mention the Cort Curbow, but I see someone already did. String spacing on that one is very close on a 5-string (if that's what you're looking for)...don't know about the 4-stringers.

 

If money is no object, you might want to check out basses by Modulus, Moses Graphite, and Status Graphite. As you can probably guess, the necks are graphite (usually hollow...some of these have graphite bodies as well), so that trims a considerable amount of weight off AND makes for an impeccable balance. Probably the lightest of those would be the Moses Graphite Key Bass...it's weird looking with the rails, but I've played one and it sounded fantastic, and was really REALLY lightweight. It's also $2700. Ouch. Make sure you like the sound of any of these though...I've heard folks describe the graphite necks as sounding "cold" or "sterile"...I didn't find that to be the case myself, but YMMV. Seems like graphite necks really make for some instantaneous attack.

 

Steinberger makes the really lightweight broom-stick style headless basses, and Hohner also makes Steinberger-licensed copies that sound really good IMHO. If you don't like the broom-stick styling, there's an old headless from Hohner called a "Jack V" which has a full but slightly small body, and it's really lightweight. I have one of those that I'm...re-engineering, let's say. Close string spacing on the 5-string though.

 

The Pedulla Thunderbolt and Thunderbass are fairly lightweight, impeccably balanced, and sound and play fantastic. They are around $1800 and $2600 respectively, IIRC. I have an Ebay search setup for Thunderbolts right now...I really like those basses. The "thunderguts" switch is way cool...these basses have a really articulate sound to them but still sound deep and punchy. And Pedulla's blurbs about being able to go from a warm, round finger-pick sound to a bright, snappy slap sound without flipping any switches is indeed true. Although you can do that with most modern basses, I'd have to say the Thunderbass that I played in a store was much more pronounced in that characteristic than my Musicman Stingray5 is.

 

I have a Dean Edge fretless which is really light. I really like it's sound and feel, but wasn't crazy about the same model of fretted bass. Your mileage may vary. Close string spacing on the 5's.

 

Tune basses seem very light to me (and they sound pretty nice, especially given the price). I was playing one in Sam Ash today as a matter of fact...felt very light, but it did seem just a tad out-of-balance...just a little neck-heavy, which surprised me since the neck feels fairly thin but wide to my hand. However, the one I was playing today just felt really easy to play...not sure if it was the setup, strings, the bass itself.

 

HTH,

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Sadowsky makes some of the lightest basses out there. Generally, the USA models seem to be lighter than the MIJ Metros as a rule. On the site, the weights of the available instruments are listed.

 

My first Sadowsky - a quilt top with a maple neck - weighs around 7 or 8 pounds. When I first got it, I barely could feel its weight when I carried it around in a gig bag.

 

I'm not an experienced Lakland owner, but they can and do make instruments that can be considered lighter than industry standard.

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Were you asking about light weight or,

 

The Light Wave Bass?

 

Several basses use this optical pickup system, and while I was buzzing around looking I revisited the Langcaster page.

 

I'll bet these basses (made with wood that died 35,000 years ago) aren't light. Jade inlay in the string trees.

 

They are beautiful and I'd love to have one.

 

Langcaster Basses.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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I want to thank you all so far, for your encouraging replies. I've got lots of 'homework' to do exploring the various options (it's light weight (not wave)). I'm from a small town, Ive tried the Basses in our small music store, the selection is insufficient. I got a 1 and half hour (or two and a half) drive to a better retail outlet, and I intend to call them in advance to choose which direction to begin with. I'm very reluctant to buy my next base without playing it first.

 

Nonetheless, I've begun exploring options that I can by contacting manufacturers via email. The Cort Curbow seems worthy of consideration. Sure wish i had $1800 spare for a Pedula, but that, is not an option. Ah well, but it sounds attractive..

 

Again,

 

Thanks.

most sincerely,

Saranac

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It might be worth calling around to some of the specialty bass shops around the country and having them be on the lookout for a particularly light weight bass of a given model you like.

What about one of the wacky creations from Subway basses in the bay area?

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Well, my basses are pretty hefty. But, to tell You the truth, i never really thought of this as a problem. I can do one set no sweat and never had to do two sets after one another, so that may be an explanation. I heard that the Ibanez Ergodyne basses were prety light. I wonder if they are disconinued though.

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This may not be relevant (though I obviously think it could be or I wouldn't have replied) but have you tried changing straps? I frequent a few bass forums and have heard many a time how a strap change can drastically effect the comfort level of playing a "heavy" bass. A wider strap will definitely spread out the weight on your shoulder, and I have also seen (and am considering purchasing) a neoprene-based strap which has been designed to offset the weight of heavy basses. You might also want to consider this option.

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The research for this will indeed be difficult. I have found that basses of slightly different weight may feel the same due to balance and other factors. It's also difficult to assess the weight factor until you play 3 hours. I know my Kinal is not a light instrument but is comfortable - but 3 hours later I feel it.

 

To summarize, you could go for chambered/semi hollow. Jack Casady, Ibanez Artcore. You could go for a genuinely different design like the Dan Electro, Gibson SG/EB, Cort Curbow, Steinberg (and other headless). There are other short scale options (including Fender) that may be good for you. Or you get a bass made to be light, whether by wood choice, cut, chambering the body (Sadowsky does this if the alder is too heavy).

 

I haven't owned a Cort Curbow, but have spent some time testing them. They sound pretty good, but are a bit awkward to play sitting down (without a strap). They are light because of materials and a small body. I've enjoyed playing them.

 

I've played a few Carvins. For their physical size (normal, not Curbow Pettite body), they have been on the light side. They are very comfortable. If you are going to do that, you might look at www.usmasters.com.

 

If you were going to go custom builder, your luthier could probably suggest lots of ways to lighten the load.

 

Keep looking (and let us know)!

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

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Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Tom provided a nice summary of the many good suggestions so far.

 

I want to second Dave's suggestion of a neoprene strap. I bought a "Comfort Strapp" several years ago and it's been a major improvement for me. The weight is distributed better and I no longer get a divet in my shoulder after playing a set.

 

Also, someone mentioned that basswood tends to be fairly light. If you like Fender basses, many of their MIJ (made in Japan) models are made of basswood, so this might be another option for you.

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I have a P-bass that I made. The body is basswood and the neck is a California Series jazz neck. It is very light and easy to play.

I believe the new version of this neck is called the Highway 1.

Fender has a Mustang bass that is advertised as lightweight. It is a little smaller and has a 30" scale length.

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I 3rd or 4th the idea of a better strap. I put a big wide comfortable strap on my Musicman Stringray5 (10 or 11 lbs, I believe), and it doesn't make the shoulder nearly as quickly. Also, a wider strap generates a perceived balance improvement...the wider it is, the more resistance it offers to sliding, thus keeping the neck more in the position you've put it in and requiring less work from you to keep it there.

 

Also, don't underestimate the importance of balance either. The only two complaints I have about my MM SR5 are that it's heavy and that it's not perfectly balanced (just a smidge neck-heavy). Having to expend energy holding the neck up contributes to fatique to some degree.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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i can't believe we've gotten this far without a mention of matt pulcinella . he makes very lightweight basses that balance well. and they're cool looking, too.

 

i thought BP reviewed one, but i can't find it online. i'll look at home. maybe someone else can dig it up.

 

robb.

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Three more nice Epiphones to consider (I think all of them are no more than 6-7 lbs:

 

- Viola

- El Capitan acoustic-electric (the anti-feedback circuit really works!)

- Allen Woody Rumblekat

 

I own the first two and they are so light you'll be able to dance around on stage with them, as a overweight bass player going on 53 with two busted lower lumbar disks and a cracked vertebra can attest to. (and I can dance, too!) As for their weight (you're right, statistics aren't out there after a casual Googling on my part) just go find them and strap them on, that's the only way you're gonna know for sure.

 

And if you still don't believe me, c'mon down and I'll show ya mine!

:wave:

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I played a friends Peavy Grind last week. Inexpensive, neck through construction, all passive, fast neck (for me), and very usable tones IMO. It was very light weight compared to my Roscoe and KSD ProtoJ. I've read about some build quality issues with this model, esp in regards to fretwork, but the one I played was just fine.
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