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Are guitarists more particular than bassists regarding authentic build for vintage favorites?

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3,449
I know this was tongue in cheek, but a great band always has a bass player who's a great musician. Lots of respect for those guys who can wail on several instruments but make a living keeping the foundation in place by keeping their egos in check.
We all know that the drummer and the bass player are the most important members of any band. That’s likely the reason for the good-natured ribbing.
 

s2y

Member
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19,074
As far as bassists in general and desiring vintage correct reissues, to me it is going to depend on each individual person.
As stated above here, I find bassists to be more in tune with modern technology as a group, but it is a different instrument with different sound needs then a guitar player has.
Some are traditional and some embrace the new stuff. Probably depends on the age/genre(s). A really traditional guy might play a Gibson and brag he has never gone above the 5th fret. A fusion bassist probably wants a more nimble bass and will be happier on an ergonomic 5-6 string bass.

Tone aside, the ergonomics aren't great on most short horned Gibson basses and they're not something my hands would want to play all night.
 
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Neverwhere

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Bass players are far more apt to be into newer designs, technology. The vintage trend that exists with guitars isn't really there with basses, it goes the other way really.
 

jvin248

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I'm a guitar player but ...

I have seen players in two distinct groups relative to instrument design: bass players are a lot less slavish to iconic designs than the often much more conservative guitar players. Guitar players must see Gibson on the headstock with the open book design or Fender on the headstock with the scroll but not the big headstock it must be the little headstock. Bass players want something new and innovative and are willing to experiment. Guitarists need to know the screws holding their multi-ply pickguard down are the same steel used by Buddy Holly in the 50s or it's not going to sound right. Or the paint color, directional cables, and phases of the moon -- and get angry about it.

I have heard from session bass players that if you show up to a session without a P-bass pickup in your kit they send you home and call the next guy on the list. ... Which probably only means the recording studio guys are guitarists.

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EtaCarinae

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The normal thing is to like innovation and not immediately dismiss improvements because your grandpa's guitar did not have them. Thank goodness the bass market never caught that bug. :)
 

s2y

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19,074
I have heard from session bass players that if you show up to a session without a P-bass pickup in your kit they send you home and call the next guy on the list. ... Which probably only means the recording studio guys are guitarists.
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People say this all the time. I occasionally got flack about the basses I brought when I auditioned for bands that more than likely didn't make it out of the basement. I've never had issues recording my various basses. '

Usually the "rules" are discussed by guys who aren't even in bands.
 

AL30

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3,000
I've been playing bass almost as long as I've been playing guitar. I really don't care for Gibson basses. I don't like the sound or the feel of most of them. The only vintage Gibson I've ever played that I thought was worth the money was my buddy's old Triumph. That is a great bass. Other than that I don't care how inexpensive vintage Gibson's are. I'm not buying.

Fender's on the other hand - they've got the sound that I hear in my head. And they're comfortable for me to play. I do prefer the 70s Fenders which evidently makes me a tone deaf idiot but ... they just feel right and they "growl" when you get the right one. I don't mind playing newer Fenders but I much prefer the sound of the older ones.
 

Mikhael

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2,895
I think part of that is that there are really only two vintage basses to contend with - Fender Precision and Jazz. Yes, there were others, and I happen to really like the Ric 4001 myself (probably from the early Yes, Rush, and a few others), but no one seems to be clamoring for the old Gretsch or Gibson basses. It seems to be just those two Fenders, unlike guitars, where there are a greater number of desirable vintage models to choose from.
 

Jugghaid

Member
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879
I don't think bass players are as hung up on vintage accuracy, at least based on the bass players and guitarists I personally know. And the bass players seem a lot more accepting of things like active electronics, solid state amps, and even just going direct with no amp...more willing to try new and different ways of doing things, I guess. Whereas most of the guitar players I know seem to be stuck in the 60s.

Also, something like an EB-3 isn't desirable enough to be worth big money like a 50s Les Paul. Really, I don't think any vintage Gibson bass is really all that desirable. Echoing what was pointed out in both this thread and the thread you made about this in the bass section, you can buy a vintage EB-3 for reasonable prices...if Gibson went through the trouble of making a really good reissue, it would cost more than the real (vintage) thing and probably wouldn't sell very well. So there's really no incentive for them to do a reissue imo.
Agreed. I'm a bass player with 40 years of gigging and also play guitar. I look at the different gear differently.

While I absolutely love a lot of the Fender reissues like the stack knob jazz basses and the 57 precision with the gold pickguard, bass players do not tend to be as hardcore about tradition in general and are more willing to try new things, IMO. Having said that I think that TGP in particular is probably much more traditional than many other guitar forums. There are plenty of guitarists out there that don't care about "conventional wisdom" and will try new things like the Strandberg guitars or axes with fanned frets or using a Helix or Fractal for their guitar rig.

Bass player needs are also quite different as it comes to tone and wattage requirements. I'm still a tube guy for both instruments and lug tube heads to gigs regardless if I am on guitar or bass (and my Helix :) ) Plus I'll lug a 412 for guitar gigs and a Bergantino 610 for bass gigs. I want the tone I want. But I know that a growing number are into Class D amplifiers and smaller cab setups specifically for the weight. And the new technology sounds great. Mesa, Aguilar and Darkglass in particular (my personal preferences only) make some outstanding class D bass heads.

So far as vintage Gibson basses go, the demand isn't there like it is for guitars, so neither is the demand for reissues. Fender has them solidly beat there on both fronts. Gibson has some cool designs like the Thunderbird, the Grabber, and I used to really want a Victory Artist bass really really bad back in the 80s. But they didn't have nearly the success Fender did for a lot of very good reasons. The EB series, as an example, are a muddy mess in many peoples opinions. Mine included.
 

Jugghaid

Member
Messages
879
.

I'm a guitar player but ...

I have seen players in two distinct groups relative to instrument design: bass players are a lot less slavish to iconic designs than the often much more conservative guitar players. Guitar players must see Gibson on the headstock with the open book design or Fender on the headstock with the scroll but not the big headstock it must be the little headstock. Bass players want something new and innovative and are willing to experiment. Guitarists need to know the screws holding their multi-ply pickguard down are the same steel used by Buddy Holly in the 50s or it's not going to sound right. Or the paint color, directional cables, and phases of the moon -- and get angry about it.

I have heard from session bass players that if you show up to a session without a P-bass pickup in your kit they send you home and call the next guy on the list. ... Which probably only means the recording studio guys are guitarists.

.
It means they probably have thousands of recordings under their belt with precision bass pickups so they know exactly how to get the bass to sit properly in the mix with that particular tone. :D It's more lazy than anything.
 
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aiq

Silver Supporting Member
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10,093
A lot of bassists I know seem to go in the other direction... 5- and 6-string basses in exotic woods with a lot of active circuitry. And they seem to spend more... a few use vintage pieces, but each full-time bassist seems to have a #1 that costs $5k or more.
This is my experience. My friend in our trio had a AC Harlot fretless from Scotland. A beauty and sounded great.
 

s2y

Member
Messages
19,074
This is my experience. My friend in our trio had a AC Harlot fretless from Scotland. A beauty and sounded great.
There's a ton of builders these days, all producing killer stuff. A friend of mine has or had an ACG. Interesting pickups and pre. Great ergonomics, killer sound, and amazing playability.

Kinda sad that guitarists don't seem to want to push the boundaries of the guitar like bassists. I mostly went custom because unlined fretless basses weren't a common spec when I got started. The improved ergonomics, better low B, etc were a heck of a bonus.
 
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