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Tonal differences between models

Discussion in 'Bass Guitars' started by tidr, Jun 11, 2015.

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  1. tidr

    tidr

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    Hi, everyone!
    This will be my first post so i try not to ask a too dumb question,
    but i was browsing the forum and haven't been able to find an answer to this:
    Let's say we have three (just a random number) basses, a Streamer, a Thumb and a Vampyre.
    We make them a'la CS, and we'll go with the same body-, neck- and fretwood.
    We also use the same pickups, strings. (doesn't really matter in this case, think of anything)
    If we have the same attributes with these models how much of a tonal difference would be between them?
    What would be the difference? (You can of course say it about Corvette, Infinity, Starbass... all)
    How much of a tonal difference does the shape of a bass makes?
    Is the difference more aesthetic and ergonomic?
    If there's a thread like this and i was too lazy to find it, sorry.
    If it's an amateur question, i'm sorry, consider me an amateur, and i only own one bass (yet...).
     
  2. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Hi tidr, welcome to the forum.

    I think there will be minute differences between the three basses but they will share much more characteristics then have differences. The different shapes will mainly affect the instrument's punch, growl and sustain, which are all about resonance of the instruments body and neck when playing the strings.

    Problem is we wouldn't be able to exactly tell upfront if these differences are caused by the different shape of the basses. Take three swamp ash jazz basses from the same series and you will find they all sound slightly different.
     
  3. tidr

    tidr

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    Thanks for the welcome and the quick answer DiMarco!
    I read about the uniqeness of wood, and it perfectly makes sense.
    What i wanted is, that, let's say you want a bass with the particular qualities,
    woods, pickups, strings, that you know would be well suited for the style you want to play it with.
    You, with your experience, would you consider a bass with the shape that enhances these traits,
    or would you consider the shape-added benefits so small that you'd choose the one which
    appearance and comfort appeals most to you? As in your case, if i'm correct:
    Does the Dolphin appeals to you more because of its tonality, or form, or perhaps equally?
    Thanks!
     
  4. Hardy

    Hardy Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Star Bass and Infinity will sound different because of the semi hollow bodies.

    I personally would choose the shape I like first, then in step two think about the configuration.
     
  5. AsturHero

    AsturHero

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    if you go deeper...every single body sounds different because wood is natural, so the density and the grain are from Body to Body different..still nuances even with two the same exactically basses, but noteable.

    For example my Corvette J/J, it had a thick Polycoat and sounds good..now, after stripping it down without a thick laquered coat it sound more brilliant and the most important thing: its much mor deeper and bassy ! now i can't turn the Bass-Knob more than neutral, more than half it begins to distort and clipping...before only at full Bass it has distorted and clipped.
     
  6. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I chose Dolphins because they share qualities with both the Thumb bass and neckthru Streamers.

    Tone wise it is nice and growly but also capable of more generic tone by soloing the neck pickup.
    It is the most comfortable playing Warwick model I have owned yet and I also like its appearance a lot.

    Package deal really. I don't choose an instrument on any single aspect.
     
  7. StreamerII84

    StreamerII84 Warwick Endorser

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    It's all about the pickup positioning in this case
     
  8. tidr

    tidr

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    Thanks for all the attention and answers to my questions!
    I would like to ask a more direct question, please indulge me.
    Say, if i have the funds to finance a custom bass from Warwick.
    I would like to play in a variety of styles. (new age, ambient, metal, jazz, rock mainly but not exclusively)
    I was thinking about a full wenge build. (body, neck, fret)
    I would choose 5-string, and play with E A D G C, just like now.
    Would like to have Nordstrand pickups. (MM/J, J/J or MM/MM)
    I still don't understand that much about pickups, any advice appreciated regarding these configs.
    Which model would you rather choose to build it and why:
    Thumb NT or Vampyre NT?

    I hope i didn't crossed that much into Custom Shop Forum territory,
    because my question is still regarding these two bass models.
     
  9. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Well in my (often not so) humble opinion, a pickup with switchable coil modes makes sense near the bridge but not so much at the neck position so I would personally go with switchable coil mode MM at bridge and a J at neck positions. Single coil at neck position is also nice and punchy where MM tends to get overly muddy there. So far this MM/J or in my case TJ/J has yielded the best results for me.

    That said, I am a big fan of single coil pickups anyway.
     
  10. Hardy

    Hardy Good Vibe Sponsor

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    +1

     
  11. bassmanklm

    bassmanklm

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    Excuse my off-topic question, but how do they compare, regarding the weight? I've got one of each "reference models" at home atm (SS1, SS2, Thumb), all in 5 strings version, and the SS2 is 20% heavier than the others... I'm thinking about replacing one of the three with a Dolphin (if i can find one, that's for the difficult part!), and this question begins to matter for me.
     
  12. The ShadowKnight

    The ShadowKnight

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    Well, all things equal the body can affect tone, and there will also be a difference between a smaller thick body and a wider thinner body, as the frequency response will differ slightly.
    Having a beefier neck will also change the tone a bit, in addition to personal preferences.
     
  13. tidr

    tidr

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    What would you say about the J/J setup?
    Would it detract from the lower frequencies, or just make the sound less "mellow"?
     
  14. tidr

    tidr

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    Would this primarily appear in the sustain difference?
     
  15. The ShadowKnight

    The ShadowKnight

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    yes, more mass will allow the string to sustain better, as it will be more rigid :)

    Though more a heavier instrument may emphasize the highs a bit more, a lighter one the low end, as they will filter out different frequencies.
    A quick and rough example would be tapping/knocking on a light/hollow wall and a thicker/carrying wall as a comparison. The hollower wall is lighter, will vibrate and give a lower note response killing highs, the thicker wall will eat the lows and give a higher pitched response.
     
  16. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Less mellow. The lows will be just as huge but cleaner and punchier. Some would say "less warm".
    But I like my warmth to come from the tube amp I am using instead of the instrument.
     
  17. tidr

    tidr

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    As i venture further into the world of Warwick, from time to time,
    i see people highlight the tone of the Thumb bass.
    I have become captivated by it too. What do you think makes it stand out that much,
    if we're already talking about tonal differences? And i'm not berating any other basses,
    it's just that this appears in conversations so frequently. I mean, what participates most in its unique sound?
    Is it the wood, the unusual pickup positioning, the shape of the body? What do you say?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2015
  18. shaftbass

    shaftbass

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    Mainly pickup placement. I've played a few non-Thumb Custom Shop basses with the Thumb pickup configuration, and they have that distinctive Thumb-like sound.
     
  19. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    The combination of the three. ;)
     
  20. boston asphalt2

    boston asphalt2 Official Forum Pain in the Ass

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    Agreed. Woods do have some effect, but it's mostly electronics that cause differences
     
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