Jump to content
Baxlin

Is it just the weight of a bass?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I’ve 'enjoyed' having a dodgy back for many years, and certainly for rehearsals, I'd sit rather than have the full weight of the bass on the strap, because of backache.  Both my basses are long scale (an EB3 and a 335-shape semi acoustic).  

Looking for a lighter bass, I bought (unseen, via eBay - yes, I know) an 80s Marlin, which, as I’d learned on here, is budget thing, but, having a ply body, I hoped it might be lighter.  I’ve mentioned this bass on another thread.

Unfortunately, it’s not lighter, in fact it’s a tad heavier than the semi, and still 34" scale.  However, as the bridge is closer to the bottom (?) of the body, the whole instrument, and therefore the playing position, is shifted a few inches to the right.  Guess what, it’s so much more comfortable to play, and I did a 2 hour rehearsal yesterday with it, sitting down only for tea break.

Might have to sell all 3, and buy a decent similar-sized one, or switch to short scale!

Edited by Baxlin
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, weight certainly isn't everything. My bass is heavier than the previous one which I found uncomfortable on gigs, but this one is fine. A lot to say for a nicely balanced bass.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have enjoyed shoulder and neck pain for many years. My conclusion is that lightweight basses definitely help, but balance is key. 

Ultimately I keep the mbrace on hand so if things get really bad I don't hold the weight at all

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both.

 

Perfectly balanced and 9lb is too heavy for me.

 

Perfectly balanced and 6.8lb like my Sandberg is amazing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Makes sense to me. Even if a bass is relatively lightweight I still am more aware of the weight if it is also unbalanced on the strap.

I don't have a bad back, but after a few hours of standing to play I can feel the fatigue in my lower back is worse when I'm playing certain basses, so I have sympathy for anyone who suffers from back pain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, it isn’t all about weight, it’s more where the weight is distributed. Various Stingrays I’ve had have been veering towards the ‘boat anchor’ end of the spectrum, but because of the balance, that haven’t felt as heavy as they might. Compare this to a quite light P bass I had that had a fair amount of neck dive and gave me more shoulder pain than the ‘Rays. However, get a bass that is both light and well balanced and you’re in hog heaven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Baxlin said:

I’ve 'enjoyed' having a dodgy back for many years, and certainly for rehearsals, I'd sit rather than have the full weight of the bass on the strap, because of backache. 

 

2 hours ago, ezbass said:

Yeah, it isn’t all about weight, it’s more where the weight is distributed.

If a "dodgy" back is the problem then the weight is the first issue has to be sorted out. You have to find a bass that you can hold up for several hours without any pain or discomfort.

All my basses have balanced well so that has never been a problem for me, but if the body of your bass is so light that the balance is thrown out you can buy (or make) strap button extenders.

For a bad neck or shoulder, a wide, soft and supportive strap is also a prerequisite for a comfortable gig, but they don't always help lower back problems.

The best solution to a bad back is not to have one. Too many people don't seem to understand the importance of looking after their backs.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing I do to all of my basses whether they need it or not is fit Hipshot Ultralites. I like to play with my bass at almost a 45 degree angle to help keep my wrists straight and as well as losing a few grams in weight, they help to balance the bass better.

The second thing is a wide, padded strap set at the correct height as the height of the strap can affect how the bass feels.

The third is to move around as much as you can. I'm not talking about busting out your old 70's TOTP Legs & Co funky dancing but any movement will help shift the bass around as you play.

My Harley Benton Jazz weighs 9.8lbs but is incredibly comfortable on long gigs thanks in part to these things.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, chris_b said:

The best solution to a bad back is not to have one. Too many people don't seem to understand the importance of looking after their backs.

Top advice there. Find a therapy that works for you (osteopathy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage, etc) and keep it in as good a nick as you can manage with exercises (I use a foam roller for gentle stretching at home myself and visit an osteopath if it gets completely out of whack). 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My back problem seems to be more related to the amount of time standing relatively still during a gig. I'm OK until we start packing away and then the much greater range of movement required triggers some really painful lower back issues. I'm sure a lighter bass would be of some benefit but I'm not sure how much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unlike my '82 Aria SB 900 which smashes in at 4.78 kg

But, a monster wide 4" strap deals with that

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Baxlin said:

Unfortunately, it’s not lighter, in fact it’s a tad heavier than the semi, and still 34" scale.  However, as the bridge is closer to the bottom (?) of the body, the whole instrument, and therefore the playing position, is shifted a few inches to the right.  Guess what, it’s so much more comfortable to play, and I did a 2 hour rehearsal yesterday with it, sitting down only for tea break.

As someone also mentioned in another thread, different designs can help relieve problems by altering your playing position. I saw one of the basses below at a guitar show a while back, and couldn't believe how it was so playable (and light) for a full scale model. Made by Rees in Cambridge.

 

http://www.rees-electric-guitars.com/index.html

F-Light_black280.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, spencer.b said:

Sandberg and maruscyck make some really light basses

They do indeed. My Maruszczyk Elwood Ls are crazy light and superbly balanced (33” scale, customs).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, fleabag said:

But, a monster wide 4" strap deals with that

This, together with balance, is what counts, rather than weight. I once forgot my strap and had to borrow a piece of string to bodge something at the gig. After a couple of hours, it felt as if someone was sawing into my shoulder, even with a light (8 lb approx.) well balanced instrument. I eased it a bit by putting apiece of thick cardboard torn from a box between the string and my shoulder, but I was sore for a couple of days afterwards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Dan Dare said:

This, together with balance, is what counts, rather than weight. 

Not in all cases and certainly not in mine.  If I wear a bass for a gig or rehearsal that weighs anything over 9lbs - these days more like anything over 8lbs - and my back will be killing me next day, no matter how wide the strap or how well the bass balances.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 25/06/2019 at 18:57, Paul S said:

Not in all cases and certainly not in mine.  If I wear a bass for a gig or rehearsal that weighs anything over 9lbs - these days more like anything over 8lbs - and my back will be killing me next day, no matter how wide the strap or how well the bass balances.

 

Ditto. I have several prolapsed discs and although good balance helps, weight is key. Ironically neck heavy works better than body heavy for me, I assume due to the nature of the prolapses. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 25/06/2019 at 09:44, ezbass said:

Yeah, it isn’t all about weight, it’s more where the weight is distributed. Various Stingrays I’ve had have been veering towards the ‘boat anchor’ end of the spectrum, but because of the balance, that haven’t felt as heavy as they might. Compare this to a quite light P bass I had that had a fair amount of neck dive and gave me more shoulder pain than the ‘Rays. However, get a bass that is both light and well balanced and you’re in hog heaven.

I once put on a heavy pre-EB in The Gallery and both my legs went numb. Good balance or no, that ain’t working! I had nerve pain through my abdomen for days afterwards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get back ache and shoulder pain if i try and wear my bass at a 'sensible' height. So back to the Chris McCormack* signature strap it is! :D

*yeah, i told you i was old...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They take a lot of flack but if I wanted lightweight I'd go back to a Hohner "cricket bat" B2A, just make sure you get one with the EMG pickups and get decent strings, they sound great. I think they look great too, many people don't though! They also confuse the natural playing position and you're playing an A when your muscle memory was taking you to G. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

They take a lot of flack but if I wanted lightweight I'd go back to a Hohner "cricket bat" B2A, just make sure you get one with the EMG pickups and get decent strings, they sound great. I think they look great too, many people don't though! They also confuse the natural playing position and you're playing an A when your muscle memory was taking you to G. 

Same reason I sold mine, although the strap button extender bracket thingy you could fit to them apparently sorted this out.  If I could have found one I’d have kept the bass, but I got sick of forever hitting wrong notes while trying to pull the bass back nearer me. 😅

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a while I had a Steinberger Synapse which felt incredibly light & I could easily play for a couple of hours with no aches or pains at all.

Surprisingly it weighed 8lbs & was built like a brick out house, so it wasn’t its stick like dimensions that made it comfortable - must have been it’s balance too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a dodgy back and a lighter bass along with moving to a short scale both helped. I think having less extension on my left arm, and less stretching the wrist around the first few frets really helped in my case.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

They take a lot of flack but if I wanted lightweight I'd go back to a Hohner "cricket bat" B2A, just make sure you get one with the EMG pickups and get decent strings, they sound great. I think they look great too, many people don't though! They also confuse the natural playing position and you're playing an A when your muscle memory was taking you to G. 

I had a headless Westone Quantum many years ago which I loved. Medium scale I believe.

I must admit I’ve never had the problem with playing position that many have when playing headless instruments (I’ve had 2 headless Seis as well).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your problems can be fixed by sorting out an unbalanced bass then that's good. If they can't then reducing the weight is the only way forward.

I can just about gig with my 9 1/2lb Jazz bass but if I move a lot (or it's just a bad day) I'll feel the ache in my lower back starting. If I carry on I know the next day will be very bad. There have been gigs when I've had to switch over to my 8 1/2lb P bass in the interval.

These injuries never go away and many get worse over time. Some can stabilise but take care of your backs then you won't have to worry about stinky poo like this!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...