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Most aggressive: Thumb vs Stingray vs Wal


4000

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16 minutes ago, Misdee said:

They offer a selection of neck profiles to order. Unfortunately my L1500 was a bit too wide at the nut for me, with an overall profile like a classic vintage P Bass. If it had been more like a Jazz or Stingray I would still own it. G&L make some superb instruments, no doubt about that.

Problem is I’d never order a G&L hoping it would ok. I’ve never been a Fender or Musicman guy so it would be too far away from my preference to take a punt on. I like necks like the very early Thumbs, very, very slim. I’ve never played a Jazz neck that I consider slim. At the nut, yes, but I don’t spend a great deal of time down that end. 😉

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35 minutes ago, NickA said:

"I always set up my basses with straight neck and very low action. The lower the better"

 

My fretted Wal has 1mm of neck relief and a relatively high action.  Everything I can do to eliminate fret noise! 

 

Tbh I'd like a lower action but, after 30 years, the frets need flattening.


I love fret noise! That’s most of my sound! 😂

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8 minutes ago, 4000 said:

Problem is I’d never order a G&L hoping it would ok. I’ve never been a Fender or Musicman guy so it would be too far away from my preference to take a punt on. I like necks like the very early Thumbs, very, very slim. 

Fair enough, good point. It's a great strength in life to have a clear idea of what you want. 🙂 Even the G&L Jazz width necks have some meat to their profile.

 

If your not a Fender- derived design guy I totally get it. I sometimes muse that my dad had, as I so wanted at the time, been able to shell out a bit more and buy me a Rickenbacker 4001 instead of the Jazz Bass copy I ended up with how different my taste in basses might have been.

Edited by Misdee
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49 minutes ago, NickA said:

"I always set up my basses with straight neck and very low action. The lower the better"

 

My fretted Wal has 1mm of neck relief and a relatively high action.  Everything I can do to eliminate fret noise! 

 

Tbh I'd like a lower action but, after 30 years, the frets need flattening.

I know for a fact that Pete Stevens used to recommend more relief in the neck and  then lowering the setup at the bridge to suit  taste and playing style accordingly.

Edited by Misdee
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I too need a bit of fretbuzz and grit in my sound or I don't enjoy playing the bass. Just so long as it isn't choking too much and taking energy out of the  vibrating string.

 

The thing is, some high end basses are do well made to such fine tolerances nowadays that it can be difficult to get sufficient fret buzz  and grind with my preferred string heights!

Edited by Misdee
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13 minutes ago, Misdee said:

Fair enough, good point. It's a great strength in life to have a clear idea of what you want. 🙂 Even the G&L Jazz width necks have some meat to their profile.

 

If your not a Fender- derived design guy I totally get it. I sometimes muse that my dad had, as I so wanted at the time, been able to shell out a bit more and buy me a Rickenbacker 4001 instead of the Jazz Bass copy I ended up with how different my taste in basses might have been.

I’ve often wondered the same, but in reverse. I wanted a Rickenbacker as my first bass (1980) but couldn’t even begin to afford one. My second choice - and only feasible option financially at the time - was to buy a black, maple-necked Kay P Bass from our catalogue. At least it would have had a bit of a Phil Lynott/JJB vibe, if not the Lemmy/Roger/Geddy etc thing I was really after. At that point my dad, who was a musician himself, intervened and said he’d help me get the bass I wanted as it would stand me in better stead (thanks dad!). So my first bass was a Rick 4001, which has coloured my tastes ever since. If I’d have bought the Kay, who knows where I’d have been now, taste-wise?

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7 minutes ago, 4000 said:

I’ve often wondered the same, but in reverse. I wanted a Rickenbacker as my first bass (1980) but couldn’t even begin to afford one. My second choice - and only feasible option financially at the time - was to buy a black, maple-necked Kay P Bass from our catalogue. At least it would have had a bit of a Phil Lynott/JJB vibe, if not the Lemmy/Roger/Geddy etc thing I was really after. At that point my dad, who was a musician himself, intervened and said he’d help me get the bass I wanted as it would stand me in better stead (thanks dad!). So my first bass was a Rick 4001, which has coloured my tastes ever since. If I’d have bought the Kay, who knows where I’d have been now, taste-wise?

I remember that era so well and a Rickenbacker bass was an object of religious reverence for aspiring bass players of the rock/prog persuasion. And plenty of other genres too, for that matter.

 

I've still never owned a Ric for one reason or another. Should have bought a 4004 while they still made them. And now they have stopped laquering the fingerboard on ,4003's!😯

Edited by Misdee
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Out of the three listed, I've only owned a Stingray (5). It was definitely capable to deliver an agressive tone (especially in series mode) but it never quite did it for me for punch and pressure. I have played a Thumb NT5 only once but it left a lasting impression. The punch and attack were phenomenal, in a gnarly and clanky way but with a massive low mid bump that really kicked. Definitely on my wishlist! I have to make do with two Streamer LX's for now, so I could do worse. 

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5 minutes ago, Misdee said:

I remember that era so well and a Rickenbacker bass was an object of religious reverence for aspiring bass players of the rock/prog persuasion. And plenty of other genres too, for that matter.

For me they still are, hence why I’ve only got Rics left! 😂 Sadly my first, s/n TC915, was stolen in Hendon in ‘86. 

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9 minutes ago, LeftyJ said:

Out of the three listed, I've only owned a Stingray (5). It was definitely capable to deliver an agressive tone (especially in series mode) but it never quite did it for me for punch and pressure. I have played a Thumb NT5 only once but it left a lasting impression. The punch and attack were phenomenal, in a gnarly and clanky way but with a massive low mid bump that really kicked. Definitely on my wishlist! I have to make do with two Streamer LX's for now, so I could do worse. 

I too need to scratch my early Thumb itch one day. The only issue is that I’m not sure I’d get on with the ergonomics - particularly the small body - anymore. Last time I played a couple, only last year, I struggled. 
 

One other thing, wenge-necked fretless Thumbs are also tremendous things IME. They really sing, IMO.

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I didn’t like the neck - huge compared to all my other basses at the time - didn’t like the scale length, didn't get on with the ergonomics, and wasn’t keen on the sound. It had punch but (IMO - YMMV obviously) wasn’t a very musical-sounding instrument. Typically I like quite hollow-sounding instruments like Rics and Alembics. It looked nice though! I bought it because it was a bargain, cost me £700 new after some serious haggling. 

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28 minutes ago, 4000 said:

I too need to scratch my early Thumb itch one day. The only issue is that I’m not sure I’d get on with the ergonomics - particularly the small body - anymore. Last time I played a couple, only last year, I struggled. 
 

One other thing, wenge-necked fretless Thumbs are also tremendous things IME. They really sing, IMO.

Fretless Thumb Basses are indeed very special. I'm sure the combination of woods contributes a great deal to that. 

 

I remember when Thumbs first came out and ( as the name implies) everyone commented on the phenomenal slap sound, which is also probably in no small part due to the  use of wenge and bubinga ect( I know Thumb Basses have ebony boards now, but didn't they have wenge fretboards back in the 80s?). Anyhow, back in those days a good slap sound was a major consideration! The natural compression from that wood combination really delivered the goods.

Edited by Misdee
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39 minutes ago, Misdee said:

Fretless Thumb Basses are indeed very special. I'm sure the combination of woods contributes a great deal to that. 

 

I remember when Thumbs first came out and ( as the name implies) everyone commented on the phenomenal slap sound, which is also probably in no small part due to the  use of wenge and bubinga ect( I know Thumb Basses have ebony boards now, but didn't they have wenge fretboards back in the 80s?). Anyhow, back in those days a good slap sound was a major consideration! The natural compression from that wood combination really delivered the goods.

I think all the ones I’ve played, even the earlier ones, have had ebony boards, but they possibly did both. 
 

Wenge and bubinga seem to be a huge part of the Thumb tone. The Ovangkol-necked ones don’t sound the same IME, although do do still have a not-dissimilar quality (in fact that applies across the board with Warwicks). 

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4 minutes ago, 4000 said:

I think all the ones I’ve played, even the earlier ones, have had ebony boards, but they possibly did both. 
 

Wenge and bubinga seem to be a huge part of the Thumb tone. The Ovangkol-necked ones don’t sound the same IME, although do do still have a not-dissimilar quality (in fact that applies across the board with Warwicks). 

I'm definitely from the "older Warwick basses were better" camp myself. Slimmer neck profiles ect. (Not that later ones are necessarily bad or not worth having, by any means.)

 

I could easily be wrong about the fingerboard wood.

 

It's worth mentioning that the EMG pickups on the original basses were also probably a significant contribution to the unique tone, too.

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Of the Wal, Stingray or Thumb, the Thumb is, to me, unquestionably the most aggressive. It does it without needing a super hot signal too: the aggressive tone is inherent to the construction, mainly the woods and pickup position, rather than simply being a really high gain signal as a result of the electronics.

 

I also have a Spector Euro LX, the second I've owned and even with the Tonepump on 50%, its noticeably louder than my Thumb and requires an adjustment to the input gain on my amp to suit. On the other hand, I can swap from my Thumb to my Ken Smith, Pedulla, Sandberg etc and not have any significant difference to the volume. 

 

Some basses sound aggressive because of the electronics but I don't believe that to be the case for Thumbs. At least, its not the biggest part of the picture.

 

It's worth noting too that not all Thumbs are equal. The 5 strings sound more aggressive than the 4s and 6s to me. The 4s, in most cases, have two J bars, one in the mid and one by bridge and only the one by the bridge is slanted. 

 

The 5s and 6s have both of their pickups slanted and very close to the bridge. The 5s however have J bars and the 6s have soapbars. I think that makes the 5s just growl that bit more.

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Stingray for me, that thing cuts through a mix like nobody’s business.

 

Sorry to go outside the realms of the original question but the most aggressive bass I’ve ever played/owned is my Ken Smith - if you’re not careful with the preamp you’re almost fighting to keep it under control. The Sadowsky VTC is also super aggressive if not used in moderation. 

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35 minutes ago, matski said:

Quite a good sound comparison vid here, the Stingray and Thumb are featured. And you get to hear what slapping a Rickenbacker sounds like... :D


 

 

 

Well I know what slapping a Ric sounds like. 😉 However that Ric sounds nothing like any of the many Rics I’ve owned. It sounds like he’s either got the deadest strings in the world……or flats. 😂 Sounds a bit pants, tbh. 

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45 minutes ago, 4000 said:

Well I know what slapping a Ric sounds like. 😉 However that Ric sounds nothing like any of the many Rics I’ve owned. It sounds like he’s either got the deadest strings in the world……or flats. 😂 Sounds a bit pants, tbh. 


Having found out recently Leon Silvers 111 played a Rickenbacker with flats on all those famous Shalamar/Whispers songs, I’m inclined to think they’re great for that post disco, Boogie type of R and B.

 

Im often sceptical about comparison videos as a lot depends on the interface used, the way the basses are set up in terms of EQ etc and of course the player. 

 

In terms of the OP, I think the Stingray can be made to sound incredibly aggressive - a Wal also. The Thumb is generally a more woody sound - however I haven’t spent enough time with either a Wal or a Thumb to get the most out of them.

 

Also, the correct comparison should involve an HH Stingray and an HH Wal. 

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2 hours ago, drTStingray said:


Having found out recently Leon Silvers 111 played a Rickenbacker with flats on all those famous Shalamar/Whispers songs, I’m inclined to think they’re great for that post disco, Boogie type of R and B.

 

 

 

Also, the correct comparison should involve an HH Stingray and an HH Wal. 

 Maurice Gibb used a Ric with flats too, on the Bee Gees stuff. Sounds great. Obviously how a bass works solo-d and in the mix are potentially two entirely different things. The Ric in the video doesn’t sound like any Ric I’ve ever played though. 
 

I’d love to hear a comparison between a HH Stingray and a Wal. Somebody set that up! 😁 

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