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15 hours ago, Baloney Balderdash said:

If the primary function of a musical instrument is making music, which it usually will be, tone should always be prioritized over looks, as you can't hear looks.

 

What kind of craziness is that? Taken to extremes that means we only really need one bass :shok:

 

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49 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

 

What kind of craziness is that? Taken to extremes that means we only really need one bass :shok:

 

I think you must be talking about the Variax bass there. Look how quickly they discontinued that. I can only assume that was because us bassists actually like owning multiple instruments, or was the modelling bad? I doubt the latter, if my Variax guitar was anything to go by: most of the models were brilliant.
 

The weird thing was that the Variax may have sounded like multiple different guitar models but it didn’t feel like them. Maybe that’s why we like to own multiple instruments: they don’t just sound different, they feel different too. I think the difference in feel affects the way you play and that in turn probably affects tone as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Many thanks to everyone who offered advice re my Hofner strings query. Re suggestions of the Hofner HCT not being suited to the sound I'm looking for, a couple of things to clarify - I'm definitely in the market for a well built, more premium solid body short scale right now, but I'm going to ask about that in a separate post! :)  I actually get a lot of versatility out of the Hofner Contemporary's tone with rounds, and being specific with playing style (fingers/thumb/palm muting) and position over pickups, I can get it to do fairly good imitations of both a standard electric bass sound and a more hollow vintage sound.

 

My main issue is, as has been mentioned, string choice is highly restricted due to the tiny tuners, and with the Hofner Contemporary Rounds I've found that almost as soon as I've broken them in, they start to tarnish, turn a coppery colour and look pretty horrendous, so I was hoping for something with more life expectancy to get out of that cycle being stuck between overly bright strings or tarnished eyesore!

 

When I said I wasn't going for vintage I realise that wasn't being specific enough to be useful. At that moment I was thinking 'vintage' in the sense that 90% of people with Hofners on bass forums seem to believe that there is only one correct way for them to sound - McCartneyesque, flats, picked, thumpy - that does nothing for me whatsoever. But I suppose there's also the sense of 'vintage' as in the opposite of what most of us would perceive as a modern bass sound - i.e. that bright, active, zingy, slappy tone. That modern sound is also the antithesis of what I like! My Platonic ideal of a bass tone (like many other people my age I imagine) are things like Flea's sound on Blood Sugar Sex Magic, or Stuart Zender on the first Jamiroquai album. Actually quite warm dark tones but with that roundwound funky growl and bite. 

 

Anyway I ordered the Labella White Tapes specifically for Hofners. Despite the increased gauge they fit they HCT Club perfectly fine at the nut and felt great to play, much preferred them to the flats I tried. Ultimately after trying them out for a full 10 hours or so playing time I switched back to the rounds. Although I liked the sound I was getting and it was certainly more expressive, growly and brighter than flats, it was less so than the broken-in rounds. Also with rounds the HCT Club just has this absolutely beautiful unique full-bodied tone in the upper registers, and it lost that completely with the tapes. Above the 7th fret of the G sounded like the nylon strings on an acoustic - not what I wanted at all.

 

So, I moved the tapes to my Hofner Ignition Club (which has been unmentioned until now...) Previously I'd put the flats on there to give it a raison d'etre after getting the HCT, which had ultimately had the effect of making me want to play it even less (doh!)  I did have to slightly file a nut slot on the Ignition to get the D string to fit, mostly because that slot happened to be wonkily cut to start with, but once on the tapes sounded absolutely made for that instrument. Full, warm, expressive, responsive and articulate, and oddly didn't have the same 'nylon acoustic string' effect in the upper register at all. It's one of those long term goals of mine to one day own a German Hofner Club bass, and if/when that happens, I will be putting a set of Labella white tapes on it. In the meantime, I may just have to learn to love the lived-in look of rounds on the HCT.

 

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2 hours ago, RichT said:

Many thanks to everyone who offered advice re my Hofner strings query. Re suggestions of the Hofner HCT not being suited to the sound I'm looking for, a couple of things to clarify - I'm definitely in the market for a well built, more premium solid body short scale right now, but I'm going to ask about that in a separate post! :)  I actually get a lot of versatility out of the Hofner Contemporary's tone with rounds, and being specific with playing style (fingers/thumb/palm muting) and position over pickups, I can get it to do fairly good imitations of both a standard electric bass sound and a more hollow vintage sound.

 

My main issue is, as has been mentioned, string choice is highly restricted due to the tiny tuners, and with the Hofner Contemporary Rounds I've found that almost as soon as I've broken them in, they start to tarnish, turn a coppery colour and look pretty horrendous, so I was hoping for something with more life expectancy to get out of that cycle being stuck between overly bright strings or tarnished eyesore!

 

When I said I wasn't going for vintage I realise that wasn't being specific enough to be useful. At that moment I was thinking 'vintage' in the sense that 90% of people with Hofners on bass forums seem to believe that there is only one correct way for them to sound - McCartneyesque, flats, picked, thumpy - that does nothing for me whatsoever. But I suppose there's also the sense of 'vintage' as in the opposite of what most of us would perceive as a modern bass sound - i.e. that bright, active, zingy, slappy tone. That modern sound is also the antithesis of what I like! My Platonic ideal of a bass tone (like many other people my age I imagine) are things like Flea's sound on Blood Sugar Sex Magic, or Stuart Zender on the first Jamiroquai album. Actually quite warm dark tones but with that roundwound funky growl and bite. 

 

Anyway I ordered the Labella White Tapes specifically for Hofners. Despite the increased gauge they fit they HCT Club perfectly fine at the nut and felt great to play, much preferred them to the flats I tried. Ultimately after trying them out for a full 10 hours or so playing time I switched back to the rounds. Although I liked the sound I was getting and it was certainly more expressive, growly and brighter than flats, it was less so than the broken-in rounds. Also with rounds the HCT Club just has this absolutely beautiful unique full-bodied tone in the upper registers, and it lost that completely with the tapes. Above the 7th fret of the G sounded like the nylon strings on an acoustic - not what I wanted at all.

 

So, I moved the tapes to my Hofner Ignition Club (which has been unmentioned until now...) Previously I'd put the flats on there to give it a raison d'etre after getting the HCT, which had ultimately had the effect of making me want to play it even less (doh!)  I did have to slightly file a nut slot on the Ignition to get the D string to fit, mostly because that slot happened to be wonkily cut to start with, but once on the tapes sounded absolutely made for that instrument. Full, warm, expressive, responsive and articulate, and oddly didn't have the same 'nylon acoustic string' effect in the upper register at all. It's one of those long term goals of mine to one day own a German Hofner Club bass, and if/when that happens, I will be putting a set of Labella white tapes on it. In the meantime, I may just have to learn to love the lived-in look of rounds on the HCT.

 

I'd call that a reasonably happy ending to this chapter of your s-s story 🙂 We'll look out for your post re the s-s solid-bodied bass you're after.

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2 hours ago, RichT said:

I'm definitely in the market for a well built, more premium solid body short scale right now, but I'm going to ask about that in a separate post! :) 

 

If you want super premium, there’s a Serek up for grabs in the for sale section right now.

 

 

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7 hours ago, ezbass said:

If you want super premium, there’s a Serek up for grabs in the for sale section right now.

 

 

I've just been looking at that :)  It's a little over my budget, I'm anticipating £1500 absolute tops, preferably more around the £1K range.  My main restriction is weight (I know, I know), my left shoulder desperately struggles to deal with much above 7lbs for any length of time these days, hence me getting into the hollow & semi-hollow Hofners. The plus side of that though has been that after more than 30 years of playing bass, I've now found I prefer short scale and wonder why I never tried it before. Better late than never. 

 

Needing a quick solid body fix, I found myself a 7lb Gretsch G2220 a few months ago (yes it was plainly obvious it had single coil hum from the minute I got it home ;)) and while it's so much fun to play, there's no denying the components are cheap - jack socket, bridge, pickups, tuners, all could be much better. I do however love the look & weight, and the neck is possibly my favourite that I've ever played, so I kind of have a choice between setting about upgrading the Gretsch (could easily be £500 worth) or just look for something better built to start with. 

 

I've been researching and been somewhat surprised to be honest at how heavy solid body short scales can be! When the likes of Sandberg are doing their superlight line I do wonder why other companies don't make a similar effort, there's obviously a market for it. 

 

I would be grateful for any suggestions offered - I'm just looking for that tight solid (or possibly chambered) body sound, nothing hollow. Anything coming in below 7.5lbs considered, the lighter the better. It's kind of essential to avoid anything with single coil hum as well, but I'm easy as to whether that's in the form of humbuckers or split pickup designs. I feel I've looked at a lot already but I'm certain to have missed some, let me know! TIA :) 

 

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6 hours ago, RichT said:

 

I've just been looking at that :)  It's a little over my budget, I'm anticipating £1500 absolute tops, preferably more around the £1K range.  My main restriction is weight (I know, I know), my left shoulder desperately struggles to deal with much above 7lbs for any length of time these days, hence me getting into the hollow & semi-hollow Hofners. The plus side of that though has been that after more than 30 years of playing bass, I've now found I prefer short scale and wonder why I never tried it before. Better late than never. 

 

Needing a quick solid body fix, I found myself a 7lb Gretsch G2220 a few months ago (yes it was plainly obvious it had single coil hum from the minute I got it home ;)) and while it's so much fun to play, there's no denying the components are cheap - jack socket, bridge, pickups, tuners, all could be much better. I do however love the look & weight, and the neck is possibly my favourite that I've ever played, so I kind of have a choice between setting about upgrading the Gretsch (could easily be £500 worth) or just look for something better built to start with. 

 

I've been researching and been somewhat surprised to be honest at how heavy solid body short scales can be! When the likes of Sandberg are doing their superlight line I do wonder why other companies don't make a similar effort, there's obviously a market for it. 

 

I would be grateful for any suggestions offered - I'm just looking for that tight solid (or possibly chambered) body sound, nothing hollow. Anything coming in below 7.5lbs considered, the lighter the better. It's kind of essential to avoid anything with single coil hum as well, but I'm easy as to whether that's in the form of humbuckers or split pickup designs. I feel I've looked at a lot already but I'm certain to have missed some, let me know! TIA :) 

 

If you still have the receipt, you can contact Gretsch customer services for $100 worth of goodies by way of reparation for misrepresentation.

 

My Sterling’Ray SS weighs 3.4kg. Stick a set of lightweight tuners on one of those and that’ll be very close to 7lbs and under that £1k budget; it’s what I’m doing (more for the better tuners than the weight in my case). The new black/maple/tort version looks great. YMMV.

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42 minutes ago, ezbass said:

My Sterling’Ray SS weighs 3.4kg. Stick a set of lightweight tuners on one of those and that’ll be very close to 7lbs and under that £1k budget; it’s what I’m doing (more for the better tuners than the weight in my case). The new black/maple/tort version looks great. YMMV.


That’s the first time I’ve seen the SS Ray in Black / Maple / Tort. Looks real nice but I’m still not a fan of the huge ugly silver banana control plate 

 

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7 hours ago, RichT said:

 

I've just been looking at that :)  It's a little over my budget, I'm anticipating £1500 absolute tops, preferably more around the £1K range.  My main restriction is weight (I know, I know), my left shoulder desperately struggles to deal with much above 7lbs for any length of time these days, hence me getting into the hollow & semi-hollow Hofners. The plus side of that though has been that after more than 30 years of playing bass, I've now found I prefer short scale and wonder why I never tried it before. Better late than never. 

 

Needing a quick solid body fix, I found myself a 7lb Gretsch G2220 a few months ago (yes it was plainly obvious it had single coil hum from the minute I got it home ;)) and while it's so much fun to play, there's no denying the components are cheap - jack socket, bridge, pickups, tuners, all could be much better. I do however love the look & weight, and the neck is possibly my favourite that I've ever played, so I kind of have a choice between setting about upgrading the Gretsch (could easily be £500 worth) or just look for something better built to start with. 

 

I've been researching and been somewhat surprised to be honest at how heavy solid body short scales can be! When the likes of Sandberg are doing their superlight line I do wonder why other companies don't make a similar effort, there's obviously a market for it. 

 

I would be grateful for any suggestions offered - I'm just looking for that tight solid (or possibly chambered) body sound, nothing hollow. Anything coming in below 7.5lbs considered, the lighter the better. It's kind of essential to avoid anything with single coil hum as well, but I'm easy as to whether that's in the form of humbuckers or split pickup designs. I feel I've looked at a lot already but I'm certain to have missed some, let me know! TIA :) 

 

You will never recover anything like the money you put into upgrading the G2220, if you decide to sell it. Obviously, that is no problem if you think you are going to hold onto it for a long time. 
 

A bass that might be worth a look at is the Ibanez EHB1000S. It is light (chambered), extremely ergonomically designed and it doesn’t have single coil pickups. It comes in at around £800. A lot of people, including me, find the OEM Bartolini pickups a little too old school sounding and change them for Aguilar, or Nordstrand equivalents (approx £215). Otherwise it comes with just about everything you could possibly want on a bass IMO. The headless design might not be for everybody but it is very practical from the perspective of string choice: you use standard gauge strings and cut off the excess once clamped. Therefore, you have a much greater choice of string types and gauges,  which are readily available and you don’t have to pay the short scale premium.

 

I only sold my EHB because I have ordered a Nordstrand Acinonyx and I operate a strict one-in, one-out policy. Incidentally the Acinonyx might have been one for you to consider but it is very definitely single coil equipped and quite noisy, according to posts on TalkBass.

 

 

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1 hour ago, ezbass said:

If you still have the receipt, you can contact Gretsch customer services for $100 worth of goodies by way of reparation for misrepresentation.

 

My Sterling’Ray SS weighs 3.4kg. Stick a set of lightweight tuners on one of those and that’ll be very close to 7lbs and under that £1k budget; it’s what I’m doing (more for the better tuners than the weight in my case). The new black/maple/tort version looks great. YMMV.

 

Ooh now that's very interesting. I'm rather taken by the idea of the SS passive Stingrays, the pickup switching system on them looks great, versatile but also intuitive. I'd written them off due to the weight, I hadn't considered  putting some of my budget into lightweight tuners. I've never actually changed tuners on anything before, what sort of weight saving would you expect to gain from it?

 

And thanks for the update on the Gretsch business :)  I was looking up the G2220 neck measurements yesterday and noticed they now describe them as single coils on the official specs, so wondered if there had been some kind of official response. 

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29 minutes ago, Obrienp said:

You will never recover anything like the money you put into upgrading the G2220, if you decide to sell it. Obviously, that is no problem if you think you are going to hold onto it for a long time. 
 

A bass that might be worth a look at is the Ibanez EHB1000S. It is light (chambered), extremely ergonomically designed and it doesn’t have single coil pickups. It comes in at around £800. A lot of people, including me, find the OEM Bartolini pickups a little too old school sounding and change them for Aguilar, or Nordstrand equivalents (approx £215). Otherwise it comes with just about everything you could possibly want on a bass IMO. The headless design might not be for everybody but it is very practical from the perspective of string choice: you use standard gauge strings and cut off the excess once clamped. Therefore, you have a much greater choice of string types and gauges,  which are readily available and you don’t have to pay the short scale premium.

 

I only sold my EHB because I have ordered a Nordstrand Acinonyx and I operate a strict one-in, one-out policy. Incidentally the Acinonyx might have been one for you to consider but it is very definitely single coil equipped and quite noisy, according to posts on TalkBass.

 

 

 

Yeah I get what you're saying about resale value. Upgrading the G2220 would be purely because I love the playability of it and would be wanting to keep it, but those TV Jones pickups aren't cheap and it kind of doesn't feel worth spending all that money when it's already 'a good bass' and would just be to iron out some fairly minor issues. And part of its charm is that it's not precious, right now I know I can take it to an open mic night and not be devastated if it gets dinged or worse. That's lost if I sink more money into it. 

 

Funnily enough the 5 string EHB 1005SMS is one of my top contenders at the moment. I'd like something lighter to replace my Ibanez SRMS805 multiscale (getting on for 8.5lbs) which also has the MkII Barts and it's a sound I like and am familiar with. I'm fine with headless, I played a Hohner B2A as my main bass for an awfully long time :).  The EHB has really got a lot of plus points, but I'm looking for something that will be a main bass, and I do hesitate slightly simply because the EHB is such an odd looking beast! But getting one does mean I can then feel ok selling on the SRMS805 which is my only 5 string but realistically too heavy for me to play for any length of time.

 

The Acinonyx looks and sounds really great on the demos I've heard, and the light weight is amazing (proves it can be done - why are so many companies producing 8-9lb shorties?) It was literally just the single coil hum that turned me off that one. I look forward to hearing your report on it when you get it :) 

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Posted (edited)

There's a thread on TalkBass where someone measured the weight of Fender standard bass tuners from his AVRI Precision and compared with theHipshot Ultralite lookalikes. The Fenders weighed 15.6 ounces (doh, not grams!) and the Hipshots ounces for a net saving of approximately 8 ounces. So there's a saving of approximately half a pound there.

 

I have a lovely 2006 CIJ Mustang for sale on the forum but its 7.9 pounds, so even with the Hipshots wouldn't meet your criterion for sub 7 pounds unfortunately

 

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/weight-savings-of-lighter-tuners-in-pictures.771078/

Edited by Clarky
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4 minutes ago, Clarky said:

There's a thread on TalkBass where someone measured the weight of Fender standard bass tuners from his AVRI Precision and compared with theHipshot Ultralite lookalikes. The Fenders weighed 15.6 grams and the Hipshots 7.7 grams for a net saving of approximately 8 grams. So there's a saving of approximately half a pound there.

 

Do AVRI Precision basses have 28 tuners then!! 😮

 

 

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2 hours ago, dmc79 said:


That’s the first time I’ve seen the SS Ray in Black / Maple / Tort. Looks real nice but I’m still not a fan of the huge ugly silver banana control plate 

 

 

I seem to be the only person who likes the dropped copper finish, that's probably the one for me if I go down that route but I wish it came with a darker board. I note that on Talk Bass a community of SS Ray neck swappers has developed to deal with that issue. 

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Clarky said:

image.png.5751ea91add4ab7572ca07a96527e31f.pngimage.png.e01252c9f95b2a80e939a916946e61d6.png 

 

Ah right ounces, I was confused for a moment there too ;) but that's excellent info, thank you!

Edited by RichT
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I've done tuner swaps on many basses.

 

Assuming a start from a large plate design to a Hipshot Ultralight Y key (must be the Y as the lollipops and the clovers weigh more) on a 5 string I've saved half a pound and on a 4 string a smidge under a third.

Might not sound a lot, but when it's at the end of the bif lever that is the neck, it is a lot.

 

It sound be noted that if you really want Clover keys then the Sandberg clover superlight tuners are actually lighter than the hipshot ultralights. But Sandberg don't make a Y key version so the Hipshot wins overall as long as you don't mind swapping to a Y key.

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Gigged my Guild Starfire I last WE for the first time (the new model with PB pickup). Classical rock and blues with some vintage funk.

 

This thing is a keeper!!! Good looks, comfortable and this sound! Both lows and highs are beautiful, very even string volume. One of the best basses I've ever had.

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3 hours ago, ezbass said:

If you still have the receipt, you can contact Gretsch customer services for $100 worth of goodies by way of reparation for misrepresentation.

 

My Sterling’Ray SS weighs 3.4kg. Stick a set of lightweight tuners on one of those and that’ll be very close to 7lbs and under that £1k budget; it’s what I’m doing (more for the better tuners than the weight in my case). The new black/maple/tort version looks great. YMMV.

 

 

I've been wondering about the SS ray. Sounds great in every demo I've heard.

I must try one.

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The Retrovibe Telebass I have is incredibly light (6.6lb, from memory), with a humbucker bridge pickup. I put an Artec rail humbucker in the neck position, and all is groovy. Heartily recommended...

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2 hours ago, fretmeister said:

 

 

I've been wondering about the SS ray. Sounds great in every demo I've heard.

I must try one.

I don't think you'd be sorry. Yes there are things that aren't so great, but it's a mid priced bass and some small corners have been cut to get it to a price. I've posted what I think is a fairly comprehensive review here (@RichT might be interested in this too).

 

 

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4 hours ago, Clarky said:

There's a thread on TalkBass where someone measured the weight of Fender standard bass tuners from his AVRI Precision and compared with theHipshot Ultralite lookalikes. The Fenders weighed 15.6 ounces (doh, not grams!) and the Hipshots ounces for a net saving of approximately 8 ounces. So there's a saving of approximately half a pound there.

 

I have a lovely 2006 CIJ Mustang for sale on the forum but its 7.9 pounds, so even with the Hipshots wouldn't meet your criterion for sub 7 pounds unfortunately

 

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/weight-savings-of-lighter-tuners-in-pictures.771078/

Ooh, exciting! This could bring my ‘Ray SS in under 7lbs!

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10 hours ago, ezbass said:

I don't think you'd be sorry. Yes there are things that aren't so great, but it's a mid priced bass and some small corners have been cut to get it to a price. I've posted what I think is a fairly comprehensive review here (@RichT might be interested in this too).

 

 

 

Thank you for linking to the review, very informative. Incidentally you mentioned on the thread how noisy your JMJ Mustang was. I've never owned a Mustang, but I was under the impression that the split coil pickup was split for the same purpose a P pickup is - to cancel hum. Is that not the case on Mustangs then? 

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