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LeftyP

Balancing Act

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There have been several posts across this forum dealing with the weight of bass guitars.  Those of us who have back problems prefer lightweight basses to ease the strain on the old spine.

My bass weighs a tad over 7lb but has quite a problem with neck dive (even with Hipshot lightweight tuners) and this places most of the weight pulling on my left shoulder.  It came to the fore when I wore a shirt that had a smooth, almost silky, sheen to it and the bass constantly wanted to slip headlong towards the floor.  As an experiment, I attached a bag to the end strap button and gradually added weights (CDs to be precise) until the bass was pretty well balanced.  The result was quite an eye opener.  Despite adding just under 2lb to the overall weight, the extra mass was distributed over a wider area and the neck dive had gone.  It was much more comfortable to stand with the bass around my shoulders, even though it was heavier.

If, like me, you have back problems the overall weight of the bass (within reason) may not be the main cause of your discomfort.  Try to find an instrument that is more balanced across your body and you may find it helps.

 

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8 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Wouldn't a wider or especially a more grippy strap been a simpler solution?

I have one - 4" leather but that doesn't stop the bass being neck heavy.

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The strap doesn't have to be attached to the bass 'horn' button. It can be tied to the head-stock, beyond the nut. Not much risk of neck-dive there. It costs little to try it out... B|

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Posted (edited)

I sympathise with LeftyP:  I have a long scale Epiphone EB3, and an old Marlin sidewinder (amongst others), the latter being heavier, but both having the same overall length.

However, the Marlin has a longer/bigger body,  so the weight is distributed differently, and obviously the strap button is on the top horn, resulting in no neck dive, and being more comfortable to play, even with an unpadded strap.
 

Trouble is I prefer the Epi!

Edit: re Dad’s comment, as an experiment I did move the strap button on the EB3 a couple of inches, actually onto the neck, didn’t really help, and presented the strap at a funny angle, so it was moved back....

Edited by Baxlin

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This is what I meant ...

hUtPCIU.jpg

A double strap will cure neck-dive, too, and share the weight better ...

1op0kTZ.jpg

Don't use both solutions at the same time, though. B|

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1 hour ago, LeftyP said:

There have been several posts across this forum dealing with the weight of bass guitars.  Those of us who have back problems prefer lightweight basses to ease the strain on the old spine.

My bass weighs a tad over 7lb but has quite a problem with neck dive (even with Hipshot lightweight tuners) and this places most of the weight pulling on my left shoulder.  It came to the fore when I wore a shirt that had a smooth, almost silky, sheen to it and the bass constantly wanted to slip headlong towards the floor.  As an experiment, I attached a bag to the end strap button and gradually added weights (CDs to be precise) until the bass was pretty well balanced.  The result was quite an eye opener.  Despite adding just under 2lb to the overall weight, the extra mass was distributed over a wider area and the neck dive had gone.  It was much more comfortable to stand with the bass around my shoulders, even though it was heavier.

If, like me, you have back problems the overall weight of the bass (within reason) may not be the main cause of your discomfort.  Try to find an instrument that is more balanced across your body and you may find it helps.

 

Just out of interest, what bass is it?

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Or you could buy one of the various waist strap/harness systems that are available, and play whatever weight bass you fancy without handling your back.

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I may have dreamed this, but I seem to remember a strap which had a pocket at the bridge end. You could fill it with fishing weights, which helped to eliminate neck dive. 

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2 hours ago, rushbo said:

I may have dreamed this, but I seem to remember a strap which had a pocket at the bridge end. You could fill it with fishing weights, which helped to eliminate neck dive. 

I 'invented' this once. Or similar. Cycled to a rehearsal room with a travel bass. This thing was virtually weightless in the body, neck dive to vertical.

So I filled my water bottle and hung it from the end of the strap. 

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4 hours ago, Dad3353 said:

This is what I meant ...

hUtPCIU.jpg

 

Don't use both solutions at the same time, though. B|

I have thought about trying that but I don't want to look like a folk singer!  I still may give it a try as no-one notices bass players anyway.

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24 minutes ago, LeftyP said:

...I don't want to look like a folk singer!...

Proud, huh..? Try dressing like Bootsy Collins, then..? Or Flea..? Maybe just keep on rubbing those aching shoulders..? Nah, try it. There are some more than excellent folk bassists, too..! :)

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12 hours ago, LeftyP said:

don't want to look like a folk singer! 

According to my t-shirt, this is how a folk singer looks with a bass...

0F735FCC-8F5A-4774-84BF-035C13B5B2C7.jpeg

  • Haha 2

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19 hours ago, LeftyP said:

I have one - 4" leather but that doesn't stop the bass being neck heavy.

I had a thick grippy wide one on my old thumb bass (a 9lb one with neck dive) - and like you I found the neck dive I bigger problem than the weight. The strap could only cure it to a certain point and my shoulder and arm had to constantly be working against it. My old Peavey T40 weighed about 16+lb but balanced so for me when playing it was ok and like wearing a back pack.

ive no back problems though and obv people who have will probably have very different experiences and medical advice, but for me a balanced 10lb bass would be preferable to a neck heavy 7lb bass

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Posted (edited)
On 01/08/2020 at 14:13, Dad3353 said:

This is what I meant ...

hUtPCIU.jpg

 

Well, I took your advice and bought one of those little strap things - £3.60 including postage!  Guess what - it works!

I had thought about trying one before but you gave me the push.  I have tried various straps with it and have finally been able to use my narrow Hofner style strap.  I always thought that the 4" wide leather one was out of keeping with my style of bass - Italia.  Neck dive has gone and the bass sits well on my body.  It is taking a little getting used to and positioning the bass correctly but it does work very well.

Many thanks for your suggestion.preview.jpg

 

Edited by LeftyP
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