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ProfJames

Musicman Big Al bass

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Pal of mine is looking at a couple.........asked me about them..........never heard of it..!   Any good?  DOne a little reading up and cannot see much info about why they were discontinued if they are so versatile.......any experience here guys and gals?

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Just now, ProfJames said:

Pal of mine is looking at a couple.........asked me about them..........never heard of it..!   Any good?  DOne a little reading up and cannot see much info about why they were discontinued if they are so versatile.......any experience here guys and gals?

I think the shape put a lot of people off. I tried one at a bass show and really liked it. 

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As above - don't know why they weren't more popular. 

They do seem to have disappeared.

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I’m not sure the button thing was particularly well received either. Wouldn’t have bothered me personally.

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There was a guy nicknamed Grasshopper on a video from Bass Central some years ago that made me want one regardless of the shape. Granted he is a monster player and would sound great with anything, but the Big Al had a huge number of really different tones. What kept me away was the weight as I could only find 9.5 lbs. and up on the used market. I'd buy a Big Al featherweight if there is such a thing.

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I would really like to have picked up a SSS model, love that shape.

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Posted (edited)

I was never that keen on the body shape but I've been intrigued by the 3 pickup configuration since I saw this a few years back.

 

Edited by Cato
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I’ve been looking for a Big Al 5 SSS for a year or so now. I’ve not seen a single one for sale worldwide. The last one up for sale was about 18 months ago on TB, and one on hear apparently a couple of years ago. I know they weren’t produced for long but they seem to be as rare as hen’s teeth.

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6 hours ago, TheGreek said:

As above - don't know why they weren't more popular. 

They do seem to have disappeared.

Two words:-

Option Paralysis 

The 4SSS has a lot of tonal options and you can’t stop yourself trying them all when you plug it in. Tuning can take a couple of hours. Your musical productivity plummets as you marvel at the quality construction and supreme tactile experience. Then you put it back in its case and take out the Precision with the missing tone knob and start playing.

They’re great instruments if you like the shape. Lovely jazz type neck. Had to keep the sticker on to remind me of the options.

31B2A899-08BD-484B-B0F5-3025DAB99AC0.jpeg

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I had an SSS one briefly & as above far too much to mess about with so I never gelled with it.

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Posted (edited)

The further away from "a sound" a bass goes the less popular it becomes. The Big Al probably sounds fantastic, if you can find your tone in amongst all the others, but who is going to bother when it looks so pug ugly?

I've heard Bongos and they sound great, but I'd never buy one because of the look. I think Musicman deserves a thumbs up for trying to move bass design into the 21st century, but as Fender have found, most bass players haven't budged an inch since 1957.

Edited by chris_b
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44 minutes ago, chris_b said:

The further away from "a sound" a bass goes the less popular it becomes. The Big Al probably sounds fantastic, if you can find your tone in amongst all the others, but who is going to bother when it looks so pug ugly?

I've heard Bongos and they sound great, but I'd never buy one because of the look. I think Musicman deserves a thumbs up for trying to move bass design into the 21st century, but as Fender have found, most bass players haven't budged an inch since 1957.

I have an Ibanez Axstar and a Yam BX1 - headless - that have similar sharp designs.......not sure if I could be bothered with so many adjustments to get a sound for me........would probably forget if I did find the right permutation!  Nice bass though........see what my pal does

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

The further away from "a sound" a bass goes the less popular it becomes. The Big Al probably sounds fantastic, if you can find your tone in amongst all the others, but who is going to bother when it looks so pug ugly?

I've heard Bongos and they sound great, but I'd never buy one because of the look. I think Musicman deserves a thumbs up for trying to move bass design into the 21st century, but as Fender have found, most bass players haven't budged an inch since 1957.

Personally, I want a bass to do one thing (or maybe two) really well. I don't want to be searching for the right sound. 

If I get a Fender, I want it to sound and look like a Fender. A Fender P bass is a reference sound (and look for that matter) and if I've got one in my hands that is what I want it to sound like. The same goes for other iconic basses with 'reference' sounds, be it a jazz or a stingray, etc. If I want a different sound and feel, I will use a different type of bass. 

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16 minutes ago, peteb said:

Personally, I want a bass to do one thing (or maybe two) really well. I don't want to be searching for the right sound. 

If I get a Fender, I want it to sound and look like a Fender. A Fender P bass is a reference sound (and look for that matter) and if I've got one in my hands that is what I want it to sound like. The same goes for other iconic basses with 'reference' sounds, be it a jazz or a stingray, etc. If I want a different sound and feel, I will use a different type of bass. 

I like that view.....simple, effective and actually sums me up!  Thank you @peteb

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Some call me Big Al (it started after Eat the Rich) so when I discovered there was a bass with the same moniker I thought I need to check this out.

They say never judge a book by the cover...I say never play a bass that looks like a thirteen year old's woodwork project! 

Having said that, give me a Squier Katana any day 😊

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Well I tried one when they were about and have to say that I was completely underwhelmed by the (lack of) variety of tones on offer. Much of that could have been down to the TC combo that I was trying it through and the lack of knowledge of the shop assistants who were there. From memory, everything was very bassy and despite all the controls, you couldn't select every possible pickup combination. Please correct me if I'm wrong - I really wanted to like it.

On the shape, when it's actually being played, it looks surprisingly conventional, especially in a sunburst finish.

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