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Dream basses that left you disappointed


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I have to admit I’d been wondering about getting a ‘Ray and having a Precision pickup put in it in the correct position, maybe passive/active switch. But then I’d be spending a lot of money on a bass for it to sound like what I already have, just for the looks and slightly more comfortable playing. So no, wait til I win the lottery maybe.

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Jazz basses, I love the looks, I love the neck, I love how it sounds out front but I just cannot hear them in the mix on stage, it's there for some notes but then gone at other points so I just have no confidence in them.....nice Jazz out for sale then!

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Stingray 5 HH in Stealth Black. Looked the business, but just didn't do it for me. It could be that I just don't know how to make a 'ray sound good, but I traded it for a Sandberg 48 and havn't looked back.

My BTB was a bit of "wish I hadn't sold it" bass, although it was a sixer and my wrist didn't like how wide the fretboard was, definite aircraft carrier vibe.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Kev said:

What??  Fantastic that you live such a privileged life, but perhaps a £1k or so investment on a bass is a lot of money for some people?

Exactly this. An expensive, luxury bass for me is £1000. I'm not someone who can drop 3k+ on a dream bass so there's no point dreaming above my means!

 

If I ever won the lottery I'd totally buy a dingwall tho.

Edited by Sarah5string
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4 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

Every Musicman Stingray that I’ve had. They look great, play great, are really comfortable to wear/play but after the initial buzz I realise that I just don’t like the sound, or at least the sound when I’m playing them. When others play them I think they sound awesome but I’m so Precision ingrained any bass in my hands other than a Precision just doesn’t sound right to me. Now if a Stingray sounded exactly like a Precision, well I’d be in bass heaven as the ergonomics & fit are better for me.

For me it hasn't been every Ray...The first one I owned was really nice - mutes and figured neck - great tones, great neck and very playable. I sold it here - a few months later bought a newer one which didn't compare. I even bought one of the few Assembled in Japan models in the UK. Again, a disappointment.

I've heard it said that with Rays there are good ones and not so good ones. I really should have kept the first one.

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2 minutes ago, TheGreek said:

For me it hasn't been every Ray...The first one I owned was really nice - mutes and figured neck - great tones, great neck and very playable. I sold it here - a few months later bought a newer one which didn't compare. I even bought one of the few Assembled in Japan models in the UK. Again, a disappointment.

I've heard it said that with Rays there are good ones and not so good ones. I really should have kept the first one.

From my experience it’s quite the opposite Mick - never played a naff Ray. Sure, some have been better than others, but none were anything less than great well made / quality basses. Only reason I don’t play one now is that I can’t find one light enough. 

My dream bass used to be a Precision. However, my first one was a late 70’s horror - heavy and with no life whatsoever. Soon changed it to a JV Squier 57 and found it wonderful. Only sold it when my 63 came along, which I’ve had for around 35 years now and is the one I’ll never part with.

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Posted (edited)

The crazy thing I have found is that when I fall in love with an instrument a lot of the time a Big factor has been the strings. When I put different strings on I haven't liked it as much....

Makes me wonder how many times have I played a bass and thought "not for me", and if I had thrown some low tension strings on it I might have loved it. 

Edited by Crawford13
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The instrument is only half the equation. Some great sounding tracks were recorded with Stingrays for instance. I have to cut both lows and treb on my Ray to make it sound good. My Warwick Thumb needs some help in the bottom end from an amp or external pre in order to shine.

Make it work. Every bass can sound proper.

 

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I had an Ibanez BTB 6 string but sold it because it felt massive and wasn't as nice as my other 6. 

I've generally found that the basses that disappoint me the most are in the US Fender/ Stingray area. I always feel underwhelmed when I play new Fenders as they never feel significantly better than my older Japanese models, yet are far more expensive. I love the look and sound of Stingrays, but they just don't feel 'right' for me. 

 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, casapete said:

From my experience it’s quite the opposite Mick - never played a naff Ray. Sure, some have been better than others, but none were anything less than great well made / quality basses. Only reason I don’t play one now is that I can’t find one light enough. 

I agree that it's unusual to play a poor one, however I've only ever played 1 which I felt "special". Each time I've picked up an ACG I've thought "Wow!" - necks always feel special and high quality - not so with Rays unfortunately.

17 hours ago, Doddy said:

I've generally found that the basses that disappoint me the most are in the US Fender/ Stingray area. I always feel underwhelmed when I play new Fenders as they never feel significantly better than my older Japanese models, yet are far more expensive. 

I agree with Japanese (and others now) models feeling equally as playable as the US models. In fact I tried a US and Squier Model Jazz in an outlet and the build quality - the neck pocket fit in particular - was better on the Squier.

I started playing in the 80s - the build quality on Fenders at that time was abysmal. The world leader had virtually thrown away it's reputation because of the poor quality of the instruments it was producing. That has tainted my view of Fender ever since and I've bought less than a handful of Fenders as a result.

If they had stayed on top of their game there would be far fewer companies churning out P/J copies today. In effect Fender didn't just leave the door open for their competitors they held it wide open, invited them in and let them leave with the family silver.

Edited by TheGreek
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7 hours ago, TheGreek said:

Wal....Yes I know

I've had two. The first was a Pro which had many silly little problems including being badly set up, had crackly pots and numerous dings and dents the seller didn't mention. I sent it back and eventually got my money back. He later sold the bass here.

The second was a Custom which had fewer issues but I just didn't gel with. Neck profile was my main issue. Traded it with Nick Smith for a GA24 and a few other bits...I felt like I got the best of the deal.

Had a WAL in early 80's Custom fretless lined Flamed sycamore. Absolutely gorgeous to play and look at. It had a dead note at the Eb on G string. WAL didn't want to know and were not helpful. I bought it new.

Has put me off them ever since.

Also a white Ric bass in 80's which was nice to play but i found it very limited in what i could use it for.

Dave

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, NickD said:

Usually the only disappointment is that I still sound like me.

I'm not sure how I understand how anyone can 'dream' of an Ibanez.... That's the car equivalent of dreaming of a Ford Mondeo. Even their posh ones, that's like dreaming of a high spec Mondeo.

But we don't all dream of owning a Ken Smith, Fodera etc.  Sometimes our dreams are tinged with reality. I'm not a pro musician and don't need to spend £1k plus on a bass. My pitifully modest 'dream' bass is a Sire Version 2 Marcus Miller M7 swamp ash 4 string in natural finish. Full price at Andertons, £669. Anything Marcus Miller endorses or has a hand in is good enough for me.

Edited by Barking Spiders
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I had one of those Gibson Thunderbird non-reverse reissues a few tears ago.  Bought it new.

Couldn't have been any more different than the regular Thunderbirds that I'd been playing.  Heavy, fat neck and it sounded like mud.  It's all documented elsewhere here.

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9 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

But we don't all dream of owning a Ken Smith, Fodera etc.  Sometimes our dreams are tinged with reality. I'm not a pro musician and don't need to spend £1k plus on a bass. My pitifully modest 'dream' bass is a Sire Version 2 Marcus Miller M7 swamp ash 4 string in natural finish. Full price at Andertons, £669. Anything Marcus Miller endorses or has a hand in is good enough for me.

Agree ....... my fav bass and the one i would like to use for every band is my CIJ Jazz Geddy Lee Signature bass. Got it in at sale price £625 about 15 yrs ago and its simply an amazing bass. Far better than the Fenders i had in 70's / 80's. Unfortunately a aJazz doesn't work in some bands.

I've had the fancy dream basses over the years and altho they are nice to look at and in most cases great to play they aren't the basses that stand out the most for me. 

My next bass will probably be a Vintera P bass mainly because i've compared them with other Fender P basses and just found it the most comfortable to play..........for me. At circa £700 - £800 new not a boutique bass in anyone's mind.

 

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After being a huge Rush fan for about 20 years I borrowed a ‘70s Rickenbacker 4001 from a friend to do some studio sessions with. Plugged into my (then) Ampeg rig it sounded immense; both the engineer and myself were grinning like a pair of loons.

 

couldn’t get on with the super skinny neck, so did the session with my Jazz.

Shame.

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16 hours ago, Elfrasho said:

A USA Jazz. Bought one 2nd hand black on black with maple neck. Sold it within a few months, it was just not quite right! 

Jazz basses look fantastic with maple boards but to me a jazz maple board only sounds good when Marcus Miller is playing it. I've got a stunningly beautiful CIJ 75 jazz reissue with the most amazing maple board and Pearl blocks. My beaten up 90s MIM with a rosewood board and Bartolini butchered in sounded better for me and my playing. 

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17 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

I have to admit I’d been wondering about getting a ‘Ray and having a Precision pickup put in it in the correct position, maybe passive/active switch. But then I’d be spending a lot of money on a bass for it to sound like what I already have, just for the looks and slightly more comfortable playing. So no, wait til I win the lottery maybe.

Sandberg is the solution there, surely? The only neck I've ever played that's nicer than my US Stingray was a Sandberg P MM. 

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I kind of see why people mention Sadowsky. Although they are of high quality and have a dependable sound and reputation, they aren’t the ‘magic bullet’ that everyone thinks they are, despite the almost evangelical outpourings on the Sadowsky Facebook group.  
I still wouldn’t part with mine though. 

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4 hours ago, dmccombe7 said:

Agree ....... my fav bass and the one i would like to use for every band is my CIJ Jazz Geddy Lee Signature bass. Got it in at sale price £625 about 15 yrs ago and its simply an amazing bass. Far better than the Fenders i had in 70's / 80's. Unfortunately a aJazz doesn't work in some bands

I have one of these and a few years ago I was taking guitar lessons and my teacher was going on tour as bass player with a well known band. I said I have a lovely Geddy Lee bass. he said I'd love to try it. I said why don't you borrow it to tour with and see what you think. He took it and said I'll put new strings on it for you before I give it back to you. He toured and came back and said it was amazing. He loved it and the rest of the band loved it. he gave it back to me with dead strings and then never even gave me so much as a free lesson. His lessons used to be mostly talking to me about basses and my job anyway. I stopped going as it was a waste of money. 45 minute lesson and 15 minutes of that was actual teaching.

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58 minutes ago, ianrendall said:

I kind of see why people mention Sadowsky. Although they are of high quality and have a dependable sound and reputation, they aren’t the ‘magic bullet’ that everyone thinks they are, despite the almost evangelical outpourings on the Sadowsky Facebook group.  
I still wouldn’t part with mine though. 

Have to say I agree, I am fond of my Metro J but it ain’t perfect. The hum cancelling J pickups have a very noticeable mid scoop to them (particularly on the neck pup). Not a huge issue as that’s easily EQ’d but I expect to have a better flat tone from the get go. Perhaps that’s just me though. 

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Steinberger XM2. Took me years to find one. I think it's absolutely beautiful in black with white binding - a work of modern art. Unfortunately, it was the only bass I've ever owned that had a dead note on an open string - the E. I didn't even think it was possible, but it happened. 

6939405_1620603413.jpg

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Having been a huge Stu Hamm fan-boi in my youth, I always lusted after a Kubicki. So far I haven't had the opportunity to try one, but even if I did, I'm not sure I would want to, in case it didn't match my expectations...

I did get to try a Lakland Duck Dunn, which I was very excited about, but ultimately didn't really get on with.

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