For as long as I have been in the Electric Bass world, the topic of lightness and/or balance has always been there. A few years ago I thought a lighter instrument might be helpful during long evenings on stage. I was wrong.

I had had some luthiers build a pair of 5-string basses with special technical characteristics and with woods of a low specific weight. The result was a very light, but terribly unbalanced instrument because of the lighter body than the neck.

Instead of suffering from the weight of the bass on my shoulder, I had terrible tendonitis because I had to play and simultaneously “hold” the neck. I tried some ploys: belts that did not slip over the shoulder, rips that lengthened the anchor point of the shoulder strap. Nothing solved the problem.

Many factory instruments still suffer from this notorious “neck diving.” If not for others, it was a real drama for me.

I decided to analyze my posture and bass position from a more “scientific” point of view with a physical therapist. Starting with breathing and the diaphragm, we first analyzed the position of my back and legs, then my arms and hands, trying to correct all the rigid positions I was naturally assuming without realizing it. As I changed several basses, I realized that it was not the heaviest instrument that was the most problematic, but the one that continually forced me to correct its position.

In conclusion, welcome light bass, and praise be to all manufacturers who work to produce instruments that sound good without necessarily having to weigh 5kg. But when choosing your instrument, pay attention to the balance first. An instrument that is not exactly light but stays put and allows you to play more relaxed can be better than an ultra lite bass but one that dances on you and makes you swear during live performances.

 

 

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