Icon Bass build recommendation

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MarshallTSL
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Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby MarshallTSL » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:26 pm

Guys, let me first admit that I'm a guitar player. While an octave divider works ok, sometimes you just need a real bass handy.

I need your help. How do I configure it? I play classic rock, hard rock, new wave, punk and progressive rock. I'm leaning towards an Icon 5.

If you were given a blank slate, what would be your combination of frets, pickups and woods? Is Piezo still available for the Icon, and do you think it's worthwhile? Would you use a pickup selector switch or a blend knob? How would you lay out the controls?

Anything else you'd recommend, even if I haven't asked [be kind]?
CT6 Deep Blue Quilt, HH2 Claro Walnut, TL60C Black Cherry Quilt, SH65 Master Grade Ziricote, Aries A6X Crimson Flamed Redwood, Aries A6X Blue Hawaii Quilt, Icon 5 Bass Next Up

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby HarlowTheFish » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:18 pm

MarshallTSL wrote:Guys, let me first admit that I'm a guitar player. While an octave divider works ok, sometimes you just need a real bass handy.

I need your help. How do I configure it? I play classic rock, hard rock, new wave, punk and progressive rock. I'm leaning towards an Icon 5.

If you were given a blank slate, what would be your combination of frets, pickups and woods? Is Piezo still available for the Icon, and do you think it's worthwhile? Would you use a pickup selector switch or a blend knob? How would you lay out the controls?

Anything else you'd recommend, even if I haven't asked [be kind]?

What tuning are you going to use it in?

I'm in a similar situation, and my pick (for anything above B standard/drop A) is two J pickups in a 34" alder or swamp ash/maple neck bolt-on bass, with whatever fretboard.
For controls, master volume, your choice of a blend knob or a 4-way rotary (both pickups in series, in parallel, or individually), with a 2- or 3-band EQ.
I've got a Warwick Rockbass Corvette Standard (Alder, Maple neck, rosewood fretboard) with stock everything set up in drop C with Rotosound flats, and it's killer. I'd recommend (personally) bigger frets, a bolt-on maple or walnut neck (so probably the Aries bass, not the Icon) with 2 J pickups and an EQ. You get a good variety of tones, and especially if you're playing more rock-oriented stuff I find a setup like this gives you a more controlled tone that tracks your playing a little more transparently and accurately. Something like this:
Capture.PNG

I'd also recommend considering the fanned-fret Vanquish, especially if you're into lower tunings.
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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby gumbynotpokey » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:34 pm

MarshallTSL wrote:Guys, let me first admit that I'm a guitar player. While an octave divider works ok, sometimes you just need a real bass handy.

I need your help. How do I configure it? I play classic rock, hard rock, new wave, punk and progressive rock. I'm leaning towards an Icon 5.

If you were given a blank slate, what would be your combination of frets, pickups and woods? Is Piezo still available for the Icon, and do you think it's worthwhile? Would you use a pickup selector switch or a blend knob? How would you lay out the controls?

Anything else you'd recommend, even if I haven't asked [be kind]?


What type of music, what type of band, what type of setting (studio, live shows, etc)?
Wife: C350, Claro top SH550, Vintage 16
Oldest: DC400M greenburst, C980TMW
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Me: LB70P jet black, LB70PF Claro BEM HAN, MB 10

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby MarshallTSL » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:55 am

gumbynotpokey wrote:What type of music, what type of band, what type of setting (studio, live shows, etc)?

Gumby, I'm playing primarily studio and small local gigs. I'm not sure how much I'll be playing bass live but it's certainly possible. My rig is two Laney IRT-x (powered FRFR) and a powered subwoofer through a Kemper Powerhead, so I can go back and forth between guitar and bass with a flick of a footswitch program. I play classic rock, hard rock, new wave, punk and progressive rock.
CT6 Deep Blue Quilt, HH2 Claro Walnut, TL60C Black Cherry Quilt, SH65 Master Grade Ziricote, Aries A6X Crimson Flamed Redwood, Aries A6X Blue Hawaii Quilt, Icon 5 Bass Next Up

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby MarshallTSL » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:20 am

HarlowTheFish wrote:What tuning are you going to use it in?

With 2 J pickups and an EQ. You get a good variety of tones.

Thanks HarlowTheFish! It really helps and thanks for the detailed response. I'm going to be tuning to B.

So, obviously there are a few pickup choices. Humbucker, P and J and combinations . I was leaning towards H/H or H/P, so I'm interested in your suggestion for J/J. How would you suggest I make the choice? I'd like to be able to channel Chris Squire and Glenn Hughes with a single instrument.
CT6 Deep Blue Quilt, HH2 Claro Walnut, TL60C Black Cherry Quilt, SH65 Master Grade Ziricote, Aries A6X Crimson Flamed Redwood, Aries A6X Blue Hawaii Quilt, Icon 5 Bass Next Up

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby HarlowTheFish » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:55 am

MarshallTSL wrote:
HarlowTheFish wrote:What tuning are you going to use it in?

With 2 J pickups and an EQ. You get a good variety of tones.

Thanks HarlowTheFish! It really helps and thanks for the detailed response. I'm going to be tuning to B.

So, obviously there are a few pickup choices. Humbucker, P and J and combinations . I was leaning towards H/H or H/P, so I'm interested in your suggestion for J/J. How would you suggest I make the choice? I'd like to be able to channel Chris Squire and Glenn Hughes with a single instrument.

My thinking regarding the J/J setup is that, having owned H/H, H, P, and P/J basses, the J/J sounds a lot more precise. Especially if you're tuning to B, having that bridge single-coil really helps keep your notes defined (which, if I'm reading your use case right, you're gonna want). If you go for the 4-way rotary ala Dingwall, you can use the two J pickups in series for a thicker sound with more humbucker vibes. In B I'd also very strongly recommend going for something that's either 35" scale (which Kiesel doesn't do) or multiscale (like the Vanquish or the new JB multiscales). Being able to use thinner strings will keep your sound from getting muddy, and if you use an active EQ you can bring up more low end if you need it.
Here's my thinking:
Bass, especially if you play with your fingers, is a much more technique-dependent instrument than guitar. You can get a lot of really different sounds by just changing how you approach your playing. Especially when you factor in multiple pickups and all their combinations, and active EQs, choosing pickups (in my opinion) is more about finding something that responds how you want it to than finding something that will give you the sound in your head. My Warwick, for example, gets me a better Steve Harris sound than my P ever did, but because it tracks very accurately, it's just also just as comfortable playing jazz as it is playing Periphery.
So bas(s)ically: go to your nearest guitar store, plug into your amp of choice, and play a bunch of basses with different setups. Focus on the way they track your playing, whether they get woofy, if it's too thin, if there's not enough attack or enough body. I've just found J/J to be more accurate, and that's my first priority, and especially in B, I feel like that's really important.

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby MarshallTSL » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:35 pm

HarlowTheFish wrote:My thinking regarding the J/J setup is that, having owned H/H, H, P, and P/J basses, the J/J sounds a lot more precise. Especially if you're tuning to B, having that bridge single-coil really helps keep your notes defined (which, if I'm reading your use case right, you're gonna want).

Let me be the first to say, "thanks." This was a terrific answer, and so incredibly helpful.
CT6 Deep Blue Quilt, HH2 Claro Walnut, TL60C Black Cherry Quilt, SH65 Master Grade Ziricote, Aries A6X Crimson Flamed Redwood, Aries A6X Blue Hawaii Quilt, Icon 5 Bass Next Up

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby gumbynotpokey » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:17 pm

Their J99A's are full of grit and girth, and searing clarity too. They are great in a paired format.

"Low orbit ion cannon" was the phrase I used to describe them on the beloved claro fretless.
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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby HarlowTheFish » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:21 pm

gumbynotpokey wrote:Their J99A's are full of grit and girth, and searing clarity too. They are great in a paired format.

"Low orbit ion cannon" was the phrase I used to describe them on the beloved claro fretless.

I played a used Carvin with a set of these at a GC a while ago, probably the best traditional J pickup I've ever played. Crazy versatile, and insanely powerful if you play hard.

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby Toptube » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:54 pm

I like small frets. Smoother feel and for me personally, I can more easily be expressive with my finger techniques.

I don't enjoy the "pingy" character of stainless frets. I recommend the EVO Gold frets.

I would try the chambered body option.

I would use Mahogany or limba for the body wood. In my opinion, this helps offset the highs boost of neck thru construction.(I like a warmer bass).

I think the 3 piece necks are a good option.

As far as what overall look you want, you should first consider the "free" tops. Purple heart and zebrawood. If you like those options, I think there are some easy choices to make, to create cool looks.

If you don't like those tops, tells is what looks you do like.


Don't see a lot of solid colors on Icons. I think Grape Jelly would be rad on an Icon. As would black sparkle.

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby spudmunkey » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:00 am

Toptube wrote:Don't see a lot of solid colors on Icons.


The icon's bass price starts with a built-in flamed maple, zebrawood, or (plain) koa top. They used to have a separate "Icon S" model which was just the basic alder wings and maple neck through, but they de-listed that option. I've heard conflicting info both ways that A) they don't offer it anymore, so if you want a solid paint you don't get any sort of reduction in price and it's non-returnable, and yet I've also heard B) That they will still do it, and there's perhaps a small discount, but it's still non-returnable.

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby gumbynotpokey » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:53 am

spudmunkey wrote:
Toptube wrote:Don't see a lot of solid colors on Icons.


The icon's bass price starts with a built-in flamed maple, zebrawood, or (plain) koa top. They used to have a separate "Icon S" model which was just the basic alder wings and maple neck through, but they de-listed that option. I've heard conflicting info both ways that A) they don't offer it anymore, so if you want a solid paint you don't get any sort of reduction in price and it's non-returnable, and yet I've also heard B) That they will still do it, and there's perhaps a small discount, but it's still non-returnable.


"....bass price...." Good one!

I believe I remember them also refusing to do it at all. I remember that immediately after they dropped the option. That is to say, the answer was "no" - even with credit card in hand. Anyone else remember that, as I do?
Wife: C350, Claro top SH550, Vintage 16
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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby spudmunkey » Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:27 am

I do to, but if i remember right, Mike on FB has said they would do it more recently

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby Toptube » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:26 pm

Yeah, I mean, I'm sure they might shy away from a free solid color on the Icon, nowadays. They did a red crackle Icon, recently. But I am also sure they would do one in black sparkle. And I would like to think even grape jelly. But who knows! I am nowhere near able to order another right now :\

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby Bliff Curton » Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:05 pm

Are you going to be playing with a pick, fingers, or both?

What sonic space to you want the bass to occupy?

The Splitcoil P pickup will give you warmth at the expense of note clarity.
J’s are more precise
The humbuckers are going to give a compressed sound that will cut through.
The HB2 is more polite and refined (neutral) than a Musicman. The coil-tap gives it two distinct sounds with a switch.

The Icon allows for H/H, J/J, P/H, P/J
The LB allows for the HB2 with a J or H in the neck, J/J, H/H

Ash will be bright
Mahogany warm

The fretboard and frets have a lot of influence. Maple boards are bright, rosewood is warm.
Jumbo frets give more clack/ping and small frets make it warmer/woodier.

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby Toptube » Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:34 pm

FYI: You can get dual music man style pickups in the Icon.
Image

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby MarshallTSL » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:03 pm

Spud, I was talking with Flock and he said they could probably do it if I picked a plain maple top. The look I'm going for is the Yamaha BBENE2 Nathan East Bass, which comes in either solid black or solid white. He thought they'd be willing to do it if asked nicely, but it would be non-returnable.

Nathan East BBE in Black

But I think I'll probably go for a natural clear gloss finish on a swamp ash body with a chocolate maple top.

spudmunkey wrote:I do to, but if i remember right, Mike on FB has said they would do it more recently
CT6 Deep Blue Quilt, HH2 Claro Walnut, TL60C Black Cherry Quilt, SH65 Master Grade Ziricote, Aries A6X Crimson Flamed Redwood, Aries A6X Blue Hawaii Quilt, Icon 5 Bass Next Up

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby MarshallTSL » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:08 pm

See? This is why I love you guys. Thanks Toptube.

Smaller Frets, EVO (check!)
Chambered body (check!)
Mahogany or Limba (will likely go with swamp ash or white limba, check!)
3pc neck (check!)
top - chocolate maple quilt or maybe a top-of-the-day Tuesday bargain; will likely go with natural clear gloss

Toptube wrote:I like small frets. Smoother feel ... I recommend the EVO Gold frets.

I would try the chambered body option.

I would use Mahogany or limba for the body wood. In my opinion, this helps offset the highs boost of neck thru construction

I think the 3 piece necks are a good option.

If you don't like those tops, tells is what looks you do like.
CT6 Deep Blue Quilt, HH2 Claro Walnut, TL60C Black Cherry Quilt, SH65 Master Grade Ziricote, Aries A6X Crimson Flamed Redwood, Aries A6X Blue Hawaii Quilt, Icon 5 Bass Next Up

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby MarshallTSL » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:20 pm

Bill, this is so helpful.

- I'll be playing with my fingers most of the time unless I need to play something fast (I struggle with right hand fingerstyle speed).
- Sonic space? It depends entirely on the piece. Sometimes I need to be entirely out front, sometimes, sitting on the bottom with a melody and rhythm with contretemps to the drums, out front once in a while for a statement
- Pickup choice is still up in the air. I'm leaning towards a P/J, but could be convinced easily to go with a J/J or an HH
- check! on the stainless and small frets

Bliff Curton wrote:Are you going to be playing with a pick, fingers, or both?

What sonic space to you want the bass to occupy?

The Splitcoil P pickup will give you warmth at the expense of note clarity. J’s are more precise
The humbuckers are going to give a compressed sound that will cut through.
The HB2 is more polite and refined (neutral) than a Musicman. The coil-tap gives it two distinct sounds with a switch.

The Icon allows for H/H, J/J, P/H, P/J
The LB allows for the HB2 with a J or H in the neck, J/J, H/H

Ash will be bright, Mahogany warm

Jumbo frets give more clack/ping and small frets make it warmer/woodier.
CT6 Deep Blue Quilt, HH2 Claro Walnut, TL60C Black Cherry Quilt, SH65 Master Grade Ziricote, Aries A6X Crimson Flamed Redwood, Aries A6X Blue Hawaii Quilt, Icon 5 Bass Next Up

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Re: Icon Bass build recommendation

Postby Toptube » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:16 pm

P.S. For top.of.the day deals, if Jeff doesn't have chocolate maple available --- ask for it live, during the stream. I have seen him go and grab other wood on request. Or if it's a finish like sparkle paint or something, I have seen him say ok if you call right now, I will give you a sparkle deal.


Natural gloss Choco maple on black or white limba, with 3piece maple/walnut neck, would be hawt.


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