Does what you play make you better?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by willop, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. willop


    Feb 7, 2013
    beaver, pa
    When you see someone playing an instrument - guitar, bass, whatever - does WHAT they play influence your OPINION of their playing? (positive or negative?)

    Let me clarify..

    Does the INSTRUMENT they're playing influence your opinion of them?

    A lakland vs fender, vintage vs new fender, high end vs entry model instrument, etc
  2. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Do you mean what brand they play? If so then no, their ability to contribute to the music through technique, tone, etc. is what influences my opinion.
  3. The thread title and question posted in the OP are quite different.

    Does what I play make me better? Sure, there are basses which I find much more enjoyable to play which I think translates through.

    Do I judge other players based on what they play? Not knowingly anyway.
  4. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    The material? Maybe, but probably not as much as how WELL they're playing that particular bassline.

    I'd be more impressed with a, simple, articulate Duck Dunn than frantically sloppy Flea bassline.
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  6. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Agreed. Can you clarify?
  7. Monster Truck

    Monster Truck Groovologist Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    I think if you asked this question to a group of musicians and a group of non-musicians the answers would vary greatly. Back when I was a drummer loads of non-musicians told me how easy it is to play drums. After all, you're just hitting a drumhead with a stick. Many non-musicians see bass as 33.3% easier than guitar. I recall one non-musician even telling me that sax was the hardest instrument to play because of all the buttons.

    Most musicians I've met show respect for anyone that plays any instrument, even if they're just beginning.
  8. The question is a bit ambiguous so to answer it in both directions...

    If it's from an instrument / amplification standpoint, then sometimes yes. If they're running something that is "wrong" for a situation then I sometimes do think that they are thinking more along what their outward appearance is compared to what they are doing. There's a couple of kids who come down to the local jam night every so often, and they'll roll in with two cab stacks (where they both own sufficiently powered combos for the 80 square yard room) and three or four guitars and only play one.

    As for what they play (the music), then no, as I understand that to be able to make music they need to have at least a modicum of skill and anyone who has taken the time to get some skill there, then that's respect there regardless of how good or not so they may be or the music.
  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yes. I have, and have had a number of basses of the years. Some basses help make me play better. Whether its because they can have a lower action, or a sweet spot of string tension, or just the geometry works better for me. Somethings just work physically better than other things.
  10. Huge

    Huge Hell is full of musical amateurs. Like me.

    Dec 2, 2005
    Thread Title Answer:
    A bass that I like to play, makes me play more, making a better player than if I wasn't playing.

    OP Body Answer:
    I'll admit to judging a player on their gear until I hear them play. I do have preconceived notions about their skill level if they're playing a Stagg, for instance, as opposed to something with Fender on the headstock. I know it's wrong, but until I actually hear them, my opinion can only be formed by what I see. Still, a good player is a good player, and I would never deny someone of that based on gear.
  11. Monster Truck

    Monster Truck Groovologist Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    I think what to OP meant was

  12. OK then I'd like to think no, but inevitably yes.

    If you play a pointy bass then you are unlikely to register in my field of view. I'm pathetic I know, but I have an aversion to pointys and certain other basses I'm too ashamed to admit. Headless basses, for example, make utter sense but they look so wrong to me.

    Flip-flops on men doesn't work for me either so my prejudices aren't limited to basses!


  13. SteveC


    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I think if everyone is really honest, this would be the response. Yeah, a nice bass or bass you like will probably make you a better player as you will play more, develop better skill, etc.

    And yes, I judge by gear until I hear. And really, who doesn't?
  14. kimokeo


    Jul 7, 2009
    I love my Pedulla MVP 5 more than any bass I own. I do not think I play any better on it than I do my Fender Jazz 4. The type of music and crowd response has more influence on my playing than type of instrument.
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Oh lord yes.

    I worked hard to achieve a level of talent I felt was fitting of professional level gear, I expect anybody playing high quality gear to back it up. I cannot stand seeing a bunch of rich kids get up there with $15,000 in gear and $100 worth of lessons between 5 of them. Waste of money and gear, I usually look forward to buying that gear cheap on the used market.

    On the other side, I don't see a Squier on stage and look down on a guy, especially if he could do better, everybody had to work their way up from the bottom. I also do not see a Squier on stage and expect a total hack bass player.
  16. fuzzychaos

    fuzzychaos Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    I don't care what you play and I don't pass judgement on what equipment you play on. I learned my lesson a long time ago after being schooled by a guy with an instrument that I considered inferior.

    I also don't judge based on how expensive the equipment is. You can afford a Fodera and you have had one lesson so far? Cool.
  17. Sometimes. From my personal experience there have been some basses that when i first played them noticed how easy they were to play which in turn made me feel like a better player so i kinda have that in the back of my head when watching others play. So that's one aspect. Expectations is another part of it. if i see decent player play a $10,000 bass and another decent player playing what i would consider a cheap or even mid prices instrument and make it sound good if you asked me which is better id say the guy playing the cheaper bass. Because id expect the playability to be better but the expectations are higher when i see someone play a more expensive bass.
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Very tough question to answer honestly. We'd all like to say that it doesn't influence our first thought about musicians, but we all know musicians and bandleaders who wouldn't take us seriously if we showed up with a cheap bass and amp on an audition. Maybe once we started playing and rocked the house, they would take us more seriously, but then you're fighting an uphill battle. And let's face it, landing gigs is as much about psychology as it is your playing.

    That said, I have 9 electrics, most are very inexpensive, only 3 cost me between $1000 and $1500, and all of them put together wouldn't cover the price of a Fodera. Our guitarist doesn't have a single guitar that cost him over $500. I also know a lot of musicians who travel on flights and bring cheapos so their good stuff doesn't get bashed up, and nobody questions their abilities ever.

    But if I'm showing up for an audition with someone I don't know, I'm bringing one of my good Fenders as I know it's a game and I'll play it to make the money come in. Now if there's no money involved, they get what they get ;)
  19. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I was going to say no but then I thought of the Kala or the Ashbory basses. Gives me the heebies just thinking about those.

    Though if Iz suddenly came back to life I'd go see him in a heartbeat...
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Gnarsty bass tones Supporting Member

    I try to judge based on talent and not instrument, but I can't claim to be perfect. If anything I will be biased toward those who use lower end gear... that is, I suspect that I set the bar higher for those who use a super-flashy high-end bass. And that's one reason why I avoid super-flashy high-end basses (my most recent purchase notwithstanding :ninja:)! But it's not fair for me to judge that way, and I try to avoid doing so.

    I'm with you. That's why I love my Sadowsky P-basses: their traditional look won't offend traditionalists, and the boutique name will please those who believe that a "serious" player can be determined by his instrument. :rolleyes:
  21. WillInDenver

    WillInDenver An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure.

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I think a musician's choice of instrument is interesting, but I also think their choice of clothes is interesting for some of the same reasons. I wonder why they chose the bass they chose, and what they like about it. But there ends my analysis.

    When I was a kid, Denis DiBlasio (Maynard's band) came to my town for a clinic, with his fusion band "Cities". For a reason I forget, his bass player did not have an instrument with him and borrowed mine. So I saw this dude play my bass for an entire hour of wicked, chops-filled 80s fusion. I was about 15. I assure you, this other guy sounded a lot more like himself than he sounded like me, playing my bass.

    EDIT: Jimmy is right about the perception thing - taking a Fender to an audition or a new gig helps you avoid avoidables. Also, that was a P-bass the guy borrowed from me in the 80s.