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anyone else purposely buy "ugly" gear?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by runmikeyrun, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. The bands I've been in over the years always play out a decent amount which really puts cosmetic wear and tear on equipment, especially cabinets. Jam spots are usually dusty/dirty. Because of this I usually buy equipment that already has some rips/tears and years of grime on it. I used to buy nicer stuff but it always just got beat up. I've found that paying the extra money for a super clean piece of gear is almost a waste because it's just going to get messed up, so I usually buy something that's a little beat up at a better price.

    Now, I'm not talking about abuse. There can absolutely be a correlation between external appearance and how well the person took care of a piece of gear. I think most of us have seen gear that's been left in damp basements or unfriendly enviroments. But... not always. I've found if you're careful you can find stuff that's just beat up from use, but not abuse.

    I've also found it's a great tool for negotiating price. I've been able to negotiate a better price from quite a few people and stores by saying "well, it's pretty beat, I'm gonna have to re-tolex it/paint it."

    Am I weird for doing this or do other people see the practicality of it? Don't get me wrong, I love a nice new shiny piece of gear, if it's gonna live in my basement. Otherwise I just don't see the point.
  2. SidMau


    Sep 3, 2012
    I think this is why most people have "beater basses"
  3. Tenma4


    Jan 26, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    Ugly gear buyer here. I usually clean things up after purchase. I don't worry about scratches any longer on any sort of wooden cabinets or road cases. If there's too much showing through, it gets a touchup with black spray paint.

    My main bass looks like it got kicked down a gravel driveway and has a grand total cost to me of $38 (my "$38 Special").
  4. I wouldn't hit a drunken punter with my Tobias bass. ;)
    I wouldn't fly with it either.
  5. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    When I toured in the late 80s-early 90s I did the same as the smoke, beer and stuff rolling around in a van would kill your stuff quickly.

    Now I am a weekend player and have great gear in great condition as I go from my truck right to the stage.
  6. I usually give my stuff a good cleaning upon purchasing too, as well as touch up paint, etc. I give it the occasional cleaning while I own it too. I don't want it to look like I transported it to the gig in a garbage truck lol. But the obsessive 3 hour cleaning... I'll leave that to my vintage motorcycle.
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I did back before I could afford to be choosy.
  8. solodb


    Jun 3, 2011
    British Columbia
    I'm like JimmyM before he got rich and handsome. All my gear is ugly except my bass because that's all I can afford- good deals on ugly gear that works and sounds good.
  9. WretchedExcess


    Jul 29, 2013
    I'm choosy too -- I don't want anything in my house that doesn't look good. I can't even stand to have a tolex rip staring at me. For me, that means that I've got a separate rig that lives in the house so that it always looks nice, and a separate rig that gets carted around for gigging and lives in the garage. Doubling up on the gear also eliminates dealing with a full flight of stairs when I get home. That's beginning to matter to me more than it used to.

    Even though I have a set of "sacrificial" gear for gigging, I still don't like to have my gear look like it's been ridden hard and put away wet. I still try to keep the beater gear from looking like beater gear. I pass on a lot of used gear because of condition. I guess that means I'm way too picky about this, and I end up paying more than some of you guys who aren't so fussy.

    edit: my favorite approach is to buy really good looking stuff that's broken, get it cheap, and fix it.
  10. TinIndian

    TinIndian Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    I like buying beat up basses and fixing them up/restoring them. #1 cheap and #2 I like to fix stuff up.
  11. I play bars and clubs for the most part so it's dark and no one can really see. Heck , I'm much more concerned with what it sounds like , so what it looks like is not important to me. Plus , the beat up stuff is cheaper and I don't have to worry about it getting beat up. I recently got a cab in almost perfect cosmetic condition and left it at home for the gigs. lol Since they do face the audience , I try to keep the grillcloths in good shape , but other than that , paint it black and let it eat.
  12. Slade N

    Slade N sunn #91 AZ Bands #?

    May 28, 2005
    the last bass i bought was kinda a beater...but after some setup TLC it plays great
  13. russpurdy


    Apr 16, 2013
    I personally like gear with a little wear and tear. Not destroyed but not sparkling new either. To me, wear on equipment is proof that its worth using. Yes, you could argue that mint gear is so well taken care of because it is so great but my brain doesn't work that way haha.
  14. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I buy ugly gear as long as it's cheap.
  15. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Perfectly clean gear makes me feel uncomfortable, because of claustrophobic stages and apartments, and my habit of aquiring a dent into something within 2 weeks of acquisition. To know that thinly coated nitro-clad Fenders really do sound more open doesn't help.

    That said, my main bass, the fretless Linc, sounds very open, AND has some sort of thick teflon style poly coat that is close to indestructible. Guess it's the perfect piece of gear for me.
  16. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    I never got rich or handsome,


    That cab has a stock JBL D140F,

  17. bobcruz


    Mar 10, 2004
    Alameda, CA
    Ugly? I hear Markbass sells a lot of gear....:bag:

    Kidding! I'll buy ugly gear but only if I'm pretty sure I can clean it up to at least very good condition. I've shaved down ratty carpet with a beard trimmer, straightened and painted grills, replaced cracked stacking corners, etc. It can be rewarding to get something back to decent condition.
  18. will33


    May 22, 2006
    My gear gets hauled around and used. It's tools, not ornaments. Fit's the use but not abuse condition.

    Every few months if we have a nicer party gig or something besides a bar, I will vacuum off ratfur, wipe down tolex, hammer dents out of grills, throw a fresh coat of black on them and maybe staple down or glue down some overing that's hanging loose or black out places it's torn off.

    I'm probably going to make my next stuff a little prettier, but that will mean taking a little time to be more careful instead of just throw it in and go.
  19. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I think of the gear in sort of 2 categories.

    Group 1 is instruments and their immediate accessories, and something like a nice tolex/grill cloth instrument amp. This group gets gentler handling.

    Group 2 is what I think of as blackbox utility gear. This is usually most PA gear and also includes my bass rig and any other backline stuff that is your usual headcase or rackmounted amps and blackbox cabs with metal grills.
  20. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    Every piece of beater gear I get, I fix up. I got a 4X12 cheap that a punk band owned. They had stripped off the tolex, and then randomly sprayed the cabinet with gold, silver and black spray paint...over the old glue, the grill and speakers. (I got it for $15.) I covered the cabinet in rat fur, repainted the baffle, got the speakers looking like new with some satin Krylon (which works great on speaker cones if you don't overdo it) and repainted the hardware. The cabinet looked like new when I was done with only about $25 in materials.

    While I get a kick out of worn, old, even abused equipment, I'd rather a decent looking stage.

    I did amp repairs for a music store that serviced over 100 school systems for years. I got in more beat and abused amps for repair than I can remember.

    A 4X10 combo Bassman 10 came in that had gone end over end down a flight of marble stairs. That was probably the worst.

    Besides getting the amps working, I also restored them to as "like new" condition as I could, replacing grill cloth, repainting metal grills, cleaning off grime and rust, repairing torn, missing and dinged tolex, etc. Usually this aspect was not that time consuming.

    I respect those amps, and I figured if they looked like new, the kids MIGHT take a little better care of them.

    I can dream, can't I?

    I want to see those amps used and enjoyed for many, many years, and not just end up in a landfill.