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Are you happier owning only one bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by black.rose1402, May 23, 2018.

  1. fourstringburn

    fourstringburn Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2009
    New Mexico
    I look at it this way, I bought my first bass (1978 P-bass) back in 1981 and still have it. It takes more than just a few years for the instrument to really become a part of you. I got another bass in 1997 (1997 Jazz bass) and I can say it's now become a part of me and my favorite but my P-bass has the history from my teen years as my first new bass and all the wear came from my hands and this bass will always be with me. I can't see owning anymore basses just based on the time factor alone especially as you get older.

    Many of our bass heroes have stayed loyal to one primary bass even though they can own as many as they want. Many have made a change midway in their career but then are just as loyal to that new instrument as they were to their old one.
    Nephilymbass likes this.
  2. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I wouldn't know.
  3. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    I owned my first bass for 35 years. For 25 years it was my only bass. Sold it a few years back because it was just too heavy to enjoy anymore.

    Over the past ten years, seven basses have come and gone, fours, fives, and a six string. Three years ago I sold everything but one bass. The last bass standing was my Dingwall Super PJ 5.

    So yeah, I’m sure I can be happy with one bass.

    Recently, I changed the line up and bought a Dingwall Super P 4 that weighs 7.5 lb. And a Cirrus 4 at just over 8 lb. Sold the five string.

    So, I’m at two, but either one would be fine if I needed to sell one.

    It’s kind of nice to just have one. It’s the bass you play.
    Passinwind, Nephilymbass and bebi like this.
  4. HalfManHalfBass


    Jan 21, 2003
    I truly wish I just had the one.

    When you have many, you spend more time setting them up than playing them -and the strings cost a fortune. They are also difficult to house, a great material liability and also limit your mobility!

    Recently I have gone down from 23 down to 13. I know it's still too many, but at least I have less duplicate models now.

    I think that I and many others could be more than satisfied with just 4 great examples of:

    1 x fretted
    1 x fretless
    1 x backup (maybe a 5 string)
    1 x acoustic / travel bass (for practising around the house without needing to fire the amp rig up)

    Unfortunately, being human and highly susceptible to GAS means basses with flats, short scales, different pickup options, active circuitry etc. plays serious havoc with that reality! Let's just say it's a constant battle between head and heart.
  5. bassstrangler


    Mar 2, 2015
    Does not compute, 14 basses makes so much more sense.
  6. Fathand

    Fathand 21st Century Distortion Man Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2005

    For me it removed the problem of having too many options when the usable time is really limited. As a result I've been more motivated to play and I have gotten to know my current bass better - getting multiple different sounds by playing with the pickup balance and EQ, where the best places for artificial harmonics are, at what position the bass sounds best and where are the "dull" spots etc...

    That being said, I am getting a couple of more basses. Playing just one bass made me also realize what that particular bass doesn't do that well. ;) Time is still limited, but I guess I have to manage..
  7. BigBatch


    Jan 1, 2017
    You need at least two. Having a backup bass is a good idea.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  8. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I personally don't think you're overdoing it with those basses. I've been a 1 bass guy for the better part of two decades.

    Let me tell you about the battery compartment on the rear that got fixed with duct tape and the crackling pots in the tone control. That bass could be played only if you pushed it all the way to the right, so your body would not touch the fragile equilibrium of broken plastic, duct tape and gravity that held the battery in exactly the one way where sound would come out of the output jack - which was wonky in itself and you needed to fiddle around with the cable for a minute until you found a stable connection. It was one of those rare basses with active pickups, where there is no passive circuit around the preamp. It's either active or dead.

    These were minor issues that can be fixed for not even a lot of money, but when you're as bad with a soldering iron as I am and this is your only bass, you will seek out the help of a professional who will tell you that you should drop off the bass on Thursday and with a bit of luck it'll be done after the weekend, around Tuesday or Wednesday.
    This means you'd have one gig and one rehearsal (with the guys who get really pissed off at stuff like that) where you have no instrument, so you keep adding hot fixes that somehow work more or less.

    At some point, I basically could not even remember how this bass worked in pristine condition, and that was when I hit a music store and tried a few basses to pass some time while a friend was shopping for a guitar. Long story short, I ended up with a second bass which instantly became my main player and the other bass went into a case, under the stairs and out of my mind. About half a year later, I took that old bass back to a rehearsal for old times' sake and I got really upset about how I was ever able to play a bass in that condition.
    So I took it apart, ordered all the spares I needed, fresh strings and started cleaning the rear from all the muck that ten years of duct tape will get you. I cleaned the fretboard, and to be honest, a spade would have been the appropriate tool for that, redid the setup and polished the body. All the electronic issues were soldered by a pro and the result was mind blowing to me.

    This led me to the belief that as a working musician - no matter whether you're a pro or a weekend warrior, to take proper care of your equipment, you need a spare.
    My personal minimum of stuff to own is two basses, two amp heads and two cabinets with enough cables to spare that any of the ones I use could break.
    The result is that whenever something happens to a piece of gear, I can switch to the spare and take proper care of it, no matter how long it takes.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  9. I’ve had nothing but a roadworn P for a couple years and it handles everything I need just fine. About 20% of the time I long for a stingray tone to change things up, but I love the simplicity of 1 bass. Keep tossing around the idea of routing the body for a mm pickup.
  10. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Agreed. Something ALWAYS happens and having a backup bass is the best insurance for a bass player especially if you practice regularly and gig every week. I'm ordering a two bass case from Amazon shortly. My two Ibanez basses are very light and it's like packing insurance to have a two bass case at the gig. And the worst case scenario is I have a third Ibanez at home, but it's not the same style as the two main gigging basses, but passable in a pinch.
  11. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    I can tell right away, I'm happier owning 2 basses than when I had one. I wouldn't mind having maybe 2 more, but I don't have the need to hoard them. 2 classic tones that I've always wanted (P and Ray) and I'd settle for 1 more of each, for different strings and/or tunings.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  12. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
  13. bassville pete

    bassville pete

    Feb 20, 2018
    I'm new at learning the bass, so I have one. A Fernandes entry level bass. I'm happy with it.
  14. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I enjoy making and acquiring basses. It has brought me a lot of happiness over the years. As I've acquired more, I find I am less tied to any one bass -- I can pick up just about any bass and get through a gig with it happily, provided it is basically functional.

    I think I would feel empty with only one bass. I am happy gigging with one favorite, but then things change with it -- it needs repair, gets an ugly ding, or the needs of the band change. So I move on to another.

    As the T-shirt says -- "The person with the most basses wins"!
  15. nilorius


    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    I have 2 - Ibanez GWB1005 and custom D'alessandro, both 5 string, but the 1st. one for me will always be Ibanez, i can't explain why, but the day i took it and played it, it became - my the only one an real instrument, just became.
  16. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    If I would have never bought a bass past my Jazz that I modified, yes I could've lived my whole life with just that bass. I love the feel, the sound, the look. Then I decided I needed a p. Then I played a music Man. So now I have a little stash of 11 basses. Some are low end. Some are build outs. Some are quite nice. Two were actually gifts (nothing crazy just a few ibanez's)

    But after have so many options at my fingertips I don't know if I could be satisfied with just one bass. But if I didn't have the financial abilities I have to be able to spend a grand or two every now and then for a new bass I could and would be happy with that same fender jazz Bass that I've loved for over a decade.
  17. booch29


    Mar 27, 2013
    I agree with everything you wrote, happens to me all the time with my jazz bass(regular passive one).. it can do all styles.
    But, the p bass just sits better in the mix(my personal opinion )and it makes me play differently then the jazz , so you need both for different purposes.
    Keep one jazz and one p, that’s what I believe is the best of both worlds...
  18. I own two. A Jazz and a precision. That is really all that I need.

    I don’t play enough to really warrant more basses. If wouldn’t feel right if I owned something and did not give it the attention that it deserved. I think really one more max if any, likely something of my own assembly.
    Kipp Harrington likes this.
  19. Lovep

    Lovep Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Indianapolis, IN
    I'm in the same boat!
    basslicks likes this.
  20. Although I'd always say it's good to have at least two basses with one to serve as a backup especially if playing in live situations. I currently only have one bass and yes I am happy with just my one main bass. I may buy another eventually for backup purposes, however my mid-80's MIJ Fender Jazz Special is really all I need and gets the job done. It also eliminates the sometimes difficult choice and question of "what bass should I use for _____?"

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