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Back-up Axe

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nanook, Aug 24, 2000.

  1. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    Most of us know this is just an excuse to own another bass.

    In all the years I've been playing, I've never had a bass crap out on me, although there was that time I ran over one with my car.....twice.

    Anyway, the question is; if you have, or want a back-up axe what is it (or what will it be) and why?

    Currently, my back-up bass is a Westone Rail. The reason is that it was relatively inexpensive, has a nice warm "Funk" sound, is very small and light weight (easy of transportation), and the radical design is a real eye catcher.

  2. >Most of us know this is just an excuse to own another

    Well, not really. Different basses have different tone and character. It's a good thing to be able to own various instruments.

  3. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I second what John said.

    Also, there are oddball times where a string might break or a battery die or some completely wacked-out, unknown thing happen in the middle of a show, and there's no way you'll maintain an audience while you look for the problem. Put your bass down, pick up your back-up (which you tuned BEFORE the show), and play on.

    -GM, been there once or twice...;)
  4. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    My reasons, in the past, for owning a backup bass hit on both ideas mentioned. The main reason was that I was known to break strings on a regular basis. My band actually insisted that I keep one around. The funny thing was, that having an extra bass around seemed pointless if I didn't play it, so I'd find a song that suited the sound of my backup, and use it. My backup piece was never a duplicate of my main bass; I tended to buy something decent but cheap - which in those days means that I had things like a 1966 Epiphone Newport, a Guild M-85 (man, I miss that one!) and things that are now considered "collector" pieces.
  5. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    I never take a backup bass to a gig. I've got two good reliable instruments ( a P and a J) and I alternate them depending on the gig, my mood etc. but I never take both of them to the same gig. As a guitar player though I ALWAYS take two guitars.
  6. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I take two basses to most of the gigs unless we are just opening up for someone and or we only are playing one set of music I might just bring the RIC. If I'm playing in my cover band all three sets of music or Im playing in a couple of bands on the same night I might bring as many as three different basses RIC, Fender Jazz, St Blues, It gives me a good excuse to be like a guitar player and change basses all night:D
    Seriously I like playing different basses and having a couple on stage with me it breaks it up and you get to have very different tones all night plus I play finger style and with a pick so different tools for different jobs is my motto:)
  7. I've got two Reverend Rumblefish, and I guess the second one is the "backup." By that I mean, I play it when I practice at home and when my main one is in the shop getting a set-up. I never bring two basses to a gig.. too much of a pain, and I've yet to break a string in any situation.
  8. I don't have what you'd necessarily call a "back up" bass, but I do always go to a gig, any gig, with 2 basses, a fretted and a fretless. To me, this serves 2 purposes, it gives me 2 distinctive sounds to work with, and in the event of a failure of some sort, there's always another bass right there ready to roll. I have had one incident where it was necessary, the battery died in my fretted in the middle of a tune, I was out for about 8 bars, then right back in there. I'd never go play with one bass again. I also make it a point to check my batteries before every gig now :D (that article in BP about checking your batteries without removing them looks very good, gotta set that up). As far as ease of transport, I bought a double gig bag, and have never found carrying 2 to be any difficulty.
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I usually only take one bass with me at a time too, unless it's an important gig (come to think of it, I sometimes only take one bass to those too).

    If I had to call a bass a backup, it would have to be my Tokai fretless Jazz. I usually leave it in my locker at school in case they need a bass player and I'm available but without my regular instrument. Also, I'll use the Tokai when I'm gigging at a bar or some place I don't know and I don't feel comfortable taking my Zon or Pentabuzz.

    Will C.:cool:
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I always take two basses to gigs. As far as I'm concerned, they're all important, who knows who might be listening. I can't remember the last time I've broken a string but I did have a neck scarf joint seperate on a new bass the first time I took it to a gig. After the initial shock, I plugged in my Tobias and the gig went fine. Nowadays I tend to take my Zon fretless and a fretted bass, usually the Lakland.

    I have my rig down in size to the point where I make just one trip from vehicle to venue, including carrying two basses and a bag with tools, strings and other bass related stuff. Gig bags have a lot to do with the ease of movement.

    BTW I don't think it's just an excuse to own another bass. If you think one is enough, cool. I use all of mine.
  11. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I try to always have a backup (the backup is the one ill use at practice...except right now) that is way different than my main. Having duplicates is pretty boring. I dont really have a backup right now, as the fretless, well, doesnt fit in in our music. If we play a gig (we havent in a little while), ill just use the other guys bass. But, once i get my Salas....there you go. It doesnt have the same pickups, and its a WOOD neck! So there. Its always good to have a backup...usually something cheaper.
  12. I don't take more than one bass to a gig. I have a back up just in case I need to put my main bass in the shop or something.

    When I get my new fretless I'll take it along with my RB5 to gigs. I want to have both those sounds at my disposal.

    My main reason for not bringing a backup bass to gigs is conservation of energy, i.e., I don't want to have to carry more than I have to. Also, I've never broken a bass string or had a battery go dead or had a other kind of catastrophic bass failure.
  13. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    While I don't plan failures, I plan for them.
  14. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm feeling stoked, because I just got a second bass, and it is now my "Backup"

    My Primary is and Ibanez GSR200 (I know...) and the back up is a VMI Cruise. It's got 2 less frets and bigger fet spacing, but it's older, so it's the second Backup axe...or I guess more accuratly, the secondary axe, because it's a black/black pickgaurd, so it looker meaner and punkier, so I use it for the slower, and/or more serios songs. I use the Ibanez for the main stuff becasue it's got a faster neck and smaller fret spacing, so it's good for the rock stuff.
  15. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I take 2 basses to every gig. Not that either is a backup -- they are identical except that one is fretted and one is fretless. I would be bummed if EITHER went out during a gig because I play songs on each bass that really wouldn't sound right, or simply couldn't be done at all, on the other. A good example of "couldn't" is a song where I play a chord-melody intro on fretted. I've tried -- I simply can't play chords in tune on my fretless.

  16. SmartLobster


    Mar 26, 2000
    Backup bass. Quite a predicament for myself.

    Ya see...i got two basses, which most of you are familiar with. Steve (first bass, Hamer) and Mokkus (second bass, Gibson)...now most would say that steve should be my backup bass because he's cheaper. Well, not so.

    Steve may be cheaper, but then he sounds a lot better than Mokkus. Mokkus may sound muddier than Steve, but since he is a short scale, he's a lot easier to play. Steve is also bigger, but a lot easier to mosh with.

    And since i don't know which of my basses is the true BETTER one...i don't have a backup. They're both equal. Weird?
  17. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    oh great, i just find a bass that i like, now i gotta go and find me a "backup".

    hey wait, what if i just get 2 of the same (maybe with slightly dif. op's for tonal considerations).

    yeah, yeah dat's wot i'll do.

    oh, and as a bonus idea, i'll send this page to the gf for justification purposes.

    thanks guys, now i can have two.

    or three, you never know when the "main" will be in the shop, the "backup" will break onstage, and then you need to pull out the "auxillary" bass

  18. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    Then you will need 2 back ups.
  19. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Well, Biski, your backup is whichever bass you AREN'T playing at any given moment.
  20. I have two Ibanez's and a Memphis. Suprisingly, the Memphis is my main guitar. That's cause I know if I break it (I am pretty wild on stage) I can replace it pretty quickly. Next is the Five string, because I like the versatility of the B, and finally my Ergodyne, because it is the most expensive, so I don't want to break it.

    Rock on

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