Back up bass...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by duckyincarnate, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. Does anyone ever gig without a back up bass? I have only done so because I only own one bass, but I'm a bit nervous about breaking a string. It has never happened to me in 2 years of playing, though. (Ever). Should I worry?
  2. julo


    Jan 18, 2005
    Boulder, CO

    i DO have a spare bass, i don't really worry about breaking a string, but more about other pbs: more to do with electronics and connectivity.
    i bought to a friend a 40 euro bass, ugly, bad player but will do the job in case of pb.
    i never used it but it helps curing a bit of nervousity
  3. I bring my old Squier P as backup, but if I ever break a string I'm in DEEP trouble. It's been months since I played that bass and it's waaaaay different from my main bass (Cort B5). But I 'spose I could churn out roots until I can change strings.
  4. I bring a backup, just in case. I've never broken a string live, but I have broken a string once before, so I'm a little paranoid. My backup has a completely different tone to it (Ibanez SRX vs P-Bass clone with flats) but it would get me through.
  5. snapple


    Nov 25, 2003
    Victoria-Vancouver Canada
    Endorsing Artist: PCL Vintage Amps
    IMO, a back up is an absolute must. I am pretty hard on my instruments and subsequently, my main axe has had problems in the past. Now I also ensure that my backup is passive so to minimize replicating any electronic problems that puts my main bass out of comission.
  6. I've only busted a string on stage once, and it was during a show where I had but one bass. Such is life. That's what I get for trying to copy a trumpet solo...
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I used to bring a backup to every gig. Now I only bring one when I'm pretty sure one of my strings is going to break soon.
  8. Not usually. I will sometimes bring two basses to a gig, because we are playing for longer than usual, and because one is a fretted five the other is fretless five. Gigs with 40-45 minute sets usually only warrant one bass, because our band has roughly 30 songs, and for the 40-45 min sets we only play about 11 or 12 songs.

    I'm starting to think I should bring 2 basses to each gig, since second last gig the bassist(who I didn't know, but who apparently had always had problems with the saddle on his Jazz...E string I believe) of the opening band had to stop playing, get the whole band to search through their stuff looking for an allen key, and not finding one and having to resort to asking if anyone had a bass. I was kind enough to lend him mine(told him he was lucky I didn't bring the fretless give). Afterwards the strings felt floppier than usual, I had a bit of a tough time playing that set, but got through it fine. Changed strings, checked the set up and was good to go for the next night(brought 2 basses and mostly used the fretless, just cuz it had been awhile.)
  9. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    I have been playing and gigging on bass since 1980 and can count the string breaks I've had one hand. Two were live, one was before I had a back-up bass.

    My saving grace was that I had an extra set of strings on my toll kit handy. The drummer did a solo whilst I changed strings.

    The lesson here is to determine the essentail tools you may need mid gig and have them close by.
  10. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    I always bring 2 basses to a gig (even if it's doing 5 songs at church). I also have spare strings, toolkit, etc. I've had a couple of bass problems that the spare strings & toolkit would not have fixed including:

    - nut broke/split under the G string
    - solder joints going bad on 2 different basses at different times
    - really bad hum with one bass in one venue

    Now for each of these there was a workaround - when the nut broke I could have retuned and played on 3 strings, with one bad solder joint only the neck pickup went out and I could have kept playing on the bridge pickup, with the other the series setting went out but parallel stayed OK, and with the hum it was manageable by keeping contact with the strings at all times. But it's a whole lot easier to just swap to the other bass and go. And each of these problems could make the bass pretty much unplayable (if it was a different solder joint there could be no output at all, a more severe nut (or other hardware problem) could leave fewer to no playable strings and if the noise wasn't removed by human grounding of the strings then the bass is gonna sound really bad.

    So rather than extend the toolkit (bring a soldering iron & paraphenalia, nut blanks and tools, shielding materials, etc.) and extend my skills (I don't do nuts, shielding or major electronics work myself) I take the easy way out and bring a backup. It's usually a small, cheap, lightweight, passive bass (a Steinberger Spirit XZ-2db) but I like all my basses and often take 2 of my "good" basses and swap them out (per set) since I like playing them all and don't gig that much.

    My only dilemma is when I've got a gig where I don't want to take any of the "good" basses (like an outdoor all-day gig in the Texas summer heat and humidity with chances of rain). I've only got the one "beater" (at times I've had more than one "beater"). Maybe I need to get another "beater" - yeah, that's the ticket!
  11. trog


    Nov 8, 2003
    Nope. I've never broken a string in my life. Electronics aren't much of a worry to me either: I check the control cavity occasionally to make sure everything's fine, and carry a spare battery.

    Cables, however... :bawl:
  12. I thought I would NEVER see the day when I'd break a string, and it finally happened a month ago. Insane. I don't even play hard, I still don't understand what happened. I always bring two basses, but the main reason is to have one pre-tuned to drop-D so I don't have to keep tuning between songs (I don't have one of those handy pedal tuners.) But it works out well if something goes freaky with one (battery dies, etc.)
  13. If its a short gig I only bring one bass, but if its a longer gig (i.e. 2 30min sets or I'm playing in 2 bands that night) I always bring a backup just in case - if your the only bassist there you NEED a backup coz theres no one else to lend you one if anything happens (ok I've never had anything go on me during a gig, but its safer...) our guitarists string went once so he HAD to use his backup to avoid a 5-minute string-change break mid set - which (lets be honest) looks REALLY unprofessional - if anything goes mid-set just put down your Conklin or Fodera and grab that Squier or **cringe** Encore till the sets finished - it looks much more pro and you don't lose the audience...

    have a look on Ebay if you think you can't afford a spare - honestly, you can...and I'd say a cheap D.I. box would be cool just in case your amp knackers up during a 400 quid gig... :cool:
  14. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I've played over 1000 gigs, I play pretty hard, sweat like crazy at times, and I only broke a string once after I had tried boiling them in vinegar & water to get the snap back. I never boiled my strings again. Only time I ever brought a backup bass was on a tour I just did in Europe cuz it was a pretty major thing for me and first time I ever went overseas with my bass. I wasn't sure what to expect with the change of climate and airport people handling my stuff. Didn't need the backup - my Bongo did fine. :)

    What I took for my backup was a Rondo SX 5 J bass, and if I had to use it, it would have kicked butt. In soundcheck all I really needed to do was switch the amp from active to passive and the bass gave me all the punch and midrange I needed. $130 and I am absolutely certain for me that there isn't a better bass bargain on the market at present.
  15. R.Lee


    Nov 12, 2005
    Always just too many things can go wrong at the wrong time. 1.Headstocks can and do break. 2. PUPs do go bad lose solder connection. 3. Important screws always fall in small cracks 6 feet deep. 4. Bridges go funky at times.
    5. Sometimes you just want a different sound. 6. Don't even get me started on the evils of Pots.

    An extra bass isn't that much more work and may save the show. (And most important get you called back for the next paycheck)
  16. RLT


    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    Hey Joe hows the playing going? Haven't seen you posting for a bit.
  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    Not to derail this thread - but - was away touring with Bumblefoot for a couple of months and didn't have much internet access, then slipped into a corner, and lurk mode for a while. Just starting to come back out of my shell. The tour was the greatest experience, thus far, in my life. Part of my not posting about it here (and probably the lurk mode too) is that I've noticed a lot of people don't really care. That's ok. Trying to just post now when I feel I can be of some help, or if I really have something burning to say. Thanks for aksin what's up. :)
  18. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    IMO a DI box and a spare bass are very nice to have just in case something happens.
  19. When i get back into the gigging game, im gonna be using 2 basses anyway, so if theres a problem with one i can just swap

    Always have a DI box, mainly cus i always use my BDDI :)
  20. I broke a string on stage once, doing Jesus Christ Superstar. It's an interesting task to play everything that's meant for the A string on the E and the D - lots of moving, but I managed somehow. Backup basses are good things.