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Bass Players are Their Own Worst Enemy!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by deadshovelhead, May 15, 2018.

  1. Bass players are their own worst enemy...

    I’ve played keys in touring/weekend warrior bands for years. From experience, I know keyboard players are not usually the focal point. Case in point. I’ve been called to sub, and sit in with bands I’ve never even practiced with. “Just come and play the gig”. I have a few friends that have “made it” in the keyboard world. Three guys in particular that are all playing stadiums, festivals and auditoriums around the world. They are all varying degrees of very successful at what they do. All three of them have joined me at some point on stage to no fanfare. Absolutely no one knew or cared who they were...

    With that said... I’ve always... almost always carried heavy equipment. I’m not talking SVT 810 heavy. I’m talking 300lb Hammond Organ, 300lb Yamaha CP70, 150lb Fender Rhodes plus synths and amps heavy... All of these moved into and out of the venue with the help of hand-trucks, dollies, and bandmates. I’ve never had a problem. I’ve never been left behind. I’ve never gotten complaints that my rig was too big/heavy. It was all for the love of the craft. I’ve volunteered to bring lighter newer boards... Time and time again everyone wants to see and hear the older heavy keys. And... for those of you that complain about space in your CAR... I even had to buy my own trailer.

    Five years ago I decided to take bass playing seriously. I really didn’t know what I was getting into. I didn’t know if I would be good. I didn’t have the deep love for the pocket that I have now. I didn’t have the relationship with drummers I have now. But... I f’n love it. I love playing bass, I love the rhythm section. The whole damn thing is magical.

    Just like any other instrument... Bass can make or break a song, which brings me to my point.

    Until I started perusing TalkBass, I had no idea bass players were so worried about weight. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever played with a bass player worried about weight. Maybe this is a relatively new thing?

    Think about this... Guitar players roll out all the mighty tube driven gear they can afford. No one complains. The more drums the drummer has the happier everyone is. The keyboard player shows up with a B3, everyone cheers. The bass player has to shop for class D amps and neo cabinets??? to save their back??? ***???

    Why are you, as bass players giving up your SVT’s? Why aren’t you getting help moving the fridge. I help everyone else move their rig, and they help me with mine. Why does the sacrifice fall on the bass player? Why not have a class D Leslie, or a class D Twin Reverb... Stop with the BS. Gig your 100lb head with your 150lb cab. Hold your ground. For the love of everything that is great about rock and roll, Save The Bass!


    Well... I certainly didn’t intend to upset everyone so much. When I wrote this post, truthfully, I thought I was making good points that some of you might appreciate. I was wrong...

    I’m playing a big bass rig now. My bandmates are all helpful when I need to move it. None of them want me to downsize. This is always the way it’s been for me. My back still works... I guess I’ve been lucky. What I’m saying is, my perspective on all this is obviously very naive.

    I’ll try to be more sensitive to the TalkBass community in the future. I really “kicked a hornets nest” here, and I regret it.

    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    jmlee, SVT Bob, Ikkir and 113 others like this.
  2. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    We are weak and frail :(
    Donzer, fly agaric, Roj Ash and 44 others like this.
  3. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    I disagree, from my experience.
    mostly just groan when a guitar player with tons of shyte shows up, same with a drummer .
    I'm not playing rock music though.
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  4. voided3

    voided3 Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2008
    It seems to be the trend in general these days, at least for the GB/wedding gigs I do, to bring the lightest rig possible that will get the job done, regardless of instrument.

    Most of our keyboard players bring either one or two relatively compact digital pianos (Nords or similar) and their corresponding stands. That’s it. We hire sound so there’s always a wedge just for them, so they don’t bring amps.

    Most guitar players seem to use a 1x12 or 2x12 combo. I also play guitar and go slightly bigger with a 2x12 cab plus head, though I use a 1x12 Roland Cube for cocktail hour.

    Most bass players I know use a pair of neo 1x12 cabs and a class D head. My compact setup is a neo Eminence 3015 loaded Orange 1x15 with my go-to GK 1001RB, though for bigger rooms I bring either a pair of Rumble 2x10s or even my Ampeg 8x10.

    As you can see, I have a wide enough cab selection to go from relatively compact to enormous. I choose cabs based on how bad the load in is and how big the room is. Truthfully, that Orange 1x15 can cover any gig and sound great since we always have hired sound, but I enjoy playing through the bigger cab setups even if I don’t need to blast them.
  5. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    The rig I have now is better than the big heavy stuff. My 14 lb Crest Prolite 3.0 power amp, 3 lb Art preamp, and ~60 lb 12/12/6/1 fEARful blows away anything in every way, that I have ever used, including an SVT, a Sunn 2000s, an Acoustic 301 + Marshall major tube head, Epifani 610 + M9 Carbine, etc.

    I am almost 69, but I'm no weakling and not frail. Nonetheless, a load-in that I can manage by myself, that fits in my car WITH an upright bass, and reduces the number of trips I need to carry things saves my time, energy, and aggravation. I'm about the music, the girls (ok, grown-up women ;-), and the beer, not how big and heavy my gear is. Aloha!

    OK, here is my light rig for Psycho-Billy, note magnetic pick-up on upright—this was tune-up before sound check.

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  6. Thanks for letting me rant... I understand the jazz guys all play minimal gear. The wedding bands are doing it for the money. I get it. However... the legacy of old heavy tube driven sound... damn...

    I also prefer vinyl, if that tells you anything...
  7. You are my hero. You are a f'n rock star! I hope I'm doing it exactly the way you are at 69! Cheers!
    EddieV, PeterH, AstroSonic and 11 others like this.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Reducing transportation costs increase profit.

    Getting to a gig in a small car instead of a big-box van substantially reduces insurance, gas, maintenance and operating costs.

    Why should we bass players be penalized with lower profits if we can provide good volume and tone with lighter, smaller rigs?
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  9. Your arguments do not address how bass players are their own worst enemies.
    You talk about what you like using for gear.
    You say that bass players are giving up but don't expand on that point at all.
    You believe that anything short of a fridge and an SVT is not appropriate equipment for playing bass.
    But nothing in what you have said supports your premise that bass players are their own worst enemies.

    You can carry whatever equipment you want to a gig. That's your choice.
    You can even dislike what everyone else uses. I have no problem with that.
    But you made a controversial claim here and have yet to present anything to back it up.
    You didn't tie any of what you said in the body of your post to what you said in the title.

    Your debate instructor would have you go back and do it over.
    Dave Neal, whbjr, bozric and 56 others like this.
  10. Sub41


    Jul 13, 2006
    North FL
    You might want to look into 8-tracks, I think they're a little heavier than albums.
  11. ThumbBum


    Dec 16, 2016
    My super bassman 300 with 4x10 cab is the loudest rig on the face of the planet.
    Atshen likes this.
  12. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    The light stuff is all I need. A Fridge is way overkill. In our band everyone goes pretty light and can carry their own stuff. Even our key board player went pretty light. Trumpet and bone player have next to nothing. Why lug around stuff when you don't have to? It sure doesn't sound any better, at least from my point of view. Everytime I load my 2x12 I'm glad its relatively light.

    Set up quick, and then go out to the trailer and lug the PA and lights, hook up the board, that's the way it works for me and that's where the weight is (and the trailer).

    I have to say though that if our keyboard player had a B3 and a couple of Leslie's I'd help him schlep it, for sure. That would be a treat.
    getrhythm likes this.
  13. I dont think anybody should get the short end of the stick. Thats why I’m writing this in the first place. Bass players... Hold your ground. If class D and neo stuff feels good to you, do it like you own it!!

    Also, I should say... I’ve never played for the love of money. If I did maybe I would have a different opinion...
  14. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    I got tired of schlepping 80lb heads at 2am when my 5lb heads sounded 95% as good and made load out a million times more convenient and quicker. Plus they cost less than the tube heads. It really was a no-brainer.
    75kva, grocker, Tobiasfin and 24 others like this.
  15. I know it’s hard to imagine at your age, but at ours, it is either a practicality or a necessity.

    Hey, we love our huge stacks, too, but they don’t love us anymore. Somewhere between 40 and 60, your body will start showing signs of stress. Things that were once easy, that you took for granted, will become harder, or painful. Your body will start to deteriorate, and it ain’t under warranty no more.

    So I wish you a long run of luck with your monolithic gear. One day, you too will be carting around a lightweight combo to spare your herniated discs.

    Now get off our lawn, before we whack you with a walker.
    Donzer, heynorm, grocker and 43 others like this.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I go back and forth. I appreciate the light stuff, but when I plug into an SVT and 810, there's just nothing else like it, even at the piddly volumes I play at. I'm going to make an effort to use mine a little more than I have been lately. But if it makes you feel better, I have a lot of light tube stuff, too, and it's darn good.
    75kva, AstroSonic, tattooSAM and 10 others like this.
  17. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    Hey brotha, get a hold of an old class D Genz Benz Streamliner at about 6 or 7# and enjoy some yummy tubeyness at maybe a Lb. per 100 Watts :D Amazing tone!
  18. Well I'm 55... been gigging since I was 14. Back then, actually, up until about 10yrs ago, bass players necessary gear WAS way heavier than what the guitarist needed. I've never done a gig where the guitarist NEEDED a full Marshall stack... but I've done plenty where the bass needed an 810 or 215 etc.
    I DO take my 300w all tube Fender Super Bassman to any gig that has access that lets me take it without flights of stairs. Band mates WILL help, but I prefer to be able to carry my gear myself.
    For my 1st 20 or 30yrs, I did always take a heavy amp and come of heavy 115s. . But at least today we have a choice.
    As I said, I do take my heavy amp, but my 2 x 115s today are a fraction of the weight of my old ones. .... and they sound better to - to my ears anyway.
    I LOVE the 300w all tube sound, imo, unbeatable, and mucho speakero is great too.
    But.... my current cabs will do just as much as previous much larger cabs, at half the weight.... so..... pretty simple really.
    Stumbo, Moosehead1966, mbelue and 3 others like this.
  19. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    Guitar is my first instrument.

    I play through Twins and HiWatts. My pedal board is significant. Most of this stuff never leaves my house.

    I gig with a Custom built 10/30/50/100 watt combo with a 15" speaker. Minor pedals, occasionally use a small version of my rack. Usually mic the lower wattage but can hold my own for most venues without being mic'd.

    No one notices the difference as long as I'm competent.

    If I were playing a big venue, lots of people, I might break out the big stuff, but I'm paid for playing, not damaging my back or risking my equipment, or needing to move large amounts of stuff.
    Quantized Harmonic, Stumbo and Artman like this.
  20. My Super Bassman and two 4x10 cabs is the loudest rig on the butt of the planet.:roflmao:
    I don't actually have a Bassman an 2 4xs. Just wanted to say , butt of the planet. :laugh:

    I'd love having the rig you have though.
    Top one or two on my, if I ever needed a big bad arse rig, list.
    whbjr, saabfender, Mr_Moo and 3 others like this.

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