Basses you own vs. Basses you gig with

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rodan, Jun 10, 2002.

  1. I was just reading the "How many basses does everybody bring to a gig" and I just had to ask a question. I have a pretty good idea of the responses that people will give, but it will be intresting to see what people really think about this subject. Here it goes:

    If most people only take two basses to a gig on average (one usually a backup), then what really is the point of owning 8, 10, 15, 20 basses? Is it for the sake of collecting (obviously there are so many amazing basses out there these days - I have often wanted to own my fair share just for the sake of having them around). But functionally speaking, does it serve any purpose to own so many basses? For recording, maybe? At times it seems excessive...

    Not trying to start a flame war, just playing devil's advocate (I'm also one of those guys who wishes he could afford having 10 nice basses)...

    Your thoughts?
  2. I've always wondered the same thing....:confused:

    Maybe each one of their basses is completely different, like a four string, four string frettles, five string...etc etc....
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    All of my basses are different.

    I usually take 2 basses to a gig, although now that I have a 12 string, it will be three. The point of bringing more than one bass is to bring a backup, in case disaster strikes. The 12 is not a good backup, it just doesn't work on a lot of songs. But for the few it does work on, it is nice to have.

    Same goes for the basses that I own that don't get played much.

    My Electra-Westone fretless with black nylons gets a great quasi upright tone, and with the parametric tone control, gets a great dub sound too. Better than anything else I own.

    I don't play much that requires either of those tones, but the bass is so different than any of my others that it has a place on my wall.

    As far as how the rest are different, here's a breakdown.

    4 stringers

    Westone Quantum Steinberger copy - It's the only headless bass I own, and gets a better P bass tone than anything else I have, despite the fact that it doesn't have a P pickup.

    Fender Jazz Geddy Lee - A great 4 string Jazz bass, I think that everyone should have a Jazz in their collection.

    Peavey Foundation - Another great 4 string Jazz bass, it doesn't cop the tone 100%, but it gets very close. I am keeping this one for sentimental reasons. I've had it longer than anything else. And it is semipermanently loaned out to somebody too poor to afford their own.

    5 stringers

    Zon Sonus Custom fretless w/ piezo bridge - My #1 fretless. Everyone should have a really good fretless. I am very blessed. I own the best fretless that I have ever played, therefore no fretless GAS.

    Pedulla Rapture J2 - I love Jazz basses, and this is the second best Jazz 5 that I have ever played, second only to a Sadowsky. Considering that I paid 1/3 of what a Sadowsky costs, and it is almost as good(IMHO), I think it is a no brainer to keep this one.

    6 stringers

    Peavey Cirrus - This is my #1 fretted. World class 6 string for $1500? Better than a lot of $2500+ sixes that I have played? You bet.

    Ibanez SR506 - This is the weakest bass in my collection. The only reason that I still have it is that I could not sell it and get what it is worth to me, so I keep it. Soon to be defretted and have a complete electronics overhaul. Maybe then I will like the way it sounds. Nothing wrong with the playability.
  4. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I have 8 basses, but only use two for gigs right now. Here is why I need most of them (my rationalization anyway):

    Currently use on gigs:

    Lakland Skyline 55-01
    Tobias Toby Pro 4

    Backups for gigging basses:

    Yamaha BBG5A
    Fender MIM Jazz

    Basses needed in special situations, but not all the time:

    Warwick Thumb Fretless
    Epiphone El Capitan ABG (5 string)

    Basses I don't need :

    1976 Gibson Thunderbird - Bought it new, has a lot of sentimental value so I will never sell it.

    Epiphone EB-3 - bought used for only $150, great if I'm ever in a classic rock band.

    IMO I only have one bass that is completely unnecessary - the EB-3.
  5. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Have you played this? :p :D
    <img src="" width=800>

    I have 15 basses right now. I usually bring 2 basses to a gig, but usually every gig, I bring 2 different basses. They'll both be similar basses, 2 4 strings or 2 5 strings, both active or both passive.

    Yes, I'm nuts!!!!!:p
  6. SCT1422

    SCT1422 Supporting Member

    I have 6 with another on the way... I usually take 2 with me to a gig... I like to take something different all the time.... I look at it this way, I've been playing for alot of years, I enjoy the hell out of them, I make money with them, I can make back what I have in them for the most part, I can cordinate with what I'm wearing or the mood I'm in and like the commercial for Clairol or Breck says, "because I'm worth it".... Steven....
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    No, I haven't played that one. I'm afraid to. Is that a poly coated fingerboard?
  8. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Well, there are a couple of instruments that I really enjoy playing--the Edward Dick ABG and the Warmoth/Fender fretless Jazz--that aren't really appropriate for the loud progressive rock band I'm in. Those are mostly just for me at this point, especially the ABG.

    The other two, a Wal 4 and Wal 5, get sort of alternated for gigs depending on what mood I'm in--I like to toss in a few notes on the low B, but we don't have any music that really depends on it. The Status Hellborg Signature I just got will probably get rotated in, too, but I haven't had a chance to try it out with the band yet.

    Could I get by with one? Sure I could, and I did for the first 15 or so years I was playing. I still really only like to bring one bass to gigs and practices--it's just too much hassle and distraction to switch between songs--but that bass may change from week to week, depending on what I find myself enjoying the most at the moment.

  9. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Yes it is!!!!!
  10. rickreyn

    rickreyn Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I use to bring two, but I don't have time to switch, so it is really not practical. Therefore, I have no back up, but I do have a spare set of batteries. In 30 years, I've not had a guitar quick working, but I have broken a string. I try to keep an extra "G" on hand too. I'd like to have a fretless available, but my Cirrus mimics the tone pretty well, so I am pretty well set.
  11. I usually only bring one bass to a gig. We usually only get about 30-40 minutes to play one set, so I don't have the time to switch, nor do I feel like worrying about the safety of two basses. I bring whichever one feels right to me at the moment. Or if the situation is really creepy, I'll just bring the cheapest-looking one. I can't really explain why I have so many basses when I can only ever play one at a time, except to say that I really like basses. Uhh and it's better than drugs!
  12. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i think i'd like to bring 3 or 4 basses to every gig.

    a 4 string (somethin good for slappin)
    a 5 string fretted
    a 5/6 string fretless
    and perhaps another 5string fretted

    right now, i have 2, and bring both on phat phunktion or bon pantalon gigs - any other gig i just bring 1.
  13. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    I bring 2 basses to each gig (in a Undercover double gig bag I bought from Gard...) Which 2 basses depends on the gig.

    I find myself feeling guilty about owning 4 basses, and then I come to this forum, and I feel a lot better after hearing that so many people have 8, 10, 15 etc. :D

    My basses:

    MIM Fender Jazz fretless with Original '62 pickups, strung with TI flats. This is my fretless for now.

    MIJ Fender '75 reissue Jazz. My first bass was a Kent Jazz copy, and I've always wanted the real thing. I love this bass. I had it setup by Gary Brawer here in San Francisco and it plays like butter now.

    Ibanez ATK 300. Another 4 string fretted, but it sounds so different from the '75 RI Jazz that I seem to be able to justify keeping it. I also love this bass. If I had to sell one fretted 4 string, I'd have a hard time deciding.

    Fender Heartfield DR5. This was my main bass for a a decade. (I can't believe it's been that long!). I've recently rediscovered 4 strings, though, so the DR5 sits at home more often now. I never want to sell this bass. It'd be hard to replace. If I had to keep only one bass, this is the one.
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I own five different types of 5-string fretted basses (Lull, MTD, Modulus, Fender, Warwick) and rotate through all of them. I like having a wide variety of tones in my collection.

    Because of their chunky/grindy tones, I use the Modulus Quantum and the Warwick SSI primarily with my modern rock band. I use the 535, P5, and RB5 primarily with my #1 gigging band, which is blues/R&B/classic rock. But I would not hesitate to use any bass in any band.

    I also own two dearly beloved Music Man basses (an '83 Cutlass and an '89 Saber) which served me well for many years, but I no longer play four string bass so they stay at home. Which is kind of sad, but I can't bring myself to sell them.
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    This is interesting because I was just queried about something similar to this recently. It seems a TBer with 5 basses couldn't understand why I had more than him:D

    "If most people only take two basses to a gig on average (one usually a backup), then what really is the point of owning 8, 10, 15, 20 basses?"

    This sounds like the assumption is that you always take the same two basses every time. Is that the thinking here?

    Most of my basses have pretty distinct sounds and feels. I personally think it's fun to choose between them before going on a gig. Small trio in a coffee house?... maybe take the Roscoe 7 or MTD 635 (for extra chordal range) and a fretless. I like the fretlesses on any kind of gig but particularly on lower volume gigs where the texture can really come through. Old school funk may get the G&L L2000E out or the 78 Jazz and the Zon fretless, playing Parliament/ Funkadelic on the Zon is a hoot. Weddings/ corporate gigs I'll take anything I own, the last one I took the FMT and the Zon, the MTD and Elrick fretless the gig before that, the F Bass and Brubaker NBS-1 the gig before that. I'll probably take my 84 Tobias 5 and a Crescent Moon 4 or 5 on the next one.

    Each bass inspires me in it's own way. Doesn't make me better, I do what I do on any of them and ultimately I still sound like me. Some are faster than others (by degrees) but the cool thing about the "slower" ones is that instead of going into auto-pilot mode I'm more conscious of note choices.

    Tonally I hear a difference and that's what's really important.
  16. I own seven and take two, sometimes three to the gig. I don't normally have time to change during a set but sometimes alternate - different set, different bass. Three of the basses I own I never use to gig with.
  17. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I have 3 basses, the 3rds in parts right now. But I would sometimes bring it (my Hamer) on a gig with me. Especially if it was an 80's hair band repitore.

    I hope to add a Pevey Cirrus 6 to the lineup with in the year.

    Id have at least a dozen by now if i didnt sell them.
  18. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    I have 9, all but 2 are 5'ers. I'm the second owner (had it since '83 ) of a '66 Jazz, and my wife got me the '75 fretless P last year for Father's Day. All I gig with are 5'ers, but why sell these two, especially since they are paid for twins (bookends, both black)? I finally found my holy grail in the Roscoes, and then put a fretless neck on the '66 just because, and guess what? Yup, the search started all over again because it just seemed to come natural to me (a minor miracle here because I always have to work hard at everything), and fretless feels so good. But I find I can't sell the Roscoes, they are each unique (especially the Icon), sound and play fantastic, and are among the most beautiful instruments I have ever seen. The Lakland is also unique (limited edition deluxe 55, satin finish), and really light, so it's good for those sore back episodes. So now I have 2 fretless 5's that see 80-90% playing time and a bunch of other basses I can't bear to part with. But the main reason to have them all is my wife not only supports me, but also encourages me which is the real bottom line!
  19. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I have 6 and play in three different bands that require three different sounds.
    Two Jazz bases are played with the Zep tribute.
    Two Precisions are played with the Original band.
    The Music Man and Stblues PJ get played in my wifes pop cover band.
    I'm covered not matter what style I get to play.
  20. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    all my conklins are different, with different uses. wider or narrower string spacing, fretted/fretless, different tunings, different tonalities.

    all my old 4 strings have way too much sentimental value attached to sell them, even though i haven't played them in almost a decade.