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Better Bass -> Better Skills?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by chaosMK, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I noticed that when I upgraded from the late 90's Ibanez SR-885 that I had been using for around 7 years to my Peavey Cirrus-5, my skills immediately took a little leap.

    In a few days, I was doing stuff with my thumb (I like to use my thumb for fast/technical low-B metal rhythms) that I wasnt able to cleanly at all before, and my tapping was greatly facilitated. My aggressive fingerstyle lightened up a great deal too- I could play faster and more delicately at the same time.

    I always felt like it was the skill you gain from years of dedication, and not the instrument. It just shocked me that the instrument truly made a difference.

    Now all I need is a Modulus. =)
  2. I think your skills improved because you were playing on a lesser quality instrument, not becuase you got a new one.

    So many students I know want to jump into an electric guitar over an acoustic, an expensive bass over a cheap Squire, etc. I play a 35" scale fretted bass - when I switch to my 34 scale fretless, my intonation is right on!

    I just played a week's worth of Godspell rehearsals and shows - most of it was on an acoustic guitar. When the electric guitar parts were necessary, I was all ready to roll.

    It's the same theory of a batter swinging three bats or a weighted bat before stepping up to the plate. It's the same as learning to type on an old manual typewriter to build up your finger strength, so when you get to a laptop computer, your fingers fly. It's the same idea as the man that's asked by God to push with all his strength on an immovable rock day after day. After 6 months, the man thinks he's failed because the rock didn't move. God didn't ask him to move the rock - all he asked him to do was push on it. It gave him perseverence and tenacity, muscular arms, and inspiration to do more.

    If you can, keep your old bass - practice on it, and then play on your new one.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    T.B. Player's right on the money. Deep man, deep.
  4. MattMPG

    MattMPG Matt Pulcinella Guitars

    Apr 6, 2006
    When I rehearse new songs for my band, I do it on my upright. When I go to electric, it feels like I can do anything.


  5. Also when you get a new instrument you (at least I do) get really psyched to play and that can definitely help your playing in general.
  6. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I think an attitude difference can play a role too. If I'm playing in a setting where I just can't seem to get a good sound, whether it be the room acoustics or the amp provided that I'm playing on, it makes me not enjoy playing as much and I'm not playing my best. If I've got everything perfect and my sound just the way I like it then everything just feels better and I'm much more into the music and playing well. That's probably not as much of a factor as bad playability being a bottleneck on your playing, but I think there's definitely a "hey, I love the way this feels and sounds" factor.
    Your new bass didn't make you better, it made you more able to apply the talent you already had.
  7. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    2 things that helped.
    1.) You get a new toy that is better than the previous one so you play it more. Playing it more means more practice and makes you better
    2.) The new bass is made better or has better electronics so you can play things easier. Maybe a good setup from a pro would have been all you needed with your old ond? Anyways, you get what you pay for and it probably feels nicer in your hands and causes finger tapping or fingerstyle or whatever to sound better and play easier...
    I had an Ibanes SR-800 bass.. I COULDN"T fingertap on it. It was such a hassle and it sounded like crap. I get a 5 string Warwick Thumb bolt on and wow... I can tap and it sounds good and clear coming through the amp. Wow!
  8. jwsamuel


    Apr 26, 2004
    Two thoughts:

    1. I am not sure if a good instrument makes you play better, but a poor instrument can hold you back.

    2. It is not always a matter of good or bad but of which instrument fits you better. Fender Jazz and Precision basses may be of equal quality but different players will sound better on one vs. the other because of neck width, etc.

  9. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Wow, chills man. CHILLS!!

    T.B. Player's post could end this.
    Nothing else to be said.
  10. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    Amen. :)

    Probably three things affect me the most.
    How I'm sounding and how the instrument feels are a huge part of it, but also the feedback I'm getting from the bartender and crowd have a big effect on my, not to mention how I'm feeling physically.

    Having a great instrument definitely gives you a huge advantage, but a great instrument only needs to feel good and sound good to the player and many "great" instruments are not necessarily the most expensive.

    Cool to hear about your new purchase and its positive effect on your playing!:bassist:
  11. ai4281


    Nov 25, 2005
    ya, better quality instruments have better action, intonation, and sound,,, so it sounds better. I don't think your skills necesarilly improve though.
  12. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    no. i don't think your skills improve when you get a new bass. they do feel better though, which would probably be the reason, as stated before.
  13. im just echoing what everyone else is saying. Better instrument, better sound, pysched to play it more, pysched to try out more stuff. Good luck, keep thumpin'
  14. Perhaps I'm taking his post in a different matter than its intentions, but I couldn't disagree more. :meh:

    Poorly made basses or poor gear causes you to compensate for their weaknesses.

    I agree in the sense you start out on a cheap bass, but that's because you won't know what you want for years and trying out many different basses and finding a comfort level with the instrument takes time.

    Finding a B string that works with your attack, a scale that sits right on you, or smaller string spacing where you fingers feel more comfortable and seem faster are attributable to the player synching up with the instrument. It's a matter of finding your bass and comfort level.
  15. I agree. I wonder if I misunderstood too?:confused:

    There was a thread awhile back where the topic starter said beginners should start on a poor quality instrument to build finger strength and they will then be much better off when they upgrade to a better bass. He got clobbered! Nearly everyone disagreed with him.

    To me, you should use strength efficiently. There's no point in going out of your way to do things the hard way, good bass playing is hard enough.
  16. I see it this way. The new instrument, in your case a Peavey Cirrus 5 (its the same in my case as well:D :bassist: ), makes you want to play more. You like the better quality instrument more, which inspires you to play that higher quality instrument even more than you played the old one. If you sound like s#!t, or it plays like s#!t, then your not going to want to play that bass at all.

    Secondly, your tone is obviously going to get better through your swap to the higher class instrument. Also one of the main goals of high quality instruments is to help amplify your playing nuances better. Your individual playing nitches that were always there, but could never be heard.
  17. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    Plus you're less likely to overplay.
  18. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I get better tone with a slightly higher action. I attribute this to a steeper break-angle over the fret. I also tend to play simpler cleaner, more thoughtful lines. Fewer 'run on sentences ...' hmm ...

    so new better instrument = better playing. hmmm... maybe, maybe not.

    For me there is always a romance period with a new piece of kit. I research this stuff enough that I know when I add something in, I'm probably going to like it. There is almost always a period of infatuation where I get to glean all the new coolness this thing (pickup, pre, neck, bridge, bass, cabinet...) has to offer and in that process the creative juices flow. I'm hearing something new, I follow that where it takes me. ( I change things up from time to time for that reason alone...)

    So is it that the bass plays better ? Are you really playing better more thoughtfully constructed lines or are you engaging in a speed fest infatuated with your new found dexterity ...

    The inspiration to play hit's from odd angles some times. If the speed fest helps you discover something new well then, hat's off! I've found that for me, it does the opposite, what I need is more cycles of brain between notes, not less... but what the heck, I'm slow...

    hmmm, maybe my new tag line... low and slow ...
  19. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Maybe it's not the "quality" of the bass but the ergonomics for his particular playing style and what he's comfortable with.
  20. bassjus


    Mar 30, 2004
    I usualy can play the thigns I usually do on cheaper, poorly set up instruments, I just get tired a lot quicker.

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