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Boutique Basses In The Real World

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KayCee, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    I just returned from my Sunday gig, an "unplugged" affair on which I've been playing fretless bass for the past twelve years.
    It's a brewpub gig, with no stage, and the crowd is seated pretty close to the band. Fun gig, lots of solos.

    Anyway, some drunks out dancing tonight reminded me of a disaster six months ago in which some drunk fell on the band, driving my mic stand in to the neck of my $4500 bass, and causing a nice ding. I spent eight hours with super glues and buffing compound to fix it.

    At times like that I think that it doesn't pay to bring a really nice bass to a bar gig. Then, on second thought, what's the point of owning it if it sits at home?

    So I'd like to ask those of you that own boutique basses, do you take them out regularly to gigs in bars? Do you use them only in concert or recording situations? Do they have a place in the "real world" of spilled beer, smokey rooms, and knucklehead drunks?

    Interested to hear your experiences and attitudes.
  2. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    I would NEVER play a super expensive bass where there's the possibility of it getting seriously damaged. That's what MIM Fenders are for. Great basses and they look even better when they get their battle scars.
  3. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    bars and cramped areas call for basses that you dont mind getting beat up if it happens.

    save the expensive wood for nice gigs where there is an actual stage or a much calmer/sober setting. :)
  4. Niskamies


    Jan 13, 2004
    I take my Sadowsky to approximately every gig I play. It costs "2,3" grand, but IMO it is an instrument instead of an art piece. They are meant to be played and gigged. I also gig my Neuser, which is a lot cheaper, but if I take it, I take it for the sound instead of protecting my Sadowsky.
  5. While I don't do the 'bar scene' any more, I never, ever hesitated to bring my primary rig and gear to any gig.... IMO any instrument is meant to be played. If it's so fancy that it worries you to take it to a gig... sell it and buy a couple of basses you can use with the money:D
  6. remo


    Jan 15, 2005
    the only time I would pull out a $3000 bass on stage is if the stage was at least 6' off the ground and there was mosh pit security between the punters and the bass.
  7. jwl


    Jan 25, 2005
    i have a six string zon that was my main bass for band practice, studio, and gigging. never a scatch on it. one evening it was on a stand in my family room while a friend was over to jam. my six year old son was playing around with a key chain that ended up flying through the air and hitting my bass on the face of the body resulting in a nice dent. not good for bass or son. peace, jeff
  8. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    My main gigging basses are a Status Stealth and an Alembic Mark King. The Status is all graphite so good luck putting a dent in it. Basses are meant to be played. Its no fun to have one that you are too afraid to play live for fear that something will happen to it.
  9. kjones


    Dec 4, 2004
    I play my Sadowskys everywhere, from huge music festivals with large stages to the scummiest bars around. If I didn't get them to play out with, are they for my basement?

    That's like saying you have a girlfriend who's too beautiful to, uh, kiss.
  10. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    I don't have any basses worth more than $1000 or so, but I wouldn't want any bass, no matter how much they cost, to get damaged. But, just like parking your car in a parking lot, unfortunetly it may get a ding or two.
  11. +1

    Having gigs in NYC the majority of the times teaches you this pretty fast. I tend to roll with my RKB900 and I literally feel when its in danger.

    Best thing to do is to just live with the fact that it's a musical instrument and its meant to be used, and sadly at times, abused.
  12. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses

    My Lull never misses a gig; IMO it sounds too good to leave at home. My Alembic is the most expensive bass I have, so I'm selective about the gigs I use it on, but I have played it on some pretty cramped stages. When I first received my Roscoe my first thought was that it was way too pretty to bang around in clubs, but that thought lasted about 30 seconds. I took it out on the very day I received it. :bassist:

    I try to keep an eye peeled for headstocks and people dancing too close to the stage.:D
  13. plexibass


    Jun 30, 2005
    i'm actually thinking of buying a warwick corvette bass for this very reason. i too afraid to take my dan armstrongs out anymore for fear of them getting damaged or stolen. a warwick i wouldnt be so afraid of.
  14. mike sancho

    mike sancho SANCH

    Feb 10, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I would always try and find a spot for my bass out of the traffic in a bar. If I couldn't, I put it in it's case and went and got it before the set began. Most of my playing now is in church but even there from time to time things happen. Kids, set up and clean up people, I just get my stuff out of the way as soon as possible. I'm not buying instruments I'm not going to play.
  15. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    I have two Pedullas (about $2500 each) that I routinely bring to my bar gigs. I also have a Lakland Skyline JO. Sure it costs less than my Pedullas, but it's still a beautiful, killin' bass. When I choose to bring it to a gig it's not to "protect" the others-it's cause I'm "in a J-bass mood." I've got a Sadowsky Metro coming in any day now. That will be added to the rotation as well. Accidents can happen anywhere, including rehearsals, so what's the point of leaving something at home? Accidents can happen there too. Also, the "safety" of a stage is only relative. The guitarist in my current band told me of an incident where a drummer he was playing with came out from behind his kit for a break. When he did, he knocked over one of his cymbal stands. The cymbal came down right onto his brand new PRS "10 Top" putting a five inch slice right on the figured top. So there really is no safe spot for your axes. Take good care of them, enjoy them and play the hell out of them. That's what they're made for. IMHO. :bassist:
  16. i dont own any expencive basses, but as others already said instruments are ment to be played, an i think you said the most important thing in the first post.. "what's the point of owning it if it sits at home?"
  17. BenF


    Mar 29, 2001
    Boston area
    The first gig with my new sadowsky, a drunk sitting in on vocals came within an inch of nailing the bass, and me, with a mic during his Roger Daltrey impression.

    The second gig with the sadowsky, as we're leaving the stage to go on break, the drummer knocked over his snare, which came within inches of slamming into the front of the bass which was on it's stand (just to make up for the near miss, he later kicked over his full pint of beer, soaking all of the cabling on my side of the stage, and the bottom of a brand new epifani cab.)

    The Sadowsky will be staying home from now on, because, as far as I can tell, that sucker's got a death wish. Dings I can deal with, gouges are a whole 'nother matter.
  18. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    Not to hijack the thread, but this is not a good idea...
  19. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I buy 'em to play 'em, not to leave the basses sitting at home. But I can see why some guys would want to keep certain instruments pristine.

    Different strokes ........... :cool:
  20. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Since I only owned one bass at a time for many years, I've always gigged with my boutique basses, including Wals, Curbows, MTDs, Elricks, Sadowskys, etc. For the most part, I've not had anything worse than occassionally getting beer spilled on them, though I did have a drunk fall backwards into my mic stand and me and put a ding in my MTD, despite playing in all kinds of dives. To be honest, I've had more problems whacking headstocks on the ceiling or having the kid knock them of stands at home than at bars.

    Then again, more often than not I've bought my instruments used, so I'm not going to be the first one to put a ding on them, either.


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