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Carrying the bass and the gear at the same time

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Adrian Cho, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Possibly not the section for this post but...

    As many of you know, I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to minimise the weight of my setup. I like to make a single trip to and from the car. Now that I have wheels on the speaker cab, this is a lot easier. However there are still occasions when one has to pickup both pieces of equipment - stairs, kerbs, etc.

    Yesterday while still at my house, I had my bass on my right shoulder and went to pickup the speaker cab and all the gear (a little over 40 lbs) to walk down some stairs. Major searing pain in the left side of my back. Fortunately I was not going to play a gig but just to lend my setup to an out-of-town bassist. However the rest of the day was quite difficult.

    Today I am home and trying to get better. I haven't tried playing yet but with gigs coming up, I am worried. This is the worst thing I've ever done to my back.

    Moral of the story - don't be tempted to try and make one trip if it's difficult. I've carried both items many times before but yesterday I just ran out of luck. As we know, the bass is not all that heavy but it is cumbersome to carry. Trying to do that and lift something a lot heavier on the other side of the body (which also with it's big squarish shape is somewhat cumbersome to carry) is a recipe for disaster. I know better now...
  2. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    When I was right out of college (and stupid) I saw a guy with a small amp and a backpack on a luggage carrier and his bass over his shoulder. I remember thinking 'why doesn't he just carry that stuff?'. I now have a small amp and a backpack and own the exact luggage carrier that he had.
  3. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York

    Sorry to hear about your back. I hope you feel better soon.

    I roll my bass via a bass wheel. My AC Contra is in a padded case and on a small cart which I pull behind be. If I come to a set of stairs, or a door that's not automatic, I'll bring my bass through first and then put it down and go back for the amp. I don't try to carry it all at once because I'm afraid I'll drop something and regret it.
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    That's why I try to go as light as possible. And am trying to get a "backpack" contraption for the GK speaker; that's 12lbs, the Woods is 7 and 1/2.

    It is definitely a drag getting hurt and to be avoided, but it's hard (in many urban environments) to NOT try to make it in one trip. If yer taking the subway, you have no choice but to make it in one trip. Even when I was driving, though, I try to stick to the One Trip Rule. I've heard far to many stories about guys whose amps or whatever suddenly became Someone Else's cause they were gonna get it on the "second trip". Especially if you're parked more than a block from the gig.
  5. DB66


    Aug 24, 2005
    Washington, D.C.
    I stopped playing URB for many years becuase of pain from a herniated disc. I finally got surgery after trying everything (acupuncture, cortisone injections, chriopractor). I no longer have pain or much problems with my back now because I now excercise everday. I'm back on the upright, but I tell you the worst part about a gig now for me aside from not knowing all the changes, is moving the equipment. I always uses a wheel if I'm going a bit of distance and never carry an amp and the bass at the same time. Your'e asking for trouble. The unnatural way one holds the bass when carrying an amp is really bad for the back. I found a ruxxac cart that has been a lifesaver. This cart folds up flat for storing either in the car or on stage and holds up to 300 lbs.. You can find them at camera stores. I think if a music store was to carry this product they would sell a lot of them. Many musicians have seen mine and next time I see them they have one. http://www.braucke.com/btc/ruxxac_cart_e.htm
  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    My teach has one of those ruxxac hand trucks. They're really nice. I have a different folding truck, but I don't think it's as good. I gotta get one of these for myself - the old one is giving out.
  7. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Sorry You injured you back Adrian. I think double bass players backs, as a general rule are more prone to injury. When you get better, you might want to consider learning either Yoga or Qui Gong, if you don't already practice one of these systems.
    If things don't improve pretty quick with hot and cold packs then
    I'd go see your doctor pronto. Better to have it checked out ASAP.

  8. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    Sorry about that. Ya gotta put it all down and take it one step at a time. I know what you mean though...I have that same rig nearly and it is great for 1 trip. I pull the LDS 1x8 behind me with an old GK bag filled with all my stuff on top of that. But I don't take stairs like that. First for my back and then for my bass. Carrying 30 or 40lbs forward (bass) and 20 or 30 aft (equipment) is a disaster waiting to hurt you.
    I used to kind of scoff at CH when I worked for him cause he treated himself like an artist. He didn't @!#$ up his hands or his back or anything by straining. He would always warm his hands and his focus by blowing into his hands (or wrap them around a quad espresso) and take things really slowly, asking people to help guide his instrument through doors and up and down stairs. (of course the bass is one of the worlds great played instruments) But he really took care of himself...(he used to always say "play every note as though it was your last" and I think you could substitute "step")
    Now that I am getting to a place where I feel as though I am playing on a (little bit ) higher level, I find that how well tuned I am on a very fine level, can make a huge difference in how easily and comfortably I "get in my zone" and play my best.
    A bad back can throw off months of hard work and fine tuning of your technique, so can Carpal tunnel and a host of other things so some very serious attention to ergonomics is in order for the schlepping musician.
    My wife teaches Pilates ( and I have been really getting into it ) and we both have done Yoga and Alexander Technique and I can say although it hasn't turned me magically into the genius I always wanted to be , it sure has helped me approach this huge physical instrument with more elasticity and a wiser sense of economy in what I am willing to risk for convenience.
    We were in NYC recently with our toddler and it was amazing how many people would just grab the end of the carriage and help us down the stairs...That never happened on the L from Brooklyn when I was schelpping my bass tho...
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I got a thing at the office supply store for $15 -- a tote box on wheels with telescoping handle, which folds up. It holds my GK MB150E combo, preamp, cables, etc., and I just drag it up and down curbs. It's called a Pack 'n' Tote, or something like that.

    I put a soft pad on the shoulder strap for my bass bag.

    But I don't live in NYC, so it's not so much of a pressing need to get it all done in one trip. More often than not, I try to save my back and hands by doing it in two trips. Still, the tote is nice because it is also a place to store everything in between gigs.

    A worse problem is that we have a season in Wisconsin when anything on wheels is problematic.
  10. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Adrian, real sorry to hear this man. I've been there myself (lower back pain, muscle spasms), and for sure it ain't no fun.

    Hope you get to feelin' much better real soon.

    Oh, and ditto to everything Ric said.
  11. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    This thread makes me a little scared of how I carry my gear. I normally put my AI Coda on my back in its soft case with a shoulder strap and then wheel the bass over my right shoulder. Sometimes I even add a backpack in my left hand? I've never experienced any pain from this, it just feels like I'm lifting stuff. Do you guys think I should devise a better system? Thanks for any help in advance. Hope everyone feels better ASAP. You guys got to get back on the front lines and make some music.
  12. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    jazzbassnerd, you're young. You're fine.

    I can't recommend that you tote your gear any differently. But I will say that stretching, loosening up, warming up, et al, will probably become more important to you as you get on in years.

    It's the same for me if I'm warming up to play the bass, or loosening up for a church league softball game. I spend so much time sitting at a desk job all week, that I have to stretch out the various muscle groups very, very deliberately to feel loose, play smoothly, and attempt to avoid hurting myself.

    All the ideas mentioned in this thread like yoga, tai chi, etc. are good for more than just playing an instrument, IMO. You gotta find the thing(s) that work best for you. I know it sounds cliche, but they can improve many aspects of your life, not just how well and how easily you get around on your instrument.

    Oh, regarding gear ... Like Adrian said, if you don't have to lug it all in one trip, then don't.

    Anyone up for some transcendental medication ... I mean meditation?

    Ommmmm ...
  13. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    My solution:

    Flite cabinet in custom shoulder bag cabinet made by Undercover

    AI amp in DB bag


    I can make it in one trip with no pain.
  14. fred pratt

    fred pratt

    Jun 20, 2004
    New York City
    Living in NYC in a third-floor walk-up makes this issue one that I'm constantly grappling with. I've taken the subway to and from gigs, which means dealing with stairs and gates, and when I take a taxi I still have to get all my stuff to the corner to hail one.

    (Taxis tend to make me nervous, since I'm already tense from being late for the gig and being in traffic, which is almost always the case, and the scroll sticks out the window a bit, making me fear that one of the other vehicles, also crazy from being in traffic, is going to lop it off.)

    But I can't do two trips: it would mean leaving the amp while I moved the bass, and then leaving the bass while I went back to see if the amp was still there, which it probably wouldn't be.

    I bought an AI Contra after being told that the new model weighed only 23lbs and could be carried in its shoulder bag while wheeling the bass. No way. The amp in the bag weighs 35 lbs. The one time I tried it it was a miserable experience and at one point the amp swung around from my back and whacked the bass.

    So I bought a GK MB 150 and a backpack that it kid of fit into on 14th Street. (I've written to GK to try to get them to make a gig bag with backpack-type straps. A guy in Support says that he's been urging Mr. Gallien to do that for a while and that it might happen one day. That would be good, since I don't know how long my 14th Street pack will hold up.)

    The GK backpack method pretty much works, except one night coming home relaxed after a good gig and a couple of drinks I tried getting in the front door of my building without taking the backpack or the wheel off. The door is really hard to open and I wound of knocking my newly purchased Juzek on the concrete step, which opened up a pre-existing crack. My bad.

    So I'm not going to do that anymore. It's easy enough to take off the wheel and just leave the amp at the bottom of the stoop until I get the bass inside.

    ButI like the AI better than the GK because I can hear it better on stage. I recently discovered that you can use the handles on the AI bag kind of like backpack straps. I'd only do it for short ventures though, since the amp is a bit heavy and awkward.
  15. pat.p


    Nov 20, 2004
    Poland, Poznań
    Dear Adrian,
    Don't worry, everything will be all right. I had the same problem half a year ago- even toothbrushing was painful... (I wasn't able to bend over the wash- bowl...). I play in Symphony Orchestra, spend a lot of time on rehearsals sitting on TERRIBLE stool- that was the main reason. As I started to excersise every day and go to swimming pool once a week, problems disappeared. But I must be careful and never, never TOUCH heavy gear...
    Take care and don't worry
  16. hensonbass

    hensonbass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm finding this works for me when I have to get my gear in one trip.

    I have an old Kolstein stroller - the wheels that velcro to the bag on the lower bout of the bass.

    I sling my focus amp over my shoulder and I set the Epifani 110UL on top of the bass while I push it along. The speaker weighs only 22 lbs so I figure if I'm careful it should be ok.

    This is working for me real well through hotel lobbies and flat surfaces. I wouldn't do this out on the street with pot holes and cracks, ect.

    I just hope you guys won't laugh too much in the future when I post a picture of my bass in two pieces from my "brilliant" idea. :p But, till then I'm the fastest load-in/load-out player in town with an upright.