Committing to one bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lefty007, May 16, 2005.

  1. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I have always admired players (famous and otherwise) that play only one style of basses all their lives: Jaco and his fretless Jazzes, Marcus Miller and his ‘70s Jazz, Victor Wooten with his Fodera Monarch and Gary Willis with his fretless Ibanez, just to name a few of my favorites.

    Along with their own style, they have developed a signature sound, based in part in the style of bass they play.

    How hard do you guys find to commit to only one style of bass?

    I ask because even though I have been playing professionally for years, I haven’t been able to commit to only of bass style or one bass “sound”.

    It is not like I’m worried that Bass Player magazine it’s going to interview me and ask me: “How come that after all these years you still haven’t commit to one bass, and we never see you playing the same bass twice?” (LOL)

    But I guess we all like to think that we have a particular and personal “sound” that sets us apart from other players.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Time Divider

    Time Divider Guest

    Apr 7, 2005
    Since I started playing bass in 1980, I've only played one kind of bass: The MusicMan StingRay (fretted 4). It does everything I need it to do. Why would I want to mess with it?

    Now, where's that Bass Player magazine reporter? ;)
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Well, I've bounced back and forth between Stingrays and P-Basses. If I had only one, it would be a P-bass, but a Stingray is better for my personal preference.
  4. purfektstranger


    Apr 10, 2003
    Fender jazz for me.....never saw a need to play anything else...although I do pick up the precision now and then :eyebrow:
  5. bazzanderson


    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I've gone through a BUNCH of different low end and some high end basses (not too many high end) but I always come back to the Jazz.
  6. I'm commited to passive basses, but that's as far as I'll go. Basses are sorta like clothes to me.. I take a look at what's available and pick something out depending on what kind of mood I'm in. I have a gig in two days and I have no idea which bass I'm going to play. I'll just decide when the time comes. They all play great and sound great, so it's just a matter of which one's speaking to me.
  7. why not just get a P/J bass... get the best of both worlds :)
  8. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    I have had so many damn types of basses and pick up configurations it makes me nauseaus when I think about it. Just when I think I have found the perfect sound I find another sound I think is "perfect". I think I need to rethink my idea of "perfect". Rather than pursue the perfect sound- as if there is only one- I need to find a perfect "vintage" sounding bass, a perfect "modern" sounding bass, a perfect jazz bass, a perfect P bass, the perfect 1 PU bass, the perfect 2 PU bass, slap bass etc. Then when I'm in the mood for any of the above, I'll just grab "the one".

    That's just another mess. :)
  9. I like having several instruments to play with... but then I play a lot of different styles. I have found that all of my basses/guitars have common ingredients in regards to pups, preamps and such... but they are all just a little different. It depends on what style of music I am playing as to what bass I play with. And of course... I'm still looking for that perfect bass.
  10. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    ***Let the rambling begin...sorry***

    I hear what'yer saying, Lefty. Perhaps part of not committing to a single sound is a quest to be authentic in different playing situations. While that Marcus sound is great for the Gospel/Fusion group I play with, that's not what the country group is looking for, or the big band for that matter.

    Aside from the question of multiple instruments for multiple tones, there is the whole prespective of, "This is my sound, take it or leave it." That takes serious cajones, but may serve you better in the long run. It depends on your goals. Do you want to get called for a gig because the bandleader knows that no matter what comes up, you will sound authentic, or do you want to get called for a gig because your sound is exactly what the artist is looking for, knowing that you may lose out on certain work because it is *not* the sound some other artist is looking for. Or Lead your own group for that matter. There's that whole artist/crafstman dichotomy that many of us struggle with. And I'm not saying that they're mutually exclusive, but they are different paths to and concepts of mastery.

    Different approaches may be right at different stages in your life. Right now, I want to work as much as I can on a local level, so I try to be able to play any gig that comes along with a reasonable degree of authenticity, and that includes the sound of my instrument (although I play the same bass for 75% of my gigs :rolleyes: ). But I know full well that Trane didn't become the musician he was by working on what he would play over a reggae feel. At some point, I will need to further define and develope my sound if I am going to transition to being an "artist".

    On top of all of that, your sound isn't just your gear, or even just in your hands; it is about the note choices you make, the feel you provide and the playing situations you choose to be in.

    I'd like to hear from some other TBers who struggle with this or have in the past.
  11. invisiman


    Feb 22, 2004
    I think I'd be able to commit to a high end P/J, assuming I gave up all extended range bass activities.
  12. leftybassdog

    leftybassdog Senior Supporting Member

    I found I stay with the stingray 5s, I just like the sounds and the feel, I have a warwick corvette but I never use it anymore, My fretless is a fender jass but its not a bass I use alot, Lefthanded sucks for finding basses so I stick with what I trust,
  13. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    While I'm not loyal to a single builder/luthier/brand of bass, I prefer active 2-pickup basses. Even though I'm going to be selling my Jazz in a couple of months, I'm having two basses built (fretted and fretless) with the same pickup configuration and 3-band preamps.

    I sound like me no matter what I'm playing. You can tell it's me even if I'm on a Precision, Stingray, etc. But I think I express myself best with the combination of 2 pickups (either single or dual coils) and active electronics.

    I could never say I "committed" to that setup, because different basses have different uses. I own a short scale P-bass copy that I like to use for certain things.
  14. Hman


    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Life is too short to play just one bass...Let's hear it from the GAS filled TBers :hyper: I'm sure I'm not alone here :D :help:

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    For a solid body bass i will allways grab my Sadowsky. :bassist:
  16. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    Right now I am committed to two basses, the reason for that is I cannot afford another one at this time. :D But seriously, some of the other members have pointed out that some playing situations call for a certain sound. I think I would rather play my p bass in a basic rock setting, or my Modulus in a funk setting. Some people do it all with one bass and that’s fine, but you know what they say, variety is the spice of life. :smug:
  17. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    They're all commiters! I can't commit! I have my jazz, my warwick, my alembic, and some cheapies lying around! I can't commit! I'm a basswhore :(.

  18. Basswhore! BASSwhore!

    ME too! :p
  19. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I own a P bass but rarely play it. Jazz basses just do it for me.
  20. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I have 4. I only gig with 2-3 of them and the MTD 535 is too strong a choice to languish long over which bass to use. But screw that.
    Let me ramble about what i think is really important.

    I tossed the idea "I only play/have one bass" OUT THE freaking window a few years ago. There is NO reason for every bassist not to accumulate a few instruments over time. I strongly urge those who have the financial means to find YOUR bass! Its out there! Try something new while keeping what's old and comfortable near to hand.
    Bust out of your rigid mind set and try NEW things, you'll never know what your missing until you do. And having a few basses to hand will give you the instant feedback of comparison that builds confidence and certainty of what YOU REALLY want in a bass.

    I disagree with the notion that any one player can/should only play one bass. "I'm a P-bass guy" is a self limiting statement until you've owned and played several if not MANY basses. Only THEN will you know your a "P-bass guy" based on various travels and not from the view of only one's own small back yard.