designer basses and "professionals"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by buldog5151bass, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Here is one that I'm sure will stir up lots of discussion/argument, but I'm really interested in people's opinions. There are some really good custom bass builders out there (Sadowsky, Lull just to name a few) - whose main products are knockoffs (but improvements) of Fenders. But not many of the "pros" (people whose only job is playing music) play them. Why?

    Is it because:

    1. They are all playing vintage Fender/Music Man/etc. that are rare and expensive - not what is for sale new?

    2. They have techs who customize their axes to the point where they are closer to the designer basses than the off-the-shelf basses?

    3. In the studio they are not playing the same basses they say the are, and are playing live, due to deals with the manufacturers (lying is SUCH an ugly word)?

    4. Or are those who spend $2000 and up on a new, yet basic, 4-string bass not getting the bang for the buck they think they are?

    OK - everybody chime in.

  2. i've talked to Timmy (audioslave/rage) at length about this.

    1. yes
    2. yes
    3. possibly
    4. no

  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You play, see, feel and hear with your head, not your fingers, eyes and ears.
    Take a car for example, you'd rather drive a real vintage than a replica, right?

    Most German pros I know neither play vintage Fenders nor replicas. It might be different e.g. in J-Town aka New York, but here it's another "scene".

    Another thing, I doubt that a lot of pros take their precious vintages on tour for fear of theft or damage.
  4. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    it does indeed seem like a majority of the top pros are using either Fender, Sadowsky or Laklands these days, i.e. either a Fender or a "Fender on steroids". I believe TONE has something to do with that
  5. I'm goofy about taking my semi-vintage instruments to shows, I can't imagine bringing a prime example out on the road, it's not responsible anyway.

    FWIW my main gigging bass is a G&L.
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I realize that there are plenty of pros playing these basses. And frankly, after doing lots of looking, playing, and talking, I am about a week away from receiving my Lull P4 (drool).

    You would just think that if there was that big a difference, every person who has to pick up the axe every day to pay his rent would sink a few grand into what is a lifetime investment - the fact that some do not makes me think there is another reason. Maybe I'm wrong (wouldn't be the first time. Just ask my wife) - I just wanted other opinions.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree - I've personally seen loads of great players at gigs and on TV playing Sadowsky's and have heard about many more!!

    What I have tended to notice is that the really good "technical" players - in Jazz/Funk and some R&B, tend to play Sadowskys - whereas the apparently less technical players in Indie/Rock bands who maybe play with a pick and stick to playing simpler lines - tend to favour standard Fenders/MMs.
  8. thank you!


  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I've owned several "boutique" basses over the years, great tone, great playability, beautiful appearance. After awhile, its just not worth it to get beer splashed on them, nicks from the guitarist/singer wandering around and bumping me with his headstock, sweat getting rubbed into the finish, etc. etc.
  10. Mental Octopus

    Mental Octopus

    May 24, 2003
    i agree with eric. i play out alot and i have never ever brought a "boutique" or really expensive bass with me for anything because it would definitely get damaged at some point. for that reason i've never even owned a boutique bass since i would never even take it out of my house i would much rather play a workhorse that could get the job done for a stingray perhaps.
  11. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    1 and 3 combined.
    They probaly own some vintage gear, that they may use in studio, but not dare to take on tour.
    Some guys are also afraid to take thier "specials" for a ride, as previous posts have metioned.
    Lots of "coming" artists have manufacturer deals. Thus, they use only this manufacturers gear at any public parformance, live or studio. But, having coma a bit on the route, it seems that a lot of them start collecting hi-end and vintage...
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    As another point of view - watch the 2 against nature DVD , where Becker and Fagan "tease" Tom Barney about taking away his fancy ESP bass - it's quite clear that even though it's obviously a joke, Barney does not want to be parted from his favourite bass!! ;)

    Becker knows all about this, as he is a big Sadowsky fan!!
  13. Walt Becker actually PLAYED his 4 strings Sadowsky on the last "Everything must go!"

    A few reflections as they come (no idea to assess any "truth"!!)

    Interesting note #1: Tom Barney main axe is the ESP and his backup/second preferred is a Sting 5.

    I personally think that all the music in the world in the last 40 years or so could have been played (with excellent results) with either one of the simple good solid basses already available in the sixties, being it a simple Jazz or P or a Ric or what you want.

    Now, since we're only human, we MUST improve our toys and, more than that, we NEED to believe we did a "substantial" improvement, therefore signature or boutique basses and two thousand combinations: active, passive, graphite, 4 strings, 9 strings, 30", 35", fanned frets etc!!!!

    But I am convinced that ANY really soul-gifted musician would be able to give an excellent performance with a basic bass/amp combination, given a 700$ bass and 800$ amp. The added value of a boutique bass to the overall equation would be minimal, if anything.

    It definitely is just a weird "fever" for us poor bass addicted!!!!

    Interesting note #2: Geddy Lee had everything he wanted; for a sensible amount of time he also played a few beautiful (to die for) Wal basses. One day he finds in a pawn shop a '75 Jazz with Badass already installed. From that moment on, it became his pet. From that supposedly crappy simple old bass, the Geddy Lee signature developed!!!!!

    Sting (not a "second class" bassplayer at all and one of the finest musicians) plays his old simple basic Fender. I don't know!!!!!

    There must be a meaning in all of this!!!!
  14. TB is the marketing test site for high end builders.

  15. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    A couple of thoughts back at ya:

    1. Yeah, Sting plays a '62 Jazz bass - probably worth much more than any Sadowsky J.

    2. Heck - I know for myself, I just wanted a solid P. Nothing lower end seemed to be that well made. A new MIA P was $950 (and their stuff seems to be hit or miss as well). For about $1400, the Lull I ordered is nothing fancy - seemed to me that $500 was not much of a difference for a bass I would play for the next 25 years. Frankly, if it gets dinged while playing - who cares? It's an instrument, not an art object (remember Jaco's J?).

    By the way, anyone know the record for the most responses on one post in the first day ;) ?

    Very interesting responses - keep 'em coming...
  16. GooseYArd

    GooseYArd Guest

    May 15, 2003
    I'd go even further and say that a successful musician is, like any other kind of professional, a businessman. One of the fundamental rule of business is that you make capital expenditures only when they will pay off in the long run. With new equipment, theres a cost associated with time required to train for using the thing, and that can't be ignored.

    On the other hand, plenty of guitar players have huge collections of guitars, just like they might have cars or albums or what have you. There's no reason you can't be a professional bass player and an amateur bass collector at the same time, as long as you keep it straight where one ends and the other begins.
  17. >Yeah, Sting plays a '62 Jazz bass - probably worth much more than any Sadowsky J.

    so this brings us at capo: why then bother with super pre, expensive pickups (two!) extrasmooth tuners and exotic woods in the first place?
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I thought he was playing a lat 50s Precision now? :meh:

    But he has had - Jazz bass, Ibanez Musician, Spector, Electric Uprights etc. etc. .....;)
  19. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    I think it's human nature.

    My wife and have said many times over the years, "We've got everything we need, life couldn't be better."

    But sooner than later there is something else. A wireless network for the house, a new TV, a new bass, some new and improved widget of some sort.

    Maybe I am a materialistic kind of person but at 38 years old I don't think I can change now.

    P.S. - I'm sure Sting's bass is a 51 or 52. Saw it up close in Toronto at a Much Music show. Lot of history in that bass. If only it could talk. He said something about Bryan Adams giving it to him and that the bass was named Bryan. He has a dry sense of humour so maybe the naming of the bass is a tall tale.
  20. Not true. I'm a really mediocre technical funk player and I exclusively play Sadowsky basses. ;)

    I'm a pretty darn good guitar player Sadowsky is my axe of choice.

    Wanna' see an incomplete outrageous list of who's playing Sadowsky?