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Do I need a "good" bass for auditions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Yonni, Dec 2, 2019 at 7:19 AM.

  1. Yonni


    Oct 31, 2016
    I recently sold my Lakland Skyline as I couldn't stand the weight anymore and started looking for a MIM Fender P to replace it. While I'm waiting to find the right one I thought I'd upgrade the pups on my first bass, an Ibanez GSR180. I installed a set of Fender Pure Vintage 74s and it sounds so full and great, especially with the bridge soloed. I'm now in no rush to get the Fender. I still want a P but the question is, do I need it right now? The Ibby honestly sounds massive for a lightweight and what you might call "an entry level" instrument. But there are expectations when you audition. What you pull out of the gig bag surely goes some way to the band members forming their initial perception of how good you are, or am I wrong?

    Does bass prejudice exists when auditioning?

    Should I have an instrument with some status to help me get in a band?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    The short answer is "it depends".

    Anyone who says it doesn't matter is naïve. Sure, it SHOULDN'T matter. But it does. But that's only when talking about FIRST impressions.

    You may get some eye rolls when you whip out your entry level Ibby at the audition. But here's the thing. Can you play? Do you have chops? How's your other gear? Is it reliable, loud, and pleasing to the eyes/ears? How do you carry yourself? How do you dress for performances?

    First impressions can be wiped away by great tone, killer chops, and awareness of what's going on around you. Also, your PERSONAL appearance matters as well. You show up knowing the material, and ADDING to the band, and LOOKING like a musician, you'll get the job. If nothing else, you'll get "Hey we really like you and your playing. Any chance you can upgrade your bass?". Then it's up to you if you wanna play with people like that.

    But, again, saying it doesn't matter with regard to FIRST impression is ridiculous. It does. You just have to be good enough to destroy those first impressions. You bring the look and the chops and you'll be fine.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 1:02 PM
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    eyes vs. ears = :dead:
    take some 'fingers with status' and the ax you play won't matter. good luck with your audition! :thumbsup:
    JGbassman, dbsfgyd1, Artman and 10 others like this.
  4. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Sadly it matters. As others have stated you can trump misconceptions with chops and looks but lets be honest you will be judge by what you pull out of the case.
    lfmn16, Ampslut, MCF and 8 others like this.
  5. Post some videos on YouTube of you playing the bass. Then they’ll hear how good it sounds and know what to expect.

    I play for fun. Frankly, any band that will reject me because of the brand I’m using is not a band I want to join.
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Brand prejudice does exist but if you can make a cheap bass and amp sound killer, it's hard for anyone to argue with that.
    JRA, Outtaseezun, equill and 13 others like this.
  7. ACWild


    Nov 5, 2019
    If you play well and sound great, it really shouldn’t matter. The audience definitely can’t tell. That said, I played with a guy who brought a Squier Strat and I’ll admit that I had some wrong impressions. When he played and made it sound amazing, he got bonus points. Ymmv.
  8. I think it works both ways. Prospective band mates might be impressed by a high status flashy expensive bass, only to change their mind as soon as they hear the owner play it. Happens all the time. I'm not even sure how much other instrumentalists / vocalists even know about the various bases, anyway.

    Nothing says you can't take the initiative and say something like: I sold my Lakland Skyline because it was too heavy, and while I was fixing to replace it, I installed Fender Pure Vintage 74s on this Ibanez. I think it sounds really great! Check it out... The rest is up to you. I think you'll be fine.

    Besides, when you flip your SVT off standby and the lights dim out in the rehearsal space, they won't dare say anything about your instrument. :laugh:
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 9:33 AM
  9. Gringo Basso

    Gringo Basso

    Aug 26, 2016
    Back in the 80's I remember the "Bass Player Wanted" ads requiring SVT/Fender P or don't bother to show. Being a Ric player, I answered a few ads and was surprised just how set these bands were on bass gear. We didn't have Squier yet, so the headstock decal switch option wasn't there either. There has been some progress, but I still think your chances are better with the name brand gear. You have to remember just how dense most musicians are. And if you knock their socks off with your technique - it tends to scare a lot of people, who just want the bassist to sit in the back......but I think we're in better shape in 2020 than in 1980 when it comes to gear prejudice.
    Bassdirty, SM2, Outtaseezun and 8 others like this.
  10. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Yeah unfortunately prejudice exists in some situations. A couple of gigs that I’ve done with my Sadowsky PJ some people have come up to me and said wow your bass sounds really good what kind is it. When I tell them what it is they say well it sounds pretty good anyway even if it’s not a fender. I understand preconceptions and the prejudice that it might bring but I just smile and say thanks. I should keep a crappy bass with fender decal laying around for thief bait just in case.
    EagleMoon, TheReceder, 123Nil and 8 others like this.
  11. Barisaxman

    Barisaxman Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    Prejudice may exist, but if your gear is adequate and you can play, it'll be fine for any band you would actually want to be a part of. A high-percentage of true gear snobs are more "gear collectors" than players, so you don't want to be a part of that anyway. Personally I enjoy pulling out my Reverend any time I'm subbing or something and the inevitable "what is that?" that comes along with something that isn't an obvious Fender or Fender-like instrument. :)
    DrayMiles, Outtaseezun and Yonni like this.
  12. moogieotter

    moogieotter Custom Title

    Jun 16, 2009
    Duluth, GA
    We had some guitarists try out. More than prestige, I was looking at the practical matter of practicing and performing with each person as they tried out.

    There was really only one consideration. A nice guy and fine player brought a somewhat janky stereo rack system with a custom duct tape pedal mechanism. There was also a custom 12 speaker box. At first I just wanted to hear it, but bringing it along for the ride messed something up. He jiggled with it for a bit, and thankfully had a Plan B.

    He brought in a very vintage Fender 112 Combo - it sounded good, but was also someone delicate. Glad he brought a backup.

    Just some considerations for you. Good luck and please please keep us posted. We like stories.
  13. 707GK


    Jun 13, 2013
    Northern California
    Great post! My last audition, the band hadn’t heard of the brands of my gear. I could tell they were a bit skeptical. But then I plugged in and played a riff that for some reason no other auditioning bassist could get right. In that moment I think they forgot about my no-name gear and basically gave me the job on the spot.

    Go in and do your thing and blow them away. You’ll get the job :thumbsup::bassist:
  14. mmon77

    mmon77 Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Southern MN
    I play cheap basses/guitars, and some expensive ones. I like the way they sound and feel, and that's why I play them. Some people care about stuff like brands, and some don't.

    In a perfect world, you'll blow them away with your playing ability, and it won't matter. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. If they care, and you don't get the gig, I'd take that was a win for you. People that concern themselves that much with trivial things will never be happy anyway.
  15. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    Well, when things are that shallow at the audition - you will be judged WAY before you pull anything out of a case.

    I say don't worry about it - if your chops are strong, talent speaks for itself. I'd rather NOT be in a band where posers>talent.

    Obviously, have enough sense not to bring a 15-string boutique monstrosity to a blues/country/etc. gig, but other than that, be yourself on your own gear.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 9:52 AM
  16. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Yes, I was thinking if the OP still had the Lakland, there would be people who would ask him why he didn't have a Fender. A lot (most?) muscians are pretty clueless about bass gear.
  17. Fresh Eddie

    Fresh Eddie

    Nov 13, 2008
    I like Japanese BC Riches a lot, but I would never bring one when meeting anyone for the first time. It would be like wearing vinyl pants to a first date. Luckily, I also like P-Basses.
  18. I have been in bands that didn't care or know what I was playing and I have tried out for bands that asked me what I was playing as soon as I walked in the door. In my opinion it matters, the way you dress and present yourself matters, your personality matters, those that say it doesn't are not being realistic.
  19. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    And when you break out the T'bird, do people ask why you didn't bring the Klira? ;)
    MCF and EatS1stBassist like this.
  20. Charley Umbria

    Charley Umbria I'm Really a Drummer Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Rock City, TN
    Agreed. Most non-bassists couldn’t tell a $200 bass from a $2,000 bass. If the band is only willing to entertain a FENDER P-BASS player, that’s on them. Be early, know the tunes, and sound great!

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