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Do the important people judge your gear?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by MCBTunes, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. By important people I'm meaning bar owners, other bands(maybe they do dont want to play with you because of their impression of your band), or if your a little higher up AR people and record labels.

    I was just pondering this. I was considering modding an SX P with a badassII and SD SPB3 Quarter pounders for a pop band a friend of mine want's me to join. But then I thought to myself, this combo(with fender P replacing SX) is so wide spread in genre it isnt funny. Do you think other bands look down on your cheap gear? Or think your trying to emulate another player if your "copying" their gear?

    Just out of curiosity mainly.Could the choice of gear effect a bands image and perhaps hold them back?

    The logical answer is it is based on your tone, but is that really true....
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    "Important people" (AR guys, producers, label suits) know Fender and Ampeg, and if they're cutting edge, maybe Musicman, Eden and SWR and Sadowsky and G&L.

    If you upgrade from an SX to an authentic Fender, you'll definitely earn props from these types However, if you go from the Fender to a Ken Smith or a Sukop or a coffee-table boutique bass, all you'll earn is a big "huh?" If your chosen genre is rawk, you might even get demoted if you opt for a boutique bass - they'll think you're an investment banker weekend warrior.

    Not denigrating anyone's instrument choices. IME, this is how music industry types evaluate players based on their gear. Like it or not, the old-school Fender bias is still alive and well.
  3. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    If you care what gear you use ... that makes one.

    ;) ... If it works and sounds good ... well that's about all that matters.
  4. Other bands notice what you are playing, sure. Engineers (both live and studio) will notice as well. But other industry people, not so much. UNLESS you are playing something very wierd looking or crappy sounding (or beautifull or great sounding).

    Now, will they judge you because of it? Some may. I can tell you that having pro gear does project a pro image. But then you have to have the stuff to back it up. :D
  5. Yeah I kinda get the vibe that some people care and others wont... I guess thats the nature of people.

    I have an eden rig, so not all my stuff is #$#*. But it was just something I was pondering when I figured an SX would be a good fit for this guys band rather than playing a lakland/stingray with him. And maybe a good change of pace.
  6. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I only get negative comments from either singers who can't play an instrument in the first place and then guitarists who can't play a bass....

    They don't like the fact that my bass tone cuts through without ruining the sound of the band... they've told me that a bass should be felt and never heard..... CRAP!
  7. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    People might judge you if you have really expensive gear that is innappropriate or cheezey, or if you have expensive gear, and can't play very well.

    I have never heard anybody criticize a good player for having bad gear, if it was just a simple matter of not being able to afford better stuff... at least nobody worth remembering.

    Bar owners don't care what your gear is, they mainly care if you sound good and bring in paying customers. Record labels don't care what gear you play, they're looking more at things like future potential, and potential sales. It's pretty typical to play through second-hand gear or even junk, unless you're selling lots of records, or you're just lucky to have a good day job. Other musicians might tease you about crummy gear, but unless they're creeps it's all good natured friendly ribbing. Not to overgeneralize but musicians are traditionally broke, so bad gear is pretty common.

    There's a lot of gear lust on websites like this because that's one of the reasons we all gather here... to shoot the breeze about equipment. In the real world, high end gear is not fetishized as much... Equipment is merely a means to an end.
  8. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I play a lot of country jams and have found that playing a Fender works well for me. People know the name and are comfortable with it. When playing with guys for the first time you can see them relax a bit when the Fender comes out.

    But like others have said, most people don't really care. Just use some common sense: a hot pink B.C. Rich is going to look out of place at a country gig.

    And I almost never get asked about my rig. Some people are curious, or are just making small talk. But most musicians don't care as long as it works. I am expected to have good equipment, that is just a given.
  9. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I just use my G&L's and Sadowsky basses all the time... those basses just seem to be able to fit any gig
  10. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I wouldnt stress out about what gear you are using unless it's not meeting volume needs on stage/rehearsal. Use what you can afford and what you like.

    Join the band and have fun, if it seems like things are really progressing then it might be worth it to invest in some new stuff.
  11. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    I've been using my modded MIM Fender J for pretty much every gig I've played. It was my first bass and has only let me down on a gig once (wiring went haywire). However, at that gig, the other band's bassist let me use his touring bass (Squire P with some sort of gold strings). It was the sweetest P I'd ever played.

    Anybody worth their salt is not EVER going to judge you by what the decal on the headstock says (unless it's the afoermentioned Pink BC Rich at a country gig). Play what sounds and feels good to YOU and it'll all work out.
  12. Spoiled Grape

    Spoiled Grape I <3 Darkstar

    May 29, 2003
    Riverside, CA
    The only thing that really matters is sound.

    I don't care how great you are, but if you are playing in a semi-professional band and expect people to listen to your music for a half hour to three hours, you had BETTER have gear that doesn't make my ears hurt.

    Now, what the names on the headstocks and corners say? Not so important. If the SX or modded J sounds good, go for it!

    First impressions are a different thing. If I'm working with a new guitarist/drummer and he has very inexpensive gear that normally sounds bad, than of course, my first impression isn't going to be great.
  13. It's human nature to form an opinion on what brands someone wears, plays or drives.

    First impressions aren't always the ones that last though. Playing well and getting a good sound through an Epiphone Les Paul, and people don't worry that it doesn't say Gibson on the headstock.

    On the other hand, the point about the pink BC Rich at a country gig is a very good point! The same bikers that think a pointy guitar is cool for covering Pantera will raise an eyebrow if you break it out for some Waylon Jennings covers.

    I love classic designs like Stingrays and fenders. Versatile enough for pretty much any gig and give credibility at a reasonably affordable price.
  14. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Bar owners don't care if you wear a pink tutu, stand on your head, and fart the Star-Spangled Banner. If it'll draw a drinking crowd, they're happy. Booking agents are happy if the bar owners are happy. Working musicians are happy if the agents are happy because it means everybody is working.

    What non-working musicians think should not affect your gear choice at all. You're working...they're not.

    Does that answer your question?
  15. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    The gear is only as good as the person playing through it.
  16. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    I figure, if they're so important, then they'll judge the playing, not the gear. If they judge me on gear, then I probably wouldn't enjoy working with them anyway. I don't care much for gear snobs. The sounds we make with our gear are much more important than the gear itself.

    But this is coming from a po'girl with cheap gear, so take it with a grain of salt.

    I must say, other bassists have been surprised at the tone I get from my little Ibanez GSR-190. They can't believe its just a student bass, and has had no modifications. The only person who didn't like playing it in jams was my band's former bassist. He plays a T-bird, and didn't like the tone or feel of my bass, but that's to be expected, I think.

  17. bstringrandy

    bstringrandy Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    Jacksonville, FL
    To me, it's the person playing the bass and what they are doing with it, not the instrument itself that matters most.
    Sure, as a musician, I take notice of gear choices, but I don't judge the bassist on it. If you're holding down the groove and having fun, play what you want to play. 98% of the audience won't care what bass you're playing, and you'll have to tube something really bad before 90% of 'em notice at all.

    Sound and musicianship will always matter more than gear...

  18. I TRY not to be a gear snob, but I've got a pretty nice Squire precision I bought off my mate...not one I'd use on an audition or a gig really - but it SOUNDS alright I think.

    Y'know - I'd use it in the studio for something, and practicing - but it'd be my backup at a gig...fair enough, if it sounds good and most of the audience doesn't notice I'd play it - but I'm always assuming someome WILL notice and possibly tell me "its only a cheap one...I've got a real one at home" putting my choice of gear down (which is the LAST thing you need when you just did a good gig). I try to LOOK professional when I'm doing something so I always use a MIM or MIJ at a gig coz - even I sometimes look at a band who are perfectly all right and automatically have reservations with them because of the squire the guitarist is using for his main axe...I'm just thinking to myself "Squire?! Why Squire? Aren't you really good enough for a MIM? Sounds good, but its just like the guitar I first started learning on when I was 13 and I upgraded AGES ago!"
  19. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    My guitarist plays a Squier Tele. He plays well, sounds good and clicks with the rest of us. There's been no point I've thought "yeah, but it'd be so much more convincing if it said "Fender" on the headstock..."
  20. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    To most non-musicians there are only two kinds of basses, Fenders and not Fenders. If the bass is not making noise and has a competent sound, most musicians won't care.

    That said, the band I play with was really happy the night I brought my Wishbass instead of the Ric. It has a more bassy sound that they like for the R+B stuff.

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