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do you even need a good bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Albini_Fan, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. Albini_Fan

    Albini_Fan Banned

    Jan 26, 2003
    Beneath Below
    if you're in a live situation and your bass feels good, does it really matter if it's a $100 squier or a $1000 american? is the crowd going to be able to tell any difference?
  2. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I can tell. Besides it doesn't matter if the audience notices, if it makes playing more enjoyable to yourself, I say it's money well spent.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Doesn't matter, whatever feels good to you, but remember, more expensive instruments generally mean they're more reliable, which is great if you're playing live a lot, less likely to mess up or twist the neck.

    Besides, my #1 bass is a $200 MIM P-bass with a lot of upgrades. My #2 is a $1000 Ernie Ball Stingray. Just goes to show :p
  4. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Can most members of the "crowd" even tell the difference between a bass and a guitar or anything else with strings on it?
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    But for those who do know a little bit, I refuse to get a Stingray with a matching headstock for fear it'll be mistaken for an OLP :p
  6. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    Right on!

    I also agree with what Jared said, it matters most to me what I play and after over 20 yrs of playing decent quality instruments I upgraded to top quality basses, speakers and amp. There is a difference.

    I have a fairly wide variety of basses and when I play a gig I bring 3-4 basses with me and I will change basses because of a certain feel or particular tone I am looking for. Can anyone else tell the difference in the tone between my basses? Maybe one or two members of the band, perhaps the soundman or a fellow musician in the crowd but generally - no.

  7. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Of course there's a difference. If you dont think so, sequence the bass and airbass the whole show. Not the kind of attitude a serious guy should have

  8. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I can tell the difference between the sound of a ****ty bass and the sound of a good bass. I can also tell the difference between the sound of someone playing a ****ty bass and the sound of someone PLAYING an expensive bass. Basses that ply not-good, usualy sound not-good.
  9. MMiller28


    Apr 27, 2003
    quality and reliability
  10. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You can feel the difference, and this matters for your playing. Even when it might be imagined.
  11. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I tend to agree with JMX. However I have seen really good players play a low end bass and make it sound great. I put my money on the player.

  12. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    between high- and lower-end gear is to say that there is no difference between flavors of wine, or cigars, or beers, or cigarettes, or between coke and pepsi... or any two brands of a similar product. Sure, you might save a couple of bucks by buying Sam's choice cola at Wal-Mart and it will taste like cola, but not quite like Coke or Pepsi. You can buy a Phillies blunt and smoke yourself an inexpensive cigar but it will hardly be a hand-rolled cuban. A can of Natty Ice is hardly a professionally poured pint of Guinness. Now, I am not condoning the use of tobacco or highly caffeinated or alcoholic beverages... but all these less expensive items will generally have the same effect as their more expensive, more detailed counter-parts. The average human being most likely can't tell you the difference between a cuban or swisher sweet (and may even prefer the sweet taste of the swisher). My mom can't tell you if it is Amstel light or Keystone light that she is drinking, she just knows that she doesn't like beer and after one, her nose is numb. The average drunk at a local bar doesn't care if it is a Squier Jazz or a Sadowsky. All he does know (hopefully) that the barstool he is sitting on and the glasses behind the bar are rattiling and he is tapping his feet to thte beat of something. What it all boils down to is being a connoisseur. A kid that just picked up his first bass isn't going to tell that there is a radical difference between an Alembic and a Vantage knock-off or the difference between a rock bass and an early 90's Warwick. The differences are there but they are often subtle, and go unnoticed by the untrained eye (or ear, or tastebud). It is those subtle differences that differentiate a bass from being great or mediocre... The attention to detail that sets apart the boutique from the mass-produced. What you are willing to pay and what you are willing to settle for is up to you... I know a kid that just ordered a custom CB bass but said himself that he can't tell the difference between a p-bass and a jazz without looking at them. To him, this bass's subtle beauties (whatever they may be) will be lost and it will be just another bass. I did try to get him to take the $1000 and get into a jazz and a precision and figure out what he likes and go from there, but he is dead set on it. :rolleyes: I can't think of a bigger waste of money, but it his money and his decision... I guess it is what YOU make of it. If you have the funds and are willing to spend them on a higher-end bass, do it. If you cannot or choose not to, I would certainly never look down upon someone who had a cheaper bass than I. I know guys that can blow me away if we went chop for chop that play basses that cost less than half of what mine did... I do find my basses to have the playability, tone, and craftmanship that I prefer. They inspire me to play... I don't need anything more than that. ;)
  13. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Oh I think there is a difference. I just also think that the player also makes a big difference. If you have an FBass and you suck, it sucks. If you are a Jamerson and have a Squier then it will sound good. But yes, there is a difference and it is discernable.

  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    If it also sounds like you want, no.

    Maybe, maybe not. Now to the main question... "do you even need a good bass?"

    That depends entirely upon who "you" is. And what "need" means in this context.

    If "you" is me, all I "need" is a bass that feels good and sounds good. I've done the same types of gigs with basses worth more than $5k that I've done with basses I've payed well under $500 for... as recently as last year. That's because I play what I "want";)

    Bottom line I need stability... good, consistent sound and playability. Anything more than that is gravy. OTOH I love gravy.
  15. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I agree. Part of being a professional is "showing up" with good gear that will hold up as well.
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Except for another bassist, the crowd isn't going to know. But I agree with Jared. You'll feel better about playing a really good bass. Doyle Dykes, a Nashville first-call fingerstyle guitarist, does clinics for Taylor guitars. He says, "You owe it to yourself to have one really fine instrument." I agree. But nine would be better.
  17. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    Well said Joe!

    to add my own buck and a quarter... as long as the tool has a certain level of functionallity it's good enough... but dammit, I'll not settle for anything less then the best!!! I'm worth it too me!
  18. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    It's all about perception. I played on an Epiphone Les Paul for a year and thought it was the greatest thing in the world. Once I bought a pro model bass after that I couldn't play the Epi anymore. It just felt crappy. Basses are good untill you play one that is better.
  19. I think the problem here is the actual definition of the word "good". Just what is good?

    I think as you move up the food chain of basses, you will start to reach a point of diminishing returns. You know, where at some point near the bottom of the chain, you get a great return in quality, reliability, tone, playability, etc., for each additional dollar invested. But as you go up, the return for each dollar becomes less and less. At some point, and it's NOT the same for each of us, the true return will almost become nil. Why?

    At some point, and I think it's actually in the lower middle of the chain, the true return for playability, tone, and the rest, is just not very much. The only thing that's really left is the actual pleasure of the status, worth the money or not. IF, YOU, as the owning bassist, digs it, then you, and only you, can say it's worth it. But, you see, for each of us the pleasure of the supposed higher quality is at a different level.

    I found my level with a '97 Fender American Standard P-Bass. Can I get close to the same great sound out of an MIM? Yep! But to my hands, ears, and most importantly of all, my ego, the AmStd does a much better job. My AmDlx P-Bass also does a good job, but it hasn't supplanted the AmStd.

    I've tried many high-end botique basses, and I just can't see for the life of me what I would possibly need one for. They don't play any better, and to my ears, sound any better than my '97 AmStd P. And most importantly of all, my ego doesn't need them.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking anyone who wants, needs, or feels that their high-end boutique or custom bass is an absolute necessity in their lives. Man (or Woman), if you gotta' have it, then by all means, have it, play it, and enjoy it.

    But the term "GOOD", can be such a subjective term. And, for each of us its subjectivity is so different.

    So, back to the original question: Do you even need a good bass? My answer is yes, but "Good" being strictly on your own terms.
  20. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    The crowd didn't pay to hear your bass. Or the drums. Or the guitar.

    They came to hear the finished total project.

    Now, they might not realize it, but if YOU hear the difference in basses, and fine tune your sound, the total, finished product will sound better.

    So, even if they don't know it, they are getting a better finished musical product.