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Do you play differently when switching basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NickInMesa, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. I realize that each time I switch bass (I have a Foundation, a Precision a Jazz and an RBX), I play differently.

    By that I mean that, over the same beat from my drum machine, I do not improvise the same stuff.

    I think it's a little weird and wonder why.

    Different neck? Different spacing? Different sound?
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I only have 3 basses presently, but I play like I play no matter the bass.
  3. Jjango


    Nov 16, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Who cares why, I just love that it happens! :)

    I really like the fact that different instruments inspire me to play different things. If I feel stale on the Jazz, I can pick up the Rick, and totally different ideas come to me. I think that, either consciously or unconsciously, we play to the strengths of the instrument. You know, you pick up a Stingray and want to slap, you pick up a Hofner and you want to thump!

    But it's really more subtle than that. I have five Jazzes, and each makes me play a little differently.

    I used to have a Precision, and the wide nut made me play differently than I'd play on my other basses.

    What I think is really cool is to take the way you play bass#1, and try to apply that to your playing on bass#2. It can really widen the way you think about playing. For example, on my fretless Jazz, I used more muting and ghost notes than I would on a fretted bass. One day, I decide to play one of my fretted Jazzes as though I were playing the fretless – the resulting experiment altered my whole approach to fretted playing.

    I think the phenomenon you describe is very cool, which is why I like to have a number of basses. They're like different spices, they encourage you to come up with new recipes.
  4. chroma601


    Feb 16, 2007
    Sylva, NC
    Happens to me as well. We're interacting with the bass at hand. I improvise very differently on my fretless acoustic than I do on me Fender P-bass. You're reacting to the tones you get.
  5. What Jjango said.
  6. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Hell yeah. If I pick up a 4-string, I slap the hell out of it. My 6er, a lot of fingerstyle and chords. My 7-string is mostly tapping and ambient chord sounds. My 8-string, surprisingly, uses mostly fingerstyle as it's got a spacing similar to my 6.

    Each bass sounds and plays different, so it would be pointless to treat them the same in your playing unless you were testing each one for the perfect tone for some song.
  7. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    Same here. I approach my Sadowsky J a little differently than my ken Smith. I would guess that I'm largely the same in terms of style but Like someone said I am (to a certain degree) inspired by the bass in hand. ;)
  8. Alienation


    Jul 29, 2008
    A common occurence.

    I play alot differently on my basses with nylon tapewounds vice the ones with roundwounds on it.

    The type of bass definitely has an effect on how I play as well.

    You are not alone.
  9. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    +1 Jjango
  10. T-Forty

    T-Forty Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    The only difference is when I play my T-40 I play over the neck pickup. When I play my American VS Precision I play right behind the pickup with my arm further back on the body.
  11. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    To me, that's a big part of the reason to have multiple basses!

  12. Bardley


    Nov 16, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I agree that all of my basses make me play differently. I love it.

    It's kinda like cars, say you have a Ferrari and a 4-wheel drive Jeep, both may get you to your destination, but you will drive them differently and one may inspire you take a different route.

    That's why we NEED lots of basses...;) :bassist:
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I think so. When I play my 5 string - especially for jazz - I tend to improvise differently than on a fretless 4. I was playing some Funk and R&B on a P bass yesterday and I think it feels different and I play differently than on my 5'er.
  14. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Great justification...and probably justifiable.

    Maybe I should pick up that nice MIM P-Bass I played yesterday...
  15. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Whether it was just a self delusion he used to justify his collection or not, my old guitar player was fond of saying that every guitar had a certain number of songs in it - some a lot more than others.


    Yeah, I always played a bit differently on different basses, but lately I've really tried to emphasize it. I've strung up one bass with flats for dub, old school MoTown and finger funk etc, my most aggressive sounding bass with Low Riders for rock, slap etc and my fretless with either Sunbeams or TI Flats. Along with my acoustic, I've really given myself some pretty diverse tone options. I find that if I'm having trouble with an idea it often helps to try it on another bass as it gives me a whole new way of approaching things. To me, that's the real value of having more than one bass.
  16. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Audio Mike Lull Custom Guitars Gallien Krueger amplification Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass Electronics
    I think of its a different suit to wear or just outright a different tool for the "job"...
  17. Mr. Mig

    Mr. Mig

    Sep 7, 2008
    I play all my basses preety much the same.
  18. lanceropolis


    Mar 10, 2009
    So. Cal
    I guess I pretty much see things esoterically. Each instrument has it's own voice. I have played identical instruments before, and both were completely different in how I played. In fact I played what I played on the second one, what I played on the first one, and it just didn't feel right. I really think each one has a different "vibe".


    Aug 24, 2007
  20. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Every bass i have is an animal.

    My p-bass is my currently rock/pop bass. I play the HELL out of this thing.

    My 7-string i HAVE to play differently. Or i'd die.

    My fretless I also have to play differently, or i'd be out of tune! haha

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