Does Having Too Many Basses Stunt Growth?

Discussion in 'Ask Anthony Wellington [archive]' started by dbamta, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. dbamta


    Aug 25, 2009

    I have noticed that some guys who have a large collection of basses are sometime limited in their bass playing skills. I was just wondering if it can related to the fact that they never truly mastered playing comfortable one bass before the jump to another. I have noticed that playing many different basses requires some type of adjustment such as fret size and neck construction as examples. It would seem playing basses of the same brand and similar models would making switching between them easier. What do you think?
  2. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    All of the great bass players that I know have a lot of basses. But they have 1 or 2 basses that they play mostly. I think if you are a 'developing' bass player you should considering focusing on getting better more than going through and owning a lot of basses.

    As for me, I've been playing custom made basses since the 90s. And for some reason I was smart enough then to use 'common' physical specs that would give my custom basses similar 'feels'. All of my 'main' gigging basses have 5 strings, 35" scale, 19mm spacing at the bridge and a thin neck profile. I've found that when I pick up bass that doesn't have these specs it's not as comfortable in my hand. It doesn't mean that I won't play that bass well. A lot of 4 string basses has 19mm spacing. And I can adjust to 34" scale easy. For me the biggest obstacles is significantly tighter string spacing and thick neck profiles. Even my 7 string MBass has 19mm bridge spacing so even though the neck is wide, the bass is easy for me to play because the amount of space between the strings is what I'm used to and the profile of the neck is thin.

    Having said all of that,...

    If a person is in the beginning stages of bass playing its probably a good idea to get comfortable with one bass.


    Everyone is different. Some of us adjust to things easier than others. And as I teacher I know that none of us do things the same. We all are different and are affected by things differently.

  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Having too many basses really stunted this guy's growth as a bass player ...

  4. JimL


    Jan 19, 2011
    Cupertino, CA
    I read the title of this thread and was thinking something completely different. LOL
  5. dbamta


    Aug 25, 2009
    Thanks Ant. You understood the point that I was making. The question was not about the ability to play many basses but, the comfort level and dexterity that can be experienced playing basses with similar qualities.
  6. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Yup, I knew what you meant.

  7. jmac


    May 23, 2007
    Horsham, Pa
    I doubt he had that many when he started playing. :rollno:
  8. Lichtaffen


    Sep 29, 2008
    Rhode Island
    Take it for what it's worth, but I think too many options confuses the mind and makes it difficult to focus. This is what I, personally, feel and that's why I own only one bass. If you don't have trouble focusing then ignore my post, but I would guess that's one of the reasons that the bass collectors the OP speaks of can't play well.
  9. JTFormula


    Jan 20, 2011
    Brick, NJ
    I have 3 Basses (1 is lefty which I play as well) and 10 guitars. I find myself playing one bass 85% of the time and I have three guitars that are the go to ones I play. Two electric, one acoustic. The two electrics have a similar style but different feel and tone (1 Fender the other Jackson). The others are more or less collectors pieces but I do play all of them at some point. I think with most collectors they have their favorite players and the others are mainly wall hangers or display pieces. I don't believe its a reflection in ability at all.
  10. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    You know those t-shirts, "So many guitars, so little Time." Haha.
  11. manfish


    Aug 2, 2005
    Yeah, I know people who have lots of gear but don't play well and dont work as musicians. They have fun so its ok. There are the blues lawyer collectors as well.

    If you want to do sessions, are eclectic or work in different genres, your needs are different than one whos into one or
    two styles. I have almost every bass sound that I like and might choose or be asked to dial up. Right off the bat, every pro session player should have a solid (pref Fender type) with rounds, a solid with flats, a semi / hollow w flats and a fretless. Thats just for starters. Add genres and add basses.
  12. Bassman197835


    Oct 31, 2013
    I have always stuck with one Bass and I now regret it. After buying my Warwick T-BO-4 string in 2001 I never touched another Bass! Almost literally! Now I have a 5 string and although Im adjusting to it pretty! well. I really! wish I had bought a 5 string earlier. I guess to some it may be no big deal and people may even think my post for advice in swapping was dumb...But I am so accustomed to the 4 that I'm fumbling the 5. Im constantly! hitting the wrong strings. Its getting easier of course but I really! wish I woulda bought one 4 and one 5 and alternated between the two.