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Don't Become a Slave to Sharpening - A Cure for GAS?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by MVE, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    When will the GAS pains stop? Am I still a musician, or have I become just a connoisseur of amps and speakers? Where does the quest for perfect tone end? What does it sound like? Why am I writing this? Why are YOU reading it? Is there a pill I can take to make me satisfied with my current rig?

    Just before my last birthday this past June, I made the decision that it was time to upgrade my bass rig with a totally carte blanche system and finally obtain the perfect bass tone. Over the past several years, I had been spending the majority of my money on recording equipment (computers, plugins, microphones, pre-amps, etc…); consequently my bass rig was showing its age and was heavy as &%$#@. Cost was completely no concern; the only constraints were size, because I live in a third floor walk-up apartment and weight… because I live in a third floor walk-up apartment.

    I started being active on TB again in an attempt to become knowledgeable on all the most current gear. I had not been active on TB since I had built my Warmoth fretless J a few years back. Anyway, after reading the threads on the new Demeter Minnie 800D I decided to send my much loved vintage 201 back to the nest to get modified. It came back about 2 weeks later and subsequently my 40 lb power amp went right into the garbage dumpster (metaphorically speaking, of course). It’s actually shoved under the bed. Perhaps I will find another use for it someday… probably not.

    My new amp was awesome and everything I dreamed it would be: light, loud, hi-fi, esoteric, hand-made, etc… except it really exemplified how much my Schroeder 210Pl was lacking in the bottom end. It is really a great cab for live use, maybe the best small format bass stage monitor ever. But for just solo practicing in my apartment, I really wanted something a little more full range. So back to TB to read about what cab to start GAS-ing up for.

    Well after many hours of scanning threads, reading posts, posting questions and meditating on the responses, I went to the store and bought a Berg CN212. Again, I couldn’t be happier. The thing totally rocks. I have played a few shows with it and it has received raving reviews from soundmen, bartenders, and my bandmates. The fretless J tone through this thing is so magical it would make Jaco himself jealous. (Now, I’m not saying that my tone is better than Jaco’s or anything, but I am saying that I am damn well sure that if Jaco could hear this thing he would gladly trade his ol’A360 for my Dem/Berg rig in a NY minute.*)

    All good right??? NO, I am still here obsessively reading TB. I can’t find anyone else with a 201/800D to agree with me and reassure me about how awesome it is and certainly no-one who has plugged it into a CN212. Everyone seems to love the CN212 with a TH500, and the Monique/800D seems to be the sweetest amp right now or maybe the new MESA Prodigy, do I need that? Did I make a mistake? OH GOD, the GAS hurts.

    Again, why am I writing this? Why am I making YOU read this? Call it an attempt at group-therapy. Surely some fellow TBers here can sympathize with these feelings. I think at some point we need to step back and remind ourselves what we are doing here. Ya know, playing bass and all. I guess equipment, basses and amps are actually a hobby and even a profession unto themselves. I’m not knocking that, but it’s not for me. I’ve played the same old bass for almost twenty years -I’m not a gear guy.

    Maybe this quest for the perfect bass tone is just a road to El Dorado? Maybe I should spend more time practicing, learning and writing new songs and less time reading the JuleMonique thread on TB?

    This all reminds me of something Norm Abram once said on The New Yankee Workshop. He did an entire show on sharpening chisels, saw blades, router bits and such, and at the very end he said, “Don’t become a slave to sharpening, and don’t waste too much time on it.”

    My amp is just a chisel, it’s a tool. It is a means to an end and not an end in itself. A sharp chisel is a wonderful thing for carving a sculpture, but even the sharpest chisel is not a sculpture.

    So I guess I just need to take a good look in the mirror each morning and tell myself that I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. My bass amp is loud enough, the tone is sweet enough, and doggonit, I like it.

    * (If you happen to disagree with me on this particular point of absolute fact, I really don’t care. I’ve played an A360, it was kinda dry and lifeless sounding at anything lower than really loud volumes. Besides, this is MY imagination for God’s sake.)
  2. Well, it's certainly easier to go buy new gear than it is to practice!

    And generally we all suffer from an inner drive to constantly get more Stuff. We get security from Stuff, and maybe we subconsciously get more security when we buy more expensive, nicer Stuff. I certainly enjoy having nice Stuff, lots of Stuff, and I justify it by telling myself how many hobbies I have and therefore I need all this Stuff.

    Sometimes it takes a serious effort to get out of this constant acquisition of Stuff. Sometimes life has to throw a monkey wrench into the works and force us to ask ourselves: Do we own Stuff, or does Stuff own us?
  3. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    If I own a bass, the bass owns me too.
  4. Really I can get what I want out of just about any of my stuff. Unfortunately I apparently have a short attention span, get bored quickly, and start gassing about the next shiny thing I see. Only my budget and lack of storage keep me reined in.
  5. I got over my GAS by setting goals for myself, and stopping there.
    Sure, I still buy & sell stuff, but my desire to get rid of things is greater than my desire to acquire things.

    I have everything I need to make fantastic sounding records myself, and now I concentrate more on finishing songs than trying to get a good sound on tape.

    I've spent years dreaming of the stuff I now have, so now I just keep reminding myself that instead of buying that bass, or that mic or whatever, that I should spend that time tracking stuff to tape. Or mixing, or writing, or whatever.

    All my dream gear is sitting in my studio, and it's now up to me to use it to make music!
  6. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    I got over most of my gas by getting a life that prevents me from spending too freely. Wife, dog, school, kid (coming in January). That will essentially tie up any cash you planned on spending on gear and clear up the gas (who has time for gas when life is kicking your ass?)
  7. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I don't get the whole GAS thing, honestly. I have simple needs. My basses were inexpensive, but they look and play nice. I still wish I had a nice Rickenbacker 4001 or 4003, but honestly, I can't see spending over a grand for a bass, when I can get the basses I need for under five hundred bucks.

    I'm not a person with strong material needs. If I can afford nice stuff, I will sometimes get it, but if I can't, I don't spend much time wishing.

    Of course, I'm old.
  8. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    Thanks everyone for reading my rant and responding.

    "Don't be a slave to sharpening."

    Words to live by...
  9. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I've barely had any gas for the past few years. I like my basses and I like my amp. Sounds good enough for me, and I have better things to spend my time/money on these days.
  10. Slade N

    Slade N

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    my issue with GAS is while I love the gear I have, I might live other gear too...and dont we all need more love?
  11. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    I got into my first band in 1965 because I had a big amp. I couldn't play worth a damn back then and I still don't.. BUT I got a nice rig. (for now)
  12. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    I traded in a 1967 Gibson EB2 plus some cash for a brand new 4003... I always wanted to play a Rickenbacker and it was worth the purchase. Life is short.
  13. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    I've never had GAS. At one point, I owned 1 bass and was in 3 bands. I bought a 2nd bass only to have a backup because I was gigging a lot.
  14. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Yep. It's a human thing for the most part. After food, shelter, and personal comfort, we kick into our love of distraction. It can be a anything from things to thoughts, but we'll be out there reaching for something to keep us from whatever our goal is.

    OK.. how to beat GAS, at least in the bass equipment category? Talk to a bunch of non-musicians about bass tone and see what they say. Talk to a bunch of non-bass playing musicians and see what they say about bass tone. Now ask yourself, "What is it about alto saxophone tone that I really like?" Reach deep in your heart and try to find that out what that snare drum sound is that lights your light. Do you think trombone players should have an "F" attachment, or is a straight tenor trombone best. What reed is right for tenor sax?

    All that last bit is to say, tone is what we feel comfortable with. To most, maybe all non-bass playing people the tone of your bass is secondary to TIME, PITCH, VOLUME, and STYLE. In other words, if tone was really that important, we'd all buy recordings with people just playing whole notes. Heck, machines and do that.

    Be a musician. Move your distractions to another subject.
  15. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I'm one of those people who doesn't obsess over tone. I mean yeah, I want it as good as I can and I want it to fit the situation, but as long as it sounds like a bass (or at least what my definition of a bass is...YMMV) then I'm happy. I just plug into my GK MB115, a little of this and a bit less of than and I'm off and running. Takes me about 15 seconds to get there. I must be doing something right because I get good compliments.

    Not knocking what others do. If you have the time and resources to get closer to your ideal then go for it!
  16. I did my homework and figured out what I needed/wanted...
    I bought good equipment at the outset, the best I could afford at the time...
    Unless it breaks, becomes otherwise damaged, or fails to meet a new need (ex: playing bigger venues)...

    I'm Done.

    WHOAH! Look at that Dr. Scientist Cosmichorus! Two expression pedal inputs! My chorus pedal doesn't have any! What do they do? MN3007 chip! Stereo output aNd INPUT! Pretty flashing rate knob ... I'ah gots tah git meee wun uff dem!!!

    Not the sharpest tool in the shed...
  17. edpal

    edpal Inactive

    Oct 3, 2007
    While younger I went through absolute junk instruments, starting with Sears, moving on to pawn shop stuff that should have stayed there. Then life got busy - raised kids, outlived 2 wives. In last 10 years I have bought a few items I had always GASSED for, only to find I didn't really care for them. Ric 4003 being a classic example. The 12 basses I currently have don't help my playing and really I could thin it down to 4 and cover most tone groups (active,passive,fretless,12 string). Wondering why #13 hasn't been delivered.:crying:

    Heh, after what seemed like an eternity of driving crap cars shuttling kids around (most recently a 1999 Grand Am with high mileage) I did the most anti-Gas thing I could when my youngest got a full-ride scholarship: picked me up a gently used Caddilac so I could pimp ride in comfort. My dog doesn't understand why I don't take him for car rides anymore, poor baby. Moral of this: GAS may return as circumstances change. Congrats on the new baby - next you'll suffer SAS "Sleep Abstinence Syndrome".

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