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drummer gives me great gift . . . but I feel weird about it.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by morgansterne, Jun 20, 2017.


  1. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    I started in cover bands ten years ago playing bass. About four years in I switched over to playing keys for the band, which I was pretty terrible at but we couldn't find any other keys players. I actually joined another band playing bass, just cause I missed it, but after a few years with minimal gigs, it fizzled out.
    Fast forward to today with a different band, still playing keys. They really lean on the keyboardist and expect simultaneous piano/organ with horn lines, all sorts of stuff. I bought a roland Juno GI, and the band has been quite happy with my playing, but never really happy with the sounds on it.

    The drummer comes into a bunch of money unexpectedly. He decides he's going to buy me a keyboard and we go shopping and pick up a yamaha moxf8. It's crazy how good it sounds, but I'm also baffled by the obligation I feel. Guess I can't quit the band in the next few months if things go wrong!? Or can I? We only play a few gigs a month and make just under $100 per person (after paying the sound guy). So it's a pretty crazy investment for him to make in the band, but it's his money.

    Also I feel like I'm ready to throw in the towel on trying to play bass with anyone on a regular basis. I'm not great on the bass, but it's the most fun instrument to play in a band, so it's a bummer. I'm down to only two basses, a fretted fiver and a fretless four. So I don't really want to sell either one (though I need the money). But I don't think there's going to be time in my schedule to be a real bass player no more.

    My wife and I are actually in really poor financial straits right now. The past month has seen our lawnmower, clothes dryer, and air conditioner all break. Also my IEM earbuds died. She lost her job when her school relocated and has had no luck getting a new job despite sending out around twenty job applications. If she doesn't get a decent job by the end of the year we'll be in serious danger of losing our house. This $1500 keyboard is great but we could really use the cash.

    Way to look on the bright side right! Somebody gives me a super nice gift and somehow it's bumming me out!

    ok, thanks for listening
     
  2. I'd look at the new keyboard as a loaner. If you decide to leave the band it stays behind, unless the drummer tells you at that time to take it.

    Regarding your wife, 20 applications is nothing in today's world. 200 is normal it seems. Getting a job bites anymore.

    Good luck.

    Russ
     
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  3. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yeah, I don't think I would regard the keyboard as mine. Its the drummers and you happen to be playing it currently.
     
  4. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Did he say he is was buying you a new keyboard or did he say he was buying a new keyboard for you (to use)? The former says it is yours, the latter says it's a loan.
     
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    The weirdness you feel is because of the unspoken ethic of gift-giving. If it IS an outright gift rather than a loan, then it implies a moral obligation of reciprocity. People EXCHANGE gifts, though it's not a calculated set-value market exchange. They invite each other to their birthday parties and such. If you can't counter-gift anything of vaguely comparable value, there's an unspoken understanding that you're under a heavy obligation you can't repay. That's where you're feeling that accepting it means you, say, can't quit the band. There have been some societies where people would even take such a lopsided gift as an insult to avenge. I'm sure the drummer didn't mean it that way, he probably is just enjoying the feeling of being generous. But I would tell him I'd be happy to use it but I couldn't accept it as mine to own.
     
  6. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1

    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    I'm not real comfortable telling you this, because it's not my life, nor my wife. But as far as finances go, she may need to swallow her pride and take any job she can get. Income is still income, even if if it's a lot less than she is used to making. Anything is better than nothing until the right job comes along. Believe me, I've had to it.

    As russosborne said, consider the keyboard a loaner.
     
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  7. blixild

    blixild

    Mar 4, 2006
    Buffalo, NY
    This was the first thing I thought as well. I submitted about 160 applications before I got hired at my current day job.

    Edit to add: When I did finally get that job, I was the first among my bandmates at the time to have a "real" job. While I didn't buy any huge gifts like your drummer, it made me happy to spend my new money on my friends, and it was a bonus if it improved the band in some way.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
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  8. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    Play the new keyboard. A lot. All the time. Get really good and gig, even if it's by yourself. Play classical and jazz even if you never listen to those types of music (but who doesn't like Gershwin?). Piano may be the most versatile solo instrument if for no other reason than its range. If you can land a few of those fancy-schmancy cocktail lounge or upscale hotel dining room gigs, you might be able to tell your lady to relax and enjoy life! Or get her singing if she's into it. Often they have a piano ready to go so you don't even need to bring gear or sing or talk to anyone, just put on fancy clothes, thumb your nose, and you'll fit right in with the have-mores. I met a piano player in town recently who pays all his bills from a single weekly background music gig. And this is a town of less than 100,000 people, supposedly. You can pull it off in Cleveland!
     
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  9. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    No way would I accept a $1500 gift from anyone but my wife.
     
  10. Duder

    Duder

    Dec 6, 2014
    Florida
    It's an awkward situation with the band and I agree with the others: that keyboard isn't yours if you leave unless the drummer says it is. Thinking of it that way should ease your mind a bit. Best of luck to your wife on her job search. Education jobs are really difficult to get all over the country right now. Most teachers I know that get laid off end up in other careers, sadly.
     
  11. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    ^ = reality!

    good luck to your financial situation and your wife's job search! it's rough, but not insurmountable. the best to you and yours! :thumbsup:
     
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I was out of work for 7 months. I applied to no less than 3-4 jobs per week. Got less than 5 bites total. Just gotta keep at it. She has to be aggressive and maybe look for something outside her wheelhouse just to get in the door. Also sign up with a temp agency.

    Good luck. Times are tough these days.
     
  13. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I'm with those saying not to regard the keyboard as yours, but more as a loaner.

    Back in 1999, I went to a GC with the guitarist from my first full fledged cover band. He wanted to check out some Musicman guitars. While he was doing that I noticed there was a MIA P bass deluxe hanging on the wall, a bass I wanted badly (I wrestled between that and a Warwick I recently bought). He came into the bass room, told me he was getting a MM, and asked if I liked the P bass. I said, "I love the P bass." He said, "Give it to me. It's yours now." I was dumbfounded to say the least, protested, but he ignored me, bought the bass and said, "Enjoy it."

    The dude was a wall street guy and had money to burn. He was a really nice guy too. But I couldn't do it. I insisted on setting up a payment plan, which I did and stuck to. A little less than a year later, things got ugly in the band, and we all had a pretty bad falling out. I borrowed the money to pay what I still owed him on the bass (I think it was around $400). I felt good about me, and today we're still friends. The money for that bass didn't break me, and at the time there was no way I could afford it. I bought the Warwick on my then girlfriend's (now wife) credit card and was paying her back.
     
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  14. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    Been there. Sometimes you gotta do whatever will help pay the bills, so you're a keyboard player for now, no big deal. No reason to hang up the bass permanently, and I also have "only" 2 basses (but that might be changing today... mwah ha ha...). I've filled in on trumpet before for a touring band (parts only, I'm not good enough to solo), and got pretty decent on guitar by filling in at Tony and Tina's wedding a couple decades ago (I filled in on bass too but the regular guitar player took more time off). Keep your options open, you never know when the next opportunity might happen.

    BTW, the keyboard isn't yours. If your bandleader upgrades the PA and you plug in and sing through it, is it your PA? Same deal here, unless expressly told otherwise. Great violinists and other classical musicians carry and play instruments on loan fairly frequently. No need to be bummed about a gift you haven't been gifted. Enjoy the experience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
  15. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I totally agree with this.
    It'll keep your head clear of thoughts of selling it.
    I wish your wife every success in her job-hunting.
     
  16. morgan138

    morgan138

    Dec 10, 2007
    Boston
    There must've been a conversation leading up to this happening, right?

    In any case even if he was very clear that the keyboard was *yours* and not *the band's keyboard player's*, selling it while you're playing in the band would be a pretty serious jerk move and very much in bad faith (since it seems pretty clear his intention was for you to have a better keyboard to use in the band).

    If you end up leaving the band and you still feel unclear about the keyboard, give him a last opportunity to decide. At that point, if he says it's *yours*, sell away I guess?

    It's thoughtful of you to want to make sure you know his intentions, but at some point you don't have to keep second-guessing his generosity; dude is presumably an adult who can decide what he wants to do with his money.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
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  17. Session1969

    Session1969

    Dec 2, 2010
    He didn't buy it for you, he bought it for the band's sound. Show your appreciation by rocking it ! Have fun and be happy !
     
  18. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Vermont
    It sounds like you're doing music full time and your wife is temporarily out of work, and bills are piling up.

    If it were me, I'd talk with her about both of you picking up part-time jobs, if your gigging schedule and her job hunting allows, to support the household until she lands a new full time job. Every little bit helps and it might take a while for her to find something. You both need to bring in whatever you can in order to give her that time.

    And I agree with others, the keyboard should be considered on loan to you so long as you're playing with the band.
     
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  19. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    From your last paragraph, it sounded like you would consider selling the keyboard for the cash. That would be a big no no. I would consider the keyboard the band's, but it's in your possession if you want to use it for other things.
     
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  20. 4dog

    4dog

    Aug 18, 2012
    If he said the words "its a gift" or "its yours" ...that would imply to me thats its "yours"...now that doesnt mean there isnt a slight obligation in some way ...but you decide what that obligation is ,once it left his hands with an "its yours" attached...shoot its mine and if i wanna do whatever with it ,,dang it i will.
     

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