Essential Bass Arsenal

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DRay521, Nov 28, 2022.

  1. DRay521

    DRay521 Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    So I’m thinking primarily about studio work, but the same idea could be applied to live settings.

    What basses do you feel are essential to have in your arsenal to achieve just about any sound? I realize there are some basses that are extremely unique, and have their own distinct sound that’s difficult to replicate, but if it’s potential to get close to with another bass, it’s out. For instance, my list would be:

    Precision (includes round and flats)
    Modern Active/Boutique

    And for an added bonus, which basses are you missing from YOUR arsenal? Personally, I need a Stingray, fretless, and a hollowbody to check all the boxes. I’d also like to grab a Rickenbacker at some point, because that’s one of those distinct sounds I have in my head that’s tough to replicate, but you can get close enough that it doesn’t make the list.

    So, what say you?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2022
    Smooth_bass88 likes this.
  2. Just one. Stu Hamm Urge II.
  3. LadyLoveStingRay5


    Jul 17, 2004
    This is my essential arsenal. I’ve been working on it for about 3 yrs. I have everything sound I need covered with these. I even have a spare set of TI flats when need arises.

  4. DRay521

    DRay521 Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    OP edited to include fretless, how could I forget???
  5. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    I have:

    Jazz (3 examples)
    Modern active 5-string

    These cover everything I need. These days, I bring one Fender Jazz and my Mike Lull M5 to gigs, and I really could get away with just bringing the Lull, but I still love a good Fender Jazz so I don't mind switching between the two during a gig.
    RGerhart, onamission, Joshua and 2 others like this.
  6. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    For the gigging musician:

    1. A good one that speaks and sings for you when you play it.

    2. A basic backup should #1 have an issue on a gig that either does something similar - if you are in a band that requires a specific sound - or very different but workable one if you are in a flexible outfit like an originals or jam band as I am. Fretted and fretless to a gig is often nice.

    3. A great amp and cab. Great needn’t be expensive.

    4. A backup plan for the amp, even just a DI.

    For studio work:

    1. a precision.

    2. another flavor. Possibly more modern, but it needn’t be active. EQ can happen ITB.

    For those with G.A.S.:
    You need twelve things. They are steps. The first is admitting you have a problem.
  7. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Oh, I have a problem, but it ain’t the number of basses….:D

    Lull M5V Jazz-style
    Lull P5 Precision style
    Stingray SR5
    Generic Fretless (ESP LTD my electronics)

    All 5-strings, I don’t consider “5-string” a style.

    I don’t consider the strings as a style.

    Nor do I consider active or passive a style. I have both. A bass’s active-ness or passive-ness doesn’t determine its suitability for my needs.

    Apparently, my problem is being 64YO, thinking I can still work professionally and keep buying basses like I’m 30….:roflmao::roflmao:
  8. ClusterFlux


    Apr 11, 2018
    Well, I could be wrong, but I think you can drastically pare down the list.

    4-string P-style
    5-string J-style
    5-string PJ as backup
    high-quality multi-FX unit or a small pedal board (compression, HPF, maybe chorus and/or other modulation)

    My guess is that musicianship, proper preparation and showing up on time are a thousand times more important than the type of pickup or a spalted maple top....
    SoCal80s, 31HZ, RGerhart and 4 others like this.
  9. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I have a modern, boutique, J style 6 string that can do anything a J does and then some.
    And a P with flats.
    That's all I need.
    In a pinch, I could ditch the P. But it lends you a certain authority:
    Whatever bass you bring, you left a Fender P at home, so it must be good ;-)
    OldShark and bassGtar like this.
  10. Dan Bone

    Dan Bone

    Apr 4, 2021
    I believe all of the major food groups are represented. ..... Ric 4003, Stingray Special, L-1000, T. Franklin (fretted) PJ, Fender 32" J-bass, Squire 32" P-bass.
    Bajo Clarkko, Marko 1, Gizmot and 5 others like this.
  11. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Any serviceable bass and a ton of skill. I've got plenty of the former, but am somewhat lacking in the latter.
  12. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I think what you need, "need", to cover most anything thrown at you would be a passive P, an active 5 string J and the third bass is something unique to your style. Maybe an upright, maybe a a synth, maybe a fretless. All depends on what you do. What do you really, really need? Probably just a quality 4 string that's setup well and plays well. What do you really, really, really need? Skill and presence on whatever bass is in your hands and some vocal skill helps out.
  13. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    Depends on what you are playing, and if you are planning to hire yourself out as a session player. I have a PJ 4 string and a Warwick Corvette 5 string. Pretty much that has provided me with any voice I’ve needed.

    I’m pretty certain me playing a fretless at this point in my life would likely result in being cashiered from the project. LOL!

    As far as hearing bass tones in your head, it good you have a good idea of what tones you want to have on hand. Me, on the other hand, I have my tone down, and unless somebody requests something different (which hasn’t happened in the last 40 years), I have the tools on hand.

    Have fun on your search.
    GTHintz likes this.
  14. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    Pretty much I have a compromise with a Pj as opposed to a J & a P. I have a modern 5er though. Same idea.
  15. You need an upright too.
    badinage, Holdsg, lermgalieu and 5 others like this.
  16. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    Here is what I pieced together over the years and my methodology. Basically two of each kind that are on different ends of the spectrum tonally. Take a P bass for example, it can sound like Jameson/Dunn or Entwistle grindy. Classic 60’s Jazz vs 70’s Marcus or Geddy.
    • X2 P Basses
      • Classic 60’s, 3TSB, RW fb, could easily wear flats
      • Maple neck with GZR, very rock and grindy
    • X2 J Basses
      • 70’s tone- 1977 Jazz
      • 60’s tone- 80’s MIJ with 60’s nj4
    • Stingray
      • 96 4string H 3-band
      • 2018 Special
    • Warmoth fret less Jazz
    I pretty much complete at this point and can cover any gig or session. I don’t have a 5 string, but that’s intentional and not my thing. If someone needs a 5 string, I point them to someone else:)
    Outtaseezun likes this.
  17. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    Essential ? Something that will play reliably. Could be a glarry. Anything more than one bass is pretty redundant.

  18. As Rich pointed out, a Fender P or Jazz will work in 99% of studio or live. I can get a Ricky sound with the Jazz and everything in between. The sound is in your hands, amp and head.
    Pontiac Thrasher likes this.
  19. svlilioukalani

    svlilioukalani Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2012
    Seattle, Wa
    A Rickenbacker. Then a cheep old Dan Electro. And an old Gibson. Soon after that an Alembic. Been down that road.
    the_home and totalnoob like this.
  20. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005

    STRONG username-to-arsenal-consist correlation...
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2022
    LadyLoveStingRay5 likes this.