Ever backline a bass guitar?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by James Simonson, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. Curious if any of you traveling bassist ever travel without an electric bass and just put one in the backline rider and roll with what comes your way? Any stories positive or negative would be helpful.

    I've owned a ton of basses and with some tools, could probably make just about anything work..

    I know almost all the upright players are going this way but want to direct this more specific to electric bass.
  2. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I'm not so often around these days (you know... family, doin' a proper job for a livin' and bills etc.)

    In the past, as long as I was able to book a particularly ever reliable model (I was mostly playin' regularly tuned, as today I do with bluesband and church choir: while thrash metal band requires specific fullstep downtunin' 5er bass and pedalboard)
    a Precision (or "P" style bass) or an alder PJ anyway (Yamaha BB, for instance) I was ok and just contracted the price for it

  3. That's a good call to save on bass miles. But I'm not sure what I would do to pass time on the road without a bass with me at all times. I think that will be your biggest problem imo.

  4. Rebop


    Jul 9, 2008
    La Honda, CA
    As an upright player, I've done this quite a bit.

    I see no incentive to do this with an electric, though. They're far too convenient to take along with you almost anywhere. If it's a bolt-on, you can always disassemble and stuff it in a small suitcase or duffel. A decent electric can be pretty cheap too; compared to an upright anyways.
  5. I don't think I'd enjoy it, I have my own basses because they feel and sound right to me (mostly t-birds, RD and Warwicks) and play tuned to C standard mostly.
  6. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    I've been on the other end of that transaction a number of times: Supplied instruments to promoters or venues who got riders specifying a bass and needed to hire one. I've rented out my own instruments on a (very) few occasions if and only if I knew the bassist (either personally or by reputation), and I also worked for an equipment rental company where among other things it was my job to maintain a small stable of guitars & basses that they rented out.

    And my experience in both of those situations confirmed something for me: I will never use a borrowed/rented instrument for one of my own gigs. It's not worth the crapshoot about whether the instrument you get will be comfortable, functional, appropriate, or even remotely playable. The peace of mind from having your own axe is priceless.
  7. taurus1


    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    being a Fender player, any properly setup P or J is fine with me.
  8. Interesting replies.. I should add the gig has no bass solos or any slapping or unusual techniques. At the end of the day, I could crank the action and get it done.

    We fly almost everyday. Sometimes 2 flights a day. In Europe, some planes are really small. Tiny 2ft. overheads.. Over weight/size baggage fees.. All kinds of unforseen situations.

    If I keep my suitcase under 25lbs. It's cool for the most part. Also as crazy as it sounds, with all the walking and moving, my shoulders will begin to ache after a few weeks of 5:00 a.m. lobby calls and jet lag.

    I love the gig though.. I'm not complaining.
  9. I'd like to add, if I/my band had the reputation to get me the exact gear I wanted then I'd be fine with it, but we're small time and don't have any real control over promoters and stuff.
  10. I wouldn't be able to pull off my main gig with a rental as I use a 7 string along a alternate tuning. But if I was still playing in the jazz gig I would be fine with most "industry standard" instruments
  11. Yep!
  12. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy

    C'mon we're not talkin' about wives, just basses what would peace of mind be, if you're playin', you're rockin' anyway?

  13. pbass2

    pbass2 Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I've done it numerous times. I hate flying with a bass(if someone else is schlepping the gear then that's a different story of course). For one-off fly dates and the like if I can get a decent pbass or jazzbass I'm fine. I always play 4 string, standard tuning, drop D at the most, so it's easy. If the music truly demands something special like a shorty hollowbody or what-have-you, then it gets a little trickier, but that said, I got a killer Hofner as a loaner once.
    I do always make sure I know what I'm gonna get though, as much as possible. The humblest bass I ever got was a new Mexi P with the stickers still on it--a few slight adjustments before the gig and it was totally fine.
    Still, I always bring a couple cables, my tuner and a stomp or two if needed, strings, strap, a foam mute, and a multitool. Stuff that fits in my overhead bag. I like to travel light.
  14. We have a week of shows booked across Japan in a few months, so I'm seriously considering this.

    I've been told that the bigger clubs over there keep a crazy selection of amps and instruments as an enticement to get bands to fly over. Hope that's true--could be a fun way to really test-drive other amps and basses.
    Any Ibanez SR 4 string is all I need, so getting a decent one over there should be easy.
    And any 200+ watt head on top of 8 tens can get my sound.

    Our drummer uses Yamaha, but Pearl or Tama are fine with him.
    gui**** uses ESP LTD and PRS, but any decent dual humbucker with hot pickups is cool with him. He might take his Bogner head though, + pedals of course.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I've backlined a bass before. A couple times it turned out really well. A couple times it turned out to be a disaster where I worked my ass off for every note. I prefer bringing one. I'll take my chances with the airlines from now on. If they bust my bass, then I'll backline and buy another one when I get home. Hasn't happened yet, knock on wood. But I use a TSA regulation case, so if it breaks, they have to pay up.
  16. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Inactive

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Bad idea.
    Even if your main player is, say, Fender American Standard P5...
    But you like DR Sunbeams and a picky setup?
    Even on the same model of bass, tone and output are going to differ. And weight.
    Would Dale Jr. "backline" a racecar? I doubt it!
    Personally, i can get away with any ol amp that will cut through stage volume.

    But I prefer one of my go-to basses on stage.