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Gig time: Bring 2 basses?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by drd07, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. I only need one!

    24 vote(s)
  2. 2

    62 vote(s)
  3. 3 or more!

    7 vote(s)
  1. drd07


    Jan 19, 2003
    Alright, just wanted all of your opinions out there. Does anybody bring 2 or more basses to a gig and switch during a set for different songs? I have a 5 string and a newly purchased 4 string. I got the 4 string because I wanted a hollow-body (it's a jack casady). However, my band plays some songs where I have to tune down to as low as C# on my fifth. It's not that many songs, maybe 4 or 5 songs where I would need the 5 string. Am I just being a dork (yes I opened myself up for that one)?
  2. drd07


    Jan 19, 2003
    Oops, can you also tell me the reasons why? Thanks!
  3. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    I think it is always a good idea to bring two basses, if for no other reason, bring the second as a backup in case anything goes wrong.
  4. bring 2, what if a string break or something...never know what can happen.
  5. drd07


    Jan 19, 2003
    It is a good idea to have a backup. But does anybody switch just for different songs?
  6. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    I tried the switching thing, and it just doesn't work out for me.....especially when I am running through the house speakers.

    I normally bring one bass, which ever is intonated the best at the time :) Oh, and it also depends on the weather and if it is an inside/outside gig. For some reason I put out some massive heat/humidity through my palms which causes some tuning issues sometimes (espcially on my MTD, believe it or not...no outside gigs for the MTD). Well, that was slightly off topic, but oh well.
  7. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    Sometimes, buy usually I only switch off on recordings, when the bass tone really matters. Live the tone is not as important, and you can get away with one bass. Unless you need five strings or whatever for a song.
  8. cjgallen


    Oct 19, 2001
    I bring my one and only bass to gigs. I handle it like a newborn child, and it hasn't failed me yet.

    Of course I always bring extra strings.
  9. Justyn


    Jun 24, 2002
    Richmond, VA
    I bring two basses to every gig for several reasons. The first is that I'm a firm believer in having a backup. It only took one gig where I broke a string and didn't have a spare string or a spare bass. We were opening for a band called Marry Me Jane who had just had some moderate success with the soundtrack to a movie called If Lucy Fell and there were reps from Sony in the audience and I was standing there looking like a complete amateur. Not a good feeling.

    Similarly, a few years ago we played a gig where my guitar player had the jack break on his guitar in the middle of our set and contrary to my advice, he had no backup. By this point I kept a considerable number of tools on me, from the Leatherman tool I keep on my belt to the soldering kit in my gig bag, and with some quick rigging, we finished the set. But there is nothing worse than standing up on stage with that dead silence hanging in the air. It just screams 'unprofessional' and that really bothers me.

    I also take two basses because I use two basses. About a year ago I decided that the ideal tone to mesh with our two guitarists would be a fretless bass, and I was right, and now I play my freltess about 98% of the time. But there are those occasions when I want the sound of my Jazz Bass, usually for slap, though the Carvin fretless I just bought has enough snap that the Jazz Bass may now just be a backup. To deal with live sound issues (i.e. when the soundman takes a direct line out from my head) I just use an A/B box. Changes are quick and easy. My guitarist does something similar though he's been using a Boss TU-2 tuner pedal that has a mute function so he can change instruments but only use one cable while avoiding the 'pop.'

    So yeah, if you've got the luxury of having more than one bass, I highly recommend bringing a spare. If you've got one bass only I recommend keeping an extra set of strings (or save a set of old stirngs, they'll work in a pinch) and some kind of multi-purpose tool (Leatherman, Swiss Army Knife, etc.) on hand for quick repairs.

    Oh, and a roll of gaff tape is absolutely essential.

    Hope that helps,
  10. drd07


    Jan 19, 2003
    Cool. I would like to use the 4 more just because I learned on a 5. I've always gigged with just one bass on me. I have had a couple moments of panick on stage when I would be in wrong tunings for particular song because one of the guitarists would accidentally skip a song on the set list and I wouldn't be as prepared. I think that I will bring 2 basses to my next gig and just break out the 5 for when I need it. My amp head has a tuner button that I can punch in that mutes the amp.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I bring two bass, not as a backup though they can certainly perform that function. I like variety and mixing it up is fun for me. If I switch it's usually between sets.
  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    To me it really depends on the gig. I've learned and read about some of the horror stories some have had since i joined up in June 2000 and now nearly 3 years later can say that it just varies on the gig it is. I take the different basses where i think i could need them. The DB & BG on most Jazz Gigs, on a Rock/Pep Band just the BG, on Show Choir-a BG w/lots of extra strings. i have taken a backup BG before but not usually. The percussion director and i between us have enough to fix nearly anything that could go wrong within reason. Thats all
  13. Definately! I tried doing the switching of basses for different songs, between my P-Bass and my Modulus Q6. It was cool, but I just got lazy. This next gig (Friday) I'm gonna play my P-bass and my new SX Fretless.
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I *always* bring two: one to play, the other as backup. I've been gigging for over 20 years and problems have only occurred a handful of times, but in each of those times I was extremely happy to have the backup.

    Here are the actual failures I've had:
    1) Nut broke, E string went flopping off the side of the neck.
    2) Jack became damaged so that nasty noises came from bass. This was one of those switched active jacks; not field repairable (not with my meager skill anyway).

    But even in those cases of simple string breakage: it's so much quicker (not to mention more professional) to swap basses than to pause the show while changing the string.
  15. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    I always bring two basses to a show (backup).
  16. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    Yup. Two for me, for backup purposes. One gig I took three...used the 8string on two songs, the 5 onthe rest, and had the 4 as a backup to the 5er. That was just a pain in the but. It's back to two for me. One for the VBass/standard tuning, one for detuned.
  17. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    I like to have a backup.

    I used to work as a soundman and we usually tried to have backups for anything that couldn't be easily patched around. Spare power supply for the mixing board was a must. Spare channels for the board were nice. Spare amps, speaker cabs, and sometimes spare drivers for the speaker cabs were all on the equipment list. Of course we brought about twice as many mic cables and speaker cables as we actually thought we would need.

    As a musician, I carry spare instrument cables, batteries, fuses, etc.

    So a spare instrument makes sense if you own more than one.

    Besides, I have played in a couple of bands where we did a couple of songs where I needed to tune my bass D A D G, and the rest of the songs were tuned E A D G. Not having a hipshot detuner, the backup was tuned to the alternate tuning and used for those songs.
  18. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i always bring 2, and when i get my essex i'll start bringing 3 for some gigs where i feel saucy.

    with my raven labs box, it takes me putting down bass 1, picking up bass 2, and pushing two buttons to have bass 1 muted and 2 ready to rock. so i use my fretless 6 whenever i feel like it.
  19. Yes, two. One fretted 5 and one fretless 5.

    I started out playing 4 string fretted, and had a couple of songs that sounded better on a fretless. Then I began to transition to 5 strings, but still played difficult stuff better on a 4 string. For a while I brought 3 basses to gigs and played a few songs that needed the B string on a 5er, then switched between the fretted & fretless 4s. That was unmanageable and confusing, and I wasn't always able to organize the setlist to minimize switching around.

    2 is not bad, with a Raven Labs Master Blender to switch, adjust levels and eq them and a double stand. In a pinch I can make do with either one, so I always have a spare ready to go.


  20. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Always two. My fretless is my main bass. And the fretted is the backup. This may change after I get the fretted 5er. I imagine the fretless will STILL be the main, just with a 5-string backup, in stead of a 4.

    And get a double gig bag. They are one of the coolest inventions ever. That way when you are getting ready for the gig, pull both basses out of the hardshells and put them in the bag. Npw you only have one bag to keep track of.

    Cool, huh?