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Giving up on a brand?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AlexanderB, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    TB has all kinds of players and some invest a lot of research, money and feelings (word?) in creating the rig that reflects their personality and makes them feel good.
    The other extreme could be both the less discriminating player or the person that consider all gear to be "just a tool" that could be replaced in an instant.

    I do not have alot of (but def. some!) feelings invested in my gear, but I try to see "the whole picture" when buying gear; how do they advertise, design their products, who is endorsed, etc. If it seems "right", it is easier to accept minor flaws.
    Now one of my "preferred suppliers" :p has deviated (technically, designwise, commercially etc) so far from my view that I feel a bit uncomfortable with it. Since some of that positive feeling is gone, I nowadays have less patience with the quirks I have accepted for quite some time before.

    A source for GAS as good as anyone, I guess...
  2. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2013
    North Cackalacky
    My notion of brand loyalty evaporated after a few abysmal purchases many years ago as a teenager from what had been "trusted" names. Now I look at new product introductions from any manufacturer as a potential clean slate - for better or worse.

    Like you, I cherry pick what I like if it suits me, regardless of label.
  3. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    I regard endorsement deals as me paying for someone else's gear. If I don't like a company's endorsers enough to buy them their gear, then I will regard the gear of said company to be overpriced. Anything a company puts into trying to sell me gear that is not making gear I want is a failure on their part. Hence I only ever use custom or S/H gear, and parts with minimal path to me from suppliers.
  4. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    There is definitely many "disturbing" stories about player A promoting brand B but always using brand C at recordings or unofficial events. Then brand D shows up and suddenly B is ditched... Or Yamaha, that makes a signature Nathan East bass with 35" scale, while Nathans real bass is 36" scale...
  5. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I have gone through a ton of stuff, looking for gear that works for me with a pretty open mind, and have ultimately found gear that suits my needs well and delivers a sound that I can easily make fit to my various playing situations ... but .... I also don't personally invest in that gear to the extent that I build any "feelings' towards any of it. And, I always try to keep an open mind/ear for gear that might even work better.

    Not to open a jar of flame bait in the OP's thread, but as a member here on TB for some time now, I do feel there is a segment of TB members (as well as in the larger playing world) that do seem to have developed personal attachments to certain brands and their POV's and responses can be predicted pretty easily based on those attachments.

    I am definitely of the POV that gear is just a tool to enable expression and whatever works best to get you there is the right stuff.

    Now, that being said, over my many years of playing I have also had the opportunity to meet some of the folks who make or represent certain brands that I have had success with. So, in those cases, I do start to include those relationships in my view/thoughts about the specific physical gear.

    I do get kind of attached to my basses however, but I think thats more common as your instrument seems like more of a direct extension of you and your playing. At leas to me IMO/IME.
  6. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Basically, it's just a bass. It goes Boom Boom, and if it's not playing, something is missing in the song. I know there is a ton of gear out there i could live with happily.
    With the internet and the global market, it's just impossible to narrow your choice of gear by what is available. That was how i bought gear when i was young. When i needed a cab i looked around in the few shops that had bass cabs and had a look at what was for sale second hand - and found myself with less than half a dozen cabs within my budget.

    So there are brands where i have good feeling in my gut and those i dislike, and sometimes out of reasons that are not rational.
  7. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    The branding issue is indeed complicated, but what someone else plays has very little bearing on my tastes.
    I may like the tone, look, or feel, but I don't buy gear solely because a particular person uses it.

    Nor do I expect my gear use to influence the choices of others, and it doesn't constitute endorsement of the company in any way.

    For example, I'm not going to dump my gear because a company decides to no longer follow practices I'd consider appropriate.
    I may never buy their gear again, but again, what I use does not imply endorsement of their ethics, practices, or philosophies, nor do I expect others gear choices imply the same of them.

    It's just gear, when it comes down to it.
    Some I prefer more than others for may reasons, some less.
  8. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    When I see phrases on here about "Creating" or "building" a "rig" my eyes just kind of glaze over. I never liked the term "rig" in the concept of bass gear, and I can't help but think there are more than a few on this site that would be monsters if they spent half as much time listening to and playing music instead of buying and selling gear. Not trying to imply the OP or anyone in particular has this problem, but It comes across that way at times.

    If you haven't guessed, I'm in the gear is just a tool camp.
  9. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Great replies!

    The inevitable TB Car Analogy: I guess some loyal (hardcore?) Jaguar or Mini enthusiasts found it hard to stick to "their" brand when those were bought by Ford and BMW, respectively.
  10. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Jaco who?, no offence taken. (My wording might be wrong as English is not my first language.) I still have the bass amp I bought in 1997... Added a second amp a few years back, though.
  11. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Oh great analogy.

    I had a discussion a few months back with a coworker, speaking of "life cycles" of companies.

    Most companies have a life cycle, like most any organization will, that sorta resembles an arch.

    In the beginning, they are small, but have a good idea and are innovative, creative, quick, unique, and pretty small.

    Over time they establish themselves, carved out their niche, and fine tune their product and distribution lines while building their customer base.

    Over time their market will reach saturation, and things will level off. During this time is cost cutting and trying to increase margins with efficiency as opposed to innovation.

    At the end of the arch, newer and fresher ideas from competition take toll, the company is too big and too slow to compete, uses it's capital and position in the market to either buy out and absorb competition or leverages it's brand recognition to be bought out by a larger competitor hopefully at a tidy profit.

    And then the cycle repeats.

    Liking "Brand X" because they are innovators, for example, and bring something new to the market is great. But it's rarely the same brand for very long.

    However, liking "Brand Y" because they are established and predictable, well you may get lucky at be able to stick with such a brand for a long time.

    Pay attention to the arch of a company's "life cycle", it's a good way to sorta avoid disappointment if you happen to get attached to a certain brand.
  12. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    I don't target a brand to get that I have to get--I'll try other brands.
    But I think the only brand I avoid is First Act, but as I never bought one, I can't say I gave up on them.

    Between bass & guitar the brand I have the most of is Ibanez.
  13. JLY

    JLY Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I have given up on Fenders....I have owned 15+ over the years and played countless others but other than a few pre-cbs P's I have played-they have always been so-so
    And after owning a Lull, Sadowsky and Lakland I have given up on Fender. But maybe ghTs just me but I suspect others may agree with me
  14. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    ha, "others may" but I don't agree at all. :cool:

    I have played all kinds of run of the mill basses as well as boutique brands over the past 40 years of playing. In the past decade I have settled on a Lull M4V AND a Am Fender Deluxe Jazz 4 string (with the occasional use of my Rick Turner fretless). I love them both for different reasons. The Lull is spectacularly well made, feels great to play and sounds wonderful, but there are things that it just won't do as well as my humble Fender. Lots of other bass players I know locally really have a thing for this simple but effective Jazz.

    in any event, these kinds of outlooks are very personal, so I always just say .. play what you like.
  15. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I switched from guitar to bass in 1969. I've gigged with Fender, Carvin, an SVT, Acoustic 370, complicated biamped rigs, and years with GK. I never bonded with GK, but the amp was powerful enough, light enough to be easy to move, (1001RB) but never bonded with the character. A Sansamp helped, but I just am not a GK player.

    The SVT years were great, and my biamped rig was great fun...lots of work, and complex but fun.

    After the Gk died, I bought a PF-500. I was an SLM (Ampeg) tech for years, and when Loud took over, they were just awful. The absolute worst company as a tech I've ever "worked" with. I did authorized repairs for Fender, SLM, Yamaha, Roland, Korg (Marshall), Line 6, Behringer and many other companies. Loud Technologies was so difficult (It would often take days to weeks to even get anyone to answer the phone) I swore I'd never buy anything from them...ever!

    But I needed an amp, and I've heard Loud's customer support had improved since their early takeover of SLM, so I gave the PF-500 a try. I am thrilled with it, even though the first one died the second time I turned it on. No problems with the replacement, which Musicians Friend got to me in less than 24 hours!

    The only amp at this time I'd be interested in at this point would be a PF-800.

    I guess I'm an Ampeg guy. I can honestly say, I like the PF-500 more than my old early 70's SVT...mostly due to the weight difference, but I do love the features on the PF-500.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I buy what I like and it's based upon what I like only unless it's something I can't try out for myself. However, endorsers sell gear, so I totally get why most companies go after them.

    Um, what is the question again? ;)
  17. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Play guitar.
    The only brand I am loyal to is Fender, and only with their Jazz basses. Fell in love with them in the early'80's and after trying other brands, have settled with a plain MIA, 4 string Jazz. Nothing sounds the same, nothing feels the same, nothing is as comfortable for me to play. Other than that, cabs and amps have come and gone, and after 40+ years of bass playing, there are a couple of brands that I know I don't like, and avoid them.
  18. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Great discussion!
    For me, seeing certain players being endorsed by a company will definitely reduce my interest in that brand.
    I have a similar problem seing a brand or product line being consistently promoted with for instance a "hard rock" attitude and then you realize that the only time (ever) you see this product is in the jazz/fusion scene or similar.
  19. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    While it's hard to be wrong with a Fender P plugged into an Ampeg SVT with matching 8x10cab, i never met the unfortunate situation where a band would not hire me because i lack this gear.
    I do play aguilar gear because i like the looks, the feel and the sound - and the company.
    I've had a lot of email contact with them prior to buying my gear and i was being a pain in the lower backside with all my questions but they answered them all to my full satisfaction, so when i had to decide between the aguilar agro and the darkglass without the possibility to test them, i went with the brand i knew and liked.

    And i have no idea who's endorsing for them - i don't care either since endorsing usually means that these artists get paid for telling everyone that they are using this gear and must not be caught with their pants down, playing something else (which they often do).

    I don't play Ashdown equipment for non rational reasons as well - i only had two experiences with their equipment and in both cases, i did not like it one bit. Did i play bad amps and there are some Ashdowns that sound great? Maybe. Do I care? No. Is that unfair? I guess so.
  20. TheRealKong


    Mar 17, 2011
    When I started playing bass in 1975 we only had a chance to get bass guitars and amps from two little shops: a old-established mom and pop-shop and a young man, opening a brand new one.

    The old-established had some Hoefner-stuff, a single Gibson Grabber and crappy amps lika the F.A.L. Kestrel I got from there. My parents decidet to buy there, because they knew the shop for years. For accordeons, brass and flutes. Not that good decision.

    The other shop had Fender-basses and a small, but a varriety of cabs and amps, and lots of guitar stuff. The owner just was some years older than I was, and he played bass, and liked to talk music. So guess where I hung around.

    I found my first "good" bass there, a Kasuga Jazzbass, one of the early Fender-pre-lawsuit copys of a Jazzbass, and my all time favourite Fender Precision in this shop, my beloved 1964 Precision. But before of that I found me a 215'' cab, built by a fellow woodworker of the owner, becaus US-stuff was hard to get and expensive. German stuff was expensive, too. Then I bought my first "good" amp, one of the first Cina made amps I ever saw, a clone of the Acoustic 200h. Yes, this happened in 1980.

    Because the owner of this shop is a bass player by himself, he has usefull gear for bassmen, and he always is looking for good gear for good prices for good customers. He continued copying good bass cabs until the mid of the 80's, so as a Musicman 212'' and a brilliant idea: He took all measures from an Ampeg 810'' flatback and rebuilted it - cut in half, a sealed 410'' I use until today. All of my favourite basses are from him, so is my Stingray 5, my Haeussel Jazz 5 headles, my Warwick Streamer Stage I, my Ibanez K5 , just to name some of them.

    Today I come into his shop and listen to his advice, so I found a fine FGN Precision, or I ask him to get this or that peace of gear, he orders it an I pay the same price as I would pay when buying from a big internet shop. Cash. So he has his fee, and I have someone I can go to when there is a problem. He is my service station.

    So I learned in my early days, that different brands would fit my needs. I own different amps for different needs like Markbass LM II, Ampeg SVP Pro + Poweramp, GenzBenz GBE 1200, Peavey TMax, Ibanez Promethean 5110, and I had a GallienKrueger MB 200, a SWR Redhead was 16 years my main amp, and a Marshall MB 4410 tried to fill the gap he left.

    For cabs I still own that sealed 410'' for oldschool sounds, a stack of Peavey TVX 410'', a SWR Workingman 212'' and two Tecamp L 810'' cabs for two bigger bands I am with for now 3 and 2 years. I have the right gear for every size of venue I play with three different bands.

    And now I have to open a can of something:

    I don't mind if bassplayers have an endorsement. I often noticed, that those cats tend to sound like they did before after changing endorsements. Lots of bass players have "theyr" sound, no matter, what amp they play. Just like me. I have 5 different amps from different brands, and I do sound like I do. This has nothing to do with my amp/cab decision.

    So I am not into branding, I am into a particulas shop that gives me all I need. This is much better than neeing into a single brand.