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Have you ever needed your back up?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 10cc, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    I have a few basses but only one number one my P. I've always wanted to buy another bass as a equal to my P and bring both to the shows in case one went down. I know it's always better to have it and not need it.

    Now twenty years later I have never had to rely on a backup to get me through the night. I've seen guitars many times go down but never a bass (besides strings). I know a lot of fellows that have toured the world since the eighties that still own only one bass and that's how they still roll. They all never ran into a problem.

    I know it would really come in handy if for some forsaken reason your bass was stolen while out on the road or even at a local show on a sat. night. But WHO has some first hand accounts of "Thank god for the back up" moments.
  2. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    With over 2500 gigs the last 28 years I could have used a backup twice. Now I typically use 2 basses since some songs are tuned down a half step.
  3. Yep. Only three times that I can remember over a 35-year performing career. But each time, I was extremely glad I had the back up sitting there and I was able to switch basses in a matter of a few seconds. Any other solution would have killed the show dead in its tracks, which has always been totally unacceptable in my performing environments.

    And at least once the malfunction would have required dissembling the bass, having a spare output jack (who carries one of those?), and using a soldering iron to fix it. Again, even if I had the part, the time factor was unacceptable.

    The three times I needed a back up and had it within arm's reach is absolutely worth the small price of hauling a backup thousands of times and not needing it.
  4. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Yes. My main bass has been out of commission a couple of times, requiring me to practice/gig with a backup (once due to a problem with the active electronics, once for refinishing). I've also had a couple issues at gigs that made me glad I had a backup, even though they worked themselves out. Specifically, I once broke a string on the last note of the night -- which could have just as easily happened early in the set -- and I once had jack/connection issues flare up mid-set but luckily calmed down enough that I didn't have to stop.

    Edit: Might also be worth mentioning that there were several other gigs where a second bass was handy because our band played a song in a different tuning that worked much better on different string gauges.
  5. kellyrojo


    Feb 16, 2011
    South Carolina
    16 years of gigging, never brought a backup, never needed one. Guess I am lucky?
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I had a pinched nerve in my left shoulder last year, so I had to use a backup bass for the 3rd set at a several gigs due to it being half the weight of my main jazz bass.

    It's a dano longhorn that doesn't sound nearly as good, but it let me finish the gigs.

    For 1 hour gigs I usually don't bring a backup bass. For longer gigs I'll usually bring either a fretless if there's any songs it's appropriate for on the set list, or the dano. I've never had a bass fail during a gig, though.
  7. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I've only needed my backup once a couple of years ago. And it wasn't for me. The bassist from the band following us had a dead battery and asked to use my bass. There was no way I was going to let him play my Bongo so I let him use my backup which was a Schecter Omen 4 at the time.
  8. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I've never needed my backup bass - over 40 years. I do things like fix scratchy pots and jacks and tighten loose strap buttons before they have a chance to fail at a gig.

    I have, however, needed a backup amp, a backup instrument cable and also a backup speaker cable several times over that same period. My backup amp these days is just a DI box.

    Of course, the first gig I don't bring a backup bass will be the first gig I'll need one!
  9. You don't always get a warning. Trust me.
  10. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    Five decades never had a failure, string blowouts rarely. Starting carrying one after I joined TB
  11. Twice I needed backup and didn't have it.

    Bridge snapped in half once. Nothing could be done.

    Bass fell to floor another time. Was able to taxi to BL's studio and grab his bass and back to venue nick-of-time.

    Neither problem could be predicted/prevented. $hit Happens!
  12. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
    Only once for me in about 15 years of gigging/shows. Busted a string and neededto pull my backup. Had one tuned up and ready to go at every show.

    At one show, the bass player in the band that played before us busted an E string and had no back up, so he had to go up to the mic and say "can someone lend me a bass?" He's lucky I'm a nice guy.
  13. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Of course. However, not everyone is smart like you and me. I've seen several gui****s have jacks go scratchy and unusable during gigs who knew about the issue beforehand and said "I guess I should have taken care of that."
  14. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Nope, not a single time. I've been playing for about 16 years, and gigging for about 13 of those. I don't know how many actual gigs over that time span, but never once had a thought of needing my backup at all.
  15. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I hope my luck still holds up after saying this, but in 44 years I haven't even broken a string. For 30 of those years I only owned 1 instrument.

    I have 3 basses now but I only take 1 to gigs.
  16. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I thankfully haven't had a bass fail or string break during a gig, but because I've broken strings during practice and seen others do the same on stage, I bring a backup/alternate to all but the most casual gigs.

    When tuning up before one gig, however, I couldn't get a drop tuner to work reliably on the bass I intended to play, so I ended up using a Precision that was supposed to be the backup/alternate for the night. That band had tracks in D and E flat, so I needed the drop tuner, which I suspect didn't get along with the trapeze tailpiece on a semi-hollow DiPinto. Not really a failure, but I sure was happy to have brought an alternate.
  17. Even if you are smart enough to maintain your gear, sudden unpredictable things can still go wrong.

    In my case, I can not remember a time when I had the luxury of holding up the show while I repaired or tracked down another bass. That would have been extremely detrimental to the continuity of the performance, and unacceptable to my band mates and audiences.
  18. Bassmunnky


    Jul 3, 2004
    New York and Philadelphia
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball MusicMan Guitars
    30 years: once I broke a string.
  19. The Thinker

    The Thinker Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I had an input jack go bad on a gig where I was a sub. That was the only time I've every actually needed my backup. However, for the last couple years I've needed 2 basses on gigs due to dropped tunings.
  20. Best reasons to bring two basses (1) alternate tunings, (2) back up.