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High end basses - a moral dilemma

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by project_c, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    Apologies for the long post. I've been talking to some friends (not musicians) about the implications of buying an expensive bass, and I'm curious what other bass players' opinions are on the subject.

    We're all familiar with GAS, and as someone who has only been playing bass for 2 years, it's still a relatively new concept for me. I have some decent enough basses, I absolutely love playing and studying, I've played a handful of gigs, and I'm getting to a stage where I feel like I know more or less exactly what I need from a bass, which has inevitably led to a bad case of GAS. The bass in question happens to be a Sadowsky Metro Hybrid PJ, which - whilst not 'insanely' expensive - still costs about 3 times what I've paid for any bass up until now. It's a lot of money.

    My friends (all of whom are into snowboarding) were talking about how a lot of snowboarders with brand new, expensive 'pro' gear tend to actually be the least skilled and least experienced riders, who just like to look the part - and because of this there is a bad stigma attached to owning expensive snowboard gear - unless of course you are sponsored and a veteran boarder, in which case you 'deserve' to ride and wear the best stuff.

    I'm wondering if the same kind of thing exists amongst bass players. Is it 'bad' for someone who's only been playing for a couple of years to own / play a Sadowsky? There are a lot of pros and excellent players amongst you here on TB, who truly 'deserve' to play these kind of instruments. Part of me feels that I should put some more years and effort in before I deserve the dream bass, but another part of me knows that having the perfect bass will make me play more, and probably make me sound better at the same time. Anyone have any thoughts about this?
  2. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    If you want it and can afford it without straining your budget, go for it! Even the expensive basses are cheap compared to so many other things in life. A dirt bike or jet ski would cost you more. How much do your friends spend on lodging, food, lift tickets every year?
  3. Gunnerhea86


    Jul 29, 2009
    All i can say is if you want a Sadowsky then get a Sadowsky. Snowboarding is a seasonal hobby and sometimes even a phase. Playing music will provide you w/ year round joy.
  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Play what you like / want / can afford... period.
  5. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    You'll find those sentiments anywhere. I'll get pissy at the 16 year old kids in a blink 182 cover band with a parent-financed Gibson Les Paul and full tubey Marshall stack. Why? Envy. I want nice stuff without the work.

    I had very nice gear for a while which I worked hard for and later had to sell it all. I've finally toiled and traded my way to an old SVT + 810 rig along with a few mid-high level basses again. I have no guitar rig anymore, despite being lead guitar player in one band. I use a Squier Strat Boss BD-2 pedal and a 10w Kustom bass amp. Sounds good enough. If I could afford better, you bet I would.
  6. Yerf Dog

    Yerf Dog

    Jun 29, 2009
    Carol Stream, IL
    Step 1. Don't care what other people think

    Step 2. ...well actually Step 1 covers it. :bassist:
  7. Aguilar/Dave B.

    Aguilar/Dave B. Aguilar Amplification Commercial User

    Nov 8, 2003
    New York City
    President: Aguilar Amplification
    What a great question! I think that if you can hear and feel the difference and can afford it, you should buy it and not worry at all about some weird reverse snobbery. Nobody "deserves" a good or bad instrument. You simply get what you can and what you want. If anything, we all deserve good instruments (and good amps!)

    On the other hand.....I went through a ton of instruments the first ten years I was playing. Every time I hit a plateau in my playing and got frustrated I blamed it on my bass. I traded in a lot of stuff trying to become a good player!
  8. Antares

    Antares Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2009
    Austin, TX

    If you want the Sadowsky and can afford it get it. Who is anyone to tell you what to do. If its the bass you really want, and it will make you pick up the instrument more often and give you more pleasure while playing, why deny yourself that because you dont think you deserve it.
  9. JDJen


    Mar 18, 2010
    There's nothing wrong with buying any piece of quality equipment at any playing level.

    The man makes the bass... The Bass doesn't make the man.
  10. TheHegemon


    Feb 20, 2009
    Amarillo, TX
    I don't think that same bias would happen with bass players in general. I think bass players tend to look at their equipment as investments that could last many many years with the right care.

    The way I look at it, when you first start many people buy cheaper guitars to learn on and as they feel more comfortable and decide they are a seeking a specific tone or feel they move up to whatever bass gives it to them. This could happen in a month, a year, 10 years. Basically, when you get the point where you want to find the right bass, go get it.

    Even if you don't have the chops for it now if you plan on sticking with it then you will.
  11. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan bleep bloop Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    step 1.
  12. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Buy the Sadowsky and tell your snowboarder friends it's a cheap Fender knockoff. It's not like they'll know the difference........:D
  13. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Maybe I'm confused by the original post but, to the best of my knowledge, Sadowsky doesn't make snowboards.

    OTOH, good basses + limited talent = my stock in trade. Go for it!

  14. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    Thanks for the input, everyone. Seems like you're all in favour of going down the 'nice new bass' route, which is good news for me (and not so good for my bank balance).

    Dave, I'm curious about whether, if you look back now, you ever think you should have stuck with certain basses and worked through technical issues with what you had, or if you feel like you benefited and improved from going through all that equipment?
  15. If it makes you feel too guilty, ship it to me!

    Hell, I'll even pay shipping!


    Apr 16, 2010
    Some people have art hanging on their walls.
    I have some "high end instruments" on wall pegs as art.
    I play the meat and potato bass, you know, the under $1000.00 stuff and I am fine with it. I still appreciate high
    quality stuff not matter what it is.
    Next up... Rickenbacker 330-12 fireglo.
    The drummer and I both want one and we don't play guitar 95% of the time.
    I remember one time I went to an open mic blues jam and brought a pretty nice bass. It was a dive and I offered the
    bass to anyone who wanted to play. A couple guys jumped right on it and the musician running the jam thanked me for letting some cats play a nice bass.
  17. Richard G

    Richard G

    Jun 16, 2009
    i say be modest get yourself the nicest squier bass or sx and own it!!....
  18. This
  19. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    So how much is the Sadowsky? You tip-toed around it in your first post.
  20. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!

    I started out in the late 70's/early 80's with a Peavey T-40. I was living at home, had a job at the mill where all overtime was double-time, and was making and saving good money. I bought a MusicMan Sabre but wasn't at all impressed. That turned me off from anything Leo Fender for life! I had seen The Who and "The Kids Are Alright" and just HAD to have a bass like Entwistle was playing. I must've gotten the name from a picture or liner notes from the album...an Alembic bass. I found a dealer across the state line that had an 8-string Exploiter and I bought it, trading the MM for it plus some cash. I was into Cheap Trick and Tom Petersson's sound at the time so it was the best of both worlds. I was so impressed with the quality, I traded in the T-40 for a 4-string Spoiler. This was when they were affordable, not like now. It wasn't until the internet that I found out Alembic was such a high-end company. So, am I a player deserving of what some consider a "high-end" bass? Probably not. I played out in the 80's, but shift work/marriage/a son retired me from music for quite some time. I held on to my 2 Alembics, and now I jam with friends occasionally. I'm glad I spent the money when I did. There would be no-way to justify spending that kind of money today on a hobby. If you can afford it now, buy it, take care of it, treasure it. Years (decades!) later, you'll be glad you did and it will be a link to what I hope was an enjoyable ride, musically!


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