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High end gear - Have you chosen not to?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ccyork, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. ccyork


    Jan 26, 2004
    How many out there own or can afford boutique gear, but have chosen for one reason or another to use a less glamorous rig?

    What are you using and why have you made this choice?

  2. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I use a kid of glamorous setup (but not extreme). I got it all on ebay for about 1/2-1/3 new. If you watch the prices, sometimes you can find great deals. For example, my Mesa Powerhouse 2x10 was listed for $250 buy-it-now. I could have bought some GK Backline for that money. My avatar 2x10 cost more!
  3. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I have tried quite a few botique amps and cabs and have found that so far I prefer regular "pro level" gear such as Ampeg, SWR, Eden, Aguilar (speakers).

    I'm not ruling out high end gear in my future, I just have not found the pieces that do it for me. It seems to me that most people go high end not because they get dramatically better sounds than they would from good regular gear, but because they are going for a smaller/lighter rig that still sounds good.
  4. I could buy "more expensive" stuff if I wanted, but I don't feel the need.

    I'm using a Fender Jazz (Geddy) through a GK1001 RB-II with an Avatar 210. Not junk, but definitely not "boutique." It sounds good, plays, good, and is a great value. I can guarantee some guys say the opposite though.

    People can argue endlessly over what gear is best and why. To each his own. I'm more interested in playing the bass and making the most of the gear I have instead of constantly searching for some new magic in gear.

    I think too much emphasis is placed on gear. I think the vast, vast majority of the audience is not paying any attention to what gear the bass player has. An incredible amount of really good music has been made using gear that many people today would consider to be "beneath" them.

    So, to me it is about diminishing returns. Is the slight "step up" you get from really expensive gear worth the cost? Not for me, but if I suddenly get really rich then the picture changes, since each $ becomes less valuable then!

    Also, I don't like the idea of gigging with basses that look like they should be hanging on a wall, as long as I don't have a crew handling my gear.
  5. nysurf2772


    Jun 20, 2005
    I play a cheap rig because 1) most of my tone is coming from my bass and sansamp pedal 2) I share a practice studio with lots of people who may or may not "borrow" my rig 3) I sometimes lend my gear out to friends for gigs and 4) I've got to carry this stuff through the streets of NYC, and things get seriously bumped, dropped, and rained on
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I'm so with you there! I play some high end stuff... because I've chosen to. I am amazed at how much High End stuff gets flipped. Sure some of it is cats with plenty of cash "testing out" lots of cool stuff by purchasing then flipping. A lot of it though IMO is cats trying to find that "ideal tone". Gear doesn't give you that... it's your hands and mind.

    I know I can sound like me on a $300 import or a $3000 boutique :bassist:
  7. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    With basses, I'm an admitted high-end "for fun" flipper. Its just plain fun trying all the different things I've been drooling over since I was a kid. Then when I get bored with something I can try something else for the cost of shipping, with the way things work around here. That has been very very fun for about the last year.

    But I can rock the house just as well (or better in many cases) on a P, a J, or a Ray.

    With amps, I am quite picky, and have made some mistakes by buying high end gear that I was then unable to resell easily. And it really didn't sound any better than what I had before. For amps, the best way to buy is to do a some research about what amps will meet your output and EQ requirements, then walk into a shop with your bass and try them out to see which one sounds right. All the better if the shop will let you drag one to a rehersal.
  8. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    For me the line between boutique and "factory" has blurred considerably. Not such a great difference in components or even design in most cases. Only a few designs or companies are straying from variations on a long-established norm (can't blame 'em: they have to meet customer's expectations). So with boutique having limited meaning, that leaves cheaper, and more expensive. I'm opting instead to design and build my next cab myself.
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I guess my Bergantino HT series cabs qualify as high-end. I like 'em a lot. Then again, I've played at open mics and such where the bass rig was low to medium range and I got great tone. So I very much agree that high end gear is not necessary by any means.

    My Berg cabs are flatter than most. The possible downside of lower priced cabs is that they are more colored. But I said possible downside. If you like the Ampeg tone, SWR tone, Eden tone, etc... then it makes perfect sense to buy Ampeg (or whatever) even if you have the money for boutique stuff!

    The only thing you don't want is an amp rig that sounds bad, regardless of how much it costs. As long as the rig sounds OK, then your playing will determine how good you sound.

    Reliability is another important factor but that's harder to quantify. Lower-priced gear isn't necessarily less reliable.
  10. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I use peavey 4X10 cabs though I could afford more expensive ones. They just sound great to my ears.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Excellent post from top to bottom, Cristo.

    Heh. :p Don't mean to travel off-topic, but I've mostly decided the same. I've liked the flamey/quilty/spalty instruments I've owned, but they were so pretty I felt they should remain in pristine condition. So, I've traded or sold the exotics for painted Fender clones. Ain't a big deal to me if a painted bass gets whacked into a mic or cymbal stand... not that I try to, but stuff happens on the cramped stages I usually play.
  12. alanbass1


    Feb 8, 2006
    I keep with Eden as it has a sound I like and suits my needs with the least amount of compromise, although I still hanker for the punchy mid range of a good powerful valve amp. I often look at the esoteric stuff, most recently the Sadowsky valve amp, but they tend to have something that's not 'perfect' for my needs (power in the case of the Sadowsky). However, if a high end product comes out that has that sound, with the high power and manageable weight, I would probably be tempted.
  13. ccyork


    Jan 26, 2004
    What guys? The audience...or other musicians? YOU must be happy with your gear, though! :smug:
  14. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I completely agree. I've already identified the mid-priced gear that will do everything for me that I need. I simply have no need to pay 2-3 times as much for gear that will offer only marginally better returns...

    There is so much really good gear out there that doesn't have a crazy price tag. Why pay more?

  15. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I have had "boutique" gear in the past. I used to "flip" gear often. I would sell a bass before I needed to change strings. I was experimenting. It was fun.

    I have found that for my use and needs, I get a great sound with my Yamaha basses. Both under $400 and play, sound and look great - IMO.

    My cab is a Bergantino HT112 - borderline boutique. I am transitioning right now from a Focus SA - boutique I guess - and BDDI to a head. It will either be an Eden or Euphonic Audio - borderline boutique.

    Whatever it takes for you to be comfortable and get a sound you like is what you should use. If I was a touring/recording pro would I have a different rig? Probably, but you can find some nice sounds in some inexpensive gear.
  16. I play a very cheap rig (Hartke 3000 and their 1508 cab) but at my experience level this gear is just fine. Somewhere down the road I'll probably upgrade. Im back playing bass after a 27year layoff and gear has really changed, mainly more choices and cost.
  17. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    If Fender, or Reverend basses, Thunderfunk and Schroeder qualify as boutique, then that's me.
    I've tried lots of stuff, and that's just what works for me best, live or studio.
    It's been said here, but it's worth repeating: a very large portion of sounding good comes from your technique.
  18. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc

    Semi-boutique? Hahahahah! Seems like de boutique is all in the nose of the besmeller : }

    They're all just brands from comapanies with a certain level of mass-production ideal and it's not like each cab or amp is a one-of-a-kind. I have to think the companies have really played the boutique marketing angle for all its worth and then some ; }
  19. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I'm with Cristo and MysticMichael on this. I have non-boutique "pro-level" gear from G-K and SWR, and I'm very happy with the results on the gigs I play. (When I bought the SWR cab after nine years away from playing, I thought it was high end, but I've learned otherwise around here! ;) ) I might prefer some boutique stuff, but mainly to get smaller and lighter, as someone else mentioned. I'd also like to have a vintage tube head/15" cab rig for fun, but limited space precludes it.
  20. BSR6P-Bob


    Apr 5, 2005
    Personally, I shop amplification with my ears and let the chips fall where they may regarding brand.

    That said, there is lots of bang for the buck on the used market if the sound you like is out of range for your budget.

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