How many basses does a pro need?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LadyLoveStingRay5, Jul 24, 2021.

  1. LadyLoveStingRay5


    Jul 17, 2004
    Lee Sklar only needs these 3. They all bring something different to the table.

    Nice history behind that parts PBass.
  2. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Inactive

    Jun 6, 2002
    Mike Lull Artist
    I took lessons from Chuck Rainey in the late 90’s and he told me that he had at least 150 basses at the time.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  3. As always, these types of questions require the stock answer of 'it depends". What type of music, what's the schedule (no time to switch or replace broken/out of tune strings...), is it strictly one sound called for, is it a unique instrument (like Bootsy's star bass), how much room is there in the van for multiple cases...? Jamerson seemed to do okay with just a '62 P bass. Then there are entertainers who have as many basses as they do pairs of sunglasses and use a different one for every tune. Which approach is right is not a one size fits all answer. Hope this helps. If not, this is TALKBASS a.k.a. the online enabler for those with bass dependencies, which means if you don't have as many basses as you possibly can you're not trying hard enough.
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  4. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    I'm a weekend warrior and I have 15 so more than 15.
  5. Professionals only need one.

    The rest of us hacks need one of each.
  6. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I feel a little more like a pro when I bring a backup axe to a job where thousands of dollars - and our reputations - are on the line.
    So: two.
    Three if you also need what's best for Metal.
  7. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    I sorta agree with Jamro217's post, which ultimately boils down to - As many as it takes to make a particular Pro happy. Which can (and does) vary from only one to... many more than I have. So, yeah; it depends...:whistle:
    Relayer71, ScotRFM and jamro217 like this.
  8. Hummergeist

    Hummergeist Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2020
    Tutorials, reviews, and interviews for Future Publishing.
    Two. One to play and one in reserve for mechanical failures.
  9. Roger W

    Roger W Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2019
    Baltimore USA
    If you listen, he owns at least 4: his original Jazz Bass, the Frankenstein, the signature Warwick, and the signature Dingwall.
    OnederTone, CPAC, Bob_Ross and 7 others like this.
  10. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Back when Anthony Jackson wrote a column for Bass Player, he talked about how he once used three basses for a while, a Jazz, a fretless Rickenbacker, and another bass, but eventually settled on using his Jazz only. He wrote his column in response to a Randy Jackson column where he listed several basses he used for sessions. I guess the answer depends on the bassist and why people hire her or him. Some folks fill in and are expected to get whatever sound they are told. Others are hired to because they have distinctive sound.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  11. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    I'm trying to keep it at no more than 5 but I could do three in reality, since a couple of mine really serve only as redundant backups of models that have been discontinued. I purchased them because they're becoming scarce to find.
    Miles_ONeal, TonyNick and Nuage420 like this.
  12. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    You need two. I have five. I keep one offsite at my day job just in case the house burns down. Probably will get a couple more this year for giggles, but they won’t be gigging instruments.
    RocknRollNeverForgets likes this.
  13. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    For the first thirty years, I had a plywood double bass from the sixties, and a fretless P from the Seventies. Both were paid for in cash which was repaid many times over from paying gigs.

    It wasn't until after my late wife passed away twenty-odd years ago that I started buying more basses and bass gear, which I justified through pain.

    A functional, reliable, rig and a bass that suits me are all I really ever needed. The rest was definitely more want than need.

    YMMV, IME, etc. :)
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
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  14. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    so true
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  15. C Stone

    C Stone

    Sep 4, 2020
    I have many, maybe too many, admittedly too many :D I toss wal-hangers in my shopping cart pretty often just to keep the strays that keep showing at my door off the floor.

    I've only ever taken three along whether playing locally, for studio work or on the road. Two P's and a Jazz has always been enough.
  16. Wicked G

    Wicked G

    Jan 19, 2017
    Hell Paso Texas
    How many basses does a Pro need? One.
    How many basses does a Pro have? That would be a more interesting question.
  17. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Studio players need several, so they can provide the producer with more than one option. Touring players need at least two, so one can be re-tuned while one is being played and if a string breaks they can be switched out. Double Bassist rarely have a second instrument as a backup.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
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  18. ebo

    ebo Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2012
    Bay Area, Ca
    I’m down to three. A four, a five, and a vintage Gibson I can’t part with that stays in the closet.
  19. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    How many basses does a pro need? All of them.
  20. TheDayMan


    Jun 7, 2015
    My guess is 1.
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