How much influence should bandmates have in your gear?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eggman, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Eggman


    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    I need your insights and opinions. For starters, I have a few basses - a Dingwall Super J, a Lakland Skyline JO4 and a EBMM Sterling. I played the Sterling last night at rehearsal for the first time. Nice tone, great playability. The drummer's comment was "I like it - but you didn't get rid of the Lakland did you?" The drummer also prefers the JO to the Dingwall. (Guitar players liked the Sterling, but are a bit more complacent.)

    I like all three - similar neck profiles - and feel. Tones are fairly different in my opinion.

    So the question is: How much should I weigh the band's input as to which bass I play? If they flat out said never play the __________(insert bass name here) again - do I get rid of it?

    I know there are TBers that play only one brand of bass - if your bandmates said the sound isn't cutting it - even if you dig it - do you go out and find something that makes them happy?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    PS: All the band seems to prefer my Lakland Skyline JO5 to my newly acquired Sadowsky Metro RV5.
  2. BigMikeW

    BigMikeW Banned

    May 25, 2005
    Nashville, TN.
    Banned by TB Administration for refusal to account for funds

    Just more proof that drummers and guitar players are idiots. LOL :bag:
  3. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    not at all. the music should influence what you play, not the other members.

    if my band members dont like my bass, because it looks wrong, i wont change it. if the sound doesnt fit in, THEN ill do something. i think my zon is mighty versatile, so i doubt id be changing a bass for the sound. maybe trying to dial something else in.
  4. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Assuming the band is composed of equals, I would listen to bandmates opinions, but I would not give them final word over my gear. Afterall, the bassist is the expert of bass, will the drummer let you pick his snare, cymbals, sticks, etc.?
  5. My band members aren't very gear saavy, so they haven't ever given me any suggestions, and generally get excited and think any new piece of gear I get is great. The frontman of the band has told me the kind of tone he wants to hear out of the bass, and it goes right in line with the tone I'm trying to achieve, so it works well. Our former drummer used to complain about my tone alot, said it was too aggressive, and needed to be smoother and lower, which is far from what I'm trying to achieve. So to be a smart ass I'd boost the bass all the way, cut all mids and highs, and it would just be a mud fest and I would overpower everything. After about 30 seconds, the frontman would stop whatever we were doing and say "ha ha (sarcastically) man change it back" and the problem would be solved. Basically I take any advice given regarding gear or sound, but ultimately I will have the final say. If a band member doesnt like any part of your rig but you are satisfied with it, they can plunk down the cash for what they want you to have. My band on the other hand asks me what they should get (even regarding what kind of guitars/amps).
  6. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    As you climb the ranks of musicians from garagers, to giging musicians to working pros and studio cats you will find that as the level of musicianship and professionalism increases, the likelyhood that anyone would try and tell you what instrument to play will decrease. It takes a lot of balls to presume to know what intrument an other musician should play. While they are giving those instructions, perhaps they have an idea about which pickup to use also.

    Perhaps it's time to expand your circle of musicians and find another situation. If it were, me I would suggest they spend a little more time practicing their own instrument and less time tell you which of yours to play. IMO...of coarse. Don't take any Sh*t.
  7. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    I agree with Dr Cheese to a certain degree, but you do need to be willing to listen to their point of view. Ask them specifically what they like better about one bass versus the others. They probably can't tell you very specifically, but if they say "bass XYZ is too boomy/muddy/etc" or "I like the way that bass ABC blends with the sounds of the guitar better" then you have something to go on.

    If I have a gripe about a sound that one of my guitarists is using, I air it in a constructive manner, same with the drummer if I don't like a particular fill or rhythm. In the end, it's all about what make the band, and the songs, sound the best as a whole.
  8. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    How smart, musical, articulate and knowlegeable are your bandmates?

    If your bandmates are inteligent individuals with a good musical sense, and they can articulate their concerns about gear well, then you should probably take their opinion into consideration. (you get the final say of course)

    I have never had someone tell me what instrument to play, but my bandmates do notice differences in tone and usually comment favorably when they notice a difference. Strangely enough, know as much or more about guitar stuff than my band, so I oftern end up making suggestions,(that are oftern followed) but I have never given ultimatums. It's just bad form to do so.
  9. bigtexashonk

    bigtexashonk Supporting Member

    Play what feels/sounds right to you unless the others are paying you for your services and buying all your equipment.
  10. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    i think some weight should be given to their opinions as long as they arent superficial.

    if someone in my band asked me not play a bass because of how it looks then i would just ignore it and keep playing the bass.

    if their opinions are concerning the sound then yes, i would think their opinions are valuable. to some degree the drums and the bass have to mesh well sonically.

    if my drummer says "Hey, i can actually hear what you are playing with that bass better." which may allow him to lock in better. then i would definitely give that some weight.
  11. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    well, we're part of the team, all trying to make a good sounding band and I wouldn't persist in using something that was totally inappropriate... like a fretless bass with chorus when we're playing punk rock etc

    they've let me do exactly what I want so far without complaint... which involves a huge dirty nasty raspy throaty deep very loud bass sound... and they help me carry my very heavy gear around too... so I'd have no problems listening to their input.. but luckily they love my sound and what I do, so it's all happy

    it's how you discuss it too.... I'd probably not respond well to "play your Precision instead of your Jazz", but if my bandmate (and friend) says "your precision would sound fantastic on tune x", i'd consider it
  12. They shouldn't have any influence whatsoever...they can give their OPINION, and by all means take it into account - but if you think a particular bass fits a song then it FITS THE SONG! Do you tell the guitarist what guitar to play? the singer what microphone to use? - its the same thing...although do pay some attention to their point of view

    I know exactly what you mean, I've got a '62 RI Jazz bass and my band doesn't dig it...the keyboardist says "It's too tinny, sounds more like a guitar or banjo" and the other says "it sounds good, just don't know if it sounds wierd" - now I respect that and usually play my other basses when in the band, but I DO use it sometimes and no one says anything...
  13. alanbass1


    Feb 8, 2006
    I always listen to comments from band members over sound as by being further away from my amp they can hear better how I'm cutting through/sitting in a mix. However, that doesn't mean I will necessarily change anything, just take the comments on board. If a soundman commented on my sound I would definately take heed as, at the end of the day, they will make or break it out front. Sometimes it's because they don't quite 'get' what I want from the sound (maybe looking for an easy night) so I try to explain what I'm looking for. Most will be positive and try and work with me to recreate this.

    As with other responses, if there are comments from other band members it is always good to understand where they are coming from, as there are generally reasons for why they said anything in the first place. Doesn't mean you need to change anything as maybe they don't understand what you are trying to achieve with your sound.
  14. You know what Sound you like and think is best for the band. If they want you for you and your playing, the bass you play should be of little concern to them. If not, perhaps they should get a different bass player.
  15. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA

    +1 - let the music lead you.
  16. Eggman


    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    Thanks for all the input. To be fair - all my bandmates are that - fair. They have never said don't play a particular bass - just that they may have preferred the sound of one over the other. I am always trying to dial in the tone I like, tone that is appropriate for our music and I am always trying to lock in with the drummer.

    Believe it or not - we do have input as to which snare the drummer uses - as we have the same sort of opinions - the piccolo snare sound better here or the larger maple one sounds better there. Also - sticks vs rods vs brushes. Group input, communication and mutual respect are all present. Ultimately, though, the drummer makes the final call. Which as I take it from all these great responses is what I should do too!

  17. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    How many drum sets do you get to pick from? Do they have a Guitar collection they audition for you? If you just had the Dingwall would they throw you out?
    I'd just shine them on.
    I had a guy tell me he liked my Mexican Stat over my PRS.:spit: is all I have to say to that.
  18. vision

    vision It's all about the groove!

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I've never played with any guitar players/drummers that could tell the difference in sound between 2 nice jazz basses like those. Much more of the difference is going to come from your fingers and the way you're playing...
  19. Eggman


    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    Well - in this case our drummer is an accomplished guitar player. Maybe his ear is better than most.
  20. tthor


    May 11, 2005
    Lynchburg, VA
    I would respect their opinions as bandmates............ but if you are satisfied that your gear is doing a good job and you enjoy what it's bringing, then they need to respect you for those reasons.