How often do you find a keeper?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by birdsg, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. birdsg


    Dec 18, 2003
    Birmingham England

    Since I have restarted playing 12 months ago I have owned:

    Kramer Focus
    Warwick Fortess
    3 fender jazzes
    2 stingrays

    I keep buying and then selling again as each bass doesnt quite do it for me as I thought it would. Out of all these basses there is one which I am pretty sure I wont sell and thats the stingray. All of the others have been traded or sold in my quest for the perfect bass. I must admit the 2nd stingray came close to being a keeper but at the time I couldnt justify having 2.

    How many of your basses are / have been keepers?

  2. Judging by all the high-dollar basses up for grabs in the for sale forum, I'd say not many people do find a keeper.

    It's funny. I could NEVER see spending that much money on a boutique bass unless I friggin KNEW it was spot-on. Yet I see it here every day.

    Either that, or they spend waaaaaay above their means.
  3. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    I've been thru about 15 or 16 in the past year myself, since deciding to play bass exclusively after being on and off with it for years. I went from Wishbass to F Bass, and you can see my keepers in my sig. (Should my sig ever change, that's FBass, Fodera, and Modulus).

    Many of the parade of basses were "high end" as in over $1500, but most were sub-2K - the only ones over 2K thus far have been a Warwick Dolphin Pro I and my Fodera and FBass. Oh yeah, and like Rominee said, I have definitely had to spend above my means.

    For me it's like a slot machine, each reel being a different "bass need", and I've been flipping thru until they "lock in" naturally. And sometimes once they've locked in, another bass will bump them down the road. The Fodera was first, taking the fretted-4 slot the moment I touched it and started trying to figure out how to pay for it. The Modulus Q6 actually hopped in to steal the fretted-5 slot from a Zon - the extra string is just a bonus =0). And I firmly believe now that the FBass covers fretless heaven for me, so much that I'm selling my previous fave fretless, my beloved Buzzard. All that's left now is maybe a tapping instrument, and maybe a vintage-style 4 to thump with flats, but neither are *necessary* unless I start getting some apropos gigs or writing tunes specifically targeted for them. ;)

    GAS is the wicked wicked enemy, but I will try to be strong.

    Heh, and to think a year ago all I had was my lonely little Wishy.
  4. I've owned 34 basses over the years, and only three turned out to be keepers. Of course, circumstances have dictated a lot of that -- I sold three basses to put a down payment on my wife's engagement ring, five or six more when we were getting money together to buy our first house, etc. etc. But, I'm quite happy with the three basses I have now and don't really see adding any more. (Yeah, riiiiiiiiiight.. :eyebrow: )
  5. IMO, if a bass gets a particularly useful tone that's not already in my tool pallette, is easily playable and doesn't break the bank, it's a keeper. It's a tool, not a fine piece of furniture you're afraid to play because it'll ruin your Endust job.

    (I'm just being a little flip here folks, tongue in cheek)

    But it's only because I couldn't justify spending that much coin. Others do, and often to diminishing returns.

    15 to 16 basses in 1 year? Ouch man. Go take some bean-o. :D
  6. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    To me there is no "perfect bass". I still have every bass I have ever purchased. Each one has different tones and feel.
    I love playing them all.
    These are the basses I have aquired since I started playing back in the mid 80's.

    Squire Bullet Bass
    Kubicki Ex-Factor
    Conklin GT-7
    Jerzy Drozd Excellency 4
    Fender Geddy Lee Signature
    Fender Steve Harris P-Bass Signature
    Fender P-Bass Lyte
    BC Rich Warlock NJ Series (don't ask, I traded a bike for it).

    All bought new except for the BC Rich and the Fender P-Bass Lyte.
  7. I played the same old, crummy Ibanez for 3 years till I found myself a keeper. I relly don't have the cash to go from bass to bass, although I wish I did. I finally, after playing about a trillion basses, settled on a G&L ASAT. Sweet, versatile tone, with a bit of a retro sexyness to it. Plays great, and its got the bite I was looking for.

  8. birdsg


    Dec 18, 2003
    Birmingham England
    I think I need to write 100 lines of this :)
  9. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Funny that the thread starter's perfect bass is a MusicMan, because it's the same for me. My Bongo HH 4 string is by far the most pleasing bass for me to listen to, and it plays like buttah.

    I have 3 other basses, 1 is a cheapo acoustic that I bought for around the campfire and times when I need to play but can't be loud. The 2nd is a Korean Spector bolt-on 5 string that I bought because I needed the B string for a band I joined. The 3rd is a beautiful Korean Schecter Stiletto Studio 4 string that was my 2nd bass ever.

    While these other 3 basses all have their uses, none are as much fun to play and great to listen to as my Bongo.


  10. birdsg


    Dec 18, 2003
    Birmingham England
    Perfect bass to date ;)

    Too be fair I havent played anything more expensive than a Musicman and I guess I hadnt better!!

  11. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I've been playing for 3 years and I'm on #4.

    MIM P-bass

    The P-bass is the first bass that I feel is really "me." Simple, reliable, and nothing gets those vintage tones I love quite like a P with flats. As soon as I get the cash I'm gonna put new pu's and a bridge on it and fall in love with it all over again. :)

    I'm never gonna sell it. I swear. :rolleyes:
  12. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Finding a keeper is a state of mind issue. Most of us are not famous, we are not in demand for a certain sound, therefore, we are free to switch up and play different basses when the mood hits us. I believe that any decent, comfortable, and good sounding bass can be a keeper if the player wants to keep it. If the player/owner is always thinking about some other model or feature, he or she will keep switching.

    In the years since I started playing, I have seen several trends come and go. When I first started playing, active electronics were the rage and everybody had to have them. I remember when two octave necks were the new rage, then came carbon fiber. Of course multi-strings were a revolution in playing and a boon for companies marketing new models. Boutique makers go through hot periods. I remember when everyone was dying to get an Alembic, then a Steinberger, later ken Smith got hot. Now all the singlecut makers and the hotrod boutique Fenders are all the rage. The fact of the matter is that all of these instruments are good, it's just that everyday bass players keep chasing something that cannot be bought: originality, a vision, a distinctive approach. On top of that, alot of us just love basses. :bassist:
  13. Right...I would rather have a bunch of functional variety laden basses than one or two boutique know, basses that are just precious enough to be considered keepers, yet not so precious that I'd cry if they got a ding in them...


    You look at these vintage pieces up for grabs and they have tones aplenty, and a ton of player wear. If you're lucky to get one of those, and it's "right", then THAT is a keeper. Unlike alot of these "closet classic" pieces that earn the high dollar, look like new, but play like crap.
  14. ApeIsHigh81


    Aug 24, 2004
    Everything I've had has been through the internet and I've gotten lucky with the honesty of description & quality of bass. I just recently sold my US jazz to put a down for a G&L, since I wanted a tone that was a little more deep & "modern". Then a reissue jazz came along that caught my eye at a reasonable price and I said "Ok, I'll jump on this and keep it no matter what for that 70's deep passive growl." I think it's cool to have a bass for each different tone jones. Like a great sounding jazz, stingray, L-2000 & a boutique lakland or Fodera or sumthin'.
  15. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I have two definite keepers... My 2 Conklin 8 strings. Those are going nowhere!!!
  16. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    It may have been suggested already but have you thought about going the custom route as in taking the features you liked best out of all the basses you've owned and have someone build an instrument for you that incorporates all those features?
  17. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD

    That's pretty much dead on how I feel as well. A tool is just a tool is just a tool. The person who works with it what's important. It's like platform wars, or (I'm a digital artist) which 3d program is better..

    Yeah, there's a difference between a crappy toolset and a higher quality toolset, but IMO the benefits are negligible compared to a crappy user vs. a skilled/talented/creative user.

    But to each their own.. $.02


    All of my custom basses that I made are keepers ;)
  18. birdsg


    Dec 18, 2003
    Birmingham England
    I keep telling myself that I cant justify that sort of bread, although when I work out what I have spent.... :eyebrow:

  19. I am on the 'tonal tool' analogy side of the discussion. If you have found one that suits your needs and/or desires, cool. If you like more variation in feel and tone, and need a collection to to fulfill your needs and/or desires, cool. The choice to be an 'only one' type or an 'as many as it takes (and then a few spares...)' type is your own. I like being able to pick which one feels or sounds more right to me at the moment, so I have a small but growing collection. I used to think in terms of 'no more than...' but have come to accept that there will always be something different that appeals and therefore the upper limit is only set by what I can afford for now. There are great musicians in both camps. Choose which ever way makes you happiest.
  20. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    Over the past three years, I've been through four basses, two of which are keepers. I feel like you really have to spend a lot of time with a bass to know if it's a keeper or not... for my L-2000, I've had to play it till I was sick of it, put it away for a few weeks, and then reapproach it. I've considered selling it and I'm glad that I didn't. It's a great bass... I just needed a break from it. Sometimes when I hear that people have had x number of basses in a year, I feel like they should have just stuck to one, focused on their playing and technique, and they would grow into their bass and really learn to make the sounds they are looking for rather than depend on the bass to do it... on the other hand, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd buy ten basses in an afternoon. I know how tempting it is to focus on equipment, and I've even needed to stop reading tb for a while to break myself of the addiction.