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How to expidite swapping basses during a live set

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by OogieWaWa, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. OogieWaWa


    Mar 17, 2013
    Oak Harbor, OH
    Any good suggestions on how to minimize the time it takes to swap from one bass to another during a live gig?

    It's our last gig of the year and the band mates agree it would be fun for me to play a fretless bass during several of our covers. We've wanted to try it for a while. But I know that there is this awful dead time when the guitar player does that, drives me nuts, and I'd like to avoid doing that as much as possible. There aren't enough songs I want to play it on to go a whole set. i know I might be able to get away with doing that, but since I haven't practiced a whole set with it, you all know the risks involved.

    I normally am wireless, so instead of just mute/unplug/plug/go I'll have to move the transmitter over, but that should only take 30 seconds or so.

    I do have a small simple 4 input instrument/line level mixer box, could have the fretless plugged in directly and have the other bass receiver also plugged in to a channel, and just dial one down and the other up, but that's just one more setup item to contend with and one more piece in the signal chain to screw up.

    They both require not using the amp padded input, so I can't have both plugged in and just turn the volume knobs.

    Yes, tune both before starting the set, I got that one! Don't bother trying this? Don't fret about it and just have fun? (Arrr arrr arrr!!!):smug:drool:laugh:

    Other info: Small dive bar, 3 piece band and we all sing (not going to try fretless on the songs I sing, though.) Friendly capacity crowd anticipated. Thinking of doing Stray Cat Strut, Moondance, Summertime, YCAGWYW, one of my original slow blues numbers and maybe a couple of others.

    Thanks for any shared experience or ideas you folks can come up with, I always appreciate the help here.
  2. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    My guitarists switch from acoustic to electric to banjo and Inswitch when they do. It's actually quicker for me because I leave the chord in the fretless and swap inputs when I swap basses. I've also hit the tuner pedal to mute and swapped at the guitar end
  3. CRich0205


    Feb 17, 2013
    Could you go wired for the show? Then you don’t have to move a transmitter just plug and unplug. An ABY switch is handy for this if you have one of those.
  4. OogieWaWa


    Mar 17, 2013
    Oak Harbor, OH
    I'll use the amp Mute, good point. And I could do just that set wired, definitely quicker that way. But just that set; I do normally move around a lot and since we know a lot of folks coming, I'm sure I'll end up on the dance floor or sitting on the bar or something by the end of the night!

    (Side story; played a gig on our anniversary, when it came time to play Wonderful Tonight I grabbed the wife to dance while playing. I thought the BL was going to have a heart attack, but I managed to dance and not miss a note. It was worth the risk just to see the look on his face!)
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Small dive bar, not sure I see the need for a wireless. If you don't want to dump it totally, use it for the main bass, then just quickly unplug and grab your fretless on a regular cord.
    john m, Uncle Hanky, lfmn16 and 2 others like this.
  6. OogieWaWa


    Mar 17, 2013
    Oak Harbor, OH
    For what it's worth, with the minimal amount of room, I've actually found being wireless in a small bar to be an advantage; one less thing to step on or have stepped on in tight confines. The other wires I can tape to the floor.
  7. Plectrum72

    Plectrum72 Supporting Member

    A bit of a spendy option, but you can get a second wireless transmitter. Have one set up on each bass. When it's time to swap, you turn off one transmitter as you set that bass down and turn on the other as you put it on.
  8. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    Have the fretless on a stand with its own strap already plugged in. Guarantee you’ll make a faster change than any guitarist.
  9. OogieWaWa


    Mar 17, 2013
    Oak Harbor, OH
    A second transmitter would be nice, but it's for tonight so no time. Besides, I saved up and got a good Sure unit, so a second would be out of the budget for now, not cheap. However, if it works out OK, that might be the best permanent solution.

    Besides, this may end up being a "Well, we'll never try that again!" one-time experiment!

    Edit; yeah, those guitar guys and all their pedal boards and such tend to be slow. Ours only has one clip on tuner that I had him buy, and I don't think he must tune both ahead of time. I'm thinking of giving him one of my spare tuners just so he doesn't have to move that over and tune, too.

    So we should swap at the same time, he'll make me look good? lol
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
    LowActionHero and saabfender like this.
  10. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    I put the wireless transmitter in my right side pants pocket; it stays with me, not the instrument. Mute, unplug, swap instruments, plug in, quick tuning check, unmute, you're live.
  11. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Lots of good tips here. I'll toss out another thought. You can do it after a slower song, when you're less likely to have dancers up. Play a string of songs before that one, then use the time while you're switching for the front man to say a few words to the audience until you're ready. Then play your fretless songs back to back.
    basted, mikewalker and OogieWaWa like this.
  12. OogieWaWa


    Mar 17, 2013
    Oak Harbor, OH
    Great idea on the pocket thing, especially since each bass will have it's own strap, which is where I normally put it! Plus it won't get tangled up in the stand like it does sometimes. That would get it down in the 45 to 60 second range reasonably, being deliberate, I'm sure!

    And I already told the drummer to do the shameless self-promotional plug during the swap. Maybe swap to it before Summertime as the slow dance, it'll give the guys in the crowd a few seconds for their wives to convince them to get up and do their nightly duty of one dance. It will definitely either be at the start or the end of a set, depending on the audience we get, so only one swap needed.

    Man, this forum is great!
    LBS-bass likes this.
  13. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The best solution is a seasoned guitar tech to help you with switching.

    Assuming that’s out of the budget, an a/b switch (they’re not expensive - I have a One Control one that I think was $40) is a huge help - everything is wired up, you just switch basses and stomp.
    OogieWaWa and LBS-bass like this.
  14. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    it may not help you tonight, but: just commit to the fretless! :D
  15. I am wireless when using fretted and fretless basses at a gig. The G30 is my system, and I picked up an extra transmitter, one for each bass. It takes as long as it takes to pick up the bass to switch, just power off one transmitter and turn on the other. It helps to have a tuner or pedal that mutes in some cases. You can also pick up an A/B box for cheap
    OogieWaWa likes this.
  16. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Why not just leave the transmitter clipped to your belt? Mute at the tuner, unplug the wireless, swap basses, and reverse the process. That's what I do, and it never takes more than 5-10 seconds.

    Also, this isn't technique related, so thread moved.
    craigie, whero and OogieWaWa like this.
  17. Uche_bass


    Jul 31, 2017
    I use a normal cord. Pass it through the belt holding thing in my jeans, and then the standard around the strap and into the plug. For changing, just mute with the tuner, unplug (the cable will be left hanging from my pants) and swap. 5 secs tops, and I can talk with the audience while doing it
    OogieWaWa likes this.
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Like G on Bass wrote: Buy a second transmitter, one for each bass. Mute the receiver, fire up the new bass, unmute receiver. Done.
    OogieWaWa likes this.
  19. I mean, it's not an Indy car pit stop. Hit the mute button, switch, and go on. Is the place going to burst into flames if this takes longer than 30 seconds? Leave your main bass on the wireless, run the fretless with a cable, unplug the wireless and plug in the cable. Done.
    mikewalker, OogieWaWa and saabfender like this.
  20. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I'd forego the wireless and KISS. With a rack style stand you can switch basses very quickly. Mute the amp, pull out cable from instrument, slam your bass down onto the stand (carefully), grab new bass and install it onto your body (make sure the OS is up to snuff for the installation), plug cable into bass, un-mute the amp and away you go. I've done so in about 10 seconds, switching between three basses (and guitar, occasionally) at some gigs.

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