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How to get to a point where I don't baby an expensive bass? This will be my first expensive one

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KayXero, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. KayXero


    Apr 3, 2007
    So I currently have a luthier building me a custom bass. It'll be my first custom instrument and my first instrument owned that costs over $400. In the past I've owned Squiers, a Peavey, and SX instruments. So this is a big jump for me to go from a couple hundred bucks, up into a couple thousand bucks spent.

    I already know Im going to baby the hell out of it. It'll be hard not to since the instrument will be one of a kind, and also be one of my dream instruments. How do I get to a point where I can just let go and not care that much?

    I've always been a pretty frugal guy. I come from a middle class background but there were some tough times growing up. I was taught to really stretch a dollar, and to not put much emphasis on material things. I don't care much for name branded things. I always have driven pre-owned vehicles.

    However, now Im a few years into my new career, and finally have enough disposable income to really have fun with my hobbies and passions. Really, the only things I've splurged on are computers and now bass guitars.

    The thing is, even though I treat my custom computer builds very delicately and carefully...the case never moves much after being put onto my desk. I build my PC then "I set it, and forget it" so to speak. Im also careful about putting sharp or heavy things near my case...so I don't scratch the paint or the glass side panel.

    But with a custom instrument that I will be handling all the time...there's this worry in the back of my head....about what if I drop it...or ding it really bad...and then need an expensive repair...on an instrument thats already damn expensive.

    Lol help.
    BelowTheBenthic and Spidey2112 like this.
  2. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    I had similar feelings for my first really expensive and nice guitar (a 1988 Gibson Flying V) bought brand new off the shelf. Then one day, when I was using a pair of needlenose pliers to cut the excess string off the tuners I fumbled the pliers and they went down nose first to take a large dig about a quarter in into the wood and about the size of a dime. I felt really bad, but I didn't end up owning the instrument long enough to get it reliced in a cool way. I just took a hit when I sold it. Looking back almost 30 years now I don't really regret selling it, though. That's all I have to say on this matter.
    BuffaloBass and ThePresident777 like this.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    Be careful with it but not too much so you don't enjoy it.

    Everything is fixable.
  4. The first ding or scratch hurts the most........ then you can just get down to enjoying it without being constantly overprotective.

    Be careful with it (as it sounds like you will) but really, unless you damage it badly it'll still be a great instrument.
  5. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    Basses are made to be played. Playing them causes wear. To me a couple dings and scratches tell stories of where your bass has been. If a beautifully crafted instrument sits in a case it's whole life, why was it crafted in the first place?

    FWIW If I had enough money to buy a toilet made of gold, I'd still s**t in it.
    DirtDog, Dug2, covermego and 24 others like this.
  6. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    If you gig it's gonna be tough. Bumping into cymbals, etc. if you use it inside the house might never see a ding. Enjoy and congrats
  7. Get a few dings over time you will....such things are unsvoidable.

    Having major repairs from not being careful like most other instruments is what you avoid. You will never be able to avoid getting dings it will happen but you can avoid major issues if you have enough foresight to see some of them coming (if you work on your bass with tools tape the area around where you work if you can to avoid scratches or dings). Most of all enjoy the instrument for what it is a few dings add character.
    JimiLL and GonzoBfiddy like this.
  8. LousCornerDeli

    LousCornerDeli Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2017
    You'll baby it for a while and be somewhat nervous each time it's out of the case.

    And then you won't.

    Congrats, and enjoy.
  9. Strap locks, hard case. Done. Enjoy it.

    I used to keep my basses in it's case at gigs instead of using a stand. Now I attach them to the side of the cab.

    I gradually get less protective the longer I own something, if that helps.
  10. twinjet

    twinjet What does God need with a starship?

    Sep 23, 2008
    I'm with you. My '89 G&L is a beauty for being 28 years old. I try to baby that thing, but it's easy to let it slide when it already has buckle rash, paint chips, impressions, etc. It's also a friggin' tank.

    Just be careful with it. Don't overdo it I find that trying too hard to protect an item ends up in bad things happening to it.
  11. gully_jones

    gully_jones Stone cold groovy man Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2012
    Do you plan on owning the bass or letting the bass own you? It's just stuff. Play it like you stole it.
  12. Fxpmusic

    Fxpmusic Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2013
    Assume it will get hurt, badly. And get old and aged just as you will. Yet, it'll still probably outlive you. The notes you play and the people you play them with will be worth every scar. Congrats on it!
  13. jfh2112


    Jun 18, 2013
    Brookhaven, MS
    You're gonna ding it, eventually. It'll be fine. Scars build character.
    fourtet102 and bobyoung53 like this.
  14. JakobT


    Jan 9, 2014
    Oslo, Norway
    Get the first ding in quick. :D
    Schlyder, Kaitlyn, Oddly and 3 others like this.
  15. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Location: Spinning, shimmery aqueous sphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Since you are already concerned for preserving the condition of your new bass, and think that is worthwhile and possible, you have great chance of being successful. I have instruments that have been played and performed on for decades. Several are mint with very little damage. Here is my recipe for care, which is easy and automatic for most:

    1) Never loan your instrument to anyone, including your best friend, band mate, etc. Especially never hand your bass to someone on a gig. No one cares about your bass like you do. If you know that you will be in a position that you have to make a loan, only loan your least desirable bass. I have one bass that I rarely play, whose sole function is to lend. It's cheap and beat, yet sounds good and is playable. I use it as a gig backup, or my main/sole player at rotating bassist gigs.
    2) Store your bass in a case when not playing
    3) Use a hardshell case or highly padded, protective gig bag for transport
    4) Use a very strong, reliable stand
    5) Use strap locks
    6) In performance, stay away from, or be mindful of damaging objects like cymbals, hot lights, music stands, stage props, etc
    7) Don't make your bass stand, bass cable, or pedal board a trip hazard for others
    8) Be mindful of humidity in your house/storage area. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier if needed. What's good for your bass is also good for you
    9) If you know how to maintain your bass with confidence, then do so (string changes, truss rod adjustments, upgrades/mods, etc)
    10) If you have concern about maintenance, find and use a reliable tech
    11) Know that some woods are softer than others, and are more susceptible to dings
    12) Know that some finishes are stronger than others, and are more protective
    13) Clean your bass often: wood, finish, metal
    14) If some type of damage does happen, you are distressed by it, and it is easily repairable, then have it repaired
    15) If the damage is insignificant, ignore it
    16) Enjoy your new bass! Think of the acquisition cost in terms of cost per year (acquisition price/years played) or cost per time played (acquisition price/times played). Value is increased every time you play it, every year you own and enjoy it.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  16. BobKos


    Apr 13, 2007
    Don't worry too much about it. A PC living under the desk of your home office is living in a cocoon. A bass can't live in a cocoon. It may experience a bump or thump here & there. It's part of the life of a musical instrument. Once the first one happens, you will be released to be able to enjoy it.

    Reading this reminds me of a TB thread a while back. The OP has a vintage Jazz Bass that he treasures. While at a friend's house, one of the children there accidentally did something that caused extensive cosmetic damage to it. At first, the OP was quite distraught over the situation. Fortunately it finally settled with him that the damage is part of the bass' journey through life. It is a scar that it wears similar to a visible burn mark or stitches scar a person would wear. He, the friend, the children, and the bass are all still friends and living happily ever after. No worse for the wear.
    jfh2112 likes this.
  17. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    I was in a similar situation a couple years ago when I acquired a very high end instrument. The first year or so I was fanatic about keeping it in pristine condition, then I got a couple of tiny dings and relaxed a bit. However, I still obsess over dings on the back of the neck, where I can feel it. Other spots don't bother me anymore.

    That said, I leave it at home for any gig where I think the bass might be exposed to damage I cannot control--drunks stumbling into it, etc.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  18. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    If you can, try and stop worrying about it...

    ... or, stick it in a grocery cart, on the busiest shopping day of the week... a few trips up and down the frozen food aisle will get the 'bumps and bruises' out of the way, early...

    You got it to play, not to display it in a museum... I can relate, though... once I get the first ding on my brand new car, I find myself with a whole lot more 'me' time, as I don't park out as far...

    Enjoy your new bass!
    keithbroussard and JRA like this.
  19. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Deja vu... didn't we 'meet' yesterday, in a similar manner? :)
  20. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    The only way to insure you'll never drop a bass is to not own it in the first place.
    Michael Schreiber, interp and REV like this.