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Intentional irony: A good bassist on an inexpensive bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tb-player, Apr 22, 2021.

  1. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    I have a friend who is a REALLY good player. He gets a lot of calls for gigs. Even though he owns multiple high-dollar basses, he typically shows up to his gigs with his Squier Jazz Bass. If he gets some looks, it doesn’t take long for him to change people’s minds because he’s a solid player and he has a Squier that has held up nicely.

    If you ask him, he’ll tell you that he’s just really comfortable playing it. And I believe him. But it’s also kind of his schtick. He’s got a bit of a reputation as “that guy who’s a great bassist... and he plays a Squier!!” It makes me wonder if it isn’t a bit intentional. I mean, does showing up with a Squier and playing well make him seem even better than he already is?

    I sat in for him with his main band a few times. The first time I showed up with a $4k+ Overwater and a Bergantino rig. The BL said “that looks like some expensive gear!” As if to say, “are you as good as your gear?” Fortunately, I did alright... lol (I got calls to fill in again. Whew!).

    I’ve always had the attitude of “play what you like” without excuse. But sometimes I wonder if boutique gear doesn’t set the wrong expectation on certain kinds of shows. It kind of makes me want to show up at my next gig with a $300 bass and see the response I get (as long as I play well, of course :rolleyes:).

    Should everyone own at least one inexpensive instrument? I’m gonna start shopping for one, just in case. :thumbsup: :laugh::laugh:
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2021
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    that would make you and your buddy competitors for the same "schtick." :D won't work in a small town. :laugh:

    my advice: get a glarry for the win = aggressive intentional irony! (but you gotta be really, really good!) :roflmao:
  3. MMiller28

    MMiller28 Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2003
    I don't like spending money on things I know are low-quality.
  4. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I simply don’t care. I play the bass I want. I hardly ever discuss how much it cost and I can’t remember the last time anyone asked.

    And how interesting is it that you never see anyone with an expensive bass turning it into a “schtick”.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2021
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah I say just play what you want. Now, I'm not that guy who swears it's OK to show up to tue jazz gig with a BC Rich Warlock. That's just stupid. But, within reason, bring the bass that makes you grin to every gig. Just don't bring anything that looks stupid for the band/genre/event/venue.
  6. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I own nothing else. My most expensive gigging bass was $250. Used. If five minutes of listening to me doesn’t convince you, an extra 2k spent on the instrument damn sure won’t help.

    Also, what two-fingers says above is true; just look appropriate.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2021
    Joedog, fig, ratdoc and 49 others like this.
  7. spatters


    Mar 25, 2002
    I've never been in a band where the other band members were rich enough to bag on anyone whose instrument stayed in tune and sounded good.
  8. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    Haha. Challenge accepted!!
    Miles_ONeal, Mickey666, Oddly and 3 others like this.
  9. Timmah

    Timmah Supporting Member

    May 19, 2011
    Joe Dart used to do pretty much every gig with a run-of-the-mill MIM Jazz, and recorded with borrowed Squiers and Carlo Robellis. That’s changed since his MusicMan endorsement, obviously, but that guy could play anyone under the table with whatever was laying around. At that point I think it’s more about the player having such a strong musical personality that it outshines whatever tool happens to be in their hands at a given gig.

    Edit to add that I don’t have any expensive basses, but I’m beginning to consider selling a couple of my cheap ones to invest in a “pro” instrument. Maybe I’m going the opposite way?
  10. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    So true. Even his signature bass only has one knob. What a beast!

    (now I want a bass with NO knobs!!! :laugh:)
  11. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    I just don't get why this is important at all.
    He plays what he likes. Price/status is not relevant to a good player. All that matters is playability and tone. Don't get caught up with the name on the headstock. It's really not important unless you're trying to impress someone else which is a waste of energy. If it plays beautifully and "sings", then I'm happy. Screw the naysayers.
    Jessica H, aus_bass, Artman and 36 others like this.
  12. Corigan

    Corigan Addicted to Shaking Walls Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2021
    Outside of Atlanta, GA
    I've know many touring bass players that buy $300 used MIMS for the road, slap in some new pickups and gig with them nightly on big stages. they tell me they don't care when they get beat up on the road, they don't have to baby em, and they work well.

    Of course $300 doesn't buy what it used to in the used market
  13. J_Bass


    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Very good pro player from the house band of one of the most important national talk shows:


    Sounded great. Of course. He's a great player.

    As for the bass, I'm sure it does the job (it did). But maybe the setup is not right there, or maybe it's not so comfortable to play as a more expensive bass, or the finish, or the hardware.

    But of course it does the job.

    My 2009 VW Passat takes me everywhere. If I had Porsche, it would take me to the exact same places, but with more style and with better leather seats and audio system.
    tony caskey, D-G, iceboxbass and 14 others like this.
  14. bass12

    bass12 Basking Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I think bass players tend to overestimate what non-bassists think of their gear. Honestly, most other people wouldn’t know the difference between a Sadowsky and a Squier and, honestly, they probably couldn’t care less.
  15. This brings me to a conversation I had earlier today regarding a local bass player.
    He has had a handful of Asian-made instruments (Sire, BassMods) and a Fender Bronco. Within the last couple years, it seems he fell into some money and purchased a couple of Foderas - a YinYang Standard and a Monarch Standard - each cost about $7k.
    I personally don’t think he’s an “awesome” player - he’s alright. Sure I’m a bit jealous, but I don’t think an “alright” bass player deserves a pair of $7k instruments.
    I think I’m an “alright” player, even though I haven’t actively gigged in 20 years...but I don’t think I’d buy a Fodera even if I could afford it. I just don’t deserve one...
    2cooltoolz, D-G, Hazeyhaze and 4 others like this.
  16. kmon

    kmon Supporting Member

    May 11, 2009
    Austin, TX
    this^^...maybe I’ve played in much lower-rent situations than the OP but the other players seemed genuinely clueless about bass gear.

    On the other hand @eastcoasteddie if I see a cat on stage with a $7K bass yeah I’m gonna have certain expectations...but that’s bc after many years of compulsive research/shopping/talkbass I know what every bit of equipment he or she has costs haha...and yeah part of me feels like you should be good enough to exploit what mega boutique stuff offers.
    D-G, Loring, jd56hawk and 1 other person like this.
  17. J_Bass


    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Do you guys feel that everyone who rides a muscle car should be able to win races in the tracks?
    Roffa, Jessica H, bassface69 and 26 others like this.
  18. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I do a gig where I have played with someone on a nice Yamaha grand piano, a woman playing a harp, and a guy playing cello. My basses might be considered expensive by some folks on here, but I play by far the cheapest instrument at this gig. Even if I had a Fodera, that wouldn't come close to any of the other instruments dollar wise.

    Yes, some bass guitars cost more than others, but in the grand scheme of things, bass guitars are cheap.
    Roffa, Artman, Miles_ONeal and 35 others like this.
  19. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    The first answer is it probably won’t matter.

    But my guess is you can play up and sound right without boutique gear. But if you showed up with boutique gear and can’t play that’s less desirable and harder to rebound from. The first time you drop the hammer with a cheap guitar nobody will care about the brand. But if you drag out an Alembic and lay clams you might get called out.
  20. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    You're equating price with performance and that is not always the case. My 2 most expensive basses get the least play time. I've learned that I simply prefer the feel/playability of my less expensive basses. In fact, it's my most expensive instrument that's currently back at the mfg. with playability issues.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 6, 2021

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