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Interesting Marcus Miller quote...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Brad Johnson, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    For years I've seen people quote Marcus on things like getting one bass and only playing it. And for longer than that the cheap vs. expensive debate has continued. I've lost track of how often I've seen folks claim that something like a Sire blows away boutique basses (no doubt true for some but... ). Often when you dig down some haven't actually played higher quality basses set up for them.

    In a recent interview Marcus dropped this:

    Expensive habits
    We note that, no matter what bass he’s playing, Miller always sounds very much like Miller. If he can do all that on a $500 bass, does the world need $5000 basses?

    “There are certain things that expensive basses do really well. For a gear expert, I don’t think a Sire can compete with a $5,000 bass, mostly because of the quality of the components. But the sound is good. I think there is the need for both kinds of bass.”

    I agree. There's a place for both so I've never really understood the need to dismiss either. Probably has nothing to do with the basses.
  2. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    One would be hard-pressed to find a more insightful statement across the entirety of this forum. :bored:
    Brad Johnson, Ghastly, chadds and 7 others like this.
  3. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    I agree the statement is insightful, and I am reminded of 2 marketing stories I was once told.

    1. The seller of a product (sorry I don't remember either the product or the brand) that was not selling well. They raised the price (probably at the advice of a consultant) and sales increased.

    2. The month after the OJ Bronco chase, sales of white Broncos increased significantly.

    OK, so I TOTALLY believe that people often buy things for reasons that have nothing to do with the actual quality of the product itself. I also believe that people (and I will include musicians in this groups particularly) buy things with differences that they actually can't perceive.

    I ain't mad at nobody for their reasons for why they buy what they buy, but I do find it interesting how vehemently people will argue their reasons. AND I have ZERO doubt that many of us are influenced by things without being AWARE of it!

    I'll close with a story about a study described in a book I read (it MIGHT have been in "This is your brain on music", but don't hold me to that):

    A researcher did a modification of the Pepsi challenge. They observed brain activity in the pleasure center while people drank the colas (the only 2 colas used were Coke and Pepsi).

    The control group simply was given 2 colas and asked which one they preferred. The majority of them preferred the Pepsi, and this correlated with the measurements from their pleasure center.

    Another group (actually, i think there were 3 groups, but I only need 2 for my observation) was asked ahead of the experiment which they preferred. And here's where it gets interesting! For those who said Coke, they were given Coke (but they didn't know which cola they were drinking) while monitoring their pleasure center, THEN they gave them Pepsi. For many (it might have been all, I just don't remember) the pleasure center was HIGHER for the Pepsi. So, WHILE they were drinking and enjoying the Pepsi, the researchers told them that what they were drinking RIGHT NOW was Pepsi... and the signals in their pleasure center IMMEDIATELY went DOWN!

    My point? What people believe matters more to them than the truth, AND belief can affect perception. I don't try to convince people of much when it comes to things that are subjective. Different strokes for different folks.

    (I know I've written a pretty long, and for some boring, post. But for people interested in reading more about the Coke/Pepsi phenonomen known as the "Pepsi Paradox", check out: How Coke Won the Cola Wars)
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
    Spyrosaab, dan1952, Julian G and 9 others like this.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    sounds like miller was talking about "certain things" made out of metals, mostly. probably not "tonewoods." :laugh:

    so we can make a guess (no context) about what he meant (for himself) but what do you need to be playing? :)

  5. Leo Thunder

    Leo Thunder

    Sep 27, 2018
    Most purchases are of speculative nature. People do not buy what they know to be better but what they hope to be better. We take most decisions this way, from the food we order to the girl we decide to talk to or the instrument we choose. It is the result of educated prejudices but prejudices nonetheless.
    In many cases, people are not even capable of seeing quality differences. Some require time, you cannot tell from playing in a shop how long particular parts will last of how much that neck will bend in winter, others require more experience than is available.

    Then there is the herd reflex. This guy must be part of the Big Brand playing herd, this other can't bear the idea of it.
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Very good post. Belief can influence perception even years after the event in question.
  7. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    I wanted a Wal bass because of the distinctive sound that it makes. I tried believing that it cost $500 but that didn't work out too well.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  8. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I'm with Mike on this one.
    Caca de Kick likes this.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Back in the early 80's one of my uncles put a 25" floor model TV he no longer needed after getting remarried and combining households. The TV was fairly new and in great condition. He advertised it in the Washington Post at around a quarter of its resale value and got no hits for a couple of weeks...

    so he raised the price. Sold it in no time and he got a lot of calls before he could cancel the ad. Some had seen it at its original price and thought there was a catch.

    That story stuck with me. I investigate most seemingly crazy deals I come across because I've had a pretty ridiculous success rate with them. Bordering on unbelievable.
  10. images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcRCMChFDbA3vDNo46VixVRNni9YptDMsuBVku3CPh-f5cBsL_mX.
    ihaveaquestion and bassbully like this.
  11. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    up front disclaimer: I've never really played a boutique bass and am a $100-$300 bass-buying addict
    a litmus test I use when I get a new cheapo bass is, if this sweet playing bass had instead cost thousands of dollars and was bought for a sound/s I wanted and it achieved that goal, would I still be a satisfied customer?
    this thread comes after a night of serious enjoyment of my latest buy, a $120 YAMAHA RBX250 c1990
    I bought it 2 weeks ago on unrestrainable impulse cos it looked cool and I'd heard a few good comments about them, plus, tho it's just a minimalist P bass style (in metallic pink!) who doesn't want a good classic sounding / playing P bass? after muting it to taste this otherwise perfect Fender rip-off passed the mentioned test in flying colors on sound and playability. if I'd had a costly '60s or newer customized P in my hands instead would I have been thrilled that it sounded and played as you'd expect it to, like a vintage dream? sure. but would that happiness last if Joe Schlub then walked in with his tip money pink Asian P from the pawn shop next door and it was just as good? I'd think that would leave a helluva mark on my ego.
    I'm all for basses, any bass, but I can't save up for boutique when the gutter keeps paying off like this.
    B-Mac, dabbler and Malak the Mad like this.
  12. Leo Thunder

    Leo Thunder

    Sep 27, 2018
    You are an unbeliever. You just won't accept the implied certainty that dropping loads of money on an instrument must make a load of difference, or that the minimal difference it makes actually means the world. I hope we can save you from the pyre…
    Bass V likes this.
  13. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    no, I believe the voodoo is real, I just don't need it if such happiness is achieved for chump change.
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  14. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    joking aside, a Torzal Twist has been on my wish list. I think it could negate my litmus test.
    David Jayne likes this.
  15. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Marcus is a straight shooter, been there/done that kinda guy. And, that particular statement makes perfectly logical sense to me.
    Brad Johnson likes this.
  16. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    People tend to overlook the fact Marcus Miller is a businessman and a musician. When plays a Sire in public, he is selling them.
  17. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    The really interesting thing about all of this is Macus played his signature model Fenders for a while to sell them. Then he played his Sires for a while to sell them. Even though he helped Sadowsky sells quite a bit I’m sure, Marcus always returns to his ash/maple 70’s era Fender basses. He knows what he likes and what works for him and he sticks to it.
    Ronzo and Dr. Cheese like this.
  18. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    These articles, along with this entire thread, is more and more reminding me of a double-blind study conducted using professional violinists to differentiate between classic Stradivari and modern instruments. Once again, it's a case of "expectation" influencing "perception". :bookworm: ;)

    Groove Doctor likes this.

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