Is skill proportional to quality of bass...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lamborghini98, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    Its a common point of view that its better to get a good bass.
    Not in my opinion.
    I started out playing on a Washburn xb-120. It was garbage. There were soooo many dead spots on the neck, the fretboard was completely undressed (usually touching undressed things is better....), so I cut myself a bunch. The sound quality was pretty bad no matter how I played it. The action was terrible (partially my own fault) and I think I remember it being pretty heavy.

    But didnt it pay off in a big way?
    I got used to hitting the strings HARD to get them down, and thats also sort of how I learned to synchronize myself. My fingers also got a lot stronger.
    I learned to make my own sound with my fingers.
    I also got calluses up the wazoo.

    Isnt the lesson we should be sending to new bass players that they should play the crappiest bass available? Think about how much you would have learned had you started out on a Fodera. As one person I once met put it, Foderas practically play themselves. What do you learn out of that?
    I mean... besides the fact that he IS actually that much better than pretty much everyone (IMO)... isnt part of the reason why Victor Wooten is so good because his bass practically plays itself (I am NOT saying hes not good... Im saying that it really helps him out that his bass is so easy to play).

    No pain no gain?
  2. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    Absolutely not.

    playing a crappy bass, all that it means is that you can play a crappy bass. to reach your potential, you should have the proper tools, ie...something that plays properly, not necessarily something that is amazing sounding.

    I believe that if anything, a poor instrument will eventually hold you back and frustrate you in your writing capabilty, thereby holding you back from all that you can be. I'm not saying that you need a Fodera as you stated, but you do need someting to inspire your passion, not hinder it.
  3. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    If you can afford it, do it. Just because you suck doesn't mean you have to play an instrument that does.
  4. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    Yeah, what he said.....

    From my own experience, when I started I had the crappiest bass imaginable, and it was, to say the least, uninspiring. I didn't want to play much because of it, and I ended up leaving it alone. Some time later when I could afford a better bass, I played more, learned more, I actually looked forward to playing it because it had none of the issues that my original bass had. I built my finger strength and dexterity even though the action was quite easy.

    I miss that old P bass, and if I hadn't "upgraded" to it, I'm convinced that I wouldn't be playing today.
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Skill is proportional to the quality of a bass.

    But only if you're building them.
  6. mbulmer


    Nov 25, 2002
    Feeding Hills, MA
    You're technique is incredibly different when you're playing a well-made, well setup bass. By playing a P.O.S. you're developing your technique to compensate for the basses shortcomings.

    Also you'll notice while alot of good basses are "Easy to play" they can also be quite unforgiving when it comes to poor technique.
  7. This is bad technique
  8. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I think like everyone else thinks. Having a good playing and sounding bass will inspire one to play. It doesn't necessarily meant that a high-end instrument will make you skillful, but it can make even simple stuff sound like magic in the proper setting. I mean, you don't need a virtuoso to hold a groove, and if you do it with the proper sounding instrument, then you will want to become an even better play due to the good insipation that gives you.
  9. My former bass instructor advised me against getting a crappy bass for two reasons: a crappy bass has no re-sale value if you find that the bass is not for you and second a crappy bass can breed crappy technique and a sense that one is not being serious. You don't have to get a Fodera, but getting a bass that sucks is not the answer to being a great bass player.
  10. A good bassist should be able to make any bass work. ;)
  11. It ain't the arrows it's the indian, pure and simple.
    There comes a point where the quality of the bass becomes arbitrary to the players ability to sound tight.
  12. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Very true, but being a newcomer having a decent instrument to play inspires you to play. Hell my Fender inspires me.. I look forward to playing it, just because what it is. When you're new, and nothing sounds good. You need to enjoy something to keep you going.
    Another thing has already been mentioned. if you get a $20 crappy bass and you want to upgrade later so you want to sell it, you will get about $5, for it.
    I also know from playing guitars for 10 years. I started with an old Kramer Aerostar that got the CRAP beat out of it. Then when I switched to my Les Paul and my Hamer, It was actually harder to play because learning how to get around the first guitars problems. didn't make me a very dynamic player. Yea I could play the crap out of that kramer.. but once I got a real guitar in my hands, I was lost.
  13. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    I dont know guys...
    I really dont think anyone ever got anywhere taking the easy road.
    I agree with the fact that a good bass enhances good technique, but i cant believe that you can just get good technique without a crappy bass. The best way to learn is to have to do things the hard way. You dotn learn to do math on a calculator. A calculator is a tool, just like a bass. You all had to do basic math in school... and you had to do it the hard way. The same thing applies here... resale value aside (that should be not weighed in here at all)... having a crappy bass in the beginning teaches you not only to appreciate the good things in life, but how to use them properly. Another good analogy is that when you learn carpentry, you start doing everything by hand.. then you move onto the power tools.

    just to clarify my point, btw...
    I am talking about buying a crappy bass as a starter bass... not as your main bass or anything. It doesnt make your technique excellent, but I think it really helps you get started. Its a lot like lifting weights.. you start out playing a bass difficult to play.. once you can play it, then you can move on to actualyl learning how to make it sound good. That crappy action really DOES actually help your finger muscles.
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nope. I suck just as much on my $4000 basses as I do on my $99 basses.:bassist:
  15. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin' Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Some years ago, when my stepson was a music major in college, he ordered a flamed koa classical guitar from a local luthier. It was expensive as hell, but he had the bucks together to pay for it, and off they went. His father called me, quite upset, and said, basically, "why doesn't he just buy a $100 Yamaha until he decides whether he's going to stick with it or not?" I told him that, first, "student" instruments was a misleading term: it meant, not "easy to learn on", but "cheap." Such a guitar was a fast way to develop a lot of bad habits that would have to be overcome later, and rather than facilitating being a student, would get in the way of his developing serious technique. Second, the value of a cheap instrument nosedives as soon as it leaves the store: the value of a handmade one will more likely appreciate. There are always people looking for -- and prepared to pay -- for higher-end instruments. Third, buying a great git is a fine way to cement your relationship with music. It's an outward and visible sign of inward and invisible commitment, so to speak.

    My stepson is now making a living from music. I gig with him from time to time (about once a month, when I get down to the Austin area) and he's a joy to play with. Immaculate time, well-thought-out arrangements, great technique. Maybe it's not all due to his little koa classical (which has a place of honor in his home) but it sure didn't hurt.
  16. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    To an extent I believe this is true. I've heard a Mosrite copy played through a Crate combo amp sound pretty good in the hands of an experienced player. I also believe that any decent bass with a functional truss rod and a decent bridge can be adjusted to play easily.
  17. IMHO for a newbie there are alot of fine intruments in the $300.00 to $500.00 range. Basses that you will probably keep your entire life. I have a couple just like that.
    Back in my day (1970's) we looked with distain at Japanese copies of P-basses and Les Pauls, funny thing is those same guitars and basses can go for a grand on e-bay today. Price can be very arbitrary to value. A good example is the USA Hamer Cruise bass. You can pick them up for 5 bills and they are worth triple that in play-ability and sound. But Hamer is not a hot brand so they do not garner the big dollars. Does it make the bass any less playable? I think not.
  18. groove100


    Jan 22, 2005
    when you are a starting bass player, it is cool to get a really decent bass, not crappy and not in the hi-end some sort of a middle range, and as you progress you will definitely have GAS and would starve for a sound that you want to achieve.

    Also one factor to consider is money, I agree with the guys saying that if you have the dough just roll with the flow, or get the bass that fits your budget.

    You can also ask your teacher.

    Im a jazz major, and all of my buddies have a really hi-end basses and I played my yamaha BB605 for four years (yamahas are really good brand) and use it for gigging until i save enough money for a next level bass. I also spent 4 years of research on different basses, and look what i ended up with, a warwick corvette stndrd fretless.
    It's simple, but Im sure i can rip it off.

    markus huber
  19. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    You and me both Jeff. let's start a club, eh? :p