Isn't It Sad???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Licketysplit, Nov 23, 2000.

  1. Licketysplit


    Mar 15, 2000
    Does anyone else think its sad that any forum related to gear, (i.e. basses, amps, strings, etc.) get more than 4 times as many posts as those that relate to technique or self-improvement? (everyday!!!)

    I admit myself that I am drawn more to gear than technique, who would have thought that bassists could have so much GAS (gear aquisation syndrome, i think :))? But why is it that we are more worried about our gear than our own ability to play?

    Any thoughts or comments?
  2. I think the reason is, that while the basic fundamentals of good technique are for the most part standard, with a few
    new variances every now and then, Bass Equipment and electronics and designs are changing even as I write this.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    If a certain player feels something ain't happenin'(playing-wise), they'll often blame their gear(If I only had "so & so's" bass, or amp, or effects unit, blah).
    Gear maybe forever-changing...why? Sales?
    I dunno, I have plenty of old records that sound pretty damn good.
  4. i don't think it is "sad."
    the style in which someone plays is really up to that person, i.e. how do i get the les claypool sound, how do i read tab, how do i slap, how do i sound like myself
    equitment changes everyday and bass players are always checking it out unlike guitar players who get one guitar and play it forever
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I tend to agree with the original poster - that while it's not surprising, as people have explained - I still do think it's a sad indictment on the world today. The main reason I stopped hanging out at the Fender forum, was that at several times it turned into little more than an "Ebay Buyers and sellers forum" with people discussing prices and strategies for getting basses from ebay.

    I sometimes suspect that this represents a tendency for acquisition and "collecting" that is very prevalent in modern "Western" society but which has nothing to do with music-making. I get the feeling that it gets to the point where it could be Cars, Golf Clubs or whatever, it is the acquiring and collecting of something "desirable" that is the end in mind and not the actual use to which these are put that is the prime motivator.

    I contrast this with Cuba, where due to embargos etc. they have been unable to make acquisition a priority and the musicians there have been able to continue their musical traditions and make music that is unique and worthwhile, with what they have - rhythm, melody etc.

    I can't admit to being entirely free of this impulse myself - I don't think anyone who lives in modern capitalist society can be free of this, but I can still think it's sad. And it makes it all the more a breath of fresh air when I go away for a week and just make music - like at the Jazz Summerschool I attend, where people are interested in making music by singing clapping or whatever, where the end result is more important than what you did it with.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    While I see the point of the original poster, I have to agree with reedo on this one. Also, forums such as these are a strange thing when it comes to technique - when you are discussing things here, you are mostly dealing with people you have never met and have never heard play. Technique is both a very personal and very physical issue, and is often difficult to discuss in words in the first place (since a picture is worth a thousand of them), and this problem is compounded by the fact that in discussing technique online: a) you can't see the person who's talking and what they are doing; b)you can't hear what it sounds like when they are doing what they describe; c)you don't know if you like/can relate to the way that they play in the first place, which makes it difficult to determine the value of their advice.

    With gear, on the other hand, there is a lot more objective information which can be shared (i.e., specs etc....). I know that recently, when I was shopping for a new (acoustic) bass, reedo and others on the DB side who know a hell of a lot more than I do about the subject were extremely helpful in helping me avoid some of the potential pitfalls I might have walked right into on my own. That was useful, because I got to benefit from their experience. But if, for example, I had posted about fingering possibilities for "Confirmation" or something like that, what could anyone have written that would convey both the music and the fingering in less than 1000 words?
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I do agree that this explains why there is less on technique etc.on the net. But I still think you do get the impression from forums like this, that there are a lot of people out there who are more interested in acquisition and collecting than music-making in itself amd I think this is a reflection of the society we live in. This is what I feel sad about and I sometimes wonder if I am more guilty of this myself than is strictly necessary - I am sure I would be a better player by now if I hadn't spent so much time and effort on choosing gear and trying new stuff out, rather than playing practising and writing.
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    From my experience, guitarists & keyboardists are more into gear. Bassists & drummers seem less impressed with the latest & "greatest". Just my opinion from the center of my universe.
    ...only 1x did I bring more than 1 bass to a gig(I never even owned a stand until this past year). I have played countless guitarists & keyboard players with multiple axes, racks, effects units, etc.

  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i've tried to get multiple threads on theory discussion started, but it seems to me that people would just rather talk about gear. which is fine with me :D i can dig that too.
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Actually, this topic goes deeper than most of us realize. I got onto this watching Donald Fagen in an interview on the "Two Against Nature" DVD. He and Becker were sitting on a couch with their bassist, Tom Barney, giving him a ration of crap over his quilt-top ESP bass. Fagen pointed out that we acquire those sorts of things as a result of poor mothering. WHOA! Now that's an epiphany, whatever the hell THAT is. (I saw that word in another thread, only I spelled it correctly.) Oh, by the way, did any of you see Martha Stewart with her mom on TV the other night? HoooWee ... the nuts don't fall far from the tree, do they? She's a regular chip off the ol' block.

    OK, where was I? Oh yeah. So I'll bet all of us gear heads had/have crummy mothers (mine's dead), and we buy the expensive basses and amps to try to gain the love we never quite got. I know that I feel loved when I gaze at the beautiful amber quilted top on my 55-94. But I bet I'll feel even more loved when I finally get my new teal quilted 55-94 fretless, with GOLD HARDWARE!

    Is this possible? Do we need a dedicated thread on this? Have your people get back to my people on this.
  11. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Picking up where Bruce Lindfield left off, something to the effect that more and fancier gear doesn't necesarily lead to better music, I'm beginning to feel the same way about all the audio/video/stereo/home theater equipment being hyped to Christmas shoppers. With TV sets, DVD players, and home sound systems getting ever more sophisticated and expensive bringing movie theater sound and picture quality into the home, we have all that available, but the movies and TV shows aren't one bit better than in the forties or earlier...just more high tech effects...but where is the story?

    In fact, my family have been subscribing to digital cable for about six months. Yes, we get many more channels. Yes, the reception and sound is marginally superior, but what is there to watch? Digital cable gives new meaning to Springsteen's song. "Fifty -two Channels and Nothing Is On." Now I have four hundred channels with almost nothing on.

    Sorry for the rant, but I see music headed the same way. We have all this high tech recording equipment and innovative music equipment, but are the songs themselves substantially better than they were in the past forty years? I guess that is an argument for another thread.

    Jason Oldsted
  12. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    Not gonna suggest we do lunch, Munji? I'm insulted! =)

    Buying new gear is a very nice thing, you know. And when you're on low-end equipment working up to buy the "real deal", it can make an actual difference in sound. Now, that's not the same thing as making you play any better. You may be able to find a bass that fits your playing style better and squeeze a bit of extra performance, but buying a new bass isn't gonna make any more of your soul show through (or stifle it).

    Basically, though, my philosophy is this: If you can afford to feed your GAS, more power to you. Have fun, because I can only dream I could do what you do. =)
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I see your point about movies and TV shows and recording equipment...but I think we are still too close to tell about our own culture. Sometimes I think that it's easy to look back at what has been done in the past and to pick out the giants of yesterday and ask, where are the giants of today? It's kind of like looking at a city: looking at the past is like seeing the city from a few miles away at twilight - you can see the skyline as if being backlit by a sunset, and under those conditions, it's easy to separate the skyscrapers from the slum tenaments; but looking at the present is more like being right in the middle of it all in the daytime when you are surrounded by concrete and noise and traffic and city know that the skyscrapers are there, but they might be a few blocks over where you can't see them. But they're there all the same....

    I'm a jazzer, so take this for what it's worth, but when I listen to people like Keith Jarrett and Fred Hersch and Brad Mehldau and Kenny Barron (some of my favorite piano trios), I feel that the music is as strong as ever, the future of the art form is in good hands, and the new recording technology only helps their voices shine stronger. I am very grateful for the sqeaky clean recordings(which help me enjoy listening to the music more than ever), and glad that the (mostly digital) equipment that makes them possible is getting cheaper and more readily available every day.

    I suppose there probably are a lot of people out there who try to substitute great gear for hard work or talent - which is a shame - but isn't it a beautiful thing when a great artist gets to showcase their stuff (either in live performance or on recordings)using state-of-the-art gear which lets the rest of us hear it so clearly? Great players and great sounding gear are an absolutely heavenly combination.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    furtim -

    So how do you get along with your mom?
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Unfortunately theory discussions on the web typically get bogged down quickly and for the most part, at least in this medium, IMO, can be very dry. For example, a debate over whether it's E# or F or the notes contained in an obscure chord. There's nothing wrong with that, if it's your thing, but don't expect a big crowd. There's a couple of fourums here where you're more than free to discuss these thing. Some theory discussions give new meaning to the word "anal". Sounds like big fun to me:D

    Not everyone has the ability to convey ideas in print with the same impact as actually seeing or hearing someone demonstrate the same thing. I thing that's a huge part of why you don't see it as much on the web.

    And as usual :D I don't think this has anything to do with collecting. You can have the same emotional investment in one bass that you can have in several. My analyst tells me that, while my mother did actually envy me because I was indeed taller than she, buying multiple basses only reinforced the fact that, no matter how many basses I buy, I'll never be a native Norwegian. I know... sad but true.

    Fagen ragging on Tom Barney?...too funny. I guess that means Becker's mom must have burned him with cigarettes (he has Sadowskys;))

    Anyone should understand that we're dealing with the entire spectrum of skill levels and expectations, too. Not everyone here wants to be a Rock star or studio ace or local legend, some people just want to play for their enjoyment... I hope there's nothing wrong with that.

    Whether people realize it or not, educational questions here tend to garner more than their fare share of snide comments. Think that may have an effect on future questions? I do. People feel strongly against tab and take every opportunity to rag on requestors... why, I don't know. If you've taken the initiative to learn how to read, kudos. I don't recall being taught that the need to bitch at those who haven't was part of the curriculum:D

    Here's a possibly sinister thought... maybe people frequent the gear forums simply seeking info on a potential purchase:eek: I see a lot of that. To draw on the collective experience of the board. Why do some make the assumption that because people aren't asking theory questions here they aren't asking theory questions or working on it? I haven't asked a single theory question here...what does that say about me?

    The best teachers pique curiousity. Find a way to make the discussion fun and I'll bet participation goes up. Much easier said than done.

  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I don't find this to be true at all for me. I learned how to play long before I got decent gear.

    For anyone looking for that "one" bass that they will "master"...dream on. There will always be something else to learn;) Gear is not a substitute for practice but I don't think participation in gear threads means you're trying to find one. As always, I could be wrong.

    Think about it....the logic can be faulty. If I ask a question at about my washing machine, does it mean I'm more concerned with appliances than the rest of my house...or does it mean I have a question about my washer? YMMV
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Naw, I don't think it's sad at all. I think it's quite logical and I'll explain. I can get access to all kinds of help on technique, style, and technical info. free on the web or on video or CD with book inexpensively. HOWEVER, I can't get access to the experience of using the wide world of basses, amps, strings, effects, picks, et al. Even the few product demo files I can download sound pitiful on a PC/Mac. Coming here often gives me an idea of the merits and downsides of gear. I don't know of any music stores who will put up with anyone coming in every couple of days to just try out equipment unless you've bought a harem of their stuff.
    Moreover, there are a lot of us who have been playing since Portaflexes where one of THE amps to have and before that. Consequently, we're pretty much past the days when our abilities improve by leaps and bounds and our advances are measured in inches. One way to keep it fresh is to stay highly interested in the exploding technology of bass. Know whuttah mean ?

    [Edited by rickbass1 on 11-26-2000 at 03:15 AM]
  18. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    Munji: I love me mum. Which I guess explains why my GAS isn't so bad as others. =D
  19. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I will disengage from Lurkdom...just long say "kudos to Brad"...for a Most Excellent Post! :)
  20. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    snip::I don't know of any music stores who will put up with anyone coming in every couple of days to just try out equipment unless you've bought a harem of their stuff. end snip::

    This store Guitar Works Inc. in Indy lets me try out whatever i want every other weekend & i'm yet to buy more than a cord & picks there. However the sales guy knows that if they treat us well even if we're just there to try stuff out they'll eventually get my business. If that Dean 6 is still there by the time i get the cash & amp to handle it it's coming home with me. [getting ashbory, then amp, then some sort of 6 bass or guitar]. So much new gear that i don't own & don't have the money for lets me get info about it so that i can a. dream, b. save. Technique: i just bought 2 more method books-1 on the fretboard to improve my reading & 1 on walking lines & reading chord symbols so that i can create better harmonies & walking lines for jazz band. thats just about all the help i want unless if i am consulting a teacher on it. thast all