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It's not about the gear...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by drummer5359, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    Sometime we get caught up in the "latest and greatest", I'm as bad as anyone about it. Tonight I got a little reminder.

    If I don't have a gig my sweetie like to go see other bands and support them. Tonight a fairly well known (regionally) band was playing at my favorite local bar. The front man was playing some cheapy off brand guitar, the bassist was playing a Squier bass, I think that it was an Affinity. The drummer was playing and inexpensive imported jazz kit. Yes, they had a nice sound systen and good amps. But nothing on stage was at all flashy.

    They put on a great show and yes, they can play. That what it's all about.
  2. elmerci


    Dec 30, 2012
    To have a good gear is better but if you don't play professionaly, it's not
  3. elmerci


    Dec 30, 2012
    Yeah, it is not about a gear. It is how you sound your instrument.
  4. I agree, but I always feel more comfortable on stage playing through nice good sounding gear.
  5. A great player can make a run of the mill bass sound great. The best bass in the world will not make a mediocre player sound great.
  6. Amen.
  7. while i agree with all of this, cheap gear is so much better now than it used to be. if you pick up a cheap guitar or bass from the 60's, some of those are just unplayable. we live in a very good time for musicians on a budget! sometimes it's hard not to get caught up. thanks to the op for the reminder! man, i need to go practice......
  8. lowsideonacurve


    Feb 24, 2011
    This is true. The cheap stuff of today is leaps and bounds above what it was 40 years ago. I remember the cheap gear as being mostly junk in the early 70's. If it didn't say Fender, Gibson, or Rickenbacker on the headstock, it was just something to get you by until you could afford something better.

    Even Rickenbacker was a roll of the dice back then, my first 4001 had a rise in the fingerboard near the body that made a few frets unplayable and a faulty truss rod that broke and had to be sent back to Santa Ana for repair. The bass came back with excessive bow in the neck that couldn't be adjusted out and the rise in the fret board was still there. I made the shop swap it for another 4001 that worked fine, but the fit and finish wasn't as nice as the the one with a bad neck.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Ric's and played a 4003 yesterday that was incredible, (incredible because they make them better than in the 70's) but if it weren't for Paul McCartney, Chris Squier and Geddy Lee, I doubt the 4001 would have had more than a noteworthy reputation.
  9. lowsideonacurve


    Feb 24, 2011
    Yep, Jaco Pastorius is all the proof anyone should ever need, he took a $60 pawn shop find and made it sing.
  10. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    'Nice good sounding gear' is what you know how to do with it. If you don't have that knowledge, the gear doesn't mean a whole lot.

    'Gear IQ' is about making it sound good, regardless of what it is. If the guitars and basses are ordinary, make sure they're set up perfectly. If the amps are run-of the-mill, be sure you really know your signal chain fundamentals instead of jamming in onto 11. Anything else amounts to malpractice.

    When i go to shows, I spend about two seconds being entertained by the amps and the instruments onstage. Know what I mean?
  11. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I agree. Inexpensive gear is much better now than it was in the past. I started on guitar in the mid 1970s. My first was an Aspen Les Paul copy. I didn't know what to look for and the price was right. I soon found that it was unplayable past the 7th fret. I upgraded to a 76 Gibson Explorer and was amazed at how much better I could play. Once I made the switch to bass, I bought a Washburn B20 which was a nice bass for the money but soon found a 1974 Fender Precision that I liked much better. I still prefer MIA Fenders but have seen some MIM, Squiers and Ibanez basses that played and sounded very good, especially when you consider the price when compared to an MIA.
  12. jmverdugo


    Oct 11, 2012
    Katy TX
    I think this is very common now days in developed countries and it's a combination of Availability of the "Nice" gear, "New Developments" in the new gear and people always trying to find a short cut to get better. It's not only a Music Gear phenomenon, I play tennis and it's the same. If you grow up in a place where you can only buy online and it's a very expensive shipping process - and you are on a very tight budget - I guarantee you that you would buy the cheapest Bass with the better reviews, and stick with it ... make it sound how you want it to sound and move on to actually use it for what it's meant to: Play It! ... for a long time. Actually now that I'm thinking about maybe that is how unique "tones" appear...

    Do not get me wrong, it's nice to be able to buy "good" stuff and people can do with their money whatever makes them happy, but more often than not you see people saying that they cannot play the way they want to because their gear is holding them back, when truth is they just do not practice enough because they keep finding a problem in the arrow and not in the archer. jm2c

  13. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    If it was the gear, we all would play high end instruments ;)
  14. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Been there, done that.

    I now play half finished DIY shortscale EUB basic "prototypes" using cheap, scavenged necks I recut and profile to skinny '60s Vox-esque specs. It's still somewhat about the gear in that my basses are very inexpensive and are as much fun to play with as they are to to play. In fact, I just started building another one today using the remains of a less than satisfactory experiment.

    Edit: Got the new one working well enough to gig with. It sounds much better than the experiment the parts came from, so I'm calling it done...for now.
  15. Hah! I was almost going to post something similar to the op! In my opinion, when it comes to gear, people usually equate good with $$$. When I started playing i had dreams of owning crazy expensive high end custom basses and amp rigs. Im alot more utilitarian now. I have some nice stuff, but i hardly ever buy brand new (exception harmonicas) and i hunt for bargains, because i play other instruments and im not a millionaire yet. I buy based on playability and how its sounds. To each their own, but it makes me laugh a little when i see the guy in a bar cover band playing a bass that cost at least $3000, and he brings a couple equally expensive backups. I like to spend more time practicing, writing and recording than i do buying. But hey, if you've got the money and it makes you happy, then live the dream!
  16. edbass


    Nov 8, 2004
    I think saying “It's not about the gear...” is a little too general of a blanket statement, and that "latest and greatest" is often actually “best marketed and trendiest”.
    There is a lot of high priced garbage out there that is well promoted as the “hottest rig du jour”, and plenty of neophyte players willing to plunk down their cash to buy the right to tell people about their purchases on internet forums. ;)

    But generally speaking higher priced gear is indeed “better”, and if a player is serious enough they usually find a way to step up into the big league.

    Gear is like any tool, the operator has far more to do with its ultimate performance than the actual tool itself. That said, better tools generally have advantages over lesser tools and can often enhance the user’s ability.

    If you only need a multimeter occasionally a Harbor Freight $5 special will work just fine, but if you use one daily you should probably at least think about stepping up to a Fluke or something else of that caliber.
    Fiscal wherewithal comes into play of course; some first time wanna be electrician may drop the coin on an oscilloscope that they never figure out how to use, while a gifted solder jockey may only be able to afford a “$5 special” but can build an amp with it.

    I agree that cheap gear has got better over the years, and that a good player can make a cheapo bass/rig sound decent, however as with any tool the more proficient and professional players are generally going to gravitate towards the more professional gear.
  17. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

    I paid my dues of playing with low end gear.

  18. bolophonic

    bolophonic SUSPENDED

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I tend to equate very high-end gear with being wealthy, not necessarily with skill or talent. My gear is very high quality, but my whole rig was not expensive and it is not fancy at all.
  19. This is true. I've seen some off brand gear used at small shows and its fine.
    I started on cheap, but what i had just didnt work - the bass was crap. I got what I got cos i wanted something to work and not worry about it.
  20. funkingroovin

    funkingroovin Conquering A-D-D,and all the other notes as well!

    Apr 19, 2009
    I couldn't agree more! Gear does play a role in one's sounding good and playing well,but it's far from the determining factor.