Keep It Cherry or Beat It?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by doc540, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. doc540


    Jul 28, 2003
    Beaumont, Texas
    My first thread here.

    If this has been discussed to death, then feel free to delete it. And my intent isn't to stoke the fires of controversy, just talk about things, ok?

    Something's happened to me in the last couple of months.

    First, I dinged my semi-cherry(?) '69 Jbass at the weekly blues jam and started looking for a cheap, well playing/sounding beater.

    Bought an Essex J copy. I'm stoked with it.


    I took my 13 year old daughter and two of her giggling friends to the Van's Warped Tour in Houston weekend before last.

    I saw some, many actually, guitars just getting thrashed. I mean, chipped, skinned, taped, pounded, played like job site pry bars.

    One kid in Letter Kills had tone to die for and nearly played the strings off his guitar, but it was terribly abused in the process. It looked like puredee JUNK.

    Got me to thinking....


    Maybe I should chill out a bit with this beater I bought and not get an@l about it. You know, just play it and quit worrying?

    So, I took the first step in that direction by slapping a red Letter Kills decal on the pickguard. Whooooahhh....

    I hope some of you can appreciate just what a big step that was for me. ;)

    So, whaddya think?
  2. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    If it were me, I'd play your instruments and not worry about dings. On the other hand, I wouldn't go out and intentionally inflict damage on them. I think a bass that is worn from being played every day is sexy, but beating one with a hammer is a crime.

    Just my opinion, feel free to ignore it.
  3. Mike A

    Mike A

    Oct 3, 2002
    Welcome Doc -
    I can relate. I just got a Marcus Miller Jazz in trade from a fellow TBer.. and, tiny hairline scratches and pickguard use aside, it's pristine. On the other hand, I have my LPB SX Jazz that I don't "baby" at all. I don't use it as a hammer or a prybar either, mind you.. but it gets no special treatment.

    Good thing too, as I took it along to a gig 2 weeks ago as a backup in a cheap $20 Fender gigbag I grabbed a while back - no padding - just a bag. I threw it over my shoulder as always and SNAP! ... the strap gave away. Naturally, this sent the bass' headstock in a big overhand motion down onto the pavement. (This is one of the reasons I don't rely on gigbags, but that's another can o' worms altogether.)

    Ended up with a bent G tuner and a hairline crack in the finish on the back of the neck, originating from the end of the "skunk stripe." I figure... it's a beater.. it'll get beat when it chooses to. It needs no help from me. 'Sides.. this bass is there to take a bullet for my others, if need be... in a Secret Service kinda way.
  4. This is what used squiers are for.;)
  5. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Portland, OR
    I just use my basses, regardless of price. I buy to PLAY. If I have to buy a junker just so I can play out, I didn't buy the right bass in the first place.

    I heard a story that Keith Roscoe (Of Roscoe basses) sold a guy a bass. He saw it again some years later in CHERRY condition, and was... furious. He was upset because not a scratch or dent meant it wasn't gettting out and played, and was just babied all the time.

    I kinda take the same view. I shouldn't be afraid to bring a bass to a gig for fear of mussing it. Drops, dings, dents, scratches and rash are part of the game. I just get basses that can contend with that.

    No display pieces.

    I say keep taking the '69 out and having FUN with it.
  6. bill h

    bill h Guest

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    Do you collect them or play them? I play the H*ll out of mine and they look it also. But I've never ever did harm to one on purpose! (if you did you should not be aloud to have one)
  7. doc540


    Jul 28, 2003
    Beaumont, Texas
    Dang, Brendan!

    You really know how to push my buttons.

    That '69 sounds soooooooo good and plays like...
    well, like......

    I'm at a loss for words it plays to good.

    I mean, I've been playing it for over thirty years. We just fit.

    And now I'm gonna start cheatin' on her?!!

    What have I gone and done now?
  8. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    My basses are bought to be played. That's what I do. On the other hand, I take as good care of them as possible. I wipe them down after I gig, never leave them in weird weather situations, etc. All my basses are high end stuff and when it comes down to reselling a bass, condition is very important. I once had an old G&L that I didn't care about. No case, stickers for days, practically no finish. Then again, I paid $90 for it. We're all a little different. Some of us have pride of ownership, some of us throw are stuff in the corner when we get home!:D

  9. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    I suppose like most people if you pay what you consider hard earned money for something, you tend to take care of it. Unless you are exclusively a collector, MO is that you play it, if it has the tone and feel you like. I mean why not? Are you keeping it pristine with the possibility, however unlikely, that you may sell it one day? If so I understand your treatment. If you are a player, then you should play it. If you sell to a player they will be less concerned with its cosmetic condition, and more concerned with its tone and playability. I'd buy an ugly beater if it had killer tone....wouldn't you??
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I'm schizophrenic on this issue :D

    If a bass is in great shape when I get it, I do try to keep it that way. Some dings are to be expected, I don't lose sleep over it.

    It the bass is already beat up looking when I get it, I do feel less inclined to baby it. However, I still don't go out of my way to inflict further damage :cool:

    Playing the URB helped me put it in perspective. Both my URBs are used, have a lot of play wear and have had many repairs, yet they sound and play great.

    Getting sweet deals on basses and amps because of cosmetic issues also helped turn me around :D A "cherry" 62 P-Bass would cost about $5000; mine was stripped, refinned natural and has honest wear...saved me $3500. Plus I don't have to freak out over taking it out to play :p
  11. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Don't baby your bass regardless of it's age or value. An instrument is merely a tool of expression. I believe that like all tools (automobiles included) it is only designed to achieve it's intended goal. Sure, asthetics may be important to some people but at the end of the day, I just want my bass to sound good.
  12. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    Play that puppy! I like to take good care of my axes too, but I didn't buy them just to look at them.

    Don't get me wrong - I don't like to see my gear get damaged, so I always try to use proper stands and hard cases. And I would hesitate to take an irreplaceable vintage or custom bass to certain gigs. (That is, if I had such a bass!)

    I always take my #1 bass to gigs. It's the basis of my sound. I might take my #4 (beater) bass to a lesson, or a friend's house for a private drunken jam. But out in public, it's #1.
  13. Scott D

    Scott D Guest

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    yeah, i like the looks of a beat up old fender. (imagine a beat up old ibanez or yamaha, that just doesn't do it.) What would you rather have, a beat to hell 57' Fender P-bass or a absoulute cherry 57' P-bass? it just wouldn't look right as a cherry. I don't try to beat my basses or anything, but like others said, i really don't care if it does get beat up. Oh and BTW, what does "YMMV" stand for??? i've figured out everything else...
  14. Scott D

    Scott D Guest

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    how does "Your Milage May Vary" make any sense? is it supposed to mean "Your opinon might be different"?

    BTW, thanks, its been bugging me forever, so i thought i'd just ask.
  15. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Battle scars are good things.

    If you play your instrument, take it places, gig with it, it should have a few dents and a few chunks of paint missing. They tell stories...

    And as long as it sounds good, why do looks matter?
  16. bass_man86


    Apr 29, 2002
    Virginia Beach
    I may not have have some of the high price gear that some of the other subscribers do, but still, I prize my basses. I own a wonderful vintage Rick, and I still play it often. Do I exercise care with my basses? Certainly, but I do not sweat my basses being totally original or any of that fluff. I am an active musician even though I relegated myself to amateur status long ago, and I like all of my basses to work as intended because I play every day. If one gets dinged in the process, so be it!

  17. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna Guest

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Yeup, I agree with all of the above posts that state that an instrument is a tool that allows you to express yourself. And yes, I also don't inflict any damage on purpose (unless you count replacing pickups, hardware, or taking the occasional router to a bass to make modifications....), but I don't baby them either.

    I absolutely agree that I love it when they actually start to show some wear and tear, that shows that the have been played. My `71 p-bass is really "broken in", and I just love it!

    Don't go crazy and get all an@l about it, but do take care of it, when it starts to show some wear, that makes it even better!

  18. iplaybass


    Feb 13, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Word. I buy basses for ME. Not for the next guy who might own it. I got a new Warwick a couple months ago, and after about two weeks of babying I finally realized that I was just wasting my time. Just play that thing, man. Have fun with it. :bassist:
  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I own some nice basses. It hurts a little when one gets a ding, and I try to keep them as clean as possible. But if you are playing the instrument, it is going to get dinged eventually. That's part of playing.
  20. Mike A

    Mike A

    Oct 3, 2002
    Wow... how many people can say the same exact thing but change just enough words to make it sound somewhat like an original idea? Just curious.
    And to clarify.. I don't baby my basses either, but the Marcus Miller's new to me.. and quite purdy. I'd like it to stay that way for a while. :D