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Keyboardist/sound man wants me to pick one bass to play. Jealousy or does he have a point?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Greg_S, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Greg_S

    Greg_S Supporting Member

    As you can see by my feedback score, I like to try a lot of different basses. I'm fortunate enough to have been blessed with a tolerant wife and a successful career that affords me to have this one indulgence in my life.

    I play in an 8 piece country band where we use the keyboard player as our sound guy. He generally does a good job with our mix - no complaints from me. I like to use our rehearsal time as an opportunity to try out the basses I acquire. I've become pretty good at determining which ones sound good with the band and which ones don't. The ones that don't, I move along.

    Some time ago, the keyboard/sound guy made a snarky comment to me, after seeing me parade yet another different bass to a gig or practice; that I "should pick one bass and play the crap out of it." The only reason I can come up with for this outburst is his jealousy of my position in life. I am a successful entrepreneur where-as he is dirt poor, thinks life has crapped on him, yet he's god's gift to piano playing and EVERYONE sucks in the band but him.

    This week, he reared his ugly head again. This time however, he tried making the case to the BM, who is a very close friend of mine, that I should ONLY play ONE bass because my bringing different basses to the gig or practice plays havoc with his setting the scenes on the board and that he is forced to EQ each of my basses at each gig instead of setting and forgetting my sound settings.

    I call BS on this as each gig requires EVERY band member to be EQ'd for each venue as they're all different. Unless you're playing the same venue every time, I don't see how that's a viable objection. I don't believe you can set scenes and expect them to sound the same at different venues. But, I could be wrong.

    What I want to know from you all is, am I wrong about the jealousy part or does he have a point and should I just pick one bass? FYI, that doesn't sound like much fun for me.

    Thoughts? I'd really like to know what you would do or say about this.
    ColdEye likes this.
  2. stylonpilson


    Jun 30, 2008
    Reading, UK
    While I agree that you need to re-EQ for each venue, I can see that having a different starting point would make it even more complicated.

    This quote of yours seems a bit telling:

    "should I just pick one bass? FYI, that doesn't sound like much fun for me."

    Are you sure that your keyboard player doesn't have a point? It sounds like you're more in love with trying out different basses than actually playing music.

    AndyLES, petey293, DrayMiles and 17 others like this.
  3. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    He may or may not have a point. Outside of switching basses, is your signal generally processed after leaving the bass the same way every gig?

    Switching basses can cause differences in the sound depending on how far off they are from each other. Switching from a passive jazz bass to an active Spector, isn't going to sound the same. But if both basses were being processed through the same Sansamp or other pre-amp, that might smooth out a drastic sound change.

    At the end of the day, he is likely overboard with his "issue," as you've said it, the board needs a fresh EQ each gig anyways. I can't say where his issue is truly stemming from, it's hard to say.

    I don't know about you though, but from a technique perspective, i like to use the same bass consistently. Switching basses all the time is kind of unnecessary. If you've found one that suits the group, why not just stick with it? While your keys guy may be a bit unreasonable, i can see the value in using largely the same gear for each gig. Plus, constantly acquiring new basses does make you look like a bit of a mid-life crisis, but that's an opinion.

    One thing i can say with certainty is that switching basses frequently will surely not add any value to the group, and can only take away really.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  4. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    In his shoes, I wouldn't mind if you played multiple basses each gig or if you brought new ones each night—as long as you had your tones and volumes dialed in for the songs.

    If I were wearing multiple hats as musician & soundman in your band, I wouldn't want to deal with the extra headache, though, of players endlessly changing up their gear for no good reason if they aren't taking the time to learn how to slot the new gear into the band's sound design.
  5. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Hire and pay a real sound guy to manage FOH sound. Manage your tone from the stage. Tell the keys player to pound sand. Unless he's Floyd Cramer, he's replaceable with someone who minds his own business.
  6. steve_ss

    steve_ss Shiny, let's be bad guys. Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2016
    Southern NJ, USA
    Bringing a different bass to rehearsal should not be a problem. After all, isn't the point of rehearsal is to try new things and perfect your sound for the next gig. Bringing a new bass to a gig... I can see where the sound guy might have a point about that not being a good idea.

    Are you trying new basses to make yourself happy, or are you trying to find the right sound for the band? How much time is spent at a rehearsal to set up / EQ a new bass? Are you causing the rest of the band to sit around waiting for you to get set up? Could you try out the new bass at home playing to a recording of your band to see if you like it before bringing it to rehearsal? If the rest of the band doesn't have a problem, tell the keyboard sound guy to take a chill pill and do his job. If you're making everyone else wait for you, maybe you could rethink changing basses so often.
    RSBBass, bozric, Troubadour and 10 others like this.
  7. JRA

    JRA what key? Supporting Member

    can't know if you're wrong "about the jealousy part." but: if the guy is playing keyboards and running sound: it's likely that he would appreciate 'all the help he can get' which in this case may be consistency. stylonpilson mentioned "starting point" --- may be what the guy is looking for.
  8. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Since the keys player is also running sound, it would seem to be exactly his business.

    I couldn't speak to his level of jealously, but as someone who runs sound from stage, I can tell you that it can be difficult to manage setting for an 8 PIECE band when the inputs of one member are constantly changing. A P bass one day, and the next a 6 string active 18v? Yeah, I might get a bit frustrated as well. And I'm guessing you're not just changing basses, but also amps, and maybe pedals, right?

    Now, if there was a dedicated soundman, who's only job was to mix, then I would tell him to "pound sand". But, when it's a fellow bandmate saddled with the responsibility, I'd try to accommodate.
    AndreasR, dnp41, petey293 and 20 others like this.
  9. sqlb3rn


    Apr 6, 2016
    SE US
    obviously you can do what you want, but your keyboard player kinda does have a point. I just say that because of a recent scenario in my band... we had our first gig coming up and both guitarists bought "new" guitars. a cheap-o ibanez, and an 8 string cheap-o ibanez. that's cool and all, but guitarist A sounds pretty much exactly the same tone-wise, and guitarist B with the 8 string was playing poorly because he was not used to the additional strings, so he didn't even bring it to the gig.

    still, that's cool... it's their money. I didn't say anything, but I couldn't help but question their intelligence and decision making skills. they both spent $200 on essentially nothing, when they both need noise gates, and one guitarist needs some effects for his clean parts. their investments made zero difference to our band and the 8 string guitar was not needed or used. meanwhile, their amps hiss like niagra falls and clean parts sound way too harsh and dry.

    I would just suggest make sure you are not neglecting a good tone in pursuit of GAS.
  10. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    EVERY gig you should be checking EQ before you start playing. The fact that you bring a different instrument on a different night should not be an issue.

    Frankly, I can't believe that changing basses, even during a gig, is going him to re-EQ everything, unless you are going from a mudbucker with flats to a jazz with rounds, or passive to active. But I can see that as a compromise - one bass (or as close to it as possible) per gig.
    ficelles likes this.
  11. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    The output of two different basses can be so different that the hotter one could easily send the channel into clipping. Nobody wants to mess with that while trying to play their own instrument at the same time.
    RSBBass, Twocan, Ikkir and 9 others like this.
  12. Greg_S

    Greg_S Supporting Member

    Great questions!

    Yes, I do try them first at home and deem them to be acceptable - at least at home. The point of trying them at practice is exactly as you've stated. Sometimes they don't execute well.

    As for set up time - I'm usually the first to arrive and get ready for the practice with all EQ'ing from me done. Nobody has ever had to wait for me! I often find myself waiting for them to set up, in particular the guitar players and all their equipment.

    As for making myself happy or is it for the band? It's a mixture of both. There are so many good basses out there that I find myself not at a point of mid life crisis (been there - done that already) but at a point in my life that I want to have fun because I can. My kids are grown and gone and I have no other vices but this. Also, we are not a pro band, but rather a weekend cover group, so we don't need to be super serious, just committed and do our best. BTW, nobody else in the band cares about this but him.

    Lastly, for the record as I didn't state this before, I usually do use the same bass for each gig as I find it to be the sound we need, the sound I like and I like playing it. I do bring a back up bass for every gig, but have rarely had the need to use it. It's at practice were he has an issue.
  13. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    But he's the only one running sound, right?
  14. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    As I said, a good compromise would be one bass (or as close to as possible) per gig.
    hrodbert696 and smogg like this.
  15. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    One more question: Is this guy also having to run sound at rehearsals?
    SLO Surfer likes this.
  16. steve_ss

    steve_ss Shiny, let's be bad guys. Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2016
    Southern NJ, USA
    Based on your answers, the keyboard sound guy is jealous and needs to shu... I mean, relax and learn to love life. He's wound to tight for his own good. As long as the rest of the band doesn't have a problem, have fun and enjoy. You are a lucky man. But I could be wrong, just my two cents worth of free advice.

    As a side note, what bass do you play most often, what others do you like, and what haven't worked out so well?
    Skeezix, el_Bajo_Verde and jmhaslip like this.
  17. Buy him a new keyboard, that should keep him busy and off your back for some time.
  18. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    My first suggestion was ... hire a sound guy for FOH. It was a not "pick one" suggestion ... it was hire a sound guy AND manage your tone from stage AND tell the keys player to pound sand. If you're running an eight piece from the stage and using "this is how it was set last time" sort of EQ/Mixing I'd bet it often sounds like crap. Granted, swapping instruments every song would be annoying as hell, and I'm a guy who usually plays one bass all night.

    The "mind his own business" remark comes from the fact that the guy is the keyboard player. THAT's his business ...
  19. Matt_784


    Mar 21, 2016
    I only bring two basses to practice or gigs and its usually for (1.Different tuning for each bass) or (2. one main, one backup.)
    brbadg likes this.
  20. Pumpkin


    May 19, 2016
    Washington, DC
    Do you gush over every new bass when you bust it out in practice? Do you frequently change other pieces of your gear? Do you use the same bass at a gig as you do at practice?

    You have the right to play as many different bases as you want, but for the sake of the sound guy, you should be conscious of how many changes you are making and how you present them. If your sound guy tries to look ahead and get used to your settings in practice and then you gig with a different bass, it does make more work for him. Is he trying to get the same FOH sound from every bass? In my (limited) experience as a tech, that would be a huge PITA. How often do you bring a new bass to practice or to a gig? Could you slow your roll slightly to give sound guy a break?
    Imaginary Pony, mr15x3 and smogg like this.