Looks, or Sound for live work

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by paulears, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. I'm old, ancient and grey - I've always been keen on some of my basses and less keen on others, but I bought (because of a good deal) a Fender American Jazz 5 string, and it was never a favourite. Heavy and just unwilling to play happily with my usual lowish action - so I started to use it for live shows that were 60s/70s rock and roll, where the ability to pay hard with the higher action worked. Then I saw the coloured fluorescent strings, and with the LED lighting they looked great, so for the first time in my life, I replaced a perfectly good set of strings with another. Never bought any bass strings before! They were a bit duller, but I got taken by the look in the pictures people would post on facebook.

    Last week, the stand collapsed and it smashed face down on the floor, and just broke the jack socket - bent it out of shape. I played the gig on my spare which was the 'retired' low action, comfy to play one. After the gig the keys player said the bass sounded much better, then our sound guy came and said the same thing. They think I should play the spare permanently. In my heart I know they're right, but I like the look of the Fender. Putting coloured strings on the spare is pointless, it will spoil the tone, I know. To musicians, the best sound is priority but to the public, is a pretty guitar better ...... enough.

    I'm expecting you all to say dump the colours, scrap the Fender and play the better bass, but something just makes me want to remain being stupid. I know I'm being irrational, and possibly it's just old man syndrome - but the Fender's just a pretty guitar with the silly strings. Ironically, we're a tribute band, and the bandleaders brother was in the original band, and he said the other day he'd seen an idiot with coloured bass strings in a tribute picture on the net, and our bandleader had to reveal it was me - which makes me even more determined to keep them!

    So - stay with the silly colours, or have a better playing experience and better tone?
    Stumbo likes this.
  2. Tekkers


    Dec 16, 2018
    Depends... why not both?

    If you enjoy playing the Jazz (and I’m totally with you on deliberate silly aesthetics to stand out and wind people up), then maybe work out what it is about the tone that’s lacking and take steps to improve it?

    Could be as simple as new pots, pedals or settings, or a pickup swap or something.

    Also, what do you feel about the tones?
    It’s so subjective, that I wouldn’t go changing based on someone else’s words if you think the tone you’ve got is fine and works for the band you’re in.

    What is the ‘sensible’, retired bass, out of interest?

    Either way I’d say stick with the Jazz. If the tone isn’t quite right it can always be fixed, but if you don’t feel good (and looking the part, playing the role you want to have on stage is a huge part of that), you’ll feel less comfortable.
    And anyway, this whole Rick and roll game is supposed to be fun.

    Shine on, you crazy diamond.
    Nashrakh and Stumbo like this.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Yeah..."fix" the tone on the J. That'll teach'em! :thumbsup:
  4. To be fair, I do like the sound of the Jazz with the silly strings. A couple of songs end with a low Eb, and one a low D and that sounds great on the Jazz. So I'm swinging to the jazz now?
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  5. Whatever makes you happy.