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My Rob Allen bass got me BANNED...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gkintn, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. gkintn


    Mar 6, 2005
    Really. I've been playing a quite bit lately with a bluegrass band, mostly doing outdoor festivals. Been using my Rob Allen MB-2 fretless which sounds great. I don't own an upright, and really love the compact portability of the Rob Allen along with my G-K MB150s amp.

    Anyway, last weekend after our second set at a multi band outdoor festival the promoter has a talk with our band leader. Seems the promoter had 3 complaints from folks in the audience who claimed the festival was supposed to be "all acoustic" music, and that I was playing an electric bass. Later I had our band leader point out that about half of the bands were using uprights with pickups, making my bass really no more electric than those basses. Heck, some of the uprights (with pickups) that day sounded more nasal and "electric" than my bass. Also the promoter said that an "acoustic guitar bass" ala a flat-top guitar type bass with a pickup would be "OK". At that point I was quite put off, I mean my bass actually sounds much more "acoustic like" than just about any flat-top bass out there, let alone a fretted one. Seems some ultra traditionalists in the audience were listening with their eyes. Apparently if it "looks" like an acoustic guitar, somehow you can get away with it... ***!

    Anyway, our band leader asked if the bass would keep the band from playing the festival next year and they said it would. Our band leader was quite pissed, and really doesn't care to come back anyway if that's how the promoter handles such things. Pretty ironic because overall our sets were well received and we sold about 40 CDs at the record table that weekend.

    If this ever comes up again I may consider having Rob Allen cut an F hole into my bass. At least then it will "look" a little more "acoustic like".

    On second thought, maybe I'll just make some stick-on F holes, or a stick-on "sound hole". I pretty good with scissors and black electrical tape. Jeeeeesss.... :meh:
  2. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I'm surprised you've gotten away with it for as long as you have. Those bluegrass purests are friggan nuts. You should have been there when I showed up at one of those things with a Tobias Classic 5
  3. i like tictacs

    i like tictacs

    Feb 2, 2004
    You should have seen when I walked into a festival with my Taylor acoustic! How the heads turned!
  4. gkintn


    Mar 6, 2005
    I've only played about 6 gigs so far, so I didn't get away it for very long. I do run a wireless, and not sure if that adds to the problem or not. I don't run around like crazy with it, I just like to walk out with the rest of the band and not have to stop and "plug-in".

    Maybe I should mount the unit internally, so that there are NO wires, hmmm.

    Maybe at the festival they thought my wireless was an alien transponder unit, destined to take control of me to start playing ACID ROCK at any second, being beamed down from an enemy space ship.

    Heck the band leader gets away with a Guild acoustic, and the prior bass player had a stand up totally solid body bass that looked more like an ironing board than a bass. That bass player never got banned. Maybe they didn't like my hair...

    I guess this particular promoter allows the "flat top acoustic guitar basses" because they look like another guitar or something.
  5. If they have a go at you again, just agree to do an accoustic set, then go beat the hell out of the sound man and smash up all the PA equiment, see how they like the pure accoustic sound in a big outdoor festival :smug:
  6. Get yourself a fretless made by the bluegrass legend himself, Steve Wishnevsky and they won't ban you...(your band might, however...hehe)

    Yes, people, mr. wish is an accomplished bluegrass banjo player...HONEST :eyebrow:

  7. Hmmm, worked for Paul Gilbert in his early Mr Big days - he had stick on 'F' holes on his Ibanez guitars...... :D
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Hey, if it's clearly stated in the rules that your type of instrument is allowed to be played and they still refuse your group entry because of it, you have a lawsuit on your side. Have a lawyer friend (or a friend that's a good actor ;)) pay them a visit and state that a complaint will be filed if they don't allow you in. Chances are the festival is not going to want to go to court over what kind of bass you're playing.
  9. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Just write Martin on the headstock...not only will they let you in, they'll offer you big money for it. Trad bluegrass people are a little peculiar. BTW, the mandolin player Johnny Statts is from my town...he uses an electric bassist and a drummer.
  10. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Actually, I think they fear horizontal strings of that size. If you where to put your bass on a spike and play it vertically they wouldn't say a word.
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    My reaction is one of mirth and horror. We all keep hearing about how showing up with a 6 string at retro motown gigs will get funny looks, but this is the first time I've heard of someone's bass actually costing them the gig (well, future engagements, anyway).

    Tell them to blow it out their ear.
  12. You could always hide behind the stage and play, and get a friend to play bass on stage, his bass consisting of a plank of wood and a single bit of string, you guys would be an instant success :smug:
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    It's SO HARD for people to listen with their ears, isn't it?

    I, too, am choosing not to haul my upright around. After all, when you put a pickup on it, it's not really "acoustic" any more. I went a similar route with a Wendler bass. Like the Rob allen, it sounds very much like an upright. Yet, the first time I took it to my big band gig everyone wanted to know where the upright was. Some of them came around after hearing it, but I bet there are a couple who still thikn the upright is the only way to go.

    True, nothing sounds like an upright. The thing is, for most gigs, it really doesn't make that much difference. If I was touring or recording then maybe, but for gigs in this little town, no big deal.

    It's also cuious that the people who want you to bring the upright, head, cab, etc, are peple who walk in with a trumpet. I like to be able to walk in in one trip as well.
  14. I grew up before there was "bluegrass" music. My father was a "hillbilly" DJ, having grown up in the mountains of Virginia and learning to be a radio man in the Marine Corps in the early 30s. I am torn by the "purity" issue. On the one hand I see garbage like Kenny Chesley and Tim McGraw passed off as country music and I understand how the purists feel. On the other hand I recall that drummers were banned from the Grand Ole Opry until Bob Wills refused to play without his drummer on stage. I play dobro, among other instruments, and it seems to be acceptable with bluegrass purists despite the fact that the different resonators on it and banjos were invented in the 1920s as an amplifier in order to be heard over the horns and woodwinds that were popular in big jazz bands at the time. I love the sound of a plucked double bass, but I don't want to play one, care for one or haul one around. I hate the sound of a mandolin and think that Bill Monroe did a disservice to country music in not playing a fiddle like any reasonable mountaineer would. Frankly, a lot of the competitive, holier than thou malarky that goes on at bluegrass festivals is no different than lots of other social events that have lost sight of having fun. If you concentrate on the music and entertaining the fans I think you can be successful while ignoring the venues that don't want you. Asleep at the Wheel is one of the most successful bands in existence considering their 35 year history. I remember Ray Benson being asked one time what attracted him to western swing and he said he grew up wanting to wear cowboy hats and play jazz. Develop your own niche and forget about that venue.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    The Acoustic Police are on patrol , watch out :ninja: . Did MTV have anyone like this to check out the bands for Unplugged when they used to do that?, if they still did it sounds like a job for this bluegrass fellow.Those Rob Allen basses are really great , their hollow arent they?.I would deffinetly get one if i was doing alot of that kind of playing. I wonder how my bass i use for Acoustic Gigs and Jams would have went over http://www.talkbass.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=18189 .
  16. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999

    Just use photoshop to create a f hole graphic that you can temorarily apply to the bass :D
  17. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    Beautiful, best advice yet. The "fake" bassist should also be wearing a red gingham shirt, coveralls, straw hat, and have a long piece of grass hanging out of his mouth. Very trad.
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings

    That's what I would suggest, too.
  19. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I guess that means you should definitely leave the Explorer bass at home.
  20. I like to call these "furniture gigs" ... bass players get hired for the LOOK of their double bass and the ambience IT adds to the event more that the music itself.

    I'm in the same boat playing my NS Designs CR5M electric upright ... there is no way I could get hired for many Jazz gigs with this "electric" bass.

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