Older players - have you found the need to slow down and turn down?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by SBassman, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I thought this might be an interesting discussion.

    I turned the big 5-0. Over the past 18 months, I have really been feeling the desire to:
    - Get into a lower volume, less equipment situation
    - Get into a band playing more restaurant gigs instead of pure bar gigs - in other words, the 8 or 9 - 12 gigs instead of the 10 - 2 gigs.

    I have no desire to lug tons of equipment, nor do I have the desire to participate in a band who finds it necessary to do that.
    I have no desire to lose any more of my hearing. I like playing situations that are lower volume where we can very, very comfortably hear each other. I also think there is a strong clientele out there who wants the same thing - nice music in the background that doesn't prevent having a conversation at the table.

    Anybody go through this slow down, turn down phase later in life while still staying active musically? Lots of people at this point utter the "been there, done that" thing and just bail completely from live play.

  2. rhino333

    rhino333 Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Western NY State
    I've been "down sizing" for a while now. Running either an Ampeg PF500 rig or a GB Shuttle 9.0. As long as I can get the sound I want and the volume, I'm good with it. If they DIDN'T cut the mustard, I wouldn't use them.

    For gigs, I've found more money at the "happy hour" gigs and there are more gigs available, but I always try to work with a smaller group (duo, trio) in those situations.
  3. BritFunk


    Jan 8, 2009
    My Friends,

    After a sketchy repair of a torn distal bicep tendon in my right arm and another recent partial tear in the left one, I don't have the option of sherping around huge, heavy cabinets. All of the gear we are acquiring is lightweight, clean and clear, though not necessarily excessively loud.

    With a family and day job, the prospects of earlier gigs are far more appealing (I am 43, BTW). Especially the mid-week gigs - nothing like rolling home at 2 a.m. and then needing to be at work by 6. I'll leave that to you youngsters. :D

    My current band is a three-piece, concentrating on rock and pop music from 80's through today. Yeah, playing 3-piece makes it interesting at times, but the addition of a Fishman Fission pedal helps, as does a willingness to think outside the box and to approach songs from unconventional arrangements. The end result is fewer guys to get to rehearsal, to need to learn the material, to get to come to a consensus on decisions, and to split the pay with at the end of the night.

  4. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    ***k no! :p Well...yes kind of. I did this a few years back sold of the 5 strings my big rig and went to simple 300w combo's and a P bass. I still use the P basses and now even have a fancy Markbass rig I can carry with one hand. My oldest band plays in nice places with well behaved crowds, easy load ins and we play 2 hours tops for decent pay for an originals band.

    But.....After almost 4 years of that it's getting a little old. I said to myself I might only have a couple good years (or months) left to really rock out so I picked up with two much younger gals. One is a hard hitting drummer the other a guitar player/singer and me on bass. We play originals, noisy ,garage, indie rock all loud and snotty in very much in your face.
    I have heavier equipment but still keep it decent and play thru effects now at ear aching volume...love it. Oh yea... will be 51 right after the new year..God willing
  5. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i'm 56 and still lug 200lbs of gear to gigs, FTW! i tried the "Mini Rigs of Doom" for awhile, but my ol' school stuff just pounds with headroom to spare!:bassist:
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Yep. I started trending that way about ten years ago, progressively handing off more and more of the loud/late shows that I used to mix or play perfectly happily. Around that time the wineries here took off, so I have been able to keep playing and actually have had more possibility of playing music I love (jazz mostly) once in a while. If my 112 won't cut it on the gig, I'll pass these days.

    Every once in a while I definitely still enjoy playing obnoxiously loud. I tend to do so at open mikes or my neighbor's house, where i don't need to carry in a van load of my own gear. ;)
  7. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    I play with two different group of guys. One is a 3-piece that's more blues & classic rock stuff. Lower volume, and play more dinner hour stuff. The other is an original heavy rock that's earplugs required. So I have the best of both worls. Use the same amp for both. 20lbs +/- and 1500W. Volume reqiurements dictate 1 or 2 fearful cabs.....Still lightweight.
  8. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I like lighter gear nowadays, but as far as volume goes I still enjoy playing the same soul/disco/funk stuff we've always done at sort of club volume to get people up and dancing. No desire to do much more of the quiet stuff here at the magic age of 50.
  9. Nope!
  10. Yes and no. I'm 56, and I've been downsizing for the jazz and theatre jobs, but the whole rig still goes out to the rock gigs. Yeah, every piece of gear feels heavier than it used to, and yeah, I don't quite leap around like a madman as in the past, but I'm still in there!
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    53 here. Downsize? Yes. Been there, done that. Get quieter? I've always been a proponant of moderate volume but yeah, I'd like to get quieter by means of playing with musicians who know how to play quieter and not have their volumes on 10 all the time!!

    As for volume with micro amps (Markbass, Genz Benz) and cabs (GK Neo's, Genz 410T-XB[heavy gear holdover]).......I have more than enough volume to compete with any guitarist if need be. If I can't then the guitarist is just stupidly loud for no reason at all! But I don't have that issue since I don't play that style of music nor am I in that type of band.
  12. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    After I tore a left biceps muscle removing a 100Lb speaker cab from the back of my truck a couple of years ago I had to start scaling down the gear to something that packs performance punch but doesn't involved heavy lifting. The orthopedic surgeon decided not to repair the muscle since it wasn't giving me pain. So with 1 good bicep on that side I've had to adapt to doing what I am capable of. As for gigs, I play more often now that I don't have to lug a big rig around. And volume wise-I have enough that I usually have to turn it down to keep everyone happy.
  13. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Moved to lightweight gear. Still like to play loud and fast til 2am!
  14. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    Medium volume is best. If people want to talk, they should go somewhere without live music. But earplugs for everyone in the audience should not be necessary either.
  15. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I'm only 41, but I really like my lightweight neo cabs way more than the heavy Ampeg rig I used to lug around. I also like quieter gigs nowadays, but nothing too sedate.
  16. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    I'm 48, and I'm pushing harder than ever... I won't go quiet into that good night!
  17. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Heck yeah. I'm 62 and have been enjoying my Markbass stuff for about four years. I don't wanna haul heavy stuff anymore. I also play in three bands that, surprisingly, find local gigs, all three of them. Most of it is early, like 8-12. AND we don't play so loud. If one starts to, I let 'em know real fast. I'll gig as long as I can handle it, though. Better enjoy it now because it could all be over tomorrow. Maybe I have 20 more years, though, but I bet NOT.

    I'm also getting to play stuff I like more now, instead of being just a mercenary like I was for so long.
  18. tmdazed


    Sep 29, 2012
    I still like loud and crazy gigs at 46, haven't found anything yet that I need more than my 4x10 and head for , plenty o head room and the strummers have to struggle to keep up. I still jump around and make a general ass of myself, but that's what its all about no? hauling all the frigging gear is a chore and it takes me a day or 2 to get over that , but I look back at all the Martin butterfly bins and JBL mids and highs I hauled and stacked back in the day(we had 4 bins, 4 mids and two highs plus about 12000 watts worth of the old amps and crossovers), my EV subs and combo mid highs and single 1200 watt amp and little 16 channel mixer , it aint so bad
  19. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I had a bandleader for a few years that really spoiled me, and I haven't found a similar situation since.

    No lights. No subs. Two plastic, light mains for the vocals.
    That's it. Guitar, keyboard, and bass went through their own amps.

    We played at a very controlled volume. It was always so easy to hear each other.

    We could tear that down and be driving away 15 minutes after the gig. No ringing in the ears on the way home. It was great.

    I really miss that. Since then, I have encountered nothing less than maniacs that can't enjoy a gig unless everyone's ears are bleeding and we're lugging multiple monster subs, along with a light show. For me, personally, at my age, it really sucks the fun out of live play.

    I can't tell you how many times, in my area, I have watched loud bands chase patrons right out of a restaurant/bar.
    It has amazed me.

    I continue to look for the matching band. They're out there for me - they're just hiding. :)
  20. lbbc

    lbbc Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Seaford , DE
    I'm 54 and have recently sold my huge bass rig and bought a GB 212 neo w/Carvin 600 watt head (light weight but still get the sound I want and have the headroom to play all size gigs).
    Getting ready to purchase the plastic boxes on stands for p.a. mains. I've found that very few people care how much gear you have...it's just if they can hear the vocals and dance to your set lists. Also, one set of 4 led lights on a stand. 20 min set up and tear down...love it. Sure beats lugging tons of equipment 1-2 hr set ups and 1 hr load outs.
    I don't really think of it as slowing down...just working smarter!