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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Sep 5, 2019.
I too, need a versatile bass for a variety of different music. I have 3 basses, and I lean HEAVILY on one that is able to get 99% of jobs done. I like my G&L L2000. Active and passive as well as a ton of tonal options.
I feel your pain. I have 7 basses and I play at a large church with trouble in the low end. Between 60HZ and about 75HZ, the sound turns to mud in the room. Every room is different. I usually play my James Tyler 5 string but we have trouble with that bass. I should say the engineer prefers a different sound than what I am supplying. I have 3 Sire basses, 2 5's and a 4 string. We found that the Sire basses sound pretty good and are very even across the fretboard. We ended up with a Fender, Mexican classic 50's P bass. That sounded the best in the room and didn't present issues with the above frequencies. Sound was even, nice and thick. P bass guitars have a little special magic in them I think. BUT>>> It pains me that I have to shelf my main $$$$$ Bass guitar in favor of a $600 Fender Precision bass. I will admit though, they sound amazing all by themselves, passive and all.
...with the fresh morning dew brightly glistening on the leaves of the sweetly smelling hibiscus as its glorious red blossoms say Good morning on the cool breeze. Blanche Devereaux
First: I am NOT trying to enable hoarding. Nothing wrong with that if you can afford it, I know a guy who rarely plays out but owns 60 really cool basses. I'm happy for him.
Second: some players DO have one bass that does it all for them, and that's cool too.
For me, though: I like variety too much to settle on just one. That doesn't mean infinite variety: I'm referrring to variety of tones (also, appearance). My strong preference is for bolt-on Fender-style instruments, five strings, wide string spacing. That narrows things down a bit. My basses are mostly P-style, active and passive. I have a couple MM style, and a J style, and a dual bucker.
This year I acquired my 10th bass: it's the most I've ever owned. Probably a bit extravagant... I could whittle it down to 5 or 6 and still be happy, I think... but 10 is (barely) manageable. I keep half tuned to standard, the other half detuned half-step down, because half of my bands play in Eb tuning.
TL;DR: I learned long ago that one bass can never keep me completely happy, no matter how great that bass was. I like too many tones: traditional passive with flats to modern active with rounds. Modern/rounds can be tweaked to sound somewhat close to traditional/flats, but it never gets completely there.
P.S. No reason to feel guilty for not using your custom boutique 100% of the time.
I have narrowed it down to only 6....
+1 to @Fuzzbass comment above.
A big part of it for me is that playing a wide variety of gigs nearly requires a handful of instruments, if you want to nail the gig. Different tunings, transpositions, parts and instrumentation kind of require a few different tools.
I would love to just play one bass for everything. Cats who develop singular voices and are known for the one thing they do can do that. That’s great but doesn’t fit my gigs.
And, with some perspective over time, the other issue for me is that gigs are always changing. For example, progressive Jazz gigs have all but disappeared. So, extended range basses, which were useful in such situations, just aren’t currently as needed. Does that mean they would never be needed? Hopefully not, but who knows. Anyhow, I’m not dumping mine. Too much time on them.
No, for my purposes, 5 or 6 Basses +/- is a working selection.
I narrow it down to two basses those I have three. Main bass for church is my Atkinson P-bass which I put in Bart's pickup in and use my Ibenez 5 string with upgraded pickups and EQ (Bart's) too for home.
I have 24 basses at the moment but my Yamaha's and G&L's and my Mij 62 RI jazz would stay. One bass for everything..when in doubt I tote a 78 Yamaha BB1000 and the Jazz or the G&L.. or the ........... I love them all
I agree about not feeling guilty about not always using the boutique. I recently found that the new Squier Classic Vibe Fretless Jazz gets the sort of less glassy fretless tone that subs well for a fretted bass. Why not use one?
I was a one-bass player for years on an EBMM sterling 5, but I picked up a Squier CV P bass for something dull and thumpy, and I’m happy to have the option. Could probably make do with the Sterling, but the variety keeps things fresh, and also changes the way I approach the music. I like the idea of using only one bass in principle, but I’m spoiled now, and will never go back.
Hah! "Four basses is a lot of basses". I wish I could live with that philosophy. Just like music is a lifelong pursuit, your bass experimentation can be as well.
While I don't subscribe to the one bass method, I can applaud players I know who do. Freddy Washington almost exclusively uses a Fender Precision he bought when he was in high school, and there is no doubting his wide ranging musical success. Jimmy Johnson has used an Alembic for virtually his entire career, and he and that bass have done it all.
In the end, I think it may be important for the player to establish their own "sound", and whatever bass that allows for that is "the right" bass. One last thing, never underestimate the player's input in creating variability in the sound. A good musician can manipulate a single instrument to sound like many.
I could never have just one bass, since I play fretless for some things and fretted for others. But, I don't own a fretted bass at the moment, so my StingRay has to do most of the heavy lifting.
I had a Pedulla MVP fretted 4. Great bass overall. I just couldn't make it sound the way I liked.
I also had a Ken Smith EG4 - top of the line. Amazing craftsmanship.
Some gigs, it sang. And some had me diddling the EQ all night.
I do not consign to the one bass does it all. I'd rather say one bass does it all somewhere. It's a matter of personal preference. Jamerson used one bass and it always sounded the same. It was all he needed.
Once I've done a venue I can effectively choose which bass to bring to get maximum return. Otherwise I take a proven opener and see how it goes.
If you can get exactly what you want from one instrument with no desire to change, then stay with it.
I have a bunch, whittled down thru the years, that I enjoy because they each have their own character, whether it's tone or playing comfort. They each enhance my efforts in their own way.
Keep whatever ones you keep reaching for. These are the tools you need to present your music. Guilt free. Add as required.
For my garden variety of rock, pop and general music, a 5 string US Deluxe Active Jazz or Precision Bass can really cover it all.
It is the same with women, the most attractives ones don't always make the best life partners.
ThatStingray is a beauty! The best sounding fretless I ever played was a Music Man Sabre with an unlined board that I played around 1982. It sounded fretted slapped but it could get the classic fretless tones too. Unfortunately, I was a broke student at the time.
That is all.
Yep...have to agree. I've used my Franken P on everything from Neil Diamond to Jimi Hendrix.