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One Bass to do it all?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I won’t touch that one except to say that often when it comes to Basses or spouses we can get too caught up on looks to check out if our choice is really good for us. In other words, I don’t blame a bass for not working; I blame my choice.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 7:03 PM
    Frenchy-Lefty and BobDeRosa like this.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    That actually leaves out a lot of genres that might benefit from scoop mids and high end.
    Mingus_Habens likes this.
  3. PBassTX

    PBassTX Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2009
    Ft. Worth, TX
    I’m fortunate enough to have several basses to choose from. If I were forced to thin heard down to the ones that have the highest number of different but usable tones, it would be:

    Fodera Emperor Classic
    EBMM Stingray
    Sire P7 2nd Gen
    Lakland 55-02
    Reverend Triad (the only 4 string on the list)

    The Reverend Triad has 3 Jazz Bomb pickups that are absolutely silent and a 5 way switch (Think Fender Strat switch configuration). All 5 switch positions are very usable tones, but I’m considering adding a mini toggle to turn on the bridge pickup so I can use all 3 pickups or neck and bridge together, which would bring the total number of possible pickup configurations to 7.

    I have several Js and Ps (4 and 5 string) that are awesome basses that would be difficult to part with but if “tonal flexibility” were the only deciding factor and I could only have one, it would be one of the basses listed above.
    Cyborg likes this.
  4. Harold Runyan

    Harold Runyan

    Apr 27, 2015
    Ashland, KY
    I’m a slow learner, but once I get it, it usually sticks. I’ve bought and sold more basses than I care to admit. So far I’ve learned that Hofner basses are not my cup of tea. Same thing goes for acoustic and other hollow body basses. Ive learned that Warwicks made in Germany suit me really well. I’ve learned that what a bass costs doesn’t guarantee ANY specific level of performance, playability, or sound (good or bad). I’ve learned that fresh strings and string type can make a huge difference. I’ve learned that string through IS significantly different from top load, not necessarily better or worse, just different. My main 4 string bass is a Warwick Bleached Blonde Thumb from 2003. I sold 2 Bubinga Corvettes once I got Blondie because I knew I’d never play them again. My main 5 is a German Warwick Ash $$. I’m redoing a Lakland 55-01 with what I consider to be better electronics, a pick guard, and a better nut. It’s different enough to justify keeping. I also have a CIJ Geddy Lee that I like almost as much as Blondie. Not going anywhere. I have a MIM Mustang that I put Geezer Butler pickups and a Hipshot bridge on that is different enough to justify keeping. Last but not least, I rescued a Westone Concord Bass 1 from a local pawn shop. I bought it as a project fully intending to flip it and because I loved the seafoam green color. However, once I cleaned it up and replaced the strings I sold my American Precision instead. I’ll likely never pare it down to 1 bass...
    Frenchy-Lefty and Dr. Cheese like this.
  5. MovinTarget


    Jan 30, 2018
    Maryland, USA
    I've always wanted to try the MM "Big Al", I heard it had crazy tonal range.
    Jim C likes this.
  6. GonePlaid

    GonePlaid "It needs a bridge cover" Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2016
    Southeast FL
    My 1967 NR Thunderbird does do it all. I'll keep my Les Paul 5er 'cos it's cool-and rare; and my Ibanez AGB 200(semi-hollow)for a more UB tone. And my Squier VM Jaguar SS for my backup and for a coupla places we play that are really tight(I s'pose it's bad form to conk the drummer with the HS on the TBird:rolleyes:).
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  7. RichGrippo


    Sep 25, 2018
    Jonesboro, AR
    Fender American Deluxe Jazz Bass.
    So, I am the old fart type who has been playing bass for 50+ years and played pretty much everything out there at one time or another, either by owning them or trying them out in a music store. Went into a store about 5 years ago to price a Rick because my band was starting to play some Yes and I dig the trebbly sound that Chris Squire got out of his. As I was talking to the salesman, another old fart, he said "You can get pretty much the same sound out of a Fender American Deluxe Jazz Active Bass". I was of course skeptical so challenged him to do so. He grabbed one off the wall, plugged it in, fiddled with the knobs (it has five with one a dual knob, most basses have three), played with the amp a bit (a Peavey if I remember correctly) and Holy poopie! It sounded just like Squires Rick. I was blown away. The salesman said this bass can sound like anything you want it to. I proceeded to spit out some very different bass players/basses (Jack Cassidy/Gibson EBO with Jefferson Airplane, Flea/MusicMan Cutlass Graphite, McCartney/Hofner, Felix Pappalardi/EB3 with Mountain, etc. and he matched them all with just a bit of knob turning. I said "I have got to have this bass, how much is it?" "$1,800 plus tax" he said. I said "No way am I spending 1,800 on an off the shelf bass". "Well, one $1800 bass is a lot cheaper than five $900 basses." And he was right. I bought the bass, sold all my other basses (I think I had four at the time) and never looked back. With the right amount of fiddling (and a TECH21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI) I can get any sound I want for my cover band.
  8. Dr Zee

    Dr Zee

    Jul 13, 2019
    Oakland. Ca
    Here is a little mental exercise that I've used in the past.
    You wake up in the middle of the night and smell smoke, your house is on fire,
    you have time to grab one thing (probably a bass),
    which one will it be ?
    HD007 likes this.
  9. MAN I can relate. I have my Bunny Brunel fretless 5 that I started using for EVERYTHING, but realized quickly that just because I CAN do everything with one bass doesn't mean I should.
    I discovered a few things as I acquired a Thunderbird and a Squier Jazz bass along the way...
    1) I LOVE a 5 string bass. The 4 string basses are definitely great and have an awesome sound, but when I need to drop, I REALLY do like my 5
    2) I respect the need for frets - especially as a backup and lead vocalist. When I have them, I can really be sure I can focus my head to sing and not worry about intonation
    3) A backup instrument is a really worthwhile investment.

    So I'm back to loving on my Fretless Fiver, but I do have either the Jazz or the T bird on a stand behind me & I do swap them in mid-set because I do find value in having options. One bass to do it all used to be the motto until it was impossible to deny I needed more.
  10. Reminds me a lot of my Squier...
  11. Joe6Bass


    Sep 27, 2017
    Long Island
    I've only made it through 9 pages and I'm pretty sure that I've stated this before... 1) We're ALL a little nuts (those of you who deny it are merely psychopathic). 2) None of us completely agree.

    I liked a few things that I read and I didn't dislike anything. Here's my take...

    One bass to do it all?

    Tough question.

    Short answer: Did anyone ever see the movie Sophie's Choice?

    Long answer:

    I have 4 (#5 on the way). A 2018 Fender American P-Bass (maple neck), a '96 Fender American Jazz (rosewood neck), a '95 Yamaha TRBX (rosewood neck / alder body / stacked single coil Yamaha pups), and a '99 Carvin LB76F. As you can imagine, they all feel, sound and play very different.

    In my current band, I show up at the rehearsal with at least two basses and my Fender Rumble; sometimes I use the studio's amp... I mess with the amp until I'm too frustrated to complain that I'm not satisfied, and then we play a set of songs... Some of the bass sounds I need are deep, some have more edge, some have more midrange. I fiddle with the tone control, sometimes the pickup balance (blend or vvt, depending on the bass) to match.

    We take a break...

    I come back and pick up the other bass (it really does't matter which)... I don't touch the amp and do the same set. We get done and I don't remember which bass sounded better... I ask the guitar player and he says: "Wow... They both sounded amazing!" What the hell does that mean!?

    I'm wireless and I often listen to the mix on the opposite side of the room. The truth is the little nuances that were bothering me with my sound are imperceptible. Lately, I've decided I like the way they all sound.

    Truth is, it probably matters a lot more to your ears than anyone else's -- Even another bassist listening to you will probably think you sounded great (assuming you hit most of the right notes, were mostly in time, and mostly grooved hard), and hell, the audience really won't know that your bass didn't sound exactly like <insert bass player name>. Someone listening might know that you didn't sound like Jaco, Chris Squire or Geddy Lee, or others that have very distinctive tones.

    Just play the sh*t out of whichever bass you brought with you... and if you're not sure, just buy another one. :bassist:
    Harold Runyan and JD Ronson like this.
  12. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I already have a nice fretted active Jazz. One thing you cannot do is make a fretted Jazz sound fretless.
    JD Ronson likes this.
  13. Bengal1


    Apr 1, 2019
    Reno, NV
    An interesting thread. I have always been kind of a one bass kind of guy. For many years in the 70's I played a Musicman Sabre which as you all know was a two pickup Stingray. At the same time I also had a 72' Fender P-bass which was a $125. pawn shop find in Pocatello Idaho. After rotating them for a few years I always went back to my P-bass. (the bass in my profile pic) So I swapped out the stock P-bass pickups for Seymour Duncan's and installed a Badass bridge. And that was my go to until 1991 when I bought my first 5 string bass. A Tobias Toby Pro. I really got hooked on playing 5 string. Since then I've had a 50 year anniversary 5 string Jazz, and now my Fender Roscoe Beck V. I primarily play the Roscoe Beck because it seems to have everything I need in a bass. I also just recently picked up a Fender Squire Deluxe Jazz 5 at a pawn shop for $200. Loaded with Seymour Duncan pickups and an SKB case. After doing a setup on it it plays and sounds incredible for an inexpensive bass. So to sum up. My Roscoe Beck V is my primary and my Squire Jazz is my rehearsal and take to jam night bass. Funny to me that I never thought I would be a 2 bass guy but after picking up the Squire it made sense to me not to risk dinging up my favorite axe and use the Squire.
    Zoobiedood and JD Ronson like this.
  14. Same-Ish kinda thing for me.
    My big issue now is that I need ANOTHER bass if I want a lower cost 5-stringer. Plus a fretted 5-er would be a good call. I'm not a fan of the Ibanez basses (Lost that love affair as I grew up) and I'm really not a huge fan of active basses. And since I'm not buying an expensive one - I'll wait till something cheap pops up.
  15. KB


    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    My 1987 G&L L2000 with jazz shaped neck pretty much does it all for me
    Don41_2 likes this.
  16. Murv M

    Murv M

    Mar 24, 2018
    I used to have that same amp set up but had the urge to go back to a Fender Bassman with 4x10 cab. I think the 2-12 stack was just as good in hindsight.
    Steve Boisen likes this.
  17. Bengal1


    Apr 1, 2019
    Reno, NV
    If you can find one of these Fender Squire deluxe 5 jazz basses its worth a listen. It is an active bass. Mine was reloaded with Seymour Duncans and I dig it.
    Zoobiedood likes this.
  18. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Penfield, NY
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    What if you're a P-bass kind of guy? Is there a one-bass-fits-all for us?
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  19. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    That sounds like a really nice collection
    Harold Runyan and JD Ronson like this.
  20. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    My P-bass guys insist the Precision, by itself, is enough.
    GoSoLow likes this.

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