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Playing comes first, gear a far off second.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Funkize you, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    "Playing comes first, gear a far off second."

    How true is this statement to you? I got this from a guys Sig. and wanted to know what people thought about it...

    I love playing the bass. When I got my first bass I loved it, but eventually I stopped playing it as often as before, and eventually thought that "Maybe I dont really like playing the bass" But I decided to spend too much money on a new bass and now I love it again (I had the nice bass longer than the crappy one now) I play at least two hours a day, and cant wait to learn new songs...

    But I personally think that if I had crappy gear still, I wouldnt play.

    So how do you guys feel about this? Would you happily play a Crappy rig if thats all you could have? Or would it sound soo bad that you couldnt handle it?

    Odd question.
  2. Gear does come into it, be it fortunately or unfortunately. Theoretically, a 'great' bassist should be able to pick up any bass and rock out, but if that was true people wouldn't buy uber expensive basses, and so on. Cheaper basses aren't always going to be too nice to play, so if you pick a lemon you might either a) start playing in a weird way to accomodate the short-falls of your bass, b) just get fed up with having to play the unplayable, or c) just buy a new bass...
    Also, when it comes to amp rigs the rig you use is important just to deliver the right tone from your bass at the right volume. Obviously at home it's not such an issue, but with gigging it's vital.

    However, that's not to say "Spend £10K and you'll be amazing". Gear will only help you reach your potential.
  3. Electricmayhem


    Dec 18, 2003
    When I got rid of my Ibanez GSR 200 for a Tobias I started practicing a whole lot more. :)
  4. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Gear definitely helps. It may be subconscious, but it is apparent. When you have a bass that fits your hand, delivers the tone you like, and just looks cool, it feels good to play. That makes you play more. Same with an amp. So gear definitely has something to do with it. You should concentrate more on the playing as far as improving what you can do, rather than having all the cool gear. I mean, if fIeLdY played a fordera, we'd wonder why! I mean, he doesn't practice, so as long as it had loose strings and a pickup, he could get his noise out of it. Why would he use a fodera? :rolleye: But a fodera does something for some of the players around here, and they are skilled (I think :D). The moral of the story, Gear is good. GAS hurts the wallet, angers the wife. fIeLdY makes noise. and ummm, they all lived happily ever after. :hyper: YAY!!!!!

  5. MMSterling

    MMSterling Guest

    Feb 19, 2004
    Leicester, England
    I agree with these two, whether people like it or not gear can have a sub concious effect on the way we play, and the amount of effort we put in. When someone gets their first high end bass they will instantly start playing more and more!

    There again to a point it is fair to say that the gear is only as good as the player. I think Fieldy with the Fodera was a great analagy for this particular point :p!

  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    ooh ooh pick me pick me! that was jared morante's sig! :D
  7. I´m definitely behind that motto. Sure it´s nice to have top notch gear and perhaps it can boost your confidence and motivation. When I bought a new bass few months ago I started to practice a lot more. But it had more to do with excitement than the quality of the instrument. I mean my old bass wasn´t that bad, I can´t really blame it for my weaknesses. I just had GAS. GAS usually - or at least in my case - has nothing to do with rational thought, I just WANT and CRAVE stuff, I don´t necessarily need it.

    I´m also a pragmatist; some people could consider this as heresy, but my playing has only one goal: entertaining the audience. And like it or not, people don´t care if your Fender is pre- or post-CBS or if your fretboard is Brazilian or Indian rosewood. Personally I can´t justify hauling around tons of expensive gear if it only serves to please me. No record exec ever said:"You´re really talented band and I would sign you this instant, but your bassist only has MIM Fender so I can´t do it."

    Of course there is REALLY crappy gear around, but most of it is pretty decent. I´m not saying people shouldn´t buy as many and as expensive basses they like. If you have the money, go for it! But I feel too many young players are preoccupied with gear. How many posts have you read where some youngster with perfectly good bass is contemplating buying new stuff. If you really have the motivation and talent, gear won´t hold you back.

    Just my .02
  8. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    This subject really applies to many things.

    I'm a fine artist. I love to paint. I'm very good at it. I also like to have very expensive brushes. I can paint very well with cheap brushes, but I also know that I paint less when I have crappy tools. I replace them with good ones and I want to paint more.

    You could be the best race car driver on the planet, but if you've got a crappy car, their is only so much your talent will do for you in a race.

    My niece plays the viola. She is very good, very talented...first chair in her local orchestra. She played my son's viola that we were renting for him to see if that's what he wanted to play. She had a very difficult time with it and said if that was the only viola she could play, she would never play again.

    A talented bass player forced to play with crappy gear would inevitably quit or play alot less. That is just human nature.
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Right, I agree with you sundogue, When I got my fodera, it made me want to play more than ever, I spent hours just playing the thing because it was so sweet.

    On my old bass, I often got discouraged because it lead me to play certain ways, just due to the shape, and the pup placement and the overall feel. Overall, while it sounded great, it played pretty poorly, and was frustrating in that respect.

    and now, I have a bass that should last me for as long as I need.

    there's a saying, buy cheap, buy twice....

    Now, in the same breath, I can attest to many players I have met that don't have super nice gear, but they are a stellar players, so certainly it's not always the case, but, I'd say that often times having nice gear(that is, gear that fits for you) will lead you to want to play more.
  10. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    I pretty much agree with everyone so far...

    My point was, I could go and listen to Jaco Pastorious, Dream Theater or Oteil Burbridge and be all jazzed about playing, But then Id get my crappy little bass and it sounded soo bad I just couldnt stand it...

    ***But my old bass is "abnormally" bad, its a Carlo Robelli, Defretted (VERY BADLY) by me when I was bored of it... It made it fun for like 15 Min...***

    I am not a bad player at all, I can play most anything from Victor Wooten's Double hand tapping to Dream Theater's DOE (Dance of Eternity) and I only have about a year's experiance.
  11. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Well, there's playing the notes, and then there's PLAYING the music.

    you could get all the notes down and it'd still sound crap, or conversely, you might not know all the notes to a song, but you understand that song, and you can make it sound good, regardless of gear.
  12. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Hey! I can make it sound good!!! :mad:


    But I know what you mean... But for me, I cant Stand Instruments that arent of a High quality, I play many instruments and If its not to my Liking I cant stand it...

    I have played flute for over 9 years now, and I have a $2800 Flute, and I can tell all the differences when I play it...
    At one point I was looking for a Purple heart Head joint for my flute and I played about a dozen or so, all the same price and NOT ONE of them sounded the same to me, They were not only a little different They were dramatically different, Some of them were increadably Dark but Thin (sounding) and some were Full and Rich and Bright, but none of them were quite right for me...

    Im kinda wierd with my sound, I need it PERFECT (to my liking at least) I guess im too finicky huh?
  13. I have to agree with you there, CoolHat.

    I also agree with Sundogue about the human nature of wanting nice gear. When we go to the market, don't we all pick out the nicest looking tomatos? There's nothing wrong with the ones that have a slight bruise, but we do tend to leave them behind.

    On the other hand, isn't it interesting that someone like James Jamerson never brought a Jazz bass, or a Rickenbacker to a session? He wasn't obsessed with gear.
    Just upright and P-bass, and look what he did. ;)

    To each his own.

  14. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    yes the music comes first, but I have to have the right gear in order to take the music as far as I can take it

    the analogy alluded to either of the race car driver trying to race with a broken down Ford truck comes to mind

    now that I have the right gear for me (an Elrick NSJ 4 string) I can get down to the business of working at being the best bass player I am capable of
  15. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    If you truly loved the instrument, would what bass you were playing determine how much time you practice?

    It would seem to me that the ideal of improving your craft would take precedence over the "niceness" of the gear available.

    [asbestos suit]

    EDIT: Upon consideration, I'll expand upon my point to sound like less of an ass. I'm really playing devil's advocate, but only to a point.

    I think you have to examine exactly what your goals are in terms of being a musician if the quality of your instrument is a deterrent. Using the line "I have a crappy bass, I don't want to practice as much" doesn't tell me you have a crappy bass, it tells me you are trying to rationalize that you don't want to practice. Now, the necessity of practice and what your motivations for doing so are material for a different thread.

    Does this mean everyone should be playing Rogue basses? No! If you have the income and the inclination, please, buy all of the the exotic basses you want. It is true that top level players usually play top level instruments. But I'll bet you dollars to donuts that those top level players slaved and slaved over a crappy student instrument, trying to soak every last bit of potential out of what they had available.

    Can your playing go farther on a nicer instrument? Sure. But I don't think it's impossible to be happy with a washtub, a broom handle, and a rubber band. I know plenty of phenomenal musicians, my teacher included, who spend a fraction of what I have on gear, and can do things with their less expensive, less "nice" stuff than I could ever do. The attitude my teacher has towards gear _humbles_ me. He truly focuses on musicianship over gear. And with an Essex five string and a bottom of the live Hartke combo, he gets gigs! How bout that?
  16. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    I understand what you are saying, I love the bass and now practice everyday about two hours or more (If I have the time) But to me Personally, I just cant play with crappy equipment, It dosent matter how much I want to, Im VERY stubborn, I cant help that... NO MATTER WHAT!!! (LOL)

    Flute pics I cant do, I dont have a Digital Camera...

    But its a Maramatsu EX with a "B" Foot, its open holed offset "G" and has a Solid Silver Head Joint with a Silver Plated Body, Its Handmade (Handmade=better) Its a sweet flute, I got it new, but Could have shaved off a few hundred used...

    I also Picked Maramatsu because they are one of the best, I could have purchased a Yamaha or Gamienhardt Solid silver flute (Head and Body) but it would not be "Up to Par" against a Maramatsu... (Even the Cheapest model)

    EDIT: BTW Yamaha Flutes are VERY good!!!

    And Duck, My friend is the same way, HE IS AMAZING, but he dosent have Nice gear, He can literally play anything he wants, he is the person who first got me into bass, and he not only solo's well he can make awesome groves in odd time (Our fav time sigs to play in) so I totally understand your point but I just cant personally.
  17. I think if you play a bass that sounds and plays perfectly(to you of course) you'll practice way more then playing some POS you highly dislike. Whenever my bass gives me a "hard time" I don't play as much that say....but when she plays sweet I play more often.

    I think the same thing with gear. I'm sure once I get my dream bass I'll play alot more often,but until then...I'll practice on my SX and GSR:)
  18. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Statements pretty true for me. Also, just plain new strings. Like when i get new strings ill play em for like 5-6 hours that day, then i might not play for a week. Never know.
  19. jawzzz


    May 23, 2003
    Denver Colorado
    I tend to play more after buying new gear. I frame house's during the day ,6 to 7 days a week, and it is hard to get any motivation to play after a hard day of framing. When I buy something new, I get excited to play around with it so I play more. And not to mention I have three kids to tend to each night, so my practice time is very limited.

    Playing crappy gear would just convince me to quit bass all together.
  20. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    I don't think that my gear changes my image of bass, or how much I want to play the instrument... I've been using one of the crappiest basses out there, a Squire/Fender Affinity P-Bass. I have no money, so I can't buy a new one right now, but I still love playing it, despite it's crap-tacularness. :D

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