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psycology of needing new gear

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by mav, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. mav


    Jun 10, 2003
    i've just experienced a pattern in myself.( again)
    i just saw a double bassist (older man) playing on the weekend he had a lovely old bass with a nice easy setup, it sounded great , not fantastic but nice.
    I've splent alot of money creating the bass that i wanted, sound, strings, string height etc..
    But when i saw/heard this guys bass i instantly dismisted all the $$ and hard work i had put into my bass and decided he and his bass were BETTER than mine.
    so then for the next day my pour wife has to put up with me being down and saying i NEEEED a new bass, just so i can TRY to create exactly what this guy has, which in reality is impossible.
    We talked.
    I realized a couple of things.
    1. A new bass isn't going to fill my need.
    2. All i wanted was exceptence from this guy and his band, thinking if i had his exact setup and bass i could play in there band, which means they'll all like me( fullfilling the role of my father who i didn't see much of when i was a kid.
    3. A new bass may make me feel inspired to play, but for how long?
    4. For me, it's ok to not feel inpired 24/7.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Spend less time thinking and talking (in other words, and for Paul's benefit, 'fretting') and play bass.
  3. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    learn how to spill your pouring wife... ;)

    seriously now: focus on creating great music, the bass is just the instrument.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This is the big flaw in your thinking and in most of the posts on the BG side of TB!! ;)

    Just because you have the same gear as your hero - whether that's Jaco, Paul Chambers ....Fieldy!! - where's the 'shudder' smiley!! ;) - that does not mean you are necessarily going to sound in any way, like that person!!

    I've seen it many times at Jazz Summerschool in bass instrumental tuition groups - the teacher, i.e. a really good Jazz pro, will sound great, no matter what they play - and more importantly will sound like themself!! - no matter which instrument they pick up - and conversely, the student will sound like the student, even if they pick up and try the teacher's instrument! :)
  5. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    First off I think Bruce, olivier and Ray hit the point.

    1. Did you actually play his bass?
    2. What do you think he would sound like if he picked up your bass?
    3. Were you happy with your bass before you saw this one show?

    From my experience, no matter what instrument that I can manage to get around on, I sound like me, the bass or any other instrument doesn’t make that much of a difference in that aspect. Music is self expression, and in a way finding your self and losing you self with in it and you. Yes, a new bass can inspire you, but so can seeing a good show or hearing a good album.
  6. mav


    Jun 10, 2003
    1. Did you actually play his bass?i didnt need to

    2. What do you think he would sound like if he picked up your bass?different to me
    3. Were you happy with your bass before you saw this one show?i don't think i can anwser Q3
    It's not the point.
    No body's completely happy with there anything, all the time.
  7. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    This is true Mav, but you need to reach the point when you admit your own gear is good enough. Then you get the joy/responsibility of looking in the mirror and saying:
    It's the singer, not the song.

    Good luck man :)

    p.s.: many folks let g.a.s. become a crutch and an excuse. Don't let that be you.
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    To me, there are two reasons to succumb to GAS:

    1) you are hearing a sound in your head that you can't get out of your current gear, but CAN get out of the gear you're GASsing over;

    2) You are a professional musician who spends a lot of time loading, unloading, setting up, etc., and you find some new gear that can help you reduce the amount of time or energy you spend doing that so you can focus on playing instead.

    Other than that, if you want it and can afford it, great! If not, shut up and play yer bass.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Lusting after new gear is just another way to avoid practicing.

    All I need is new socks, a new shirt, a new toothpaste, a new car a new house a new outlook a new therapist a new wife a new life - and then my life will be perfect and I can do whatever it is that I desire to do that I can't because I don't have whatever that stuff I want is. That's the same mentality that sends teenagers out to shoot each other for the privelege of being able to sell crack on a specific street corner, this idea that some kind of STUFF is going to effect change in one's life.

    Look, you may have become involved in music for whatever neurotic reasons you did (like so many of us), but AT SOME POINT you need to understand that the neurosis that drove you to the level you currently are at has actually become a barrier to your getting close to your own personal voice and making any real progress as a person and a musician.
    You say that "it's OK not to be inspired 24/7" and "a new bass may make me feel inspired to play, but for how long?" I hate to be the one to break it to you, but being a musician is about WORK, not inspiration. About DESIRE, not inspiration. If you WANT to be playing at a certain level, with other musicians at that level, it doesn't matter how INSPIRED you are, what matters is that you WORK to reach that level. And the place to look honestly at what you REALLY want, what you are REALLY willing to do to get there is INSIDE YOURSELF. Not at the LEMUR catalogue.
  10. I agree with you 99%, although I can say from personal experience that inspiration (read novelty, epiphany, whatever) can push us to work when we feel like we have nothing left to put in to it. New strings, new bass, new CD, all these things are exciting and can snap one out of a slump in an instant. However, the downside is that more stuff means more money and aquiring stuff, and changing stuff you already have is known to be addictive. I think it's natural for people who operate in the left hemisphere occasionaly to reach for something tangible like gear when they've hit some barrier to their developement. I feel that it's only a problem when the rent's not paid or when one thinks the only way they can get better is by buying better gear, or worse that there is no reason to practice because their gear is (in their minds) substandard. e.g. I don't have an old Italian bass, so I might as well quit now rather than getting my hopes up of landing an orchestra gig.

  11. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    There are two sides to this and a point in the middle which makes sense for most people. One thing to keep in mind is that in some cases, the gear holds people back and that there is a threshold where it makes sense to be and after that for many it's just diminishing returns. I played another guy's bass the other day and I felt really bad for him because it was such a chore to get a sound out of it and it was very tiring to play and he would definitely sound a lot better with a better instrument. He doesn't need a 300 year old Italian bass but he definitely needs a better bass, better strings, and a half-decent pickup. The other thing is that at least when it comes to instruments, an instrument that sounds nice and feels good under the fingers, and for some, that even looks nice, makes you want to play it just to experience it and you end up practicing more. That's the way I've felt about the basses I've owned. The rental basses I started with that were total junk and mostly frustrating to play on.
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    And there's plenty out there to inspire -art, books, life, people, animals - that can awaken (or reawaken) in each of us that desire to pick up WHATEVER endeavour and keep moving forward. It's just that Madison Avenue Shuffle that seems to have everybody convinced that what you actually need is whatever BRAND NEW WIDGET they're selling this week. Again, I feel that you look inside yourself you find what you need to keep going. You look to WIDGETS, they never last. And that's the real reason that acquisition is "addictive".

    Well, your experience is your experience. I don't know how I could ever feel that my progress as a musician was contingent on anything other than what work I put in. But it's a big old world out there.
    I still think it's an easy out. If you don't want to put the work in, it's easier to blame it on not having a widget than it is to say "I just want to talk about being a better player, I don't want to put any work in."
  13. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    I understand what some have said about the difficulty of playing on sub-standard gear, and the shot in the arm you enjoy when you buy a new amp, or whatever. But these reasons also sound like avoiding work Mav, and I hate to just say that, but I've been where you are, and my excuses about gear didn't help me at all. When faced with work that needs being done (meaning practicing instead of eating bon-bons on the couch), try this philosophy:

    Begin, and inspiration will follow.

    Be disciplined, the hours in the woodshed (which I hope you've learned to enjoy) are what made that older player sound great.
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Good points all. But I still think it's not as black and white as all that. As TEA BAG said in another thread, "95% of the time, I do my best playing when I'm comfortable with my sound". I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. Maybe I agree with it because I'm probably one of the (if not the proverbial "the") biggest gearsluts on this site, or maybe I'm one of the biggest gearsluts on this site because I agree with it. For me, the bottom line is, "how well can I hear what I'm doing in the context of what's going on?" Because if I can't hear what I'm doing, I'm not really reacting to the sound of what's going on. So I've spend a lot of time and money buying things to help me hear better onstage, which leaves me freer to react to what's happening than if I can't hear what I'm playing, or than I would if I had to turn up so much to hear myself that I can't hear everybody else.

    That said, I certainly don't buy gear for the purpose of inspiring me to practice. I bought the new bass because the old one was causing me pain, and because it sounds better, but I practice the same amount I did before, and for the same reasons. Where the gear helps is in letting me quit fighting the acoustics of the room and the crowd, and just focus on playing. YMMV, as it obviously does. :)
  15. Ed

    I think wer'e pretty much in agreement. I'm just trying to play Devil's advocate and look at things from an objective viewpoint. In my experience, trying a new set of strings has inspired me to practice (too much at one time in fact), however I do not endorse the practice of buying stuff for inspirations sake. I personally am probably guilty of working with substandard gear for a long time and feeling self-righteous about it. I was taught, wrongly or rightly, that one would be lauged at for playing with gear that exceeded their technical grasp, and that if you are a good musician, people will generally overlook gear shortcomings. I have heard the reverse argument as well, so I am not taking a stance on that. The path to enlightenment is the middle way I suppose. Personally, what inspires me to play and to practice is the music that I hear all around me, and in my head constantly, the ability to communicate my feelings through music, and the sound of the bass (any bass, not just mine or yours). I have yet to find a bass that was totally unplayable. Good musicians can usually find something approaching their sound with just about any old thing I believe.

  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I do think this is good advice - but I just wanted to make an observation that with this philosophy, you would make a pretty good "Communist" , Ed !! :D

    Maybe, the best way to espouse this - is not to be living in the "Land of the Free"........? ;)

    Isn't it addictive acquisitiveness that keep the economy of the good ol' USA going?
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
  18. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Maybe we need input from a farm boy:

    I play music for fun. Part of the fun is getting new gear. That's all I need to know.

    I feel so...so...."American".....
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Just to be clear - I wasn't trying to insult Ed or anything (as if I could!!) - it just struck me that the part of his post I copied, is like a 'rationale' for Communism!! ;)

    I'm not one to talk about this anyway, as virtually every piece of music gear I've bought over many years has been made, or at least designed in the USA!! :D
  20. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    "...turn into a 9-year old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife. Step right up..." Tom Waits