Reeeeally long gigs, how do you deal?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by BassBaron, Aug 24, 2001.

  1. BassBaron

    BassBaron Guest

    Jul 20, 2001
    San Jose, CA
    Recently my band has been doing gigs that are over 4 hours long, sometimes with 1.5+ hours between breaks. I've been experiencing left shoulder pain and can't seem to shake it. I've experimented with different strap heights, got a wider strap, and really try to relax, but the pain persists. Does anyone else have experience with this? (Don't tell me to get an Ashbory :D )
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    1 get an Ashbory
    2 dont play 4 hr gigs
    3 give up and get an easier hobby like watching football on the telly (TV)

    Seriously If the situation allows for a stool use one. If you are in a jump- up- and- down- macho- band with- long- shorts- and- makeup it wont work.
    I would do 4 hour rehearsal with no break and never avoid the ache. Try a comfort strapp yes its two p's its makes easier to find it. Its padded and sproingy. And have a hot bath when you get home. Get Mrs Baron to join you and the shoulder ache will just disapear.
  3. ColonelZulu

    ColonelZulu Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sit down, take more frequent breaks, get an Ashbury.
  4. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    I play long gigs quite often, usually around 3 hours long with no breaks. The longest I have done was from 7 pm to 3 am - with an hour break.

    My basses tend to be heavy, so I inevitably get some back pain. My secret is to sit on a stool or on top of a cab for as long as possible. My fingers get sore too, but I try to play as lightly as possible. Drink lots of fluid - it's easy to get dehydrated on stage!

    Also, I hear that you should get an Ashbory. ;)
  5. what is a ASHBORY?
  6. Yvon


    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    moved to misc.
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    An Ashbory is an amazing little creation originally designed by Alun Ashworth-Jones and Nigel Thornberry. Get the history HERE.

    It's fretless, has an 18" scale, uses silicone rubber strings and sounds similar to an upright, despite it's diminutive size.

    It is currently marketed by Fender under the brand DeArmond, although I think that the DeArmond division is going under. Don't know what that means for the Ashbory.

    Here's a pic.

    <img src="">
  8. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    that Ashbory really sounds like it sucks big time, why would someone want one?
  9. Looks cool to me....
    Does anyone have any experence with one? Would it replace buying a regular fretless? and most of all how much?
  10. other excellent light basses:

    reverend rumblefish
    epiphone jack casady
    rob allen mb-2
    guild starfire
    (possibly) danelectro DC
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Really? Why does it sound like it would suck?

    A lot of big name pro's own one, although most of them don't use them exclusively.

    I've thought of buying one from time to time, but have never gotten around to it.
  12. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    The Ashbory was designed to emulate the sound of a double bass - with it's rubber strings and unique pickup it achieved this remarkably.

    Whether it sucks or not depend on what you are using it for. Many people love it. There are websites dedicated to it.
  13. When my rave bands gigs, it's not uncommon for the live music to start at 10pm and go till 4am. Of course there are a number of breaks in there. But for the stupid money we get paid, we have to give them a lot of music.
    Three things have really helped me out;

    - Getting a bass with a mostly alder body
    - Using a drummers throne at times with the seat adjusted very high so I'm half-sitting, half-standing
    - Moving around while playing. Standing in one spot a lot causes your muscles to tense up in one postion and they tire quicker, or worse, cramp. The bass just pulls on them. But moving creates some leverage against the weight, sort of like a fulcrum.

    Amphetamines worked in the 70's but they catch up with you eventually.

    Some have faith in the slider strap, some say it's bull, I don't know -

  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Yep. They definitely catch up with you. Been there, done that, got the scars to prove it.
  15. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Our gig this weekend is a prime example of this... 6 hours with 10 minute breaks every hour. Like punching a time clock. The P-Bass gets kinda heavy after awhile. Friday, I sat on a bar stool for two numbers during the last set, but the bar owner doesn't like that, says 'I know the people that come in here and if they see you sitting down, they think you're not giving them everything you've got. They'll turn right around and leave...' What a crock!!

    Last night, I brought the Ashbory, (funny that I'm reading this thread today!), and pulled it out for the third set. At the break, the bar owner comes up to me and says something like... 'That thing looks like a toy. I know the people that come in here, and if they see you playing a toy, they'll think you're not giving them everything you've got. They'll turn right around and leave...' Idiot... Does it sound like a toy?!?!

    I consider myself pretty level-headed, but this really got my goat. I told the guys that I'd finish the gigs we have booked here through the end of the year, but I will not play this place again after New Year's. They can do it as a three piece if they like... Thanks for letting me rant!

    Embellisher, (and anyone else interested in the Ashbory), I would definitely recommend getting one. It won't replace your fretless... It's kinda... different. Yeah, I bought mine as a lark, but since I've gotten it, I've grown quite attached... True, it'll never be a primary bass, or the only axe to bring to a gig, but it does get a sound that sings to me. I have no problem pulling it out for a complete set of blues or with my cover band. I recently played in a production of 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' and used the Ashbory exclusively, as I will in 'West Side Story'... Intonation can be an adventure at times, but with such a short scale, it's very easy to 'roll' into tune. You can find 'em on ebay for $249, with strings selling for $10.50... If DeArmond is going the way of the dinosaurs, I'm gonna have to stock up on strings!!

    DHC mentioned some great light basses, including the Dano DC. I'd add the Longhorn... the looks may not appeal to you, (I have to admit that I love it!), but it weighs like a pound or something. After toting my Fenders, strapping a Longhorn on feels like walking around barefoot!

  16. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I've got all kinds of lousy medical problems that I won't bore you with, but also suffer if I stand with a heavy bass slung around me.

    I agree with the Comfort Strapp recommendation; I love mine for heavy basses.

    I also bring two basses to every gig, typically a fretted and fretless. The kind of music I do (classic rock, oldies) varies and I do enjoy playing the fretless for slower oldies and Jimmy Buffett latin-sorta rhythm stuff. That alone, switching basses with different straps, helps to keep one set of muscles (or flab <g>) from knotting up, by varying my position. Works for me.

    Also lately been taking my EUB instead of a fretless. Nothing on my shoulder feels even better.

    And yes, I've taken my Guild Ashbory on some gigs, too.

    Also picked up a Dean Rhapsody HB on eBay, a pretty attractive semi-hollow body bass which is way better than it has any right to be given the price - both good sounding and slim neck. And I would be taking that out a lot more if I hadn't found a Gibson Custom Shop Leeland Sklar bass shortly afterwards-- it has a very light body and slim neck, too, and wonderful range of sounds. But check out the Dean- sort of p-bass vibe with more clarity and top end. It turned out to be damn nice, and I have to hand it to Dean for putting out a back-saving and nice-sounding bass on the cheap.

    my .02
  17. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Tell that bar owner to worry less about your brand or type of instrument and worry more about slinging his beer. I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life (well I have, but that's another story).

    I can go for about four hours, with a 15-minute break in between each set and that's about it. A few years ago, I broke my left collarbone (snapped in four different places) in a motorcycle accident and it didn't heal like it should have. I have been considering one of those Comfort Strapp dealies -- just haven't gotten around to ordering one yet. In your case, I would suggest a wider strap and/or maybe just by lifting up on the bass a bit, you could relieve the weight on your shoulder between songs or something. Of course, if the bar's customers see you lifting your bass in between songs, they might think you're a wimp and turn around and leave. ;) :D
  18. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Okay... other things that can help BESIDES bringing an Ashbory!!

    *If possible, avoid caffeine the day of a gig. Nearly impossible for me, as I am addicted, but cutting back helps avoid tension which can lead to a stiff back, shoulders, etc...

    *If you smoke, quit. There are a number of reasons, not the least of which is that smoking constricts your blood vessels, depriving your extremities of circulation. Cramping, tension, jonesing for a smoke are all results... Don't whine about addictions... I am the KING of addictive personalities. Besides, if you're playing bars, you're getting your allotment of nicotine...

    *Drink LOTS of water before playing. Start in the afternoon. Dehydration will stiffen you up, can cause cramping, headaches, tension, etc... I'm talking like a gallon or so in the few hours before playing. If I need to piss like a racehorse throughout the night, I know I'm getting enough fluids. Yeah, beer'll do, but a gallon may adversly affect your playing :D

    *Learn to play with a pick if you're a finger player, or with your fingers if you're a pick player. Become competent with your thumb, (plucking, not slapping), regardless of which technique you use(Let the flaming begin!) I am predominantly a finger player, but occasionally my hand will cramp and turn into a claw. Being able to pass muster with a pick has saved my rather large butt a few times, same with thumb plucking.

    *During breaks, get outside and walk around. Stretch, cool off, change shirts... I try to bring a couple of shirts, (because I sweat alot!), and that freshens me up. This will sound really stupid, but brushing my teeth does the trick too!

  19. I think a gallon of beer will get rid of the pain much better than water.
  20. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    yea, just pop some vallium between songs.

    That strider strap looks like it may work because it looks like it would distrubute the weight of the bass thoughout your shoulders and back instead of having all the weight on your left shoulder.

    How tight is your strap?