Retiring your #1?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GeneralElectric, Jan 13, 2022 at 3:46 PM.

  1. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    For most of my 20 year bass playing career I've been playing an early Fender 57RI bass. Its the bass from which all other basses are judged and has seen hundreds of shows, jam sessions, and studio time. Pretty much every musical milestone I've had was with this in my hands. Over time I've had all the electronics replaced multiple times. I think this is the second or third bridge this has had. Currently sporting EMG Geezer Butlers and a Hipshot brass A bridge.

    I think it might be time to retire the bass I've affectionately called "the Wife" as I move away from playing P-basses and more into active/modern territory. In August I acquired a new Stingray Special HH. The modern playability, range of tones, and piano like clarity. The volume knob only changing volume. This bass has it all!

    But this isn't my first Stingray or my first active bass. Usually when I get something new, I'll play with it for awhile and then go back to my P-bass. I've had a regular 4H ray for a couple of years now and have had it modded with aguilar electronics and converted to 18V for when a P-bass didn't have the articulation or depth I wanted.

    The new Stingray Special has not just smitten me, but every group I play with. I've never had anyone ever tell me I needed to play a Fender but I've had folks tell me to not use whatever it is that I was using. So now the Ray is #1. Do I try and keep the old P in rotation or does she get a well earned retirement where she lives in the closet?

    Attached Files:

  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I've been playing the same bass for 36 years, and same acoustic guitar for 45. My wife has had the same violin for 50. Sounds like an excuse for GAS.
  3. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've retired several #1s when another one becomes #1 until that #1 is replaced by another #1, and the cycle repeats. Sometimes an old #1 becomes the new #1.
    lomo, B-Lo, dannnnn and 31 others like this.
  4. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    A good P bass is a good thing to have. I'd put it in the closet and bring it out occasionally. Nothing wrong with spending most of your time with a different bass.

    If I think over the past 25 years and 30 instruments, there were 5 that were definitely the main favorite for a significant amount of time. I only have two still in the collection. My first (also a much modded PBass) and my current, which shares roughly equal time with two others.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022 at 8:58 PM
  5. My #1 has been my #1 since I got it, never thought to retire it. But I can see how it happens.
  6. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    My +1 is 32 years old. Still thumpin.
    Peter Torning likes this.
  7. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Stupid question:
    Why do you need to 'retire' a bass? It is an object. You can put it away and never play it again. Or you can put it away and play it sometimes. Or you could not put it away and play it often. The bass won't get a golden watch. It will not sit on the front porch and yell at kids to get off its lawn. There is no retirement home for bass guitars.

    Right now, playing the ray is more fun, so play the ray until playing something else (acquisition of a new one or returning to the P) will be more fun. No need to dwell on it.
    arbitrary, ZedLepp, Steve88 and 24 others like this.
  8. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    Retire your bass once you retire from music. And even then , your bass will continue to make music in someone else’s possession, for many , many years to come.
    crobasster likes this.
  9. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Classifieds are thataway :)
    Raw N Low, B-Lo, ERIC31 and 10 others like this.
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I've had a 1963 P since 1967. It's not my #1.

    I don't have a #1. I have numbers 1-12. A couple of them need new switches or other twiddling, so perhaps I have #1-9 or so.

    And I play what moves me whenever I need a bass.
  11. 4SG


    Mar 6, 2014
    I can't get with any scenario where an instrument is "retired" and consigned to a closet. I guess a sought-after model will appreciate in value for a later sale, but it sounds like the OP's former number one has had the sale value modded out of it. Play it or move it along to someone that will.
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Take whatever bass is most appropriate for the gig. Don't worry about which one is "#1".
  13. coy garcia

    coy garcia

    Jan 18, 2020
    I've had so many #1's over 30+ yrs. My latest #1 for couple yrs feels like the one i've been searching for my whole life. Sadly it's on loan and doesn't belong to me. I envy those that find their #1 so early and stick to it. :). All my others just collect dust because i'm too sentimental to part with them.
    I went opposite starting with modern instruments eventually transitioning to single pickup passive instruments.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  14. 80jazz


    Jun 28, 2008
    I am also a guy who does not have what some might call a #1, but in your case perhaps maybe it has earned a break.

    Based on the pics, I would still get it out at least from time to time. Gotta love gold anodized guards with maple fingerboards on a Precision.
    FronTowardEnemy likes this.
  15. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016

    The day I retire from breathing is when she retires, and gets buried with me.
    WI Short Scaler and Microbass like this.
  16. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Same for mine. If you're retiring it, it's not your #1.
    ajkula66 likes this.
  17. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Similar story for me. My P was #1 for some time, but I gradually moved away from it. As I got into modern electronics I got it in my mind that the P was dull and thuddy. However. When I picked it up again, even with long-dead rotosounds, it actually sounded pretty articulate! I think there's beauty in the simplicity of a P. I keep mine around mostly for sentimental/investment reasons, but you never know. Sometimes that P sound is the sound you need, and while you can get close on other basses, only a P truly sounds just like a P.
    bassliner50 likes this.
  18. SC Bassboy

    SC Bassboy Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Birmingham, AL
    At some point our #1 will earn the right to be put out to pasture. Not because we no longer enjoy playing it but because we love it so dearly that the idea of it being damaged at a meaningless bar gig breaks our heart. If you have found a new bass that meets your needs and makes you happy then by all means, retire your #1 so it can be saved and passed down to someone later on.
  19. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    If you sell it, sooner or later you'll wish you hadn't.
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Congratulations! Whatever it takes to get a new one, right?
    Another thread inspired me to pull out the 34 year old MM that was my main fretted player for over 20 years. It's like seeing grandma at Thanksgiving.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
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