Should my backup be a clone of my main bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GeorgiaHonk, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. In doing a search on "backup basses" and looking through the results, it seems most folks here have multiple basses. It also seems like everyone that has a second (or third, or ninth) bass has a variety of sometimes radically different basses: active, passive, 4s, 5s, 6s, fretted, fretless, etc.

    For the first time, I'm considering getting second bass. I play a bone-stock, traditional Fender P in a classic rock cover band. While I've considered a wide variety of styles of basses, I'm concerned that any significant variation in neck size and shape will require too much adjustment in my technique. I'm also concerned that varying the pickup arrangement from the standard Precision setup will force me to make too many EQ adjustments onstage. So, am I the only guy here who wants his backup bass to be a clone of his main bass? :bag:
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    A backup is a use it if something happens like a string breaks, the output jack starts getting noisy or the battery in your active bass dies.

    Since you probably won't have to play it often, it doesn't need to be a clone, besides it's more fun to have some basses that are different rather than a bunch all the same.

    Heck, on most gigs the backup for my upright is a P-bass and vice versa!
  3. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill

    Dec 30, 2001
    Boston MA
    Get an Ernie Ball stingray, theyre different from p basses but feel about the same.
  4. Well, I don´t think people with many different basses think them as "back-ups" but rather "alternatives". IMO a "back-up" is, by default, something that gets used only in emergencies, when the main thing fails for some reason or other. Whereas "alternatives" are just that, different tools for different jobs.

    But back to the point. If you are frequently gigging player, having a back-up that is as similar as possible to your main bass would certainly make sense. You mentioned the reasons yourself: same feel, same sound etc. If having only one bass is making you worry, the peace of mind that a back-up could give you would be worth the price - even if you never had to use it.

    That said, personally I couldn´t justify getting a clone of my main bass just to serve as backup. I´m not that active and generally I am more of the happy-go-lucky-mentality. No bass has ever broken down on me on a gig or other critical situation. And I´m also pretty tolerant towards different basses; I haven´t had too much difficulties adjusting my technique. Anything I can play with my Neuser, I can do with my Jazz too. On a tight spot I can play with whatever POS I can get a hold of, as long as it has at least 3 strings and stays in tune.

    But again, YMMV. If you feel you can only express yourself properly with your good ol´ P, then a good clone back-up could save your day.
  5. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    If you are buying strictly a backup bass that you don't plan to ever play except when your main bass breaks, then buy the most inexpensive duplicate that you can find.

    Personally, I take a pair of basses to most every gig. They are often radically different because that is how I choose my basses. I buy basses that fill a void in my collection.

    You might want to look at MusicMan or G&L if you are looking for a different sound, but a similar feel. Personally, I think a G&L L2000 is an excellent second bass. In fact, might even become your primary bass. The nice thing is that they are also available in the P bass sized neck.

  6. Yeah, you're right. I guess I could have been a tad more specific. My overriding reason for wanting another bass is to have one I can just leave at our practice space. Sometimes hauling a bass can be a hassle --- since we practice on weeknights, lots of times I have to bring my bass to work, and other times it's just a hassle getting it up and donw the stairs, etc. So I suppose laziness is my major motivation. (Damn, I'm beginning to feel like George Costanza. :crying: ) I just think it would be nice to have a nice bass for home and gigs, and another one for band practice.
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Given that, I would get a used MIM Fender P or something even less expensive like an Essex. Then you could leave that at the practice space and not worry.
  8. my first bass was a squire p. when i got my MIA p the squire became the back up. they look radically different from each other which is cool for a little variety :cool:
  9. Eldermike


    Jul 27, 2004
    This started me thinking. Take all your basses and call them each a main bass for a tone, type of music, whatever hits you. Result: You have no backup, you are at risk, this problem needs a solution. Your bass inventory is Half of what it should be. I am going shopping.

  10. Brilliant! :bassist:
  11. I´m in a similar situation myself. I usually keep my MIM Jazz at our practice place and Neuser at home. The Jazz is a nice bass by it´s own right, I don´t really think it as a "back-up". But I do feel better keeping the more expensive Neuser at home, since we share our practice space with other bands.

  12. My backup is almost a clone. In fact I switch off between the two and always take both to a gig. Both are Carvins. My primary bass is a 6 string with humbucker and J99 pickups, my "backup" is my slightly older 6 string with H50N stacked humbuckers. The guitars have slightly different tone and the backup is missing the coil phase switch, but are largely the same and in terms of playability they feel the same.
    I don't know that this situation was a grand plan, it just worked out that way. My original plan was to get the new "pretty" walnut bass and sell the black LB76, then get a "pretty" (quilted maple this time) LB76 Fretless. I just couldn't sell the black one, and as I got to thinking about it... it made sense to keep it. So I upgraded the electronics and kept it.
    Now for that "pretty" LB76 Fretless... :bassist:

    Oh and to answer the original question, perhaps not a clone... but I would say not radically different either... IMHO you don't want your backup to be a 6 string if you play a 4 string Fender Precision.
  13. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    nope, you're not crazy
    lucky for you you play a p-bass and not some botique axe
    i think you should be able to get a used p-bass that feels right to you for not too much money

  14. Ed Zachary... :D
  15. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    My backup is a Steinberger because it takes up very little space to haul or have on stage. I bought it with that in mind.
  16. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder: Wing Bass
    Up there with the bottle opener ... Brilliant!

  17. Yeah, unless I find a used P around here that calls me by my secret name, I'm really leaning toward getting an Essex fretted P with a rosewood board.

    Heck, I may even get one that's the same color as my other one... :hyper:
  18. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    What about one of those Japanese 51 or 54 P Bass reissue's then you'll have a bass that looks completely different but sounds quite similar but also fills that more vintage void the MIA P Bass leaves. Should also feel quite similar.

    Just a thought.
  19. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    My backup and main bass are both sunburst P's.
  20. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    You might consult the mega thread "How Many Basses do you Own and Why". It offers quite a bit of rumination on this matter.