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Society of collectors not learners

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by rustyshakelford, Jul 18, 2002.

  1. rustyshakelford


    Jul 9, 2002
    Bill Lee once said, "We are a society of collectors, but we should be a society of learners."

    As I type this, there have been 122K posts about basses, yet there have been only 67K posts about recordings, bassists, technique and general instruction combined.

    I think this ratio suggests general fascination with gear, and supports the idea that we think owning stuff will make us happy or make us better musicians.

    Paul Erdos once said, "Property is a nuiscance."

    I am frequently a bit dismayed returning to this site to see the overwhelming number of posts about gear.

    What do you think about this?
    Is this a problem?
    Does this indicate anything?
    How can we shift the focus from gear to being a better musician?

  2. :p It is genetic, not merely behavioural. Part of being a human animal. It may not be our most highly evolved trait, but it is useful in a Darwinian sense.

    :D It is not a problem - we allow almost all types of humans here - even smug bastards like P Mac (who I am trying to emulate even though I am old enough to be his father ;)).
  3. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Well, since it's rather hard to talk about the creation of music, or music as an entity ("Talking about music is like dancing about architecture") we choose to talk about something that's a little more qauntitative (as opposed to qualitative)...I.E. gear.

    Because while all of us experience music differently, we can all experience gear on more or less the same level.
  4. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    by acquiring more gear!


  5. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    People will always subconsciously compete with others by the amount of items or money invested in items. Skill or playing ability does matter substantially more than quality of equipment to the average fellow bass player. A person walking in on a gig and seeing a bassist getting his gear set up, and seeing he has a beat-up, scratched finger-printed black glossy Ibanez BTB will assume that person is a bad bass player and pass on listening to them. Just as with everything in life, first impressions count the most.

    Now if a person walking in on a gig and sees another bassist with a pretty fretless unlined Zon with exhibition quality burled crotch walnet, that person will most likely stay and watch because that bass looks very appealing and it says to any one who sees it that this bass player must know what he's doing so he must be good.

    As always, I am wrong to somebody out there, yet there might be one person who agrees with me that first impressions are the ultimate impressions, because without a good first impression, there is very little that can be done to convince a person to come back and pay attention.
  6. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    I think the same thing.
    The only time I ever visit here is when I am not busy at work.

    The thing that amazes me is not only the amount gear is talked about compared to the other things you mention. But how much time some people spend talking about their new bass or what they are getting next when they could be playing.
  7. if you're trying to learn how to play music over the internet, there's only so far you can go. to learn music, you have to practice and listen to music.

    to find out about gear, this is the best place possible. most of us don't have the opportunity to play all of the basses we hear about, so we can gather information and second hand experiences here. the trend is not so strong on the DB side because there isn't nearly as much variation and innovation/evolution going on with that instrument, physically.

    so there you have it, it's not because we're not learning.

    and if you don't like the gear posts, don't read these forums. duh.
  8. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000

    Is this person a musician?
    Because any real musician would not assume such things. Some of the best players play beat up instruments. And the ones that do play fancy custom basses are not doing it to impress people. Not the *real* players anyway.
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Concerns like yours pop up on Talkbass from time to time, RS....almost verbatim.

    I think one big reason you see a lot of gear-related posts is that it's one subject where people can be relatively objective. Sure, people can argue whether a certain piece is stage-worthy or not. But a "watt is a watt" and a "single coil is a single coil."

    Explaining technique, theory, and related subjects for electric bass is practically futile in a written format.....(consider how many instructional videos even fall short of the mark).
    For instance, a habitual favorite here is "How do I get a good slap sound?" A typed explanation on a website is hardly "good instruction."

    "Bassists" and "Recordings" typically get caught up in personal tastes. Unlike, say a site devoted to a certain genre of music, the backgrounds represented here are quite varied. Conseqeuently, so are the opinions.

    I don't find "Bass Player" magazine content much different. There are gems of advice here and there in the magazine. But when some artist discusses each individual track from their latest recording, it's just too esoteric to be meaningful, at least to me.

    The Musical Instrument Makers forum is much the same. The "art" isn't discussed much at all because the medium, (web site and words), is so woefully inadequate. The "tools" and the "materials" get much more attention there.

    IMO, drawing the conclusion that "the gear" is more important than "the art" to most people at this site is very erroneous. It seems that the gear-emphasis typically gets played down as one matures - (the percentage of younger players here is quite high).

    Measuring the value of a site by how it's kilobytes are employed rather than the overall quality of the content is really seliing it short.

    After all, what you decide to discuss on the site gets posted...no different from any gear-related posts.
  10. ;)
    Hey, man, I was born 50. Y'all are just catching up with me. (BTW, my father is old enough to be your father. I learned Caustic, Smug Bastardry on his wrinkled knee.)

    As to the original post: rickbass is exactly on the mark. His words get the Official Seal of Approval of the Smug Bastard In Chief.

    :D :rolleyes:
  11. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    That's why there are different forums, so people can ask about gear, recordings, or learning. Whether some kid is asking about what gear helps him with what he's doing, or someone asking about modes in jazz soloing, it's all learning, regardless of what the subject matter is.
  12. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    i don't think its that he doesn't like gear posts, he's just making an observation.

  13. I think an essential aspect of people is that they always attempt to judge where they are in relation to one another in terms of status. Nearly all animals do this and most especially us humans. Even if we don't really think about it too much.

    I know in the USA that almost always the very first thing asked of someone, in a social situation, is "so .... what do you do?". This is a means of determining status of individuals within the scope of the larger group.

    So in a way .... whoever has more, and better, basses wins!

    So let's go get more stuff :):)
  14. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    ok, i re-read his original post.


    i still think he makes a good point though.

    its more the ratio of gear to technique/instruction.

    gear posts generally have pics...so, in a sense, its bass porn.

    of course, i just read the articles.

  15. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Thanks for the concern. Next time, focus on the actual posts made in the respective forums. Besides recordings, most of the posts/threads once made once can be used again without requiring more postings. Instruction, at least in the principles and philosophies behind it, doesn't change as often as gear does. If I have a question, I'll search for it in those other forums and find the answer. No post required. Besides, the people who really want to learn are going to do so via a teacher, in person. Not the internet.

    Thanks for the concern, but I don't see the problem.
  16. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Personally I find that issues of technique and what not are very difficult to describe in written form. I'll read about different techniques and sometimes it's near impossible for me to figure what on earth is being described. Furthermore, some aspects of playing are intuitive, I can't really explain how I mute, for example, I just know that I can mute notes when I have to and whatever I do seems to work. So in some ways these things are personal, on the other hand, with gear, lots of people own the same or similar gear. I can understand and give advice on those topics much more easily. Maybe if we all met in person technique tips would be more practical as we could show each other what exactly we're doing. Alas that isn't a practical option.
  17. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    Its easy to explain why we dont talk about recordings and bassists... WE DON'T F'N WANT TO! my mom put it best when she said ..... if you don't like the game take your ball and go home. the same people that feel they need to be overly critical about someones gear are the same as certain people who want to bash us for talking about music gear instead of music. you feel the need to lower us to make you feel better. the simple truth is that there are some baaaaad mothers on this board. this is a place where you can come and ask and learn from people who know what the hell they're talking about 9 and alot of people ACTING like people who know what they're talking about. When i first started playing i wish there was a way for me to talk to the man who built my instrument, but in todays society we can and that is a beautiful thing. so sir if you are trying to belittle my freinds and fellow bass players here by saying we spend too much time talking about gear........... well ........... bite me:mad:
  18. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    No, its an average civilian, not a musician.

    True that some of the best players have played beat up instruments, like Jaco off the top of head. But that in itself is a very small proportion of musicians ever. Most musicians need instant public approval and admiration to get an audience. The average person will be more enticed by pretty and clean looking gear rather than beatup nasty dirty gear.
  19. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I'm not sure which average people you've been talking to, but, I can guarantee you that the "average person" couldn't even tell you what color a guitar, or bass used by a musician was after watching them for 2 hours. Average people don't care about the gear. Period. I've never seen someone leave a club saying, "I was going to stay for the band, but the guitars were all old onstage, so we left." If it makes their butt shake, or their foot tap, they'll listen. It doesn't matter one bit what the gear looks like.
  20. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Who cares?

    If you hadn't noticed, people talk about what they are interested in. People like to look at nice toys. Go to any forum that involves "toys" (ie muscle cars, home theater, etc), and you'll probably find quite a few threads with "Check out my new paintjob!" Talkbass interest is all over the place--if you can't find threads that you like, look elsewhere.

    I like to look at pretty basses--sue me. I also like to talk technique, and when I see threads that interest me, I respond. If they don't, I move on.
    Is that difficult to do? I certainly don't lament the "State of Talkbass" as a result. I think Talkbass is very lucky to have members like Pacman, Jazzbo, The Mighty Ed Fuqua, Chris McFunky-Cat-Playing-the-Doublebass, etc who can school people on technique and theory when they have questions. But, I am also glad that people continue to buy new instruments, and post pictures of them. In my world, there is room for both.

    If you are "dismayed" with the way the site threads look, why don't you start your own bass site? I think this one is fine just the way it is. That's why I paid to support it. I don't think there is anything to fix, and I am a bit insulted at your insinuation that it is "broken" by asking how we can change it from gear posts to "being a better musician."

    Sorry it doesn't conform to what you want the site to be. I don't get a whole lot out of the Harmony central Bass boards, so, guess what? I don't go there often. Some people love it there. More power to them. I'm certainly not going to start a thread telling them they aren't using the board correctly...

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