Some observations - throw your tomatoes

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by eldoctorbass, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. eldoctorbass

    eldoctorbass Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Northampton, Mass
    I've been trolling the pages here for a while now and have come to a few conclusions about bass players (and I include myself in this list). Remember, this is not a scientific study. No animals were hurt during testing.

    1. Everyone wants a different, better bass, even if they are really happy with the one they have. Case in point: the phrase "this is the best bass I've ever played, but I need to sell it in order to buy...", which comes second only to "which bass is better?". Like I said, I'm guilty of this too. I one botique bass that costs more than my car and an inexpensive punk bass that everyone loves, yet I'm always looking for something just a bit better. The grass is always greener...

    2. Bass players have serious multi-string neurosis. Should basses only have four strings? Will I ever get a date if I play a 9 string? Again, I suffer from the same illness. I play a six. I'm ok with that. One of my favorite bassists ever is Mark Sandman, who only played a two string bass. Go figure.

    3. There are not enough female bassists, here or out on stage. I don't mean that in any kind of sexist way, or because I'm looking to have a hot online jam session with someone of the opposite sex. It just strikes me that there are very few female bassists around and I wonder why that is. I live near two all-women colleges with a vibrant music scene, yet I can only think of one female bassist, and she's a guitarist first. Another one of my fave all-time bassists is Tina Weymouth. Talk about some basslines that will fill a dance floor.

    4. Everyone likes fancy, imported, rare wood. I do too. But aside from a very thoughtful section of the old Bunnybass site, I almost never see any high-end bass makers talking about the fact that this wood is getting scarce and sometimes the process of removing the wood can disrupt ecosystems. Matt at FBB offers an all-domestic wood option. I wish more botique builders did the same. Also, I would hasten a guess that most listeners will never hear the difference in a live situation between different kinds of wood.

    5. This is a cool site and a good resource. I think the bass is the best instrument in the world. Everyone (including me) should remember this and make sure to spend more time per day playing the bass than being online.

    Like I said, start throwing your tomatoes.
  2. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
  3. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland
    Interesting read....

    I would comment on some of the things you said but im to tired and to lazy right now... :rolleyes:

    But ill save it for later....
  4. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Wouldn't it be more appropriate to throw carrots?
  5. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    Multi-string neurosis... (cool word!!! :D) me? ...not really. It took some time when I bought a fivestring. And I don't want a six, seven or... etc.. strings. I just remember a soundclip on the Conklin site, a guy extremely fast tapping, slapping and all the way back. But not playing bass. The bass is voor groovy, hanging tones... that's what I like about playing bass. Sometimes being the fundamental tone and sometimes just walking over the melody line.
    [not really guilty]

    I don't want a better bass...unless I can afford one. And when I can't afford one... I'm lending some money.... :D

    About those tops... I don't really fancy them. Especially when it's an environment thing, I even don't want it all. A normal grain, doesn't have to be less beautifull (isn't more beautifull) than an exotic one out of the bush in South Afrika. It think it's about lengthning something you don't have enough. Pimps enough in the world I think (throw one of those tomatoes at me ok?)

    Good thread... I had been thinking this before too!
  6. I blame those damn Canadians...and their subterfuge. It's a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top.

    My thoughts:

    The quantities of wood that luthiers use to create their works of art are inconsequential when you consider how much exotic wood is used for furniture, cabinets, hardwood floors, construction, etc. It's like fretting over using one paper towel and thinking you're destroying a forest. In the amount of time a luthier takes to build one bass, thousands of the exotic trees have matured or sprouted or died on their own, or been knocked over by elephants/struck by lightning/burned by African tribesmen for cooking.

    I wanna better car...what's the difference with basses? I wanna better dishwasher...I wanna better bandsaw...The primary drive in life is to better yourself and your situation. You're a monk if you're doing otherwise.

    Everybody knows chicks don't play bass because they'd rather get it on with the lead singer or guitarist. That's common, indisputable knowledge and will not change in my lifetime. (Sorry, Treena, but you're a freak. :D )

    I'm online because I can't play bass right now. It's at home and I'm not...Why aren't YOU playing bass right now? If you have time to step up to the soapbox, you've got time to learn 'Money' or 'Down on the Corner'.

    /gets off own soapbox and plays his $300 bass...wishing he had more strings and a better dishwasher.
  7. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    According to your observations, I'm quite guilty - but with me its not entirely as you put it

    1 - When I want a new bass I have a distinct tone in my mind that I want to get with it. Its like the means to an end. But unfortunately I have not much money to pursue my tone desires... And the aesthetics is a pleasant side issue of my tone pursuit :oops: :rollno: ok ok i like nice basses ;)

    2 - I almost exclusively play my 6 now, but I'm fine with 4-players, too. And i'm not that much of a wanker as some may think: the addittional strings are there when I need them, and not for the entire time; we are bassists, we are in the rhythm section and we neeed to serve the song, and solo comes only after that

    3 - I knew a couple of girls who played bass but quit after some time... Maybe guys are just more persistent.
    And besides: its got a deep voice, big, heavy strings that are harder to pluck (correctly), its got some weight, big and long neck - i dont think its too suited for women... but still there are some who play it

    4 - Well, they look beautiful - and they get the tones i want. But I agree, this issue needs more attention

    5 - Yes, it is. :cool: :D
  8. eldoctorbass

    eldoctorbass Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Northampton, Mass
    Good points.

    Wood: it's true that the amount of imported wood used for guitars is minimal in the grand scheme of things, but it's still something that I wish more builders would address (include furniture/construction there too).

    As far as driving a better car, driving a better dishwasher, etc, I agree: it's not just about the basses. But I don't spend hours drooling over a new dishwasher. Maybe a few minutes. Ok, not even a few minutes.

    I'm also not playing bass at home because I'm at work (where I should be working). And, in the interest of full-disclosure, my bass is right here waiting patiently for a gig tonight. But I can't play it at work. But I should play it more at home. Like I said, I'm guilty of all my gripes.
  9. You can't really blame the builders...if builders could build and sell a regular old Douglas Fir bass for $3000-$5000, they'd do it. Their profit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $2700-$4700, and I think any builder would jump at the chance for a 1000% profit margin. It's the BUYERS that keep the demand. When BUYERS drool over some Macassar Ebony top with some crazy Acacia/Mahogany/Purpleheart/Birdseye Maple/Wenge laminated neck, the builder will do what he can to supply that demand.

    When some rich socialite just has to have Koa floors in her solarium, she'll find the builder that will say "I'll build you a Koa floor" and ignore the builder that will say "But Pine is so much more available and better for the environment." The accommodating builder will get the job.

    More builders should just find a rotting tree stump by the side of the road and make a 'Spalted Top'. "This piece of cow crap is really abstract art...$8 million."
  10. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
  11. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Nope. I have a hankering for additional basses, but my main bass stays...

    I reckon most bassists are happy with four. I'm certainly happy on a four string, but get the occasional hankering for additional high strings, say if I play a D on the A string and want to go a 10th above that...

    Playing rock guitar doesn't appeal to girls as much, and that's where bassists generally start.

    Not all of us like it. I like transparent finishes, so I can see the wood, but I also appreciate the understated appearance of ash over zebrawood/snakewood/etc.
  12. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Just like fur or anything else thats not enviromentally friendly like that, I agree with the above poster, its the buyers who place that demand, not builders.

    Id imagine that many of these exotic woods are grown for building purposes as well. Its possible if there wasnt a demand for them, they might have gone extinct on their own. As long as people want to buy it though, they will continue to grow it commercially as well, which does as much to keep the trees growing as it does to use them. Paper is very similar. The trees used in paper are grown on mills usually, that wouldnt exist without the paper market. The above is not guarenteed to be true of course, I really dont know for sure if exotics woods are treated the same as other things of this nature, but just some thoughts on it from the other side of the fence.
  13. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004

    I would most likely believe that other thousands have been knocked down precisely for the furniture industry, etc, wenge for example is very "in" right now for all types of furniture around here, in fact my girlfriend wants to buy a full wenge bed!! I already threatened her that I may not resist to chop it into pieces and use them for neck laminates, that should be enough for some 10 basses!! :mad:
    So please don't think that they're just being knocked down by elephants or burned in fireplaces, if ilegal hunting is a reality illegal wood cutting can be too right? :meh:
  14. Rezdog

    Rezdog Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    T.Rez, Canada
    Greetings from the North,
    I've seen alot of land that has been clear cut and it isn't pretty. The resouces of this planet are finite and I do know that they are not regrowing clearcut areas as fast as they are cutting them down. I'm quite sure most of you know the compounded effects of clearcutting on the eco system and if you don't know maybe you should look into it,because one day it will effect your children and their children........ Using up trees that have fallen to natural causes is an option but even they have a place in the eco system of a forest.
    No I don't profess to have the big solution to this but maybe getting into different materials in the construction of our beloved instrument of choice should be something we all need to look at. The time we are now living in may be looked at as the golden age in wood construction because I am certain that if we keep taking at the rate we are now, future bass players will not have the choices we have.
    Happy Times,
  15. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    1. coulda just said GAS, man.

    2. Sure, i have a 5 string bass but im scared to use the B string, it doesnt sound natural. It sounds out of place and too low and yea.

    3. Sure, although there are some. My girlfriend has always loved bass and is buying a bass of her own soon.

    4. Maybe , some people dont care.

    5. Woot.
  16. Yep, guilty as charged there, but I'm like that with every new hobby or pastime I get into. I always want bigger and better. My case and point; I got really into bowling for a while and spent a grand or better on balls and other equipment while I was bowling a 100 average. Same thing with bass. I've been playing four months, and I've been through as many basses as months I've been playing. This is my neurosis.

    Not guilty of this one. I can't play any bass well, so if I could afford it, and I wanted a 9, I'd get it. Same as the fretted/fretless issue to me. When someone with talent is behind it, I don't care if it's fretted, fretless, one string, or twenty. Play what you want! :D Due to an accidental discovery last night while practicing, I'm already considering a fretless.

    Locally, I've yet to see any female musicians of any sort, outside of orchestra type bands. I'm sure they exist, but I would venture to say most of them are vocalists (everyone wants to be a singer). Honestly though, outside of pop, there isn't a whole lot of female musicians in popular music, either. They exist, I know, but not in great numbers.

    However, some of my favorites were Paz Lenchantin and Sean Yseult, both bassists. I haven't followed them, since they are no longer in APC and White Zombie (respectively) but I really liked what they did in those bands. Actually, now that I've brought it up, I will check up on them.

    I don't know how much of an impact the music industry has on this, simply because of the price of the instruments you're talking about. It's quite possible, if not likely, that most of us will never even be able to afford a bass like those you are speaking of. However, I do think it would be a good measure by all in the wood industry, to plant five tress in place of every one cut down.

    Well, as far the being online too much part of that, I am definitely guilty. Sometimes I think I need to return my laptop and sell the desktop, but I think I would die without my computers. They have been a huge staple in my life over the last seven years, and I had long been considering a career in the technology field.

    However, since coming to talkbass, I've discovered a great yearning to attempt becoming a luthier. There is just something about the idea of making a beautiful instrument with your own hands, that someone is going to speak their heart and soul through, that just speaks to me. :hyper:
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    And that's why Marketing people are overpaid. Car owners, for instance, are no different.
    It's very cool to me. As a kid, I remember when your only real choices were Fender, Gibson, Japanese junk (which is all it was in the late 60's), and the odd British bass or two.

    "Five keeps me alive". But yeah, some of these things make me wonder if the musician shouldn't just buy a harp, strap it on, and be done with it. :D

    Maybe they're just smarter.........I'm tired of seeing X-rays of my slipped L-6 disk and bone spurs caused by cabs, in which, a family of 4 could live.
    Perhaps, neodymium speakers will change the demographics somewhat.

    I've seen the issue addressed on the Musical Instrument Makers' Forum - Bass, as an instrument, is such a small market, relative to guitar, that the rare woods we use are but a toothpick in a timberstand, relative to the flooring and cabinet market.
    Plus, our instruments get passed on to other players whereas the flooring and cabinets get destroyed when Muffy and Milton decide that their kitchen and den have to be re-done because they watched the latest TV episode of "Trading Spaces."

    Being a bass site, these will be vine-ripened Beefsteak tomatoes grown from original Burpee seeds developed by Contadina gardens.
  18. Where can I get those! Off to check eBay!
  19. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Look under "tomatoes, bassists"
  20. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Probably the biggest culprit in deforestation is slash-and-burn where forest is clearcut to make way for livestock and farming. But when a wood comes en vogue, it can really tax a species, especially if it has a small native region. Brazilian Rosewood is not on the brink of extinction because elephants knocked it over.

    It's true, the amount of wood most builders use is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme. But now Peavey and Ibanez are dipping into the exotic market and they build a lot of basses. Things can turn quickly if demand gets high enough.

    Given that people who come to my site are generally interested in the wood that goes into their basses, I have a unique opportunity to get people thinking about where that wood comes from. About how it needs to be managed. In that case, maybe one of my visitors reads my spiel on smart wood and doesn't get that koa floor down the road, or they demand that their supplier get the koa from a renewable source. Yay! I must be a tree-hugger!

    Or maybe they see a picture of afrormosia on my site and get that instead of the koa (afrormosia is threatened). ;)