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The answer to everything: It depends.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NickyBass, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    There are a lot of threads asking which bass or amp to buy. It seems, at times, that people make recommendations based on what they, themselves, prefer. I have my preferences too, but I wouldn't dream of playing a merengue gig on 4 string P with an SVT. Nor would I audition for Lenny Kravitz's band with an active 6. Often times, these threads turn into the usual debate about high end ~vs~ Fenders, or tube ~vs~ solid state.

    Each situation needs to be evaluated seperately. I think the advise given here would be a lot more valuable if we take ourselves out of the equation. I have recommended gear for people, that just wouldn't work for me. But, it isn't about me. It is about another bassist finding what works for them.
  2. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Re: the first comment, what do you expect people to do? If a stranger asks "what's the best for me" and doesn't describe everything about their playing abilities, knowledge of gear and whether they play a wide range of styles, it's impossible to make an objective recommendation. It's A) not a great idea for someone to trust strangers who don't know them and B) usually not useful information and will lead to a long, frustrating experience for the person who received the info. It makes people dependent on others for what they should do for themselves.

    If someone wants to find the best for them, they need to go out and try it for themselves. Back when people didn't have the internet, they did this and it worked, apparently. Just listen to the variety of sounds that were made with a much smaller range of equipment on music from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s for proof.
  3. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    The fact is that Precision basses and SVT amps and cabs have been the mostly widely used for decades. The only opinion people can and should offer is on what gear they have used. How can someone recommend a something that they have never tried? If you set your EQ correctly you could use any bass and any amp in any situation. A small combo will work fine in a small venue or a large outdoor arena with PA support. A large amp can be used in a small venue if you EQ properly and control your volume. Everyone has their own opinions. As 1958Bassman stated, the only way to know what you like is to try it for yourself.
  4. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I would ask them for a brief description of what it is they are looking to do and offer a few options to try. If I wasn't expirienced in their genre or specific tonal needs, then I would just say so and wish them luck.

    I agree with you on the internet part though.
  5. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Great post! Tempted to make this a sticky. :)
  6. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    In the popular music industry, yes. However, if someone has no interest in that specific genre, and wants to make a career out of playing pit shows, then the P/SVT combo is simply not the best recommendation. I have a pit show next week and, sure I can make any combo work, and I may get called back....but, I probably wouldn't be at the top of the list. For numerous reasons, not the least of which is that a low B is pretty much standard and often times space is at a premium.

    The best we can do is steer someone in the right direction.
  7. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I respectfully disagree. Under that notion,the only advice you can ever give is "play whatever works for you" without offering your own experience. Which, it turns out, is about the most maximally uninformative, least helpful advice ever developed.

    There'd be no need for TB if "whatever works for you" or "you have to find what works for you" were the only guidelines for offering advice. All you'd need is "www.talkbass.com/whatever_works_for_you.html" and nothing else.

    Instead, what I think is a much better approach is to say something along the lines of: for the situation/problem you've brought up, here's what I do/here's what helped me and here's why. Eg. I like this type of neck because it A,B and C, This tone works for me because of D, E and F, and so on.

    Present what you've found in your experience, what you like, etc., and then let the reader decide if it's appropriate for them. Give them some alternatives, even if they're your alternatives. That's why they're making the post to begin with.

    Above all, vacuous statements like "play what you like", "you need to find whatever works for you" are the primary causes of repeated threads and fights, etc. The reason the threads repeat is because those answers aren't answers. So the poster (to whom that statement clearly _never_ occurred before) tries again in the hopes of getting something more substantive the next time around.

    Finally, this isn't a problem with just TB, but virtually every only online forum I've ever seen. You have the same phenomenon practically everywhere with the same result. So, "whatever works for you" seems to be a universally useless response regardless of the topic (not just playing bass).

    So I say avoid empty advice and try to give something substantive instead.

  8. I heard a guy playing a Stingray through a GK 800 & pair of Bag End 15's- it had the clearest, most discernable tone I've ever heard. It also sounded great from hundreds of yards away(it was outdoors)or close-up. Having never played this particular setup, I still feel qualified to recommend it to someone looking for a good outdoor(or indoor, or almost anywhere else/any genre)rig. My point is one can sometimes suggest something they have little or no firsthand experience with, aside from listening/observation.
  9. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I think the only reasonable answer is "Are you crazy? Would you ask a bunch of strangers on the internet who you should marry or who should date your sister or your mom? Bass equipment is no different. Most every one out there can get the job done. But not every bass is right for every person and if you are smart, you won't base your decision on looks alone. You MUST spend some time with the model you are thinking about before you decide to commit or you are going into this as blind as making marriage proposals to random names in a phonebook."
  10. MonkeyBass


    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
  11. The answer to everything, as well documented, is 42.

    As a more serious answer. Any advice given will always be coloured by, and limited to, ones own exerience and inevitably will resolve to ones personal preferences.

    Personally I agree with you, it is down to the individual to search out own answer to this conundrum. As beneficial as the internet has been in many areas it is for me possibly the largest single cause of disharmony when subjectivity is brought into play.
  12. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    No, not at all. I am not advocating for a 'play whatever works' response. Not in the least. All I am saying is that we should investigate the individual needs of other players before making a reccomendation. Of course, a lot of the blame can be put on overly vague questions, but sometimes those are the cards that we are dealt.
  13. Indeed. I think TB is generally pretty good when folks ask for advice, but there's a given percentage of posts recommending something different for the sake of affirmation.

    However, my Stambaugh and CB recommendations are generally geared towards high end customs and as a means to attempt to save the poster some money without sacrificing quality. ;)
  14. mystic38


    Dec 4, 2012
    Mystic CT
    For some reason, it is not possible to +1 this :D

    after all, 43 is wrong.

  15. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I agree.

    Even is accurate for non bass related applications.


    Q: What do you do when you get Montazuma's Revenge in Mexico?
    A: Depends.

    Thank you, thank you very much. I am appearing here every Saturday morning.
  16. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Not sure I agree 100% with this. I'd be hesitant to suggest anything without knowing the complete rundown of the rig. For example, was the bass modded? Were there any preamps or effects being used? Was the GK actually the tone you were hearing or was the bassist going through the PA via a DI box? Etc...
  17. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Since there's obviously no "right" answer to most of the "Which (blank) is best for me?" questions, I just offer any experiences I've had in similar situations.

    The "right" piece of any gear is a continuously-moving target.
  18. nashman


    Feb 11, 2011
    I think a lot of posters recommend the gear they use (which may or may not be the best solution for the requestor) for a few reasons 1. they know it amd like it 2. "I chose this equipment and I can't be wrong - and it will make me feel better about the choices I made by recommending it to someone else". That being said, I have a Stingray, a Fender P and an Eden rig - and so should you :)
  19. giacomini


    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    Then there come those funny remarks, like "jaco only needed 4 strings" or "[insert gear] don't matter, tone is in your fingers"...

    Yes gear choice depends on many factors, but in the end, IMO, it all boils down to the player. If an extraordinary bassist show up to a salsa audition with a P and a SVT, I doubt that he would not get the job because of his gear choice.

    Like the OP said, people usually recommend what they know and prefer, but people end up playing what they feel more comfortable with regardless of other people's opinion.

    I see no problem in a Fodera 6er for hard rock or a plain 4 P for fusion jazz. I guess we sometimes want to create bass players stereotypes that should not exist; anything is possible if it works for the player.
  20. Yes and no. Say someone wants a 32" scale bass with a good B. The list of those who can do it is somewhat small. How about something that nails a Fodera tone without breaking the bank? Who can make a 6 string Precision-type pickup?

    When someone can lay out good specs, the collective minds of TB could probably steer someone towards something that works towards their goals.

    When someone gives vague specs, there will be vague answers.

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