Vintage vs Modern: an observation

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Orpheus55, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. I play in a band whose venue rotates oldies acts, Indie acts, original artists, and various 80s and 90s "tribute" clones. It's a lot of fun, great cross-fertilization, and it all helps keep me current (not easy with kids and grandkids wondering what the hell I'm doing onstage still). Interestingly, I've noticed that the younger players favor vintage basses and amps, whereas the old guys (like me) love the newer, active instruments. It's kind of funny, as I'd think it would be the other way around. Personally, I am amazed at the quality of the newer gear as compared to the crap, er, "vintage" stuff I used in the 60s and early 70s (yes, including the "post CBS" Fenders--regarded then as MIMs are now). I mainly use a newer Stingray 4 and and a GK/Avatar rig, and would never go back to the dinosaurs (Sunn, scary Fender amps) I trained on. The kids, though, they love all that stuff; I tell them it costs a fortune to make equipment sound as bad as it did then and they just laugh. The beauty of rock is it all comes full circle, and I just got to love it!
  2. lol.... i can say im one of those kids
  3. rr5025


    Nov 12, 2008
    I guess I am too since my amp is older than me.
  4. That's great. You know, I've learned more about bass playing from young people than I ever did on my own. They are far less tolerant of carelessness and sloppy execution. BTW; in my 10 piece band, half the players are under 30. The other half, well...
  5. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    :confused: ... Interesting thread, but I'm just a little confused ... as basses go?



    Or is there a cutoff point year wise when it made the good vs bad transition?

    I have a number of basses ranging from new to vintage ... passive and active, mass production to hand made one of a kinds. I know what my main gig bass is, but as always I could be using the wrong one, for my age. :meh:

    :eyebrow: ... I can't see 50 in the rearview mirror.
  6. blendermassacre

    blendermassacre Supporting Member

    May 28, 2009
    kansas city, mo
    I think it might have something to do with the "been there done that" mentality of the older guys vs. the "everything i've ever bought broke / sucked/ whatever, and my grandpa always told me about how well things used to be built". I could be way off base here, but that's how I feel. I'm 22 and I've tried active / passive and vintage/ new, and I find myself going back to older technology.

    I also think it has to do with looking cool. Vintage is "in" right now, so a lot of people want vintage furniture, clothes, cars, and that translates into instruments too. If it wasn't like this why would fender do 50's, 60's, and 70's reissues, as well as road worn series.
  7. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    When I first bought what is now considered to be "vintage", I bought new or barely used. Some I kept, most I disposed of. To me "vintage" is just used gear and subject to the same vagaries of quality as it was 40+ years ago.

    I also went the boutique/active path for a while but now find myself using "old style", "cheap" and DIY Frankenstein instruments that are mostly passive.
  8. I've found I'm 50/50. I'm17 right now, and I love new basses, and old amps. I like the good structure and craftsmanship in modern basses, but none of the new amps (IMO) have the smooth, clean, and sometimes gritty tone of the vintage models. Even comparing an old solid-state with a new tube!
    I might just be an idiot, but that's my experience.
  9. I've noticed many of these "indie" kids don't want Fenders.
  10. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

    I think many younger guys (and girls) think having an amp or bass that is as old or older then they are is a cool thing.

    Personally, I love old and new basses equally - My main gigging basses are 2008 and 1974 Fender P basses, a 1973 Fender Jazz, a 2006 Stingray and a 2005 Roscoe 5er. I love them all equally for different things.

    When it comes to amps and cabs, I stick to new. IMO the current cabs ALMOST ALWAYS sound better and are lighter than the old ones. With heads, I will always go new. If I saw an old Ampeg fliptop for dirt cheap, I would likely buy it, but that would likely be the only exception. My new Ampeg SVT sounds better than my 70's SVT did, my new Traynor YBA sounds MUCH better than my 60's YBA (and doesn't try to zap me), and the solid state stuff being made now blows away anything made in the 60s-80s IMO.
  11. king_biscuit


    May 21, 2006
    I personally don't care what you or anyone else thinks of my vintage basses (I have several nice actives too, and have had a bunch of others). I'm 39 and have been playing since I was five years old. I've learned very little (musicianship) from young players, and virtually everything from seasoned musicians. I do get tired of these threads with the thinly veiled insults to those of us who are too stupid to realize that all vintage gear (or at least all 70s Fenders) is junk. If we only had you (and a few other TB regulars) around to help us make better instrument purchases, you could spend more time practicing and less time pointing out the truth as you know it for our benefit... For that, I apologize :bag:
  12. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    My basses, except my first one, are older than I am.

    So is my amp head (though the amp head it replaced was made in the 90's I think).

    My cabs are fairly new, though I bought used, both were built probably no more than a decade ago.

    I've seen a lot of guys with active top of the line basses. I've never liked the tone they used very much. Too clean and kind of clinical, even cold sounding for me. Probably mid scooped in many cases (by no means do active basses have to sound like that, I know, it's just the tone that almost everyone I've seen live with one got that sort of sound). I don't like that sound. My favorite sounds are a Rickenbacker or passive J bass through a tube amp. I like warmth and grit, I don't want my bass to sound so pristine and pure. I want it to sound like some sort of snarling beast. Most of the time. At other times, maybe a soft but thick pillow. Both sounds I can get through a passive bass and a tube amp. My favorite bass was designed almost 50 years ago, and has undergone some changes since, but mostly stayed the same. And that works for me.
  13. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I guess we won't be expecting the OP in the OFFU (Old Farts + Fenders United) club.
  14. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    When people hear 'older is/was better and worth it' over and over and over and over a certain amount begin to start believing it without comparing for themselves.

    Some old farts (me included) either have hte means or are adventure-some enough to try the differences themselves.

    Me, I fall somewhere inbetween regarding vintage and modern. Currently having the bass in my avatar built to hopefully bridge that gap.
  15. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    well, I guess I used to be one of the younger guys who preferred vintage gear. I was all about passive basses (Fender Jazz to be exact) and ampeg amps. I've owned several Fenders and was just never happy with them...

    I've since started playing more modern instruments and am very happy with the tone I am getting from them. Also, the playability and construction is top notch. I guess i'm a modern convert now.
  16. king_biscuit


    May 21, 2006

    Of course that's true. But it's also true for people buying all kinds of other stuff, including modern basses of various brands/styles.
  17. A heartfelt response, obviously, but I certainly did not intend to come off as someone hurling veiled insults. I love vintage gear. Please excuse me if I sounded that way; I just noticed something this last weekend that was, to me, a bit unusual. Pls don't take offense.
  18. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Not all '70s Fenders are junk...I got the good one.

  19. Actually, I've noticed the opposite.

    Most of them love Jazz and P basses.

    It might all depend on where you are, though.

    It might be different for where you are, but it seems the opposite here.
  20. I have my 80's Ibanez bass guitars and my modern Markbass combo and its perfect for me...I keep going to the local store and the only bass I would say comes close to the quality of my bass guitars are the Earnie ball stuff. I wouldn't mind having a Fliptop and a vintage Rickenbacker for home recording...