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Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by BassGuyFL, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    Man somedays you're the windsheild, somedays you're the bug.

    So we're playing a nice outdoor gig over the weekend and half way through the first set the battery dies in my bass. No problem I have my backup and grabbed it and kept going. No problems right? Ha! A couple of tunes later the A string on the backup breaks. I've never broken a string on stage ever much less 5 minutes after the battery in the main one goes out. Finish the set with 3 strings and because I'm the bass player and the responsible, sensible one I swap the battery to the spare one I have and change the strings to my extra ones between sets.

    All is well right? Ha guess again! Unbeknownst to me the spare 9v is a dud and 3 songs into the second set it dies again! At this point I'm like wow ***! All you can do is laugh. Swap to the backup bass again and no more issues that set. I scrounged up a fresh 9 volt for the main bass changed it out and was trouble-free the rest of the night. In my defense the battery in the main bass was only 6 months old and I always unplug it when I'm not playing, even between sets. Made for an interesting night to say the least!
  2. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    Ouch. Sounds like you didn't get too flustered.. that's great. I understand stuff happening occasionally.. but how you react to it makes such a huge difference than what happened.

    Our singer lost her voice one night at beginning of our second set.. just totally gone. Rather than everyone freaking out, arguing, blaming etc. we started pulling people ( friends in the audience ) to do sort of a karaoke night. We pulled out songs that the guys sing. ( female lead singer and 3 guys that sing backup and lead on a handful of songs.. so we had something ready ). Some songs we've never played as a band together.

    Rather than an embarrassing disaster, it ended up still being a really fun night. Not that we ever want to do it again.

    Still, kudos on not losing your cool and having it ruin the night. I'll try and remember that if....... when something like that happens to me.
  3. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Dangit. I hate when that happens. Sounds like you handled it well though.

    I've had a few like that. On most gigs there's at least something that goes wrong, though only once can I remember it being near the level of what you had. Almost every gig idiot child, uh, I mean my guitarist, breaks a string. My first show with my wireless I ended up having to abandon it for most of a set because fresh out of the pack batteries were dead as a doorknob.

    You handled it better than I probably would have. Kudos.
  4. Hi,

    Good job being prepared, very professional of you. You handled things as well as could be.

    My two main basses both use 9v batteries as well as my tuner pedal. I try to have at least two new batteries with me. I also keep extra strings in my case. On really important gigs I will bring at least one, sometimes two, backup basses. Something like this...


    I rarely bring a backup amp because most of the "important" gigs have full sound and I can always get bass in my monitor if my amp futzes out.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  5. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    I usually play the same bass all night and have my wireless in a pouch on the strap so it's more of a logistics issue swapping basses. Just had to so some quick transposing and simplifying parts to get by missing a string though! My main is a 5 and backup is a 4.

    I always have extra batteries for my wireless and IEM transmitters and cables close by plus stuff like a flashlight, duct tape and a screwdriver in case something goes awry. Short of a major malfunction I have it covered.
  6. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    put a battery tester in your gig bag and use it from time to time.
    6 months old battery in your bass is asking for trouble.

    Don't carry batteries loose in your bag. If the positive terminal of one happens to touch the negative terminal of another, they will both discharge down to zero.
  7. Mike11121


    Sep 17, 2007
    Wow BC. That's what I called being prepared. I confess that while I always carry a couple of batteries, some other leads and spare strings to every gig, I do play a lot of gigs with one solitary bass (gasp!). I have on occasion carried a second, but it's usually more to do with what I expect to be playing rather than reliability worries. I am pretty anal about maintenance and I'm not brutal on my gear, so I guess I just expect my instruments to be up to it. Bear in mind that my precious RB850 is a nearly 30 year old active, and just won't quit. So far, since 1983 I have busted exactly one string on stage (the G on the RB, and in the last song of the set, so no real problems). I have certainly had batteries go down (all 3 of my basses are active), but a 30 second change is fine, and I get plenty of notice as the tone goes all "farty" about 15 minutes before disaster.

    Of course, now I've said all that we all know what happens next :crying:
  8. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    Change the battery in your bass (at least) every time you reset your clocks. That's what I always did. But now all of my basses are passive, so that's one less thing to worry about... ;)
  9. Jerry_LTD


    Apr 16, 2013
    Back when I only had one bass (my first) we had this gig in a local bar where we had to play two 45 minute sets.
    First set was great, good audience, some jumping around, no problems.
    Second set starts, 2 minutes into the first song and BANG...bye bye E-string :meh:
    Finished the song on 'improv-mode' :p
    Then jokingly asked if anyone in the audience had a spare E-string in its pocket...ofcourse no one had...
    Didn't have a back-up, no spare strings (hey, I was still in school, money was tight :p), still 40 minutes to go...
    So I downtuned my A to E, D to A and G to D
    Played like crap, but I managed and finished the gig, even played 2 encores afther our normal set

    Here's a pic of me rockin' my 3-stringer :bassist::p

    Afther that gig I always had a set of string with me, and afther buying a new bass I always had 2 basses with me as well, always be prepared... but now that thats been said, with my luck, I'll probably blow up my amp at the next gig :p
  10. Hi,

    I'll admit, sometimes I overdo it. But anything worth doing is worth overdoing. ;)

    I've had my Kingman acoustic for about a year and a half. The rest of those basses I've had for almost 20 years or longer. I try to maintain my gear well but with that many miles on them you just never can tell. I normally bring two basses to most gigs.

    My Carvin once quit on a gig. The wires to the battery compartment had broken from the bending/rocking motion while changing batteries. A quick solder job fixed that. I've also broken only one string on a gig but I don't remember which bass. It might have been my old Gibson RD Artist. I need to pull that one out of the closet and get it playable again. It was the first bass I owned with active electronics back in 1980.

    It seems I've had worse luck with amps. My new-ish Randall RB2000 had a meltdown on a gig with a set to go. I had to plug into the PA for the last set. And of course, I'll loose a tube once in a while in my old Bassman 100. I've had to play lots of gigs over the years with a couple of 6L6 tubes pulled out (playing at 50w instead of 100w) just to make it through the night. But I've had it totally refurbished and don't use it very often any more, only when I'm feeling nostalgic or I want to leave one rig set up in one place while I play another gig. I'm doing that one day this week because we have a double booking, a corporate event in the afternoon and the fair at night.

    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  11. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    "... but now that thats been said, with my luck, I'll probably blow up my amp at the next gig"

    Good reason to bring a spare micro head.

    Could save the day if your, or another players amp fails mid-gig.

    Spare instrument cable, speaker cable, batteries, strings, bass, amp, microphone.

    Check the spare tire for equipment hauler to make sure it has air, and that you have a jack too.

    Suspenders, and belt redundancy can save the day.
  12. Hi,

    That's pretty dang cool right there. It's like a balalaika bass. ;)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  13. nashman


    Feb 11, 2011
    There are a lot of thjings like this in life. Crosswalks often don't get put in until people die crossing the street first, a lot of people don't put security systems in their houses until after a break-in, people don't quit smoking or eating crap until they have had a heart attack etc. etc. You need a backup plan for every piece of gear - and a check before every gig.
  14. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    I gotta get a active/passive switch wired into my axe.
  15. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Hey, man...stuff went sideways and you worked through it and made the gig go....that's what professionals do.

    I remember breaking one string when I was maybe 17 or so, (I'm 41 now). Ever since then, whenever I change strings I always put the old ones back in the package and keep them for spares. Always have plenty of bass strings laying around in various cases, gigbag pouches, boxes, etc.

    I really need to find something to do with all these old strings. Maybe make windchimes or something. They're like sturdy little cables. :)
  16. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    if they don't get hot enough to ignite something else in the bag and burn down the band van or your house first! :eek:

    it doesn't even need to be another 9V; any random piece of metal could cause it to short out, getting very hot in the process.

    drop a piece of steel wool onto a 9V battery and see what happens (hint: do it outside ;)).

    anyway, i'm surprised the OP didn't get any warning in the way of a couple gigs with a weak, grungy-sounding bass beforehand. that's what usually happens in low-drain stuff like active basses, and usually well before it goes utterly silent.
  17. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Sounds like you handled that well. Had that been me there would've been shards of an (in)active bass all over the stage, lol.
  18. puddin tame

    puddin tame

    Aug 14, 2010
    Spare battery, sure. Spare strings? Unlikely but why not. I guess if you play quite hard it's necessary.

    Spare bass? Spare amp?? What am I, a roadie? Who wants to haul that much crap to a gig? Buy reliable gear and treat it right! I don't see the keys player bringing a spare keyboard, or the drummer with a spare kit!

    Story that happened recently: friend of mine is going to watch a gig, and when he walks into the bar th guitarist recognises him and asks if he has a spare E string because he broke his. No luck, but the guy did 3 sets of 5 strings and killed it (kind of helps that he's head of guitar at a very good university...)
  19. funkingroovin

    funkingroovin Conquering A-D-D,and all the other notes as well!

    Apr 19, 2009
    I take back-ups for everything but my cabs,and never seem to need any of it. My singer/guitarist however breaks his A string every other gig,but refuses to bring a back-up guitar AND refuses to use our other guitarists' back-up. I could understand his not wanting to play a different guitar if it was different,but the soloists' back-up is a KILLER '72 strat and the singer plays a MIM strat?!..he'd rather stop,change the string,spend 10 min tuning,and start up again because "it only takes two minutes". Drives. Me. MENTAL.
  20. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    I'd love to get a check before every gig! Of course, I prefer cash...
    They often carry a spare bass drum pedal. Those suckers are hard to fix on the fly.