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What does it take to make music?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dog1, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. dog1


    Dec 30, 2008
    DSC00040. I think that many of us have a variety of basses, both expensive, and cheap. And these days, the choices are almost limitless. But what does it take to make music?

    I currently have 5 basses at home, and each one has a purpose. While it's true that my Ric is my go to bass, the Chinese made Artcore also goes to every gig. Even though one can't replace the other due to differences in sound, they are both worthy. And even the $200 Ibanez GSR200 makes music.

    It's true that I feel good with the Ric hanging around my neck, but am certainly not embarrassed when I am playing the little blue bass. Maybe it has more to do with the talent of the player, rather then the tool in his hands. Any thoughts?
  2. Great musicians while they were poor made great music with cheap instruments and cheap amplifiers.

    A lot of hobbyists with great paying dayjobs are playing multiple thousands dollars basses in their living room...

    Making music is about talent, past a certain point, if your instrument can be decently setup, and has decent electronics, you should be able to make it sound good. No one needs custom jobs to make music neither do you need multiple basses.

    You give a talented artist a plank of wood with strings on it and he'll be able to make music out of it.
  3. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    While I would like to have a number of basses, I just can't justify it right now. I have one bass (and one amp) that I use for everything from jazz to rock to R&B/Soul to musical theatre to church.

    Would it be nice to have a P with flats, a Jazz with rounds, a Ray, and a "modern" bass (which is what I have) at the ready? Sure. Can I make music with what I have? So I've been told.

    While I tend to find a tone and stick with it, I do have some flexibility with the active/passive 3 band on board Bartolini preamp. The neck pup is "P-like" when soloed - at least it's good enough for my gigs. If I roll of the mids I get a nice tone for jazz gigs. Bump the mids and I cut through for rock stuff. The bridge pup is a nice growly jazz sound. I tend to stay in active mode, but may explore passive (really it's more of a bypass) and see what it yields.

    I guess if I were anywhere but here, or doing a lot of session work it might be different, but in this little town, secluded from any "real" music scene, my current gear is plenty good and allows me to make music.
  4. Joe164


    Aug 26, 2008
    Leicester, UK
    I agree with the above to an extent. Though having a lot of expensive instruments generally means you're very passionate about music. Im 16 and im in a band. I write the songs, all you gotta do is get a few riffs, words, other musitians to work on you're songs, and you're away. Trust me, its easier than people make out to think of a real tune, just try and get the creative juices flowing! A good jam can kickstart this.
  5. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    Over the years I have went through a lot of basses looking for "the one" that was just right for me. I believe you can get a usable sound out of just about any bass, some are just easier to dial in than others. Some are one trick ponies and some give you more flexibility. For me it came down to not only tone but just as importantly ergonomics. I have been using the same bass for going on ten years now because it is a perfect fit for me physically.
    How much it cost or the name on the headstock do not necessarily mean it is the right bass for you. If it feels & plays good and sounds good to you then it is good.
  6. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    You can 'make due' with whatever you have. You can get 'close' to P-bass sounds, Rik sounds, etc with many general basses. Problem is, people convince themselves that close enough isn't good enough for them. The typicical "if I can only get ********* I know I can get to the next level" situation. When honestly it's the talent that will get them to that next level and not the bass or the sound.

    If they're good enough to warrant that next level the gear will find it's way to them, or someone in a studio will hand them the bass that needs to sound as they wish.


  7. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    It depends on what you mean by "making music". If you mean jamming with a band and playing music, then yes, any instrument that is correctly intonated and that stays in tune can be used as long as it is correctly amplified. Will it sound good ? This is a function of the player's technique and experience first and of the instrument second.

    If "making music" means studio work, subbing, and playing hundred of gigs a year, you will need more axes and probably better quality ones. For one, no studio engineer this side of 1971 will not record a bass that is noisy, so you need quality hardware, components and a silent design. And while many SX and cheapos get gigged a lot, you still need to care for them or have backups or they'll simply die on the road due to the sheer abuse of being played out every night.

    Boutique might not be necessary, but several basses might.
  8. It's nice to have a few different basses to go to, but ultimately it's all about the player. A decent bassist will make even the cheapest bass work for them. The old cliche of it being 'all in the hands' is mostly true.

    Having said that, I own two Roscoe's, two Lakland's, and a MIA P5, so I'm as much of a gear-whore as the next guy! 8)
  9. dog1


    Dec 30, 2008
    The replies so far have been what I expected. On some forums, $200 basses are considered "junk or crap" and the general idea is that they are worthless. In the hands of an experienced player, they can be made to sound worthy.

    I have read threads where the OP is trying to get "Geddy's or Chris Squire's sound", and are looking for details of their set ups, strings they use, etc. Truth is, experience and technique are more important than the tools used.

    Of course the inexpensive Ibanez would be a poor choice for anything critical (like recording) but is totally acceptable for any garage band.

    I was just trying to dispell the idea that anyone NEEDS to spend big bucks to make music.

    BTW, the only bass I don't use is the TB. As a rock bass, it is redundant of my Ric, which I like better. The semi-hollow w/flats is my choice for jazz or more mellow stuff. The 8 string is, well, an 8 string so is not suitable for most of our material. But when I do use it, nothing else I own sounds the same. And, the little blue bass lives in the teen room at Church. If it gets abused, (which it does) there is no worry about loss. After all, even though it was only 80 bucks on ebay, to the bassless teens that use it, it is the best bass they have ever played. ;)
  10. need to hang a picture of Robert Johnson on their wall, or any of the Delta Blues players. Or the one with Charlie Parker playing a plastic sax. Or J. Jamerson. Or Scott Lafaro. When you can make music that good with what they played, then you can consider buying something better.

    Gear is no substitute for talent. Or practice. Or spending the time learning music.
  11. thudstaff23


    Mar 10, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    It's in the hands not the brands! But then it's in the brands.
  12. wnelson


    Aug 15, 2007
    read my signature.....to me,that says it all;)
  13. NS2A


    Apr 3, 2008
    Victor Wooten said stop going from bass to bass and play the paint off the one you have.
  15. IMHO The quality of the bass is not one of the most important aspects in creating music just experience, skill and creativity. In a perfect world none of us would have started out on sub-par instruments or equipment, but a lot of us did and were still able to create music. Through our experiences we discover which instrument feels better ergonomically, which instrument facilitates our playing style better, and which instrument ( and for many of us here Instruments ) has the tone we are after. To me that is another part of the journey that is exciting and a lot of times inspiring.
  16. DRafalske


    Nov 6, 2008
    Hebron, KY
    PM me for the shipping address. I'll take it off your hands:D

  17. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    What does it take to make music?

    Inspiration and practice.
  18. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    I look at it this way; if someone can't make music with a GSR200 he can't play bass, and a 10K bass won't change that.
  19. b_carville


    Jun 26, 2008
  20. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    A voice. Learn to speak with your bass.

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