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what makes a bass "gig worthy"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by arbarnhart, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I know this is somewhat subjective, but I see a lot of posts about basses being pretty good but "might not hold up" for gigging. Sometimes such comments are even made by owners after having otherwise praised the bass in question. What is so different about playing out versus jamming in the garage? Just the likelihood that something might go wrong?
  2. JayAmel

    JayAmel Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    The only reason why a bass isn't gig worthy is if it is (or seems) unreliable.

    But I must admit I've seldom seen basses whose necks were threatening of breaking, or whose wirings were loose.
  3. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Being able to stay in tune is a factor, imo.
  4. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    For me it has more to do with the basses playability and tone than anything else. If the bass isn't comfortable to play, too heavy, scale is too long, etc..., you get tired really fast while playing a gig. Also, if the tone doesn't sit well in the mix is a big deal to me as well.
  5. I would have to agree with everyone else. If a bass is solid (neck/electronics), can hold a tune, and is comfortable to play for long periods of time, then it is certainly gig worthy.
  6. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I probably should have said I am assuming a reaonable minimum level of quality - holding a tuning pretty well, not falling apart, electronics all working.
  7. Osprey


    Jun 20, 2005
    I'll go along with what's been said here about staying in tune. Beyond that I think it means either "I'm such a fancy player, and play such impressive venues, that I wouldn't want my public to see me with it", or "Amongst all the dozens of basses I own this one is so expensive & delicate that I wouldn't want it to be in the tough bars I play in. (I can handle these locations though, 'cos I'm really hard)." Something like that.
  8. JBass1


    Dec 6, 2005
    the person playing it
  9. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    As far as I'm concerned, the big difference is that nobody paid to see you play in the garage. Having knobs fall off, strap pins rip out, bridges falling appart, necks warping, electronics short out, jacks fall off or going way out of tune just isn't acceptable when people have actually paid money to see you play. If this happens in the garage... yeah, inconvenient. If it happens on stage in front of a paying audience, you're going to look foolish. Not to mention the fact that a "working" bass is going to be moved around between back rooms, vans, stages etc, where it's going to probably get knocked around a bit. It better be able to take it.

    That said, most budget insruments these days are pretty "gig worthy" in my opinion. Back in the days when budget instruments meant plywood and really bad electronics and sub par wiring jobs, this was much more of an issue than it is today.
  10. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    To me, gig-worthy = solid, reliable, sounds great in the mix, well-shielded. And, in addition... plays suitably well for the cost.
  11. To me, gig worthy means that it stays in tune, is well constructed, has good electronics and is durable enough to handle the beating of being loaded and unloaded and the inevitable bumps and bruises a working instrument gets. As another poster said, a failure in the garage is one thing but a failure on the stage in front of paying customers is something all together different.
  12. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I can't remember ever owning a bass that was so bad that I wouldn't take it to a job, and I've owned some real pieces of junk. It would have to be virtually unplayable for me to consider it "non-gig worthy".

    IMO, if you're getting paid to perform you must have an instrument that will sound, look and play professional. That doesn't mean it has to be fancy or new, just solid and playable (by your standards) .... :cool:
  13. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I guess the next time I see the comment made, I should follow up with a "Why not?". I have seen it said a few times in this forum and oddly enough it is often at the end of a pretty positive review (often of an SX or other low cost bass).
  14. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Maintenance is the key to make any bass gig-worthy.

    Check those solder points regularly, tighten up loose screws, check that your straploks are tight, clean/wipe the bass once in a while, and don't submerge it in salt water.

    Ask Willie Nelson. If a nylon-string guitar can take it, a solidbody bass certainly can.
  15. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    My son owns an SX Jazz... I dont think I'd gig it, w/o a little hot rodding. The tuners are pretty slippery, & I havent opened the control cavity, but I just cant imagine shielded very well.
  16. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    Sometimes you need to consider the source when reading reviews. This isn't exclusive to budget stuff either. How much real world gigging experience does the poster really have? Blank profiles get an automatic "zero credablity" ranking from me. Same with no age listed. Sorry, I just figure you're 14, and most 14 year olds don't have a hell of a lot of gigging experience.

    Speaking as a guy who constantly gigs with an lightly modded SX SPB 62... They are very gig worthy. It's been used as my primary bass on countless shows, and never let me down. A genuine workhorse bass.
  17. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I've never seen anyone gig with a bass that wasn't gig-worthy.

    I have however seen people do things to their equipment on a gig that has made me feel they were not worthy of the equipment.

    The guy that threw his Steinberger to the floor, jumped on top of it and began humping it on stage comes to mind. Social services should have come and taken that bass away from him and given it to a nice foster family. It was part of his "show" but to me it constituted abuse.
  18. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    SX basses, or Squires, or just about any other modern day low cost bass is far superior to the very low budget basses of the late '60's (Silvertone type axes, for example). Super cheap basses from those old days were regularly made of plywood that would begin to separate and splinter (literally) with pure garbage for electronics. The pups would be buzzing so loudly that the tone of the bass would disappear.

    With the new CNC machinery in the overseas factories, quality control is far better than in the past. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to use any stock SX on a job .... maybe a string change (although even their string quality has improved drmatically over the past year) and a quick setting of the relief and intonation would be necessary, but the basses are definitely playable.

    IMO, many times when you read "not gig-worthy" here at TB, those statements are being made by someone with very limited experience. Your idea is great ... the next time you read that, ask the person why, specifically, they wouldn't consider the bass to be "gig-worthy" ..... :cool:
  19. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    SO TRUE! Todays budget equipment is light years
    ahead of the budget stuff when we were young. Even well into the 80's some budget stuff could be real junk. Calling it firewood, or a canoe paddle would be insulting to firewood and canoe paddles. Todays bugdet stuff if actually very good for the most part.
  20. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I agree with everyone.

    I have had many low end basses pass through my hands, and I have gigged with most of them. These days, just about everything made is gig worthy, after some burn in, re-stringing, set up, etc.

    One thing I have seen, though. I Have run into many musicians in my time that are snobs regarding brands and dollars. I'm thinking of one guy in particular who will poo poo any equipment anyone mentions or brings if it is not the top of the line stuff.

    I also see a bit of a *cult* :) at a blues jam I attend. It's - apparently - an unwritten law that Everyone will play Fender guitars and basses. Literally I have been there many times, and every guitar and bass was a Fender. I have a feeling that if I showed up with an SX or Yamaha, I'd get some raised eyebrows. :) Not saying it's right, I'm just saying what I observe.

    Back to the thread - we're all fortunate that low end stuff has gotten So much better over the years. It's a quantum leap from the Teisco guitar my brother got from Korvettes department store when we were kids. :cool:

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