What will a new/better bass get me?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DJS, Dec 6, 2021.

  1. DJS

    DJS Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Rochester, NY
    I play the most simplistic of basses - a 2010 American Standard Precision. It's been my only "real' bass since I started playing 13 years ago. It's lasted 10 years of steady band work and never given me a minute of trouble. Recording engineers seem to like the tone. Other seasoned bass players give me a thumbs up when they see it, hear it and try it out. I feel it's not holding me back, and I've never considered getting another one.

    My band's guitar player has gone through about 6 $4000+ guitars in that same time. Last night he showed up with a gorgeous new PRS, and my band leader asked "Hey DJS how come you don't get a new $8000 bass?

    My answer was "Because I don't think I'd be able to take advantage of the things that make it so nice." Guitar's response "Well, not sure if I can either, but here we are!"

    But then I wondered, is this completely true? Could I buy better playing results with a higher end bass like I can readily buy better bike race results with a higher end, faster lighter race bike? It seems to me that I could hand my bass to Victor Wooten and he'd blow the roof off any auditorium without hesitation. Is this a solid rationale for sticking with what works? Or am I missing out?
    jdthaddeus, Nebula24, JRA and 14 others like this.
  2. Jeremy Crockett

    Jeremy Crockett Amiable Crank Supporting Member

    Debt. It will get you $8000 worth of debt. You like what you have, it works for you. If you really want a new bass, why wouldn't a $1500 one do the same job?
  3. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Up to a certain point, a "better" bass will be easier to play and may have a more versatile tone. My more expensive "boutique" instruments are certainly easier to play than my less-expensive instruments. Beyond that, though, if you're satisfied with what you have, there's really no reason to buy another bass other than "I want one." I generally only purchase a new bass when I need a bass that can do something my other basses can't do, i.e. "I'm joining a band that will require a 5-string and I don't have a 5-string."
  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Hmm, tort?

    Seriously though, a "better" bass is only better if you like to play it more. If it looks cooler or even has a subjectively better tone and it hangs as your backup it's not really better. I love gear, don't get me wrong.
    The first step is to think about what you wish you could change about your bass now. Weight? Nut Width? (those 2 are totally superficial but this is TalkBass so you practically have to start there) Active or Passive, too midrange/treble? Not enough midrange? Frets? Get a better bass if you want one, that's what I'd do. But it's only better if you work harder to play it better.

    And bikes only go faster when you push harder. So I guess the analogy works. But I'm older now so maybe I should think about selling my yellow Cinelli leather hairnet, it's the only part of the natty uniform that would still fit me haha.
  5. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    You've yet to identify anything lacking in your current bass, so no, currently there isn't something better.
    I highly recommend trying as many other instruments as possible, but without any preconceived notion of having to buy any of them. Use them as comparison points and see what resonates with you. If none of them bring anything new to the table, there's nothing wrong with being satisfied with what you have. You don't need to get roped into someone else's hype.
    The dollars are meaningless, unless you're shallow and want to impress other shallow beings.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2021
  6. kinopah


    Oct 19, 2014
    In my experience it'll mostly just get you stoked.

    Sometimes that transfers to the amount you play or your inspiration to improve in one direction or another. Although a lot of times that's a temporary fix. If you're going from a legitimately crummy bass to something expertly crafted, it's one thing. But if you're currently playing a 2010 Am Std P-Bass, which does a SPECIFIC thing REALLY well... then unless you actively want to change the way you sound or how you approach the instrument, it's mostly just about how a new/better bass will make you FEEL. (Which, again... is worth something in itself.)
    lomo, DrThumpenstein, wmmj and 10 others like this.
  7. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    If you are happy with what you have, keep playing it. If you have access to other high end basses, try some out.
    If you decide you want to go that route, DO NOT sell or trade you P. You will not be happy you did. And, if you decide you liked playing your P more, you'll have no regrets.
    I have always owned mostly American made Fenders and G&Ls. I have some Squiers, an Ibby, and some acoustics. My favorite was my G&L SB2-T. Recently, I went the same route you are contemplating. I saw a bass that looked exactly like I think the perfect bass should look. well, like this:
    Fodera Small.jpg

    I am happy I made the decision. There is definitely a difference in how it plays and sounds. The first thing I notice is how comfortable it is to wear. Although it is about 2.5 lbs. heavier, it doesn't bother me at all. It is so well balanced it hangs perfectly. I can take both hands off and walk around and it is as level as can be. There is nothing left out on tone control. I know, because I'm primarily a P guy, that may not mean much to you, but it gives you a lot of options. The tone is also very articulate. Each note is well defined.

    It has become my #1. I'm even wondering if I really need 15 basses any more. I'm thinking of cutting back to my Fodera, my P Select, my SB2-T, and my Breedlove Jumbo.

    The bottom line is few will know or care what instrument you play. So, focus on what make you happy.

    That was not the bottom line. This line is.
  8. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I'm the polar opposite of a Fender fanboy and never recommend them, but in this case, that's a solid instrument, sounds like what 99% of people expect to hear from a bass tone, and you're satisfied. Seems pretty clear it's a keeper and your band can spend what they want on their gear as they wish. :D
    VoodooJazz, kesslari, wmmj and 4 others like this.
  9. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009
    This will sound weird....

    I have a Pedulla Thunderbolt. Maybe that is not classified as an expensive bass in the category of the thread but it sure is nice. When I play my Fenders, especially my Squier Precision Bass, the Pedulla takes a bit to get used to. The inexpensive Squier feels nice and the Pedulla feels not so nice, that is until break in is done.

    Money doesn't make a great Bass, necessarily.
    Mili, wmmj, Huw Phillips and 3 others like this.
  10. Jeremy Crockett

    Jeremy Crockett Amiable Crank Supporting Member

  11. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    it seems that after $500 all you pay for is worse tone, and there are a lot of buyers
  12. marchone

    marchone Since 1951 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    You could get on a years-long waiting list for a new Dennis Galuska Custom Shop bass, spend $8K and still sound the same as your Am Std Precision. But it will be perfect in ways your factory bass can’t match.
  13. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Maybe yes, maybe no. When it comes to bass, the concept of "results" is mostly subjective, so it is impossible to say whether you would prefer the "results" from a more expensive bass than your workhorse. However, from an objective standpoint, it is at least possible that a more expensive bass could be built with more care and better materials -- like a better bike -- and therefore provide some benefits in terms of things like ergonomics, body weight, ease of playing (lower action, etc.), and the like. There is also the possibility of better tone, but that is a department where a long-cherished favorite bass from a reputable manufacturer like Fender is likely to have an edge for your own ear. From my own perspective, I have never come across a more expensive bass that I preferred overall to my workhorse Carvin LB 70, but I definitely have come across more expensive basses that were easier to play or that had other objective benefits.

    My opinion is that this is not a good rationale, as just because Victor would be great on any bass does not mean that he is not better in at least some fashion on his trusty Foderas.
    lomo and osonu like this.
  14. NobodyImportant


    Jul 22, 2021
    I’d compare it buying a new set of golf clubs. They have, and never will, make me a better golfer. Only practice will.
    dalkowski, 13bass, B-Lo and 13 others like this.
  15. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    Not at all. I wish I could go back to the carefree days when I had one bass.
  16. AboutSweetSue

    AboutSweetSue Guest

    Sep 29, 2018
    You will get a new and different bass.
  17. Gregory H

    Gregory H

    Jun 25, 2020
    I can't speak for basses, but I just bought a $10k mountain bike to replace my 4 year old $2.5k mountain bike, and I am very sad to learn that I really didn't get the performance boost that I had hoped for! Diminishing returns for sure. I am more excited to ride the new bike, so that makes me ride more and I am seeing improvements that way, but if I'm being honest with myself, the difference is marginal at best. If someone was faster than me before, they're still faster than me now. I get more respect for the new bike itself, but on the old no-name bike I got more respect for riding well.
    jdthaddeus, lomo, B-Lo and 9 others like this.
  18. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    If you havent had many basses, maybe your perspective is lacking as to what is good.
    Conversely, you may be spot on.
    No rush to go out and buy if you dont need to, but try a few in store.

    I know what I like now but i also bought a brand new dog years back.
    And pricepoint is merely an indicator and at the lower end can mean many things good or bad.
    But build and general quality is better these days, but that doesnt mean some parts are not cheap and nasty...but by the same token, Fender was reknown for a cheap parts bin and Friday specials too..lol
    DJS and Tanner5382 like this.
  19. Tanner5382


    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    In my opinion, you kind of have to have specific reasons why you want an expensive boutique bass. It's not a "make me a better player automatically" thing. It's stuff like build quality, certain features, feel, sound, etc. I had certain requirements and interests so I did it and have never been happier. Mine definitely wasn't $8000 dollars though, lol. In your case, it sounds like you are perfectly happy with what you've got, so there seems to be no reason for you to feel lacking or like you need a new instrument.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2021
    Direwoof and MobileHolmes like this.
  20. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Above a certain threshold you’re paying for the human factor. The more work is done by hand, rather than a CNC or other automated process, the higher the cost.

    Will it make you a better player? Possibly the higher quality and attention to detail will make a small difference. But no more than a professional setup on a less expensive mass produced instrument.

    I feel it's more a placebo effect. Plonking a substantial amount of money down on an instrument will encourage you to play it more.

    PS, Joe Satriani demonstrates quite well that ability isn't necessarily down to expensive instruments.

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2021
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