Why 5 basses for a gig?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by MarkMcCombs, May 20, 2004.

  1. Here's a question that's bugged me for some time....

    While at a Lucinda Williams concert a while back, I was (of course) impressed that the bass player (what's his name?) changed basses like every 2 songs. He must have had about 5-7 basses with him. Most were Fender-like (I remember a Sadowsky Jazz). My question....WHY? I've been playing bass for about 10 years now, and I can't fathom owning that many basses, let alone having that many on the road with me, even if I had roadies! And be honest now, for live gigs, there's really not that big of a difference in how these instruments sound (recording might change things a bit). It's not like on one song he needs a Marcus Miller sound, and the next a reggae sound, and the next Flea, and the next Jamerson.

    What do you thin?
  2. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Maybe he just wanted to.

    Thats a good reason to do anything...

    Maybe he has better ears than you and Can hear a PENOMINAL difference.
  3. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    Don't know, but I'll guess...

    1st reason-
    some basses tuned differently

    2nd reason-
    different tone possibilites

    3rd reason-
    back up basses, unless he/she uses em all

    The tech for this guy was in bass player zine a while back. I have the issue if ya really want to know.
  4. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    diferent tunings in every bass might be one reason, remember that a 4 tunned CGCF needs a heavy gauge string to tune it down (or up if you use a LB string as the fourth) to C or other tunnings like d#g#c#f# requiere multiple string tunning
  5. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    in an ideal roady assisted world...

    I think 3 to 5 would be fine.

    1.) main fretless
    2.) main fretted
    3.) EUB and/or backup fretless and/or backup fretted

    I have spent the better part of the last 20 years humping one bass with spare batteries and strings to gigs. I've never actually taken more then 3 basses to a gig EVER!
  6. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Victor Wooten plays with 3 basses.
    A standard 4 Tuned E-A-D-G
    A Tenor 4 Tuned A-D-G-C
    A Tenor 5 Tuned E-A-D-G-C
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    4th reason-
    because he can ;)
  8. Acepiloto


    Aug 25, 2000
    Well, he has more than that. On the "Live at the Quick" DVD, he plays his Compito fretless fiver, which is tuned BEADG. I know he has more also.
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Yeah, like JMX says - "Because he can."

    It's nice to have an array of instruments as wide as a Chinese restaurant menu when someone else is being paid schlepping in all that gear for you!

    But, I know where you're coming from, Mark --- give me two basses that are a tad different, tonally, and use them as appropriate, (sometimes, they're tuned differently as well, qas others have mentioned). Different pups and woods are something the audience can often perceive with a fine sound system.
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    5th reason: to provide proper accessorization for wardrobe changes (and/or malfunctions :eek: )
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Seriously: a large arsenal such as that might might provide fretted and fretless, various numbers of strings and/or tunings, flatwounds and roundwounds, (semi-)hollowbody and solidbody, etc etc.
  12. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Yeah, Victor has LOTS of basses, and Depending on what he wants I guess He will bring along Many, I have only seen those basses, but I am sure he has lots more...
  13. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    Also it looks a little unprofessional tuning your bass onstage at that level (muted of course). Artists like to jump into each song and don't want to wait for someone to tune. They just pass it off to the tech to tune and rotate another bass in for a couple of songs (on top of the other reasons mentioned).
  14. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Yea, its not like bassists are into showing off thier toys...

    The functional reason would be,,, diff tuning. BUT, he just wants to...
  15. Subculture13

    Subculture13 Jamming Econo

    Apr 9, 2003
    Toronto, Ont. Canada
    All true. To add to that, if the player prefers *brand new* strings, then they may slip a tad out of tune in the first few songs, hence hte need to keep changing basses all the time.

    Back in the day when I had my own bass tech I toured and played live with 7 basses, and didnt use alternate tunings. But they were all different (Acoustic bass, 4, 5, 4 fretless, 6, 8, and my backup 5). Why? Because I could.
  16. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    What? They are already Pre-Tuned, they just pick up the Piccolo Bass, or the Tenor 5 string, they dont start blatently tuning the bass on stage!?!?!? Thats why they have more than one...
  17. The sound. I didn't realize how different various basses can sound in the mix with the band. Went to a local show and the guy had a schecter or something similar through the whole show, nice n' thumpy. Then he switched to a p-bass that was insanely growly with lots of mids. It completely changed the mood of the show.

    But yes, 5 is overdoing it :D.
  18. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Come to think of it - ever seen how many brushes and tubes of paint some artists have available to use on their canvas ???...same principal, in a way.
  19. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I used to bring 3 basses to my gigs with my old band. 4 would have been better.

    I used different basses so I could go from song to song withut retuning.

    I used my 4 tunned to BEADG for a songs which required a lot of movement across the board.

    I used a four tunned DGCF for songs where my guitarist was in drop D and I had moderate movement across the board. Keeping the intervals and relative note positions across the strings the same made it easier to move around.

    I used a four tuned DADG for songs where my guitarist was in drop D but involved a lot of jumps from fretted to open notes. Mostly covers of other bands music.

    I re-tuned the DADG bass to EADG for a song I wrote most of where the guitarist was in standard.

    It would have taken too much time to stop to retune my basses and I had each bass set up for the tunning it was mainly used in. We did a lot of switching from one song to another without any real pauses.

  20. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama

    Why worry about the "whys"????