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Why I Dislike "Signature" Instruments (RANT - Don't Take Too Seriously)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Nyarlathotep, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    I was discussing this with a friend earlier (over the interwebs lol), and I have come to the conclusion that even tho I may buy an active bass sometime in the future, I will never be able to bring myself to play most "signature" basses. My reasons? Read on!

    Most sig basses nowadays seem to be emblazoned with various motifs of the person using it. My problem with this is I could see it affecting how people see you on stage, and how they figure your going to sound even before you hit a note. Obviously there are levels to this. One great example (IMO) that I stumbled on quite recently is the ESP TA and the HTB basses. The TA is Araya/Slayer, and the HTB is Blacksmith/CoB. I'm sorta considering the TA200 cus its passive (wow im old-school) and 35" scale. Now, for a sig bass its not bad. Sure it has pentagrams (generic IMO), but they go with the pointy style and the black color. The block "Araya" inlay isn't too bad either and I figure most peeps would just see it as a block from any distance.

    The HTB on the other hand has COBHC written across it in bold white print on black. My thinking is if you go up on stage with the TA most peeps are gonna be like "oh cool, here comes some metal" and for the most part I figure that would be a pretty good/fair assumption. When I see the HTB tho, I think "who the **** would bring that on stage, or even buy it in the first place". It just seems kinda strange to me. Bring that one onstage, or even out of the house, and people are gonna be like ***? and anyone who figures out what COBHC means before you play (which I figure would be most people at a metal concert) would intantly make an assumption about the band even if you don't really play that kind of metal.

    As a side note I do like the way Ibanez does they're sig models. All of them except the Gary Willis and Paul Gray ones is just a lightly modded version of another "basic" model. Want a bass like Shadows Fall or Killswitch, but without the motifs? Get an SRX (tempting for me, but I kinda wanna try something with big pups). Want to get a bass like Korn but with out the "K5" makeing your audiences eyes bleed :)p and hopfully not wanting to sound like him :p)? SR FTW. Want a bass like Sharlee D'Angelo, but with black hardware and blocks (cus maybe iron crosses offend/burn you[sup]1[/sup])? The ICB300EX is for you!


    Anyways I just thought I'd use the internet for something other than pr0n0, and give y'all my view on sig instruments. As you read this im totally considering getting a TA200. Stupid GAS!


    1: I am talking metal/goth, and you never know, a vampire might wanna play some bass to. And vampires gotta worry bout looking cool, but must also worry about the garlic/christianity content of whatever he uses.
  2. Haha,I thought I was the only one who thought like that:smug:.well anyways I might as well add my contributions to this rant.I will never be able to justify buying a Sig. instrument for one simple reason,Its made for someone elses specifications.I hate the thought of playing a bass that has someones signature all over it and being perfect for that one person.To finish my contribution I will put it like this,Give me a $70 no-name Jazz over a Geddy Lee Jazz anyday.
  3. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Agreed. 100%. I rather play MY bass than Jaco/geddy/marcus/roscoe's bass, just on principle - and this takes NOTHING away from these guys (I've been coping jaco/marcus for years!) - just buying something, and paying MORE for it because it has their 'signature' seems strange to me. Kinda like stalking the guy, ya know?
  4. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    If you look at a GL Jazz, it would appear to be a generic black Fender Jazz with maple neck and blocks, since the sig is on the back... right? It's main specification is the neck profile, which you may or may not like.

    Perfect example of a signature edition done right, and makes the point perfectly. Thanks for bringing it up.
  5. scootron

    scootron Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    Don't be so down on all sig basses. The only thing that identifies a Geddy is a small signature on the back of the headstock (other than great looks, sound, and playability). The specifications, at least for the Geddy, are nothing really unusual, just a certain combination of features some players find desirable in a Jazz bass.

    You should at least give one a try. I played only standard 'non-sig' basses until picking up a Geddy in trade. I can't see myself going out and spending a bunch of money on another sig, but the Geddy is rather a unique deal, IMO.
  6. Keep in mind that not all audience members are going to be bass players and know whose signature instrument it is.
    If it sounds great and fits the bill I'd be happy to overlook the attached name. But I guess thats me ;)
  7. E-Mac

    E-Mac Guest

    Aug 30, 2008
    who cares if the audience doesn't like that your bass has someone else's name on it? it's a poor factor in a decision on bass purchases. Since you told me not to take the rant seriously, i will forgive you.
  8. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    No one will know ... much less care what you play

    I have a Geddy Lee, well kinda it has been parted out into three differnt basses

    Neck is on a Lake Placid Blue body with Nordy pickups and Audere pre amp

    Bridge is on my 75 RI Jazz with Fatone pickups

    Body went to my "Jimi Jazz" with a 62 lefty neck

    :smug:... There is a guy named Les that has a sig guitar .. and no one sounds like him
  9. Navybass


    Mar 12, 2005
    Norfolk, Va.
    On some of those basses are you Really paying more just for the signature? IMO, I don't think so.

    Let's take the Geddy sig for example. You want a real Fender Jazz bass with maple fretboard, black block inlays, and black binding, where do you go? Well, let's see, You can go with the American 75 reissue and spend $1400, or you can go with the Geddy and spend $850, AND get a Badass II bass bridge to go with it. So yea, it does have Geddy Lee's signature on the BACK of the headstock where the crowd wouldn't see it, and most of them wouldn't know that it was his sig bass either.

    Look at the Marcus Miller, does Fender offer any other bass with the features like a Miller? Not really, 70's neck style, Badass II and a 2 band active eq. Not usual things found in one single Fender bass all at once. Also, again, most of the crowd probably wouldn't even be aware who Marcus is, let alone that it is his signature bass.

    Granted, Fender could have gone forever without making a Hoppus signature. but heck, that one was even different. No other Jazz bass was ever offered with only 1 p-bass pickup.

    Most of their other Signature instruments follow the same format, which is, offer the customer something that isn't normally available as a stock thing from Fender. Notice that I said most, because a few of their sigs are pretty much stock.
  10. E-Mac

    E-Mac Guest

    Aug 30, 2008
  11. miacomet


    Dec 10, 2005
    North of Boston
    It's all about what's right for you. If you are a fan of the artist and want to pay homage...that's your thing...great!
    For me, it was just a matter of what I was looking for in a bass. I could really care less who's name is on it when the instrument I sought out had what I was looking for. I own A Geddy and I'm not really a huge Rush fan...just love the bass. Go figure.
  12. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    I own a Yamaha Nathan East signature bass. It is one of the nicest and most versatile basses I have ever owned. It has a built in eq and mid cut switch, alot like his magic box eq pedal. There is no signature on it only had BBNE on the fretboard. I have had a great deal of compliments on the bass and my tone but to date no one has known that it was a NE sig bass.
  13. mellowgerman


    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    i have always thought that the most important aspects of a bass are for me, and should be for everyone, feel and sound. I don't care what it looks like if it feels and sounds right. Image should play no role in any serious bassist's choice of instrument(as it should be about the music, not fashion). If a signature model feels and sounds right to you, you should probably get it.
    with that said, i don't own a signature model. after having modded it to my specifications my vintage guild is just right for me. i wish i could just agree with some artist and get his sig model... would be wayy cheaper;)
  14. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    I bought the OLP Tony Levin sig because it's about $1000 more affordable than an actual Stingray. I did feel a little silly buying a signature model but money talks. Anyway, it does look nice, and it sounds and plays great. I really appreciate that Tony wanted his sig to affordable.
  15. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Almost all instruments are "signature" instruments. Fender, Ernie Ball, Gibson, etc.... all have names emblazoned on them.

    Let us not forget that one of the most popular guitars of all time, the Les Paul, is a signature instrument.
  16. Jjango


    Nov 16, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA

    Tasteful: Geddy Lee's signature on the BACK of the headstock.
    Tasteless: Sting's signature on THE DURNED 12th FRET.

    IMO, this relates directly to the ego of the artist being paid tribute to.

    Thanks Ged, for making a great bass that doesn't scream SIGNATURE.
  17. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I have a Gary Willis.
    I knew Gary's ergonomic preferences (I studied with him for a while many years ago). They're very similar to my own, and I knew, without touching one, that the bass would be one I'd enjoy playing - it would feel right to me.

    That (playability) is my first criteria for buying an instrument.

    I actually wound up changing out the electronics, so I guess it's not really a sig anymore. But I like his association with it, not for the name, but because of the features that he wanted designed in.

    Bottom line - I can't be bothered what people think of what my bass has written on it - if they even notice. All that matters to me, as far as audience goes, is if the sound they're hearing is the sound I want to produce.
  18. Captain_Arrrg


    Jan 23, 2008
    Mountains of Colorado
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I get you on the unnecessary symbol/logo- Squire sigs, some Ibanez sigs- But I don't mind it when the standard models happen to me sigs as well- as in Laklands, or like a Jack Cassady.
  19. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    All of those are company names that you will find on the headstock. Im talking bout having someones signature or "logo" huge and staring you in the face. Les Pauls have it nicely on the headstock. Not something like:


  20. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I'm not a Rush fan at all, but I would love to own a Geddy Lee Jazz. Every time I play one in the store I'm quite taken by it. Yeah some signature basses are just a cheesy logo or paint job - but then you can say the same about some non-signature basses.

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