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your bass is an inanimate object...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nostatic, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. a bass is just wood and metal

    54 vote(s)
  2. there is more to a bass than just the parts but it is subtle

    150 vote(s)
  3. mojo and voodoo are big parts of basses

    108 vote(s)
  4. carrots

    62 vote(s)
  1. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    As part of the thread on price "comfort," the subject line was used when discussing why expensive instruments perhaps aren't worth the cost. The idea being that emotion and other "irrational" factors come into play when considering what instrument to buy, and that since a bass is just a bunch of wood and metal, it just comes down to math.

    And so, a poll. I personally believe that there are other factors that go into choosing an instrument that don't have absolute metrics, and that while technically an inanimate object, a musical instrument is about more than just cold, hard specifications. But maybe I'm in the vast minority. I do however like to quote Shakespeare: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
  2. I either like a bass, or I don't and I either have the money to buy it, or I don't.

    That's really all there is to it, for me.
  3. hoshbrown41


    Jun 19, 2009
    my bass is my baby
    that's all there is to it
  4. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    Remember the old Twilight Zone episode "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"? A bass can be completely utilitarian, in which case minimum $$ to get the job done will suffice, or a work of art that transcends a dollar value.

    I disagree with those who emphatically state that it can only be worth X.
  5. john grey

    john grey

    Apr 19, 2011
    Oracle, Arizona
    Certainly there could be issues of a heirloom, or a gift that make it more than an inanimate object. There could be emotional attachment through some mechanism. But as a musical instrument, I would think that "it's what music you play; not what you play music with" that speaks louder in many instances.

    However, there is the matter of a musical instrument as art. Or in the "feel" of a well made piece. Yet this exists in many arenas. If the topic were jewelry or something similar it may stop there. Specifically our topic deals with an object that is a vehicle to another thing, another concept. So it seems this yearns for further discussion.
  6. KsToaDangr


    Apr 17, 2007
    Columbia, SC
  7. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    A bass is just wood and metal. We make them out to be more than what they really are, special, mojo, etc, etc, because that instrument does nothing we make or don't make it do.
  8. Sophistication in design and selection of materials, as well as optimization of performance via evolved understanding of engineering challenges can, in some circumstances, approach the level of art.

    Once a design achieves that level, you can make copies...

    For me its: Fender Jazz and Precision, FBass, Alembic, et al.

    As users, we may not be able to quantify it, but we can sense it...:meh:
  9. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    It's entirely possible to become 'head-over-heels' in love with an instrument... once you cross the threshold of utility. It's taken me more than 4 decades to put together a family of basses that are more than just tools... works of art and true instruments. More than simply candy for the eye, the hands and the ears. I've owned a lot of good instruments, and played even more - all of them teaching me - and those that prod me to become better are the ones that I want to keep.

    Mojo... whatever, my '59 P-Bass has that and the others will get there someday... and they are ALL definitely more than the sum of their parts.
  10. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    They are also pieces of art. Pieces of art used to create art.

    That elevates them in the heierarchy of things.
  11. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    I think it's human nature to invest a measure of affection in things that perform to the owner's satisfaction. Cars, basses - some people even talk to them, in private at least. But I don't believe whoever ends up with my old bass when I'm gone will have any sense of the relationship I had to it over decades.
  12. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    A bass is just wood and metal. And a Van Gogh is just paint and cloth.
  13. It's simply a piece of a tree and some refined ore from the earth that, when played correctly, makes the ladies' booties shake!!!
  14. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I like my basses. They seem to do well. I did not however, do anything more than buy them & hope for the best. They're not the best, but they work beyond my expectations. Being a better player is more important I think.
  15. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Fit finish and precision adjustment make it more than wire and wood, otherwise they'd all be the same. But no, I'm not one to believe in any psycho-spiritual totemic value to instruments.
  16. My oldest bass would be nothing special to most people, but it was a gift from a family member years ago and so it's very special to me. On top of that, it was my first real bass, the one I learned and grew up on, and so I've made the effort to take good care of it.

    My other basses are nice, but they haven't been around long and there's no emotional ties to them. I like them, but if I had to sell one tomorrow it wouldn't bother me.

    Musicians and artists being kind of quirky people to begin with, if you think a special connection with your instrument inspires you to play better than so be it. Whatever works for you. I'm sure there are violinists out there who feel better when they're playing their 300-year-old super-expensive Strativarius than when they play a cheapo. Superstitious, of course, but whatever keeps your head in the game.

    As someone else also said, a good instrument is itself a fine piece of craftmanship, perhaps even a work of art. Especially custom handmade ones. It's still an inanimate object, but some objects are worth more to you than others.
  17. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Voted more then just its parts. The looks, feel, playability, fit, are a main part of that extra imo. Along with whatever level of animistic thing one might associate with a liked bass. Lol. A person will willingly pay a little more for asthetics when everything else is equal. Some people believe paying more for something made by someone who doesnt make anywhere near enough basses to mass market them, also gets them more something or other. For them it does. If nothing else a kick start to maybe developing a relationship with the mojo aspect of music making with that bass. For another person that kick start might come from the right combination of non conservative body shape and right color choices. Lol. We humans are weird, and that benefits us a little. lol. For full custom made bass owners who designed the basses body shape and picked woods and colors etc etc. Theres that manifesting the dream unfolding thing. Which can be worth the extra cash payed.
  18. puddin tame

    puddin tame

    Aug 14, 2010
    it is wood and metal that, in the case of expensive basses, has been skillfully designed and assembled
  19. It is a tool for me, nothing more. The lust for instruments is sometimes frightening.

    That said, it's certainly greater than the sum of its parts, as not anyone can craft wood and metal into an instrument.
  20. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    I'm not sure if this is the point of the thread, but one of my 3 basses (my favorite one) seems to have a personality. It's a Korean made Peavey Milestone p-bass clone.

    For some reason, my bass just hates Taylor acoustic guitars. The Peavey's headstock seems to be a magnet for the softer wood on the guitars...it's scratched at least 5 or 6. Even when I'm standing still, the Taylor guitars just get a little too close. My bass doesn't seem to mind any other brand, just Taylor. I don't know why it hates the Taylor brand, but if I'm filling in with a band and their acoustic guitar player has one...look out. Maybe the bass's original owner replaced it with a Taylor acoustic.

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