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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Anybody play all their basses, all the time

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Mar 30th, 2017 09:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

Usually the only time I play one twice in a row is a rehearsal just before a gig, Mostly just to make sure it hasn't developed any problems.

The only exceptions are my first bass, the Framus I got new in 1965, and a Warmouth 5 string parts bass that only occasionally gets played, I've decided I don't like 5 strings.

There was a Rouge VB-100 I just gave to my nephew, he wanted to pull the frets on his, I gave it to him so he could have one of each. I wasn't using it too often.

I brought the 1981 P-Bass Special I got back in '81 back on line about three weeks ago, it needed work, dirty pots, ground problem and it still had the factory setup. I put it away in 2004 after I built the cuban. After an hour or so on the bench it was ready to go. It's a boat anchor but a really good one it can keep everything held down. I used it for a couple of rehearsals, the guys hadn't seen it before. They have their own opinion of my basses, generally they prefer one over another but still think they all sound good.

It's interesting, since I started really swapping them out, I've become aware of the way they mix into the sound of the band. I used the Guild Starfire this past Tuesday and cool as it sounds when I'm just sitting around playing it, the way it mixes with the group is really cool, totally different than the P, like the other side of the bracket.

Sitting around playing a bass is one thing, how it mixes is something else. I know if I like an instrument it will be fine in the mix but it often sounds almost like a different instrument, as it fuses with the other instruments, I notice the effect and it is something new, sometimes not what I expected. Sitting at home playing these instruments is a lot different than taking them out. One I may be feeling is a little less than another becomes the perfect one in the mix.

There are 7 basses I use in rotation now, some more than others but they all get a chance. Two others that are more specialized like the 20" scale cigarbox and the Guild B-50, acoustic only, are not in rotation but get pulled out when needed.

Still learning stuff at 64 (WYSLM) late better than never "o)

(This message was last edited by hushnel at 11:23 AM, Mar 30th, 2017)

Contributing Member

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Mar 30th, 2017 09:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have about 10 basses. They range from precisions with flats on one end to MusicMan/G&L with rounds. They all get played regularly, either at gigs or in my basement. In the big stage band, it's always a p-bass. For the rock/variety band, I change up to whatever I feel like That day. However, at heart I am a p-bass guy.

I hate swapping instruments during gig, so although I bring a spare bass, I generally stick with the same bass all night.

Edit: Some are 4 strings, some are fivers. I don't live on the 5th string, so it works.

(This message was last edited by themaestro at 11:39 AM, Mar 30th, 2017)

Contributing Member

Chico CA

If you rest, you rust.
Mar 30th, 2017 09:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

Of the seven basses I have four get regular play time based on the gig. AV Jazz for jazzy type gigs (go figure), classic 50's P for the local blues jams, MIM P (my newest) for my blues band gigs, MIA Jazz 5 for my rhythm and soul band. The MIM jazz, homemade fretless jazz and the 66 P don't get out much anymore.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Mar 30th, 2017 10:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

If asked I'd say I'm a P-bass guy, but I am having a lot of fun with the other basses, particularly the funky sleepers. It's lame maybe a bit arrogant but I like to bring the Squire Bronco for the young rock stars who will judge me on basically a strat pac newbe instrument, then plug it in and school them "o) I think I have an evil streak in me.

I pretty much split my time between frets and no frets. If I'm feeling lazy I'll use a fretted bass.

I've been leaning towards shorter scales 32, 30. The P and the fretless Cuban are 34" I can rehearse on the P then take the Cuban, or one of the 30" scale fretless' but going to the 34" fretless takes a few minutes before I'm nailing the intonation, I can pull it off cold but a few minutes in the truck or sound check us usually enough. I think this is the result of crushing my left hand in that motorcycle accident back in 2012. Re-wireing my muscle memory takes a kind of re-set.

Contributing Member


Mar 30th, 2017 10:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

I don't play out anymore, but in general for playing at home one bass in particular will tend to speak to me for a few weeks, then I'll move on to something else, so they all get some use. Some get more time than others. If there's something I haven't had the urge to play in a year I start thinking about whether it's time to sell.



Do'in the 5 string thing!
Mar 30th, 2017 11:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have five, and they all get played periodically. The five strings get played mostly at church, the four strings at gigs. I always have at lease two basses at each gig, just in case. I own only one active bass, one of my Lakland five strings.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Mar 30th, 2017 01:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've never experienced a BF (bass failure), I'd think an amp would be more of a problem. I take one bass, I don't even bring spare strings, though I have a backup set in the P-Bass case, probably from back in the 2 to 3 nights a week days.

The 20" scale cigarbox bass would make a fine back up, kept tucked away in it's Walmart, Wilson Tennis racket bag, similar to the donuts passing for spare tires now adays "o)



Mar 31st, 2017 10:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

I do not worry too much about Fender P and J (non active) basses failing. I use a remote power box I built and a Mogami cable with 1/4" stereo plugs to supply power to the bass and signal to the amp from my active basses. The box has an 18 vdc wallwart for power and a 9volt wall wart to use when I require 9vdc. I can turn the power switch off on the box and use the stereo cable, unpowered box for my non active basses. Works great. I like my heavily modified ESP LTD B-5E active bass but I am partial to the tone of a non active Fender

(This message was last edited by Bubbalou at 12:25 AM, Apr 1st, 2017)

L. Nedmundo


Mar 31st, 2017 02:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have four, and use all of them. My 2003 Am. Series Fender Jazz lives in my band's rehearsal space, so it gets used there, and I've used the other three (all G&L) for gigs within the past year. I don't play out often anymore, but I try to make sure they all see the stage once in a while.

Fully agree with the OP's comments about the different impressions a bass can make played solo and in a band. For example, played solo through my G-K gear, my active G&L M-2500 sounds very bright, and unless I cut lots of treble and high mids, it has that active "sheen" I usually can't stand. But in a band mix, I don't need to cut nearly as much -- and it sounds fantastic. That high end helps it cut through, and it has massive mids and lows to compensate. I'm more of a passive P and J guy generally, but this is an incredible bass.

Among the others, my favorite stage bass is probably my G&L JB. The lightweight tuners make it feel more maneuverable than my 2003 Fender J, and it sets up with slightly lower action too. It now has Lace Man O' War pickups, which are interesting. They're true single coils, so they growl, but they have fatter low mids than regular J-bass pickups, so it now fills the mix like a good P-bass. This works extremely well for a wide range of material. It's not "vintage J," but it's totally old school nonetheless. I played a few gigs with a cover band last year, and my bandmates LOVED the JB with those pickups.

Finally, there's my G&L SB-2, which is a total rock machine, and the hardest hitting "P bass" I've owned. I wish mine had a maple fretboard, which I strongly prefer on P-basses, but it's awesome regardless. It has the best playability of the bunch.

I almost always bring an extra bass to gigs, apart from short set open mic situations. I have a nice double gig bag that makes it relatively easy. I haven't switched basses during a gig in several years, but could envision switching between the M-2500 and one of the passive fours.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Mar 31st, 2017 02:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

It would be cool to have the choice between a fretted and frettless. The double gig bag would pull it off nicely. The BiSonic Bronco and the Roasted Fretless together weigh less than the P or the Cuban.

Contributing Member


"toxic masculinity personified"
Mar 31st, 2017 11:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've pretty much become a Guild Starfire devotee.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Apr 1st, 2017 06:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

Great thread. Some excellent "rotating" going on out there.

I have five Precision basses: a 58 P, a Custom Shop 57, two Road Worns and a 97 MIM P-bass-looking thing with a fantastic neck.

I spread the love around. The 58 and Custom Shop get all the high profile stuff, the other three get everything else. I'm not in the business of using basses to collect dust.

The 97 MIM is always in the car in a back-up role when I'm gigging out-of-town.


(This message was last edited by edmonstg at 08:10 AM, Apr 1st, 2017)

Contributing Member

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Apr 1st, 2017 06:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

"I'm not in the business of using basses to collect dust."

Best post of this thread.

I'd rather have a few moderately-priced, good-playing basses that one boutique instrument. I also don't collect duplicates of the same model. All my basses are different. Variety is the spice of life. However, my purchases have pretty much stopped, because I don't need or want anything else.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Apr 1st, 2017 07:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

Reading these posts and thinking about my early days it occured to me that I used to almost fear having to play an instrument other than mine, the one I was used to. I'm talking about my early to mid teens. It was like I had no reference or I just forgot everything I knew about playing bass.

I don't know exactly when this all changed, I took to the new P-bass in 1981 without a hitch. I can jump different scales, fretted or not and go back and forth between all of them, from the long scales to the 20 incher. I'll run a quick line in the open position and again at the 12th position to check intonation on a fretless and I'm ready to go.



Fender power to the people!
Apr 4th, 2017 09:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

Out of 6, I use 4 pretty often. They are a 66P with flats, a J5, an SD Curlee and my PV Cirrus 5.
The ones tht are lonely are a Vox Panther and a Dean ABGC.


Apr 7th, 2017 01:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I play all my basses. That has always been the rule: if I don't play it, it gets sold. So every bass you see in the link below, gets played.

Of course some get more play than others. But it changes over time. For every band that I play in, I find the bass that is perfect.

For example, for the big band, it's usually the '77 Jazz or '74 Precision, and the upright. For the rock band, it's the '73 Ric or the '75 P. For the 60s/70s cover band, it's the '60 Hofner 500/3 and the '70 P. In the surf/spy combo, it's usually the J. When I played with an acoustic blues band, it was the '64 Gretsch - the band's sound developed around the sound of this bass.

The collection

(This message was last edited by ilan at 04:06 PM, Apr 7th, 2017)

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Anybody play all their basses, all the time

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