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  1. I used Allianz years ago for my violin when I used to play. Had to claim for a bow that got damaged and they were fine about replacing it - just needed a decent repairer to assess it and say it was beyond economical repair. I've used MusicGuard on-and-off for bass gear and PLI but fortunately haven't had to make a claim yet. I did ring them up when it came to this year's renewal and remove the gear from the policy just leaving the PLI (since gear doing nothing and going nowhere is adequately covered on the house insurance) and that was a perfectly friendly and efficient conversation which resulted in the right things happening, so no red flags.
  2. My first setup was a Yamaha BB-N4 and a Trace Commando 15, so if I could nip back and offer my younger self some advice it would be to acknowledge my luck and keep hold of those, buy that BB-G5 that I always fancied, and then just use the hell out of what I’d got whilst waiting for a company called Markbass to emerge on the scene and sort me out with a lighter amp. If I was starting out these days, I’d like somebody to tell me to get a Fender Player Precision, an Ibanez SR-505 and a Markbass CMD121P or a Fender Rumble 500. Fresh strings, decent cables, good bags and cases, wide straps with locks, and a SansAmp are always good advice as well.
  3. My possibly over-simplistic view, for what it's worth Somebody says that listening to music makes them feel something really positive and only music does that for them. They're willing to lay down their free time and disposable cash to experience the thing which makes them feel good. The product they expect to receive for the money they pay is a feeling. That seems to be generally accepted and perfectly relatable. Somebody else says that playing music to an audience makes them feel something really positive and only music does that for them. They're willing to lay down their free time and disposable cash to experience the thing which makes them feel good. The payment they expect to receive for the product they provide is a feeling. That seems to be somehow tantamount to robbery and completely reprehensible. The gig needs a clean, safe venue with tables and chairs and beer and food and toilets and staff and a stage etc. so the audience pay their disposable cash to float that. The musicians need lessons and books and instruments and amps and rehearsals and transport etc. so they pay their disposable cash to float that. The door/bar/catering/cleaning staff probably don't get many uniquely positive feelings from playing their respective parts, so they expect their recompense in cash and they get that. As long as everybody involved is happy enough with the arrangement, then I don't see what the problem is. If, as a professional musician, you can offer that venue owner something special that guarantees a bigger take on the door/bar to the point where they can afford to pay you as contract staff and still make more profit than the free alternative, then offer it and I'm confident they'll take you up on it. After all, as a non-professional musician playing original material, I have to accept that I can't get a gig in a decent venue with 'organic' footfall on a Friday/Saturday night - that's firmly covers and tributes territory for a reason.
  4. Aye, that sounds ace as compromises go - everyone gets at least the gig they want to see and some get two-for-one!
  5. I've seen a fair few established bands touring their latest album by playing a select few of the best songs from it crafted into a gig that, if anything, actually focuses slightly more on the previous album that everybody has accepted into the fold and feels comfortable with by that point but isn't overplayed yet. I'm more than happy to accept that I might be in the minority, but for me personally, playing the entire new album is a real misfire unless you're a new band touring your debut. I can only think of one exception - when seeing a band tour a new album and play a lot of it made me like the album a lot more - which was Arch Enemy touring Rise of the Tyrant. I just didn't 'get' that album until I heard it live and realised how big and epic it was clearly meant to sound but the studio recording just hadn't captured effectively. They've done it both ways, though, as I thought War Eternal was a great sounding recording but they couldn't perform it at all well when I went to see them live. I digress. If Maiden ever announce that they're going to do a gig where they play through all of Fear of the Dark, nip backstage for a fisherman's friend and then come back and play through Brave New World then I'll be down at the front, but otherwise I think I'm ready to accept that I'm just not their target audience and leave them to it!
  6. Totally agree. Also bands that decide to play a full run through their latest album that's only been out a few months and you haven't really connected with yet, followed by a few old classics just as an encore. Iron Maiden have done that to me 3 times now, so they won't be getting another opportunity. On the other hand, album anniversary gigs or full-on performances of concept albums I'm well up for, because you know exactly what to expect and if you don't like that one, you don't go. Well, unless you're dragged along by a mate who bought the tickets and loves the album in question but neglects to mention any details... I remember expecting a WASP greatest hits gig and got The Crimson Idol in its entirety, complete with video projections. Most memorable thing about that night was getting my drink spiked.
  7. I was given a set to try (SB nickels, but 45-125) and ended up using the 45-105 out of the pack as 4 string set since they were all I had around that was suitable to put on a Precision that had come out of retirement and needed freshening up. They felt fine, but the lower tension didn't do it for me on a top loading bass and I ended up getting rid and replacing them with my usual EXL165s. However, a couple of months ago I bought a USA Pro Jazz 5 and the Fender strings that came on it felt like playing the Humber Bridge. I ordered a set of Dunlops for it and the combination of slightly lower tension than I normally like, but stringing through the body instead of top loading, seems to have rounded out at a very pleasing feel indeed. I think they'll be the strings I stick with on that bass, but I just need this set to wear out so I can put a new Hipshot A bridge on next time I restring, because the current Fender USA bridge is a proper knuckle-shredder and needs to go.
  8. I don't like to have anyone else to worry about when I'm going to gigs - I'd much rather go on my own. If I go with friends I'll reiterate my position, make a point of telling them to do their own thing and agree to meet back at the car/hotel/train, because there's nothing worse than group decisions about where to stand and which least-favourite song should get sacrificed to go to the bar, or whether somebody's tired and wants to leave early, or where to go for food afterwards, or whether I'll hold their pint/bag/phone/coat/burrito/whatever while they go for a pee. If I'm not just left alone and allowed to be completely 'in the moment' and absorbed in what I'm watching, then I'm unlikely to be enjoying myself and there's really no point me paying to be there. That aside, it's just people being irritatingly thoughtless and unaware of their surroundings or needlessly aggressive that can spoil it for me. Some of those types have provided amusement or at least decent stories, mind... I recall going to see Motorhead and being stood towards the back when a fairly short lass started back-pedalling towards me, clearly only concerned with getting a better view over the crowd. She literally back-heeled my toes and then stepped up onto my steels, believing them to be some kind of fortuitously placed riser. The height difference was such that - even stood on my shoes - she wasn't actually obscuring my view, so I just stood there amused, looking like a metal penguin for a bit and waited until she noticed. When she did, she must have jumped far enough to get at least a fleeting glance.. of her house. I was on the very edge of a pit at one gig.. can't remember who was playing.. when a bloke flew out towards me and I had all on just getting my arm up to protect my face from his. He obliterated his nose into my upper arm, apologised and headed straight back in, pouring blood everywhere. The next day I was left with a dead arm and a massive bruise, but figured he'd probably woken up looking worse, so I got on with my day.. which included attending a funeral. As I was sat in the service needing to look suitably sombre and contemplative, the nerve in my shoulder decided to un-pinch and I got level-500 pins and needles down my arm and half my face. Cheers for that experience, lad.. hope your nose set at a right-angle! Another edge of the pit experience was at a Megadeth gig where a bloke tottered back from the bar between the bulk of the pit and me, carrying one of those 2-pint plastics in each hand. The crowd surged and knocked both of them upwards, but he kept tight hold of them so they just went straight over his shoulders. Straight over me. 4 pints of Strongbow. I decided that I didn't like Judas Priest enough to stay and watch them headline the gig whilst I was p-wet-through and smelling like a urinal. Ruined my leather jacket, and Megadeth had just played absolutely terribly, so that was an expensive night with few redeeming features. I still spare a thought for the guy who lost 4 pints purchased at arena prices - my jacket only cost a couple of hundred quid!
  9. When I saw Danny Vaughn a good few years back it was one of those gigs that just had great atmosphere and he actually commented several times about how much fun he was having - seemed totally genuine rather than just the usual patter. In the end he gave the audience a ‘cheer for the option you want’ choice - either pretend it’s the last song then go backstage for a bit and come back on, or just stay on stage and see how many more songs he could get through before the curfew. The loudest cheer, and indeed his own vote, was for the latter option. Personally it’s not something I enjoy unless I can squeeze a trip to the bog, the bar or the both of ‘em into the time it takes for the act to do their planned theatrics. I accept it happens, though, just like extended crowd participation and drum solos, which I also don’t enjoy and treat as refreshment breaks.
  10. I always take a spare where it’s feasible. I favour the cheapo backup option to keep the insurance premium sensible, and also because “my jag wouldn’t start so I went in the merc” sounds nowhere near as much fun when drunkenly recounting the tale at a later date as “..so I fired up the reliant and off we went!” 🙂 Our rhythm guitarist is ‘that guy’ when it comes to gear maintenance and associated malfunctions. He had yet another string break and proceeded to change it on stage, mid song. We just carried on playing and he managed to come back in for the last few bars. Unfortunately for him, he had a GoPro pointed straight at him, so the lead guitarist took the footage of the string replacement, speeded it up, set it to the benny hill theme and sent it round. It got the point across.
  11. We're actually a 5-piece but we'll play gigs with the rhythm guitarist missing and our singer only sings, so I'll join in. On those gigs I haven't changed my tone, but I've sacrificed a few twiddly-bits where it's better to just keep the rhythm driving, and I generally don't play super low to begin with; I find that if you're thundering around at the bottom of the B string when the guitar switches from rhythm to lead it's a much starker contrast when the 'middle drops out' than if you're routinely based half way up the E and A strings so there's still plenty going on in the mids to connect everything together and the bass part was just never that low.
  12. I’m quite happy that somebody else has heard of House of Lords! ...but I think the only band I’d be willing to buy a CD from without hearing it first is Amorphis.
  13. I made a bitsa out of a Fender official spare-part MIM body and a Fender licensed Mighty Mite neck that had a dodgy decal already applied to it when it arrived from the eBay seller. I didn’t feel the need to remove the decal for my own use, but I would if I ever sold it as, legality aside, I wouldn’t want anyone to buy it believing it to be something it isn’t. That said, Fender will happily sell you a spare-part neck with the logo applied and must be aware that you could match that with any body and try to sell the results as anything you were cheeky enough to attempt. Certainly if I were to buy one for my Squier VM (as I keep considering) and then subsequently sell the assembled instrument, I’d do so honestly but I wouldn’t be sanding the logo off just because the body wasn’t MIM Fender.
  14. I started off on a Squier P/J which I owned for maybe a day or two before it became apparent even to a total beginner that there was a lot wrong with it. We took it back and the guys at the shop agreed, so by way of an apology gave me a great deal on a Yamaha BB which they said I'd have no problems with - and they were right. Rightly or wrongly, that experience negatively coloured my opinion of Squier and, by association, Fender and anything fenderesque for the next 10 years. But then Fender seemingly upped its game massively and released the revamped MIM Standards so, having read a lot of good reviews, I went and tried one. It was a 4 string when I'd played 5s exclusively for years, it was white/white/maple when my main basses at the time were all black and pointy (a BTB, a Warlock and a Vampyre), and it was light and ergonomic at a point where I was suffering back/neck issues that worsened with every rehearsal and gig. It was smooth and tactile, singularly the most comfortable instrument I'd played in ages, completely honest in all its limitations and just sounded great with both controls on full, so I bought it there and then. I pretty much instantly connected with it and the more I played it, the more it felt like the way forward.. so I proceeded to ditch all the black, pointy, heavy, uncomfortable instruments that I'd amassed, re-imagined all my original bass parts for 4 string and started to really enjoy playing again without always being in pain. So yes, a good P can be a revelation and even dig you out of a hole - probably literally if required!
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