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martthebass

Do looks count that much?

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For the last couple of months I've been using the Rick or Squier Jazz for gigs exclusively. This is mainly because the looks suit the band and (in the case of the Rick) the early 80s theme of the music.

However, last night due to needing to take a fretless and a fretted I took the little Status to rehearsal as the car was full to the gunnels with gear and remembered why it was that I bought it in the first place. In short I remembered that the Status was so much easier to play than my 'normal' basses and didn't impede my playing in any way (wheras the Rick can feel like a moose on occasion).

Does anyone else find themselves having to play 'second best' because the best (subjective to the individual and YMMV) doesn't look right?

Edited by martthebass

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Personally I don't. I just bring the bass most suited to my needs. I have however been on the end of some looks at session and dep gigs when I pulled out the 6 string. Apparently blues guitards are only aware of P and J basses in sunburst....

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In a band context it depends on the band. From a personal PoV I won't even consider trying (let alone buying) a bass I consider to be ugly. There is such a wide range of basses available these days that there is very little reason to be playing an instrument that doesn't tick all the boxes for looks, playability and sound.

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I suppose people have preconceptions of what gear you should be turning up to a gig with, in the same way they expect certain types of repertoire, clothing, atmosphere etc!

I imagine most of us have gear that we've taken to gig wondering 'is it a bit weird to take *insert bass* to a gig like that?'... I certainly did when I turned up to a WMC with a coffee table 6er as i had come straight from an afternoon rehearsal of a theatre show I was doing and it was my reading bass at the time lol!

Edited by skej21

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I often play surf-green and '51 P basses at metal gigs. So no.
I do hovever (as a rule) not play black basses at these same gigs because I want my bass to stand out from the rest. So in a roundabout way, yes.

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I'm currently playing one of these in a folk band...



And get away with it fine. BUT once my p bass is back from Shukers I'll be using that :D

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1383832290' post='2269720']
In a band context it depends on the band. From a personal PoV I won't even consider trying (let alone buying) a bass I consider to be ugly. There is such a wide range of basses available these days that there is very little reason to be playing an instrument that doesn't tick all the boxes for looks, playability and sound.
[/quote]

This is almost word for word exactly what I was going to post.

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I have particular basses I use for particular bands, but that mostly comes down to the tone of the bass more than looks. However, I do agree with the posts above.

When I've bought a new bass, firstly it's because of how it looks, then how it feels, then how it sounds. But only in that order because that's how it works in a shop! - If I could be led in blindfolded and handed basses to try out, I'd probably have a completely different set by now!

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Since I started playing fender or fender looking basses and playing with a pick the band as a whole has had far more complements overall with one sound guy exclaiming "someone who can play his instrument properly"

I'm not sure if it's a coinsidence or we are generally better overall.

It shouldn't matter about looks but unfortunaly in my experience with many bands it just is. Looking the best comes before being the best I'm afraid.

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Looks do matter to many. I`m one of them. There are many basses that are no doubt wonderful instruments but chances are I`ll never find out as I don`t like the look of them.

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[quote name='Lozz196' timestamp='1383841668' post='2269881']
Looks do matter to many. I`m one of them. There are many basses that are no doubt wonderful instruments but chances are I`ll never find out as I don`t like the look of them.
[/quote]

Yep, I've had some very nice basses, but moved them on because every time I looked at them, I went 'meh', and after a while, the 'meh' wins. Same for a lot of stuff I've never owned or tried.

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Hmm, yeah. I played a hohner jack (the paler wood version) and the guitar player had a bubblegum pink jackson or charvel. We played what was termed "heavy metal on drugs". I was in my early twenties. No black guitars helped us stand out visually.

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Appearance was one of the factors that made me decide on a P-derived bass rather than a Dingwall. (The other was cost!) I didn't think I could turn up for a country gig with a fan-fretted five!

In general if I consider a bass or guitar to be fugly I will just keep looking, no matter how good it is in other respects.

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I work now and then in a bass specialist retailer - we have a full length mirror and a white board that can be used as a photographic backdrop.

There is a good reason for this. . . :)

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[quote name='molan' timestamp='1383953103' post='2271341']
I work now and then in a bass specialist retailer - we have a full length mirror and a white board that can be used as a photographic backdrop.

There is a good reason for this. . . :)
[/quote]

ha ha .....

But of course, looks matter...it is as much an image driven industry as anything else..
One of the the first thing a record company will do is employ a stylist...
And you can't say videos aren't ALL about image either... 99% of the time

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Looks do matter. That's just the way of the world. It is encoded in our DNA to be so shallow :D. Anybody that says that they don't care what an instrument looks like as long as it sounds good is [B]lying[/B]!

What 'looks right' depends on the music that you're playing.

For instance, imagine playing in a 1 Direction cover band with some crazy B.C Rich bass? It isn't going to work. Although you could use the bass' copious amounts of spikes to end your life when it inevitably gets too much for you.

Fender-type instruments will fit in any genre; from R&B to grindcore. Anybody that plays lots of different styles should stick to that path. If you're more specialised in a specific genre, feel free to go crazy!

I personally play hardcore/metalcore/punky-type stuff. I have an Ibanez ATK300 (natural but gettig it refinished soon) with a Mexican Jazz Bass (midnight wine) for backup. I don't think I stick out too much.

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[quote name='martthebass' timestamp='1383831613' post='2269698']
....Does anyone else find themselves having to play 'second best' because the best (subjective to the individual and YMMV) doesn't look right?....
[/quote]

Never, because a Fender never looks or sounds out of place.

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[quote name='uncle psychosis' timestamp='1383833566' post='2269743']
This is almost word for word exactly what I was going to post.
[/quote]
Yeah, it's bang on.

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I will never forget a piece of advice an old rocker at a jam night once told me.."it's not what you sound like but what you look like while doing it"...
Anyway could you imagine taking...say a dean ml bass yo a jazz gig...wouldn't be right...so I would say yeah looks count.

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[quote name='chris_b' timestamp='1383997459' post='2271652']
Never, because a Fender never looks or sounds out of place.
[/quote]
except maybe in a death or black metal band :P

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[quote name='-Virtue-' timestamp='1384298707' post='2275094']
....except maybe in a death or black metal band....
[/quote]

Don't they just tattoo a Pbass and stand in front of a wall of Mesa Boogie cabs?

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