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Barking Spiders

Random and a bit casual approach to bass playing

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Yoiks, when I come across various posts about tones, rig set ups, custom jobs, string selection,  rewiring pick ups etc I feel very random and amateur in my hit n' miss approach to bass playing.  In 25 years I've never replaced any factory settings and tend to do nowt more technical than playing about with combinations of effects settings and tones controls on the bass and amp. Just wondering if anyone else is like me in this respect or would your bands not allow you to get away with it?

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Your the only normal person on this site 

A Precision put the box is all that is need really isn't it 

Edited by lojo
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'Fraid I agree with you, I let the sound man sort what’s best FOH.

But I suppose most folks will (occasionally) wash their car or take it to the car wash, whereas I spend hours with various lotions and potions making my car look shinier than new.....

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19 minutes ago, Barking Spiders said:

Yoiks, when I come across various posts about tones, rig set ups, custom jobs, string selection,  rewiring pick ups etc I feel very random and amateur in my hit n' miss approach to bass playing.  In 25 years I've never replaced any factory settings and tend to do nowt more technical than playing about with combinations of effects settings and tones controls on the bass and amp. Just wondering if anyone else is like me in this respect or would your bands not allow you to get away with it?

My amp has all the settings at 12 O/C, I plug straight in with no effects and I play my bass, really quite badly. Sometimes my duo partner tweaks one or two of those controls, she doesn't even bother telling me what she's doing anymore. Almost everything else bass related I run past the infinite wisdom and knowledge of the Basschat collective, via that wisdom I've found the perfect bass and the perfect amp for me and I learn so much on here, it's so cool. So I too feel very random and amateur indeed but I also know that if I get in any kind of bass quandary I have this incredible resource to hand...

*sheds tear, waves hankie at brave husband from sylvan garden as he heads out over the Channel in a Spitfire* Fade to black during Lark Ascending.

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It's not that surprising though and as some players get famous and rely more and more on their techs you get the impression from some of their 'rig run down' videos that they arent totally sure exactly what does what and why any more but they 'have someone that takes care of all that'. It's fair enough, frees up time to concentrate on the actual playing and performance rather than getting bogged down with the technicalities.

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Not  random, amateur or "hit n' miss" at all. A lot of folks on here give the impression of being far more interested in collecting / swapping / playing with / showing off their toys than in music. No shame in not being one of them.  

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37 minutes ago, Barking Spiders said:

 In 25 years I've never replaced any factory settings and tend to do nowt more technical than playing about with combinations of effects settings and tones controls on the bass and amp.

I suspect it's the balance in life between how much you're out playing versus how much you're earning. At the point in my life when I was out playing most frequently, I had a Precision copy and an EB-3. I'd even traded in an old Aria bass so I'd have enough money to buy the EB-3. Most of the gigs I was doing, it was the toilet circuit tightrope of turning up at an unfamiliar venue and hoping you could get a decent sound out of the house bass amp, which they insisted you use. When I did bring my own amp, I'd lug my old Laney combo onto the tube and hope it still worked after I'd schlepped it to the venue.

Then a full-time job came along. I had disposable income. I thought "my poor old Precision is in desperate need of some attention. And I've not treated myself for a while..." and bought a Schecter to take its place while I refurbished it. I also revived a project I'd been scavenging parts for. Then I thought, "perhaps, once I've redone the finish on my old Precision, I should treat it to a nicer pickup."

And it went on like this, to the point that I've recently finished up the fiddly wiring to get the DiMarzio mudbucker I popped into the old EB-3 to do series/parallel coil switching with a push/pull in the volume control, whilst I wonder whether I'd trade any of my other basses in to make room for a Sandberg...

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37 minutes ago, Baxlin said:

'But I suppose most folks will (occasionally) wash their car or take it to the car wash, whereas I spend hours with various lotions and potions making my car look shinier than new.....

You are supposed to wash them?? O.o

 

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I suppose it comes down to enthusiasm, time and disposable income. I played for years with one bass, one amp and a wire going between them. The bass got cleaned when I changed the strings.

I'm still pretty much the same except I have a GT6B between the two for tuning, muting and the occasional effect

I did put Quarter Pounders and a drop tuner on my Squier PJ. Oh, and there are a few more "backup" basses to hand...

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7 hours ago, EliasMooseblaster said:

I thought "my poor old Precision is in desperate need of some attention. And I've not treated myself for a while..." and bought a Schecter to take its place while I refurbished it. I also revived a project I'd been scavenging parts for. Then I thought, "perhaps, once I've redone the finish on my old Precision, I should treat it to a nicer pickup."

And it went on like this, to the point that I've recently finished up the fiddly wiring to get the DiMarzio mudbucker I popped into the old EB-3 to do series/parallel coil switching with a push/pull in the volume control, whilst I wonder whether I'd trade any of my other basses in to make room for a Sandberg...

Right, it can grow on you gradually and then snowball. When I bought my first bass, all I knew was that I wanted more of a Jazz than a Precision sound (although I didn't know at the time that those were the names of bass guitars!) Developed more understanding, bought a slightly better amp, ... rolled on, gradually.

I've just reached a breakthrough point, thanks to upgrading my amp to a Markbass 121 combo (from Trueno of this parish :-) which has so much better sound quality and control than anything I've played through before, that I can hear subtleties of tone, and work with them, for the first time. I've just changed the strings on my main squeeze and I can hear the difference :-)

Unlikely to get to the point of switching electronics, but it does feel good to have a bit more understanding and control :-)

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Nope, sounds entirely normal to me. Why buy any piece of equipment if you dont like the sound of it? That goes for the bass, strings, amp, cabs and effects.

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Pre Basschat I had 1 bass, 1 amp and a minimal selection of effects for years. Now I have 4 basses, 6 amps and God only knows how many effects pedals and sundry other stuff. I'm not looking for an elusive sound or tone or anything else - I just enjoy mucking about with stuff and usually losing money in the process. No harm done except to my bank balance but life's too short.

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Pre Basschat I had 16 Bass guitars and 1 amp. I now have 18 Bass guitars, 2 Electric guitars, 4 amps and a few effects. 2 of my basses are in bits for repairs or mods and since joining I have moved 5 basses on. I probably spend more time playing with them than actually playing them - I particularly enjoy getting hold of something unloved for cheap and then cleaning it and setting it up back to former glory.

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2 hours ago, BreadBin said:

I probably spend more time playing with them than actually playing them - I particularly enjoy getting hold of something unloved for cheap and then cleaning it and setting it up back to former glory.

Ditto, in the last couple of years I have done a light refurbish on a 5 string, cleaned up and defretted a 4.  Also quite major work on a ukulele banjo, all bought and sold (at a profit) via the bay.

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2 hours ago, Baxlin said:

Ditto, in the last couple of years I have done a light refurbish on a 5 string, cleaned up and defretted a 4.  Also quite major work on a ukulele banjo, all bought and sold (at a profit) via the bay.

I haven't exactly made much in the way of profit, but have covered my costs and enjoyed myself. :)

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I am more and more convinced that as equipment (or maybe its me being able to buy better equipment) progresses, the better stuff sounds good at ANY settings, while the worst of gear doesn't sound good no matter what the settings are. And that there's a grey area in between where you need to fiddle to get a decent sound. Maybe there's only a limited range, or maybe a wide range, but you can fiddle and hit "sweet spots" while learning over time, to avoid the duff settings. 

I am sure we can relate to some crappy overdrive pedals that basically sound naff irrespective of where the controls are; or a beautiful Japanese Fender Jazz which sounds right (just different) on either pickup, tone up or down.

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It could simply be that you are more concerned with practicing and playing than fiddling with or modifying gear or settings. I don't believe that makes your approach random or casual.  Even half decent gear now sounds good straight from the packaging. Keep playing and gigging, its far from casual or random.

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