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Frank Blank

What’s Going On..?

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When I first joined BC I owned a Godin A4 and both a fretted and fretless Fender Modern Player Jazz basses.

Since being a BC member I have tried out many, many beautiful basses, bought a few and sold a few. I have discussed some detailed technical details along with the aesthetic nuances of various basses. I have met many lovely people and have enjoyed being part of a community.

Now I own two unique beautiful ACG basses neither of which I play very much at all. I do all of my writing on my Rob Allen and when I write something on the Mouse that I want to transfer on to a fretted bass I find myself wishing I had a bog standard Fender.

Again, before BC, BBC if you like, I had a rule, no instruments over 1k, simply because I didn’t want to be precious about them, they are, after all, tools of work. Yet here I am with two basses I don’t play enough to really justify their cost, as beautiful as they both undoubtedly are I increasingly find myself scouring the BC for sale section and the Bass Direct site looking at Fender Precisions and Jazz basses.

Does anyone else find themselves with basses the like but don’t play? Does anyone else have the recurring thought that if they spent as much time practicing as they do gassing on BC they’d be Pino Pastorious?

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10 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

Does anyone else have the recurring thought that if they spent as much time practicing as they do gassing on BC they’d be Pino Pastorious?

Yup

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Yep, I'm constantly fighting the urge to buy a Takemine TB-10. I'm in two bands, one Mod band and I play exclusively fretted electric, and a oddball covers band where I play exclusively doublebass. I would never use it in a Mod band and don't want to get away from the sound and aesthetics of a doublebass, I could use it on a few of the songs but realistically I'll never be swapping between a doublebass and TB-10 due to size shenanigans so it'll never get used. 

So why have I got the Thomann page permanently open in Google checking the daily fluctuations in price? 

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I cut right back on my playing and consequently my amount of gear three years ago when my youngest lad was a baby.

The idea was to sell anything that wasn’t essential, so out went some good instruments.

A few years on and I’m gigging lots more but I’ve realised I can still do it all on the limited range of mostly pretty modest gear I’ve got.  

I guess I’ve worked out what I need. 

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1 hour ago, Frank Blank said:Does anyone else find themselves with basses the like but don’t play? Does anyone else have the recurring thought that if they spent as much time practicing as they do gassing on BC they’d be Pino Pastorious?

Yep, all the time. I have made a conscious effort to try to improve the browsing/practice ratio though. 😁

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I have a semi acoustic I never used to play because the strap button made it lean forward. 

Got brave and drilled a hole in the upper horn the other day and now I do play it do it doesn't count. 

Picked up a Fender pj in a trade but never play it. Don't know why. 

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3 hours ago, Frank Blank said:

Does anyone else find themselves with basses they like but don’t play? Does anyone else have the recurring thought that if they spent as much time practising as they do gassing on BC they’d be Pino Pastorious?

1 hour ago, Deedee said:

Yep, all the time. I have made a conscious effort to try to improve the browsing/practice ratio though. 😁

^^this. Tbf BC is relaxation / social media for many of us BCers, me very much included!

Obvs being Pastorious standard is something that never crosses my mind ('cos it wouldn't happen even if I stopped doing anything else and only played bass). I'd be content on settling for being a much improved bassist, though. 7 years in, I still get a huge buzz from playing tightly with great band mates to an audience who really appreciate the music.

So Frank are you having second thoughts about holding onto your ACGs? You've rated them very highly indeed in other posts - why don't you feel any particular pull to be using them?

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4 hours ago, Frank Blank said:

Does anyone else find themselves with basses the like but don’t play? Does anyone else have the recurring thought that if they spent as much time practicing as they do gassing on BC they’d be Pino Pastorious?

A few years ago, in a moment of clarity, I sold all the basses I didn't play. Now I only own a Jazz and a Precision and I gig them both.

Fortunately I learnt to play before the distraction of the Internet came along. Conversely, many years on, I'm better player thanks to the internet.

I never got the idea of "all things in moderation". The internet gets in the way of work, DIY and sleep, but never bass playing.

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8 hours ago, Frank Blank said:

Does anyone else have the recurring thought that if they spent as much time practicing as they do gassing on BC they’d be Pino Pastorious?

I occasionally go through those bouts of thinking "any time I'm going to log onto Basschat, I'll pick up a bass instead".

I swiftly realise this is completely impracticable, and the vast majority of time I'm on here I'm not in a position to be practicing.

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So the answer is to play them! Who knew?

Well I think my initial post was me in what could be loosely termed as 'a period of the bass doldrums' (just left of the actual Intertropical Convergence Zone). The possibility of the duo I play in ending had simply cast a dumb cloud over my head and I am un type psychologique who tends to throw the baby out with the bathwater, demolish the bathroom along with the rest of the house, set fire to the wreckage and dance around the fire. My usual overreaction to such an event would be to sell up all my gear and take up with a passing circus or something but after some wise words from @Al Krow (thanks dude) and a short period of thought I picked up the short scale Recurve and started writing.

Well, the reason I love the Rob Allen Mouse is that every time I pick it up to just noodle I end up writing a new bass line, or at least coming up with the kernel of something new, music just seems to fall out of it. I always have a 'cooling off period' with new basses before they either get moved on or stay, in all honesty the only one that has ever really stuck has been the RA. This is almost certainly a contributing factor in my ambivalence towards new basses, subconsciously I'm thinking "It isn't going to be as good as the mouse", not in a quality way but in a do I want to play this all the time? way.

On Monday I had a little series of notes running around my head, I went to pick up the Mouse but picked up the new Recurve instead. Now its Wednesday (no Craig David quips please) and I have almost an entire songs worth of lovely bass line and I can't put the Recurve down. I think I might finally have found the perfect fretted bass to compliment the fretless Mouse.

...although don't quote me or it.

Now what do I do with the ACG Harlot..?

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24 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

Now what do I do with the ACG Harlot..?

It’s gotta be the melody bass. Make it sing!

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On 09/02/2020 at 06:40, Graham said:

I swiftly realise this is completely impracticable, and the vast majority of time I'm on here I'm not in a position to be practicing.

Unless you keep a bass in the downstairs loo....

 

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3 hours ago, Crawford13 said:

It’s gotta be the melody bass. Make it sing!

+1

and it's a lovely thing to own regardless, so keep it and play it when you feel like it. 

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On 08/02/2020 at 21:53, WarPig said:

 

On 08/02/2020 at 21:43, Frank Blank said:

Does anyone else have the recurring thought that if they spent as much time practicing as they do gassing on BC they’d be Pino Pastorious?

 

I bumped into that Pino Pastorious at our Internet Addiction Counselling and he says that work has dried up since he joined Basschat and stopped practicing - but he does have a shedload of really interesting pedals.

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I'm having the same quandary... I've got a lovely MIJ Precision. It's worth a good amount of money. However, I am a jazz bass guy at heart. I sold my two jazz basses when I bought a Stingray which was so expensive I can and will never sell it because it would fetch less than half what I paid, plus for covers bands it's the ideal gigging bass. However, I've been toying with selling the precision to fund a new jazz thinking the Ray does everything the P does and more. Then I listened to a load of Black Sabbath a few days back and thought "how can I live without a P bass??!"

The struggle is real. 

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Ownership of kit comes with an "opportunity cost" ie as a minimum it takes up both space and ties up funds that could potentially be spent on something better, whether it be bass related or not. 

So simple test for me is does the bass give you enjoyment:

- from playing it (at home or at gigs)? 

- having it around as something that you take aesthetic pleasure in, and will noodle from time to time; bearing in mind that they may not come up that often?

If the answer to the above is no, then my approach FWIW would be to move it on. 

Very few basses increase in value, so as investments go, there's usually a whole bunch of better and more liquid places to put spare cash!

Edited by Al Krow
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Advanced apologies, this contains thoughts that sometimes drift into musings.

All wise words here, thanks. Being a gentleman of leisure I have simply set aside some of my vast acreage of leisure time to playing bass every day. I think most of my negativity was coming from potentially being band-less, which would have been a first since the early nineties. However, my partner in the ‘acoustic’ duo has requested that I send her files of new bass lines I’ve been working on so she can put guitar and vocals to them between the demands of very recent twins and the guitarist I’m looking to start a new noisy project with is keen and has also found a drummer. Given these prospects now in the offing I have to look at my gear and think ‘You lucky sod’. When you have actual music to be getting on with suddenly the equipment in the tool box (fnar) is looking mighty fine. I am getting the short scale Recurve set up and restrung next weekend, that bass is already becoming the workhorse, there’s something very plain and utilitarian about it that very much appeals to me, it’s robust and business-like, if I clumped it or put a ding in it I think I’d just shrug, it’s a tool, granted an art tool, but a tool nonetheless. The Harlot remains the most beautiful bass I’ve ever seen, I’m very lucky to own it. I have been playing it a lot over the last few days and it’s access to the higher strings is a real bonus as I do a lot of writing around the 12th fret, I also love the asymmetric neck, it’s just so comfortable. But the biggie with the Harlot is that early preamp, the tonal range is bonkers. I miss that in the more recent Recurve, which has a narrower (and frankly more user friendly, sensible) range but then I’m hardly an expert yet.
 

The Rob Allen Mouse is... well it’s just bliss with strings on.

I'm kind of working this stuff out as I write trying to see why I felt the way I did and why I feel how I feel now, all pointless tosh no doubt but nonetheless I think it’s time to stop looking at basses for sale and actually consider the ones I own. I am not buying any more basses for the foreseeable. Now that’s a bold statement but it’s one I have to make in order to get out of the ‘there’s a better bass just around the corner’ limbo that I wallow in for too long. @skelf builds beautiful, unique basses and I very luckily own two, I should get on and play the bloody things. I have to say there are two caveats to the ‘no more bass buying’ statement, a) I think @Jabba_the_gut is still working on a bass for me, there’s a space in the rack for that if it’s still incoming and b) I am beginning to cobble together a few ideas for an ACG built to my spec, if I ever settle on a design I’m 100% happy with I’ll commission it. In the meantime I should just get on and play these three superb basses sitting not two feet away from me rather that the thrill of the search and acquisition.

No more bass buying.

Edited by Frank Blank
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32 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

No more bass buying.

Could we formally invite you to join as a belated "honorary member" of GAC 2020? 

A patron of your calibre would add mythical heft to the proceedings.

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2 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Could we formally invite you to join as a belated "honorary member" of GAC 2020? 

A patron of your calibre would add mythical heft to the proceedings.

Ah, now, two things. I have purchased a bass this year and have no intention of stopping buying ‘peripherals’ so to speak (strings, leads, stuff), doesn’t this rule me out?

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11 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

Ah, now, two things. I have purchased a bass this year and have no intention of stopping buying ‘peripherals’ so to speak (strings, leads, stuff), doesn’t this rule me out?

Well yes. But Prince Harry and his dad still bang on about green issues whilst taking plenty of flights including private jets...

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I've been through so many different basses, but I think my current crop really represent what I value in bass guitars - a really good jazz and precision sound. So I have a 71P and 71J, a Limelight PJ (with Sadowsky Preamp), a Bacchus Jazz 5 (with Sadowsky preamp!) and a Fender deluxe PJ (which I'm going to sell but is still great). All Fenders or Fender clones. The only outliers are a Rimbass 5 singlecut (such a good deal I couldn't turn it down) and my fretless choice is a Stingray 5 - just sounds wonderful. But mainly it's that fender sound that I feel just cannot be beaten. 

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9 hours ago, Mike said:

I've been through so many different basses, but I think my current crop really represent what I value in bass guitars - a really good jazz and precision sound. So I have a 71P and 71J, a Limelight PJ (with Sadowsky Preamp), a Bacchus Jazz 5 (with Sadowsky preamp!) and a Fender deluxe PJ (which I'm going to sell but is still great). All Fenders or Fender clones. The only outliers are a Rimbass 5 singlecut (such a good deal I couldn't turn it down) and my fretless choice is a Stingray 5 - just sounds wonderful. But mainly it's that fender sound that I feel just cannot be beaten. 

I love your 71 P, in fact that particular bass is exactly what niggles me at times, what I need to do is play it in direct comparison with the P. Also I think playing your singlecut may have been one of the reasons why I decided to go look (rather than just think about) at @TheGreek’s ACG Harlot singlecut which I subsequently bought. It’s like a fvckin’ splinter that P!

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On 08/02/2020 at 21:43, Frank Blank said:

When I first joined BC I owned a Godin A4 and both a fretted and fretless Fender Modern Player Jazz basses.

Since being a BC member I have tried out many, many beautiful basses, bought a few and sold a few. I have discussed some detailed technical details along with the aesthetic nuances of various basses. I have met many lovely people and have enjoyed being part of a community.

Now I own two unique beautiful ACG basses neither of which I play very much at all. I do all of my writing on my Rob Allen and when I write something on the Mouse that I want to transfer on to a fretted bass I find myself wishing I had a bog standard Fender.

Again, before BC, BBC if you like, I had a rule, no instruments over 1k, simply because I didn’t want to be precious about them, they are, after all, tools of work. Yet here I am with two basses I don’t play enough to really justify their cost, as beautiful as they both undoubtedly are I increasingly find myself scouring the BC for sale section and the Bass Direct site looking at Fender Precisions and Jazz basses.

Does anyone else find themselves with basses the like but don’t play? Does anyone else have the recurring thought that if they spent as much time practicing as they do gassing on BC they’d be Pino Pastorious?

Totally get it, human brains evolved to be acquisitive, so the need to acquire is hard-wired into all of us to a far greater degree than is the need to master a skill, especially if the skill doesn't lead directly to more acquisition (or as an eminent neuroscientist has put it, we are all hard-wired to be addicts, the question is simply one of what we become addicted to). Once you recognise that scanning the FS pages is simply your brain playing tricks on you and acting as if it were still in a landscape in which there were very few resources - i.e., where we spent 99.9% of our evolutionary history - it's a lot easier to resist the next purchase :)

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