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Expensive Gear Guilt

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2 hours ago, No lust in Jazz said:

In short, No. I could play any of the material of my current bands on 'entry level'  'budget' gear and no one will know or care - but I enjoy owning nice stuff, it makes going to work worth while.

This for me^^^^.

Don't get me wrong, high price doesn't necessarily mean better quality or feel (I've had Squiers that played better than many other brands), but I know what fits me best nowadays so while ever I'm in the fortunate position to be able to afford that level of gear, I'll treat myself. If it was at the expense of something else e.g. household bills, maintenance, holidays etc. I would quite rightly feel extremely guilty, but that's not something that I would do.

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I find myself in something of a dichotomy over this.  I guess I am in a fortunate position in that I don't have to worry about what I spend on gear - generally speaking, if I want something I will buy it.  But I am also a dyed in the wool tightwad :) and do sometimes reflect upon the cost of stuff.  I'll spend good money on something if I think it is worth it but not for the sake of it.  I wanted a decent lightweight 5 string Precision bass and found that my best realistic chance of one was to get a Maruszczyk Jake 5 made to my specs which, at £1500, is the most I have paid for a bass.  I believe that is fantastic value as it is a corker.  But I also have a MM Sterling 5 that sits in the case as backup, modded so that it sounds just like the Jake.  It occured to me that this was a lot of bass hanging around doing nothing so after tussling with my inner tightwad over this for a few years I have now bought a cheaper 5 string that can sit in its case as my 'get out of jail free' bass and am currently getting the Sterling 5 put back to stock to sell it.  That should release a few hundred pounds back into my account.  No doubt to fuel more spuriously necessary purchases.

Edited by Paul S
spellin
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I’ve spent many years finding out what does and doesn’t work for me, and trading up to the best examples I can afford. I have no problem taking this kit on gigs - I intend to play live as long as I have breath, and after all, that’s where all my gig money goes!

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I've always thought it's worth spending vast amounts on a piece of gear if you can appreciate the difference it has over cheaper stuff, and that makes you happy.

Sometimes I've found this to be the case, but other times not.

I regularly gig with a £200 s/h Yamaha BB604 which sounds as good to me as numerous more expensive basses I've owned and sold. I appreciate that isn't the case for everyone, and people have different reasons for owning what they own.

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An interesting theme that’s coming up on this thread is that Yamaha make incredible instruments. I think I may have to try one!

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From Wikipedia:

“The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.”

...e.g. acquiring new kit!

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31 minutes ago, JapanAxe said:

From Wikipedia:

“The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.”

...e.g. acquiring new kit!

I was familiar with the concept but an interesting read. Looks like it's related to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradise_Syndrome 

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2 hours ago, Machines said:

Dare I challenge why it has to be American made ? Is this a genuine preference for US instruments based on their quality, or an ego led requirement ?

An ego led requirement...

 

Nah, I just liked those ones. As I said I spent years playing Squiers quite happily but came into some now long spent cash a while ago and decided that I wanted the best I could get. I'm not precious though, my main player is currently my Japanese Fender P over my American made Jazz. I simply used the term "American made" as I felt it binded the 3 most expensive basses I own. 

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I can't understand this hair shirt mentality of feeling guilty that you have nice things that you actually use.

I admit that I have occasionally rolled my eyes when hearing about certain guys who used to be on here who had tens of thousands of pounds of gear, but have only ever played three gigs or so. However, if you are doing two paid gigs a month, then you are certainly justified in owning a few expensive / genuinely nice basses, etc. 

A bass player who plays with some friends of mine paid nearly £4k for a 4 string Alembic 25 years or so ago. He has gigged it pretty much every month since then, so it certainly doesn't owe him anything. It sounds great and has the added bonus of people like me remembering him as 'the guy with the Alembic', even before I had ever met him! He could have bought something much cheaper, but why should he? He knew that he was always going to get his money's worth from it. 

If you are going to worry about such things, then don't fall victim of GAS and spend money on gear you are not going to use. But for me, its always worth investing in the best gear you can afford if you are going to use it regularly...

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I wrote a pointless post that said nothing, so I've deleted it all.

Edited by adamg67
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I feel guilty knowing that what I like best about my Stingray is the neck finish... Which can be achieved on most other basses with sandpaper and the right oil. 

I feel guilty that I could have bought a second hand Stingray for 850 but decided on getting a brand new one. 

I feel guilty that I Lust after other basses even though in practical terms I don't need more than a Stingray. 

I feel guilty that I own an MIJ Precision that has no purpose now I own a Stingray, I just can't bring myself to sell it. 

 

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3 hours ago, Machines said:

Assume in my post, that everything I buy has been suitable in terms of weight, playability and looks. This is a subject specifically about cost. 

OK. I play a 5-stringer that has 19 mm string spacing and 35" scale. My next bass is probably a similar fretless. What are my choices? It is not very easy to set a strict budget, if the offering happens to be very limited. 17 mm just does not work for me: I played one since early 90's. And then I found THE neck last year.

How about a certain neck profile, that seriously differs from basic p or j? Options available? Shall I start from the price? Yes sure, there has to be some bugdet, but I am not always able to set it unrealistically low. I just want to play necks that suit me ergonomically. The instrument is always a certain type of compromise, but I cannot compromise certain details, because of my hands.

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 I have some expensive basses, which I bought partly because Of GAS :crazy: and partly because, if I buy them secondhand, it's a better investment than just parking the money in the bank. I'm always aware that I'm playing some very nice basses, in some pretty unsalubrious, establishments.

But the only time somebody accused me of overkill with my choice of instrument, was when somebody accused me of playing a Pino Pallidino, Signature Precision, at a gig where we were being paid via a pass around bucket (I was actually playing a Classic Vibe Squier ).

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1 hour ago, uk_lefty said:

I feel guilty knowing that what I like best about my Stingray is the neck finish... Which can be achieved on most other basses with sandpaper and the right oil. 

I feel guilty that I could have bought a second hand Stingray for 850 but decided on getting a brand new one. 

I feel guilty that I Lust after other basses even though in practical terms I don't need more than a Stingray. 

I feel guilty that I own an MIJ Precision that has no purpose now I own a Stingray, I just can't bring myself to sell it. 

 

We should start a guilty bass players therapy group.

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15 minutes ago, gjones said:

But the only time somebody accused me of overkill with my choice of instrument, was when somebody accused me of playing a Pino Pallidino, Signature Precision, at a gig where we were being paid via a pass around bucket (I was actually playing a Classic Vibe Squier ).

There’s a great Joe Hubbard video on You Tube, where he is talking about Pino being his student, and it turns out that his Custom Shop P Bass is based on a JV Squier, that Pino has lying in a corner for years, and He only liked the sound of it when it had naturally detuned itself by a half step.

 

Edited by Crawford13
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2 hours ago, adamg67 said:

I wrote a pointless post that said nothing, so I've deleted it all.

What kind of attitude is that? This place'd be a wilderness within a week if we all thought like that... 😀

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The only time I've ever judged someone negatively for their gear was a bloke who showed up at a jam night with a Status 5 with the full Liberace LEDs...and proceeded to plod 4-to-the-bar roots to unending blues songs. He occasionally dropped a couple, too, and the changes seemed an effort.

Shallow and horrible of me, I know, and I felt even worse because he seemed well pleased with his night's work. I felt very depressed with myself, but then again, that might have been the two hours of meandering blues I'd been listening to...it was one of those jams nights...

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5 minutes ago, Muzz said:

What kind of attitude is that? This place'd be a wilderness within a week if we all thought like that... 😀

It's fine for everyone else to think my posts are pointless, but I have to at least mostly believe I'm saying something meaningful... I can usually maintain the delusion but today it deserted me. It'll be back soon :)

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2 minutes ago, Muzz said:

The only time I've ever judged someone negatively for their gear was a bloke who showed up at a jam night with a Status 5 with the full Liberace LEDs...and proceeded to plod 4-to-the-bar roots to unending blues songs. He occasionally dropped a couple, too, and the changes seemed an effort.

Was his name Carl ??

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Buy what you like, can afford and what you enjoy. What matters most is that you make music with it.

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2 hours ago, adamg67 said:

I wrote a pointless post that said nothing, so I've deleted it all.

Hey come on if everyone did that we’d have no Basschat!! 
 

On topic I must admit to feeling a unique sense of.. I’m not sure what the word is... comfort? - when playing a cheaper instrument and it sounding and feeling great. Conversely if I have an off day and I’m playing a 3K bass I kind of feel like I’m not good enough for the bass! 
 

One of the reasons I love my #1 bass is that it cost me relatively little, it’s been modified a lot over a fifteen year period and it’s seen off everything else I’ve had from the best regarded manufacturers on earth, so it makes me smile to know it owes me very little. 

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I get ya. I 'downgraded' my amp/cab setup from boutique, very expensive gear to a £600, brand new, combo. Not guilt, so much, just realised I didn't need it and there was an opportunity to release some cash there. 

For balance, my bass was fairly expensive, but I needed to go super light, and it was one of few options. 

No interest in having a collection of basses anymore, though, but there's worse things to throw your hard earned at! 

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9 hours ago, Machines said:

In the last 2-3 years i've had some very decent gear and have found that it doesn't really bring me any more happiness than the cheaper stuff I thought it would make obsolete. In this period I've had:

  • Musicman Bongo 5 HS 
  • Dingwall NG3 
  • Fender Marcus Miller Jazz 
  • Musicman Stingray 5 HH 
  • Spector Euro 6LX 

And having traded or sold them all, I'm currently gigging (in order of preference)

  • Squier VM Jazz
  • Yamaha RBX775
  • Fender MIM Precision

I think the reason for my fickleness is that i'm playing pub gigs for 50 quid a couple of times a month, and taking £1k+ of bass seems a bit ridiculous. Also since I know I can do the same job with cheaper stuff, having a few grand of instruments in capital doesn't seem as sensible as cash in the bank for real life things (car repairs, booking a holiday, etc)

Anyone else gone through expensive stuff and reverted back to beginner/average stuff ? The GAS seems to always want to move me up in the market, but I know deep down it's a waste of effort, i'll feel guilty after the purchase, and will sell again within a few months.

But if I know I will not lose money (even sometimes make a bit), and have the spare cash, it does feel like a fun hobby 😎.

Guilty as charged :(

Have some nice ACGs and Spectors but often gig less exotic basses.  That having been said my golden rule is if it hasn't been gigged for several months then it gets moved on.  That way I do rock up to pubs with unusual basses :)

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