Jump to content
Left leaderboard
Machines

Backup bass survey

Backup bass survey  

96 members have voted

  1. 1. Back up bass at a gig?

    • Never taken one. Never had a problem.
      37
    • Never taken one. Needed it.
      4
    • Always take one, never needed it.
      30
    • Always taken one and have needed it.
      25


Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

In years of gigging I've always taken one bass and never had technical difficulties. See lots of advice about taking a backup. 

Who actually has?

This is a question specifically around failure and not just taking one because you want to swap out. 

Edited by Machines

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Weird not to have an option for “Sometimes take one”. I often don’t for small gigs, or for church, but will if it’s a major gig or recording. And I have needed my backup recently - was doing a TV recording with my 64P, and had grounding hum issues due to the way they are wired - thankfully had my 60P with me. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never had a problem with my precision but I do carry previously installed backup strings (also which I've never had to use.) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I take a back up bass, although I've never had a problem. I guess it's that "just in case" worry. It also helps me justify having more than one bass 😃.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it depends how seriously you take it, and more importantly how seriously the person who booked you does too.

If you've been paid £500 for a set, but your bass malfunctions in the first song and you have no contingency, would you expect the promoter to still pay the full amount?

Always have a backup.  It can be anything, and doesn't always have to be a bass.  A £50 piece of rubbish off bass off eBay isn't ideal, but something that means you can carry on.   If you absolutely cannot carry a 2nd bass for any reason, then at the very least have a few packs of strings in the bag or backing tracks in place to kick off instead of you, should the bass be unplayable.

Turning up to gig without any of the above is just unprofessional in my opinion (sorry!), but like I said, its down to how seriously you take it.  I'd be beyond mortified if I had to stop mid gig, and its awful to watch from the punters point of view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve only needed one once - and typically had been too lazy to take one on that gig. Lesson learned, it’s only one extra cheapie item in a gig-bag, take it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very early on in my bass playing gigging career, I broke a string during the first song and had no spare strings and no spare bass. I had to borrow the support band's violin bass which was strung with flats and consequently played and sounded nothing like mine, for the rest of the set. The next day I went out and bought a couple of sets of strings and found a cheap bass to use as a back up.

Since then I have whenever transport space allows brought a spare bass to gigs - which meant that in the days when I was playing both fretted and fretless basses with the same band I had 4 basses on stage with me.

I have only ever had two more string breaks at gigs. Luckily I had a spare bass with me which was just as well since on both occasions none of the other bands on the bill had a bass guitarist in their line up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, therealting said:

Weird not to have an option for “Sometimes take one”. I often don’t for small gigs, or for church, but will if it’s a major gig or recording. And I have needed my backup recently - was doing a TV recording with my 64P, and had grounding hum issues due to the way they are wired - thankfully had my 60P with me. 

As would it be useful to have " Brought a spare and used both because I could" - which is really my answer. That said never had either of the two fail at a gig...

When I was playing in a function/wedding band this was my standard setup... We'd to three 45 min sets and I'd either do alternate sets or maybe do one  (or two at most) change in course of a set (which took less than 5 seconds because of the Lehle switcher pedal) depending on the songs in the set. Could play the whole set with either bass fine, of course, but hey!

Like they say, you never buy an insurance policy hoping that you'll use it but, if you ever DO have to use it you'll be glad you had it...

32636092_MarkBassandWals.thumb.jpg.a50a9ea770010b4f9cd12bfc1371f38d.jpg

Edited by TrevorR
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have tools with me, so if there is a problem, I try to solve it right away. Twice there has been a wire issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always take one.

There's always a chance something will go wrong and I do not want to be the reason why we can't play or that we sound wrong. I view it as being disrespectful to the other performers and the audience, even more so if they have paid.

 

I also always take a back up amp or if the PA is good enough a good di / preamp.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Kev said:

Turning up to gig without any of the above is just unprofessional in my opinion (sorry!), but like I said, its down to how seriously you take it.  I'd be beyond mortified if I had to stop mid gig, and its awful to watch from the punters point of view.

Do you take a spare amp and cab ? Do you have a spare car in case you can't get to the gig at all ?

I'm trying to work out how often it actually becomes a problem to gigging musicians. Lower quality gear should be more likely to fail than higher, however simpler gear should be less likely to fail than complex.

Edited by Machines

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in a so-called professional band and our sax player managed to break her ankle in the middle of a gig, and I thought it was very unprofessional that not only did she not bring a back up ankle, but also that the band leader didn't bring a backup saxophonist.
 

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Machines said:

Do you take a spare amp and cab ? Do you have a spare car in case you can't get to the gig at all ?

I'm trying to work out how often it actually becomes a problem to gigging musicians. Lower quality gear should be more likely to fail than higher, however simpler gear should be less likely to fail than complex.

I think that you have to identify what would be a 'gig-stopper' and work down from there. For example, I recently went to a rehearsal, and my bass just 'went'. Changed battery, tried with preamp pedal, without, direct into amp, changed leads - nothing worked. If that had been a gig, and I had a backup bass, it would  have been the work of seconds to swap over. (Transpired it was, in fact, a dodgy lead). As it was, I used a lead from someone else into the PA. 

So if, for whatever reason, your bass 'stops' working, what can you do to ameliorate that problem? If it's a head/cab issue, at least you can go into the PA, particularly if you use a preamp pedal too. Pedals - you can bypass. Leads - easy to take a spare (unless you're me above!). Strings - bring a pack of spares. Etc etc

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the thing, I do take an extra bass to gigs (or at least I did) one fretted and one fretless, as I needed both. In addition, I have a DI on pedal board, so in a way, I have a back up amp too. However, going forward, if I ever get to gig again with my '2 bass band', I'm going to try just taking the fretless and alter my playing style where appropriate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No backup bass, although I bring tools with me which will sort any problem if something does go wrong.

I do take a backup amp though, since my GK MB800 went a bit funny once. I bring it's little brother, my GK MB500 just in case. They're both pretty small and fit in one bag pretty easily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Machines said:

Do you take a spare amp and cab ? Do you have a spare car in case you can't get to the gig at all ?

I'm trying to work out how often it actually becomes a problem to gigging musicians. Lower quality gear should be more likely to fail than higher, however simpler gear should be less likely to fail than complex.

Every gig I do at the moment uses the house PA primarily, and I have about 3 options to get to that from bass, DI box, various preamps etc, so I am as backed up as I need to be and if the PA fails, well that's not my issue to resolve. 

Spare car?  I think you're being silly! Clearly there would be other options to travel to a gig, otherwise i shouldn't be in a band at all.

Again, it depends how seriously you take yourself, I would say a bass is the most likely thing to be showstopper and equally the easiest and most convenient thing to have a backup of.  Why wouldn't you want a backup?

And then it gets to cost when it comes to gear complexity.  If a whole band is running off £xxxx processors, midi triggers etc, no you can't really afford to have a backup of that.  I have seen BIG bands call off gigs because of that, and its unavoidable.  But also, entirely incomparable to bringing a backup bass.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Machines said:

Do you take a spare amp and cab ? Do you have a spare car in case you can't get to the gig at all ?

I'm trying to work out how often it actually becomes a problem to gigging musicians. Lower quality gear should be more likely to fail than higher, however simpler gear should be less likely to fail than complex.

My pedalboard has a Noble Preamp DI on it, which will go nicely to PA if required. In the days when I used a head/cab setup, I would have a Trace Elliott Elf in a pocket somewhere.

My 64 Precision is my most valuable bass, and the holy grail for lots of musicians, but it let me down in the middle of a live filming, and I was very glad to have my 60 Precision there as a backup which kept my embarrassment to a minimum.

I always bring a second guitar on gigs  if I can only bring one, I bring spare strings. I always have at least one spare of every kind of cable I use  

I do have a second car and it has saved me when my main one (at the time a BMW 330Ci convertible) was unable to start. I also have breakdown cover that will take me wherever in the UK I want to go, so I can get to a gig and figure it out from there if need be.

None of this matters too much if you aren’t earning from the gig or your reputation in the biz doesn’t matter. But at a certain level, people want to know they can rely on you to deliver, and that includes having gear that works. I know more than one gifted muso who has had had cheap gear fail on them more than once, and word gets around. It’s harsh, because being a jobbing muso isn’t the best paid profession, and many working musicians can’t afford the world’s best gear... but by the same token, working musicians can’t afford to hire musicians whose gear breaks on gigs. 

Edited by therealting
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Always have a spare bass on every gig with my main gigging band. It’s a cheap and cheerful passive P-bass which I’ve used on a couple of occasions when my active bass didn’t like the wiring in old theatres for some reason. Not an ideal instrument for me ( bit heavier than my usual bass etc) but so glad it was there then. It usually lives in our van most of the time so I take it out every now and then to give it an airing and check it over. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never used to take a back up, then started to and maybe the 3rd gig I did, needed it. Bridge saddle screw on a 72 Jazz disintegrated mid song. Freak accident (and really odd sensation - you can’t quite compute what has happened) but was enough to spook me into always taking a spare. Never needed again thankfully. 

Personally not got on with 2 bass cases. Bought the Gator one - beautifully made kit but like lugging an RPG launcher around, found life much easier with 2 x separate gig bags. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Always take one. Tuning backstage once when a machine head broke, the spare was used.

Could have tuned using a pair of pliers but not so easy if you need to do it on-stage. My spare has always had the exact same set up so there's no difference in sound etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I check my basses over every month to make sure they're ship shape. Has a result, I've only ever bought one bass to gigs in the 18 years I've been playing live. That being said, I've never even broke a string. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spend longer agonising over which two basses to take and which will be A and which B than our singer takes doing her hair and makeup. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Always take a spare, had to use one twice, if you're getting paid you should definitely take one just to quickly pull you out of a hole if needed. Currently have an old Cort C5P I got off Facebook for £90 as my spare. Sounds great, weight very little and is cheap enough to live in the van. Also have a Behringer BDDI, a set of pre-used srings and a cable in the same gigbag so all my gigging stuff and spares are catered for in one carry.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The biggest gig I’ve played in recent years was to 2,000 plus bikers at a bike rally. We were the middle band of three, no soundcheck as headliners were late and then took forever (ska band). We hit the first chord and absolutely no sound from the bass (it turned out later that a wire had come loose when I had changed a battery, five minute repair with a soldering iron). I pulled out my spare bass from the double gigbag at the side of the stage and no one was any the wiser (even the drummer didn’t realise until he saw the video footage after the show).

When I first joined a regularly gigging band, I was offered the gig on the basis that I would get a spare bass, even if it was just a beater just to get me through a show if anything happened. In over 40 years of gigging, I’ve only needed the spare maybe half a dozen times, but that has included a few of the most important gigs that I have done. So, I always take a spare wherever possible and always for the bigger gigs.

I’ve probably had more issues with amps than basses over the years and yes, I do take a spare (a TE Elf these days, which fits in a gigbag and will get you out of trouble at a push) …

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...