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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


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So Anyway, just one bass to the gig, and I've never had one fail, string break, etc.  I'm sure it'd be different if I played big concerts or festivals in front of tens of thousands of people. 

However, I have shown up to a gig without a bass.  Twice.

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20 hours ago, Kev said:

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?

A fair point. I tend to take the absolute minimum amount of stuff so I don't have to keep track of too many items as well as reduce the tedium of packing away at the end. I very much could take a spare bass/fx/cables etc. It's all weight to me. I hate nothing more than lugging stuff into the house at 1AM, one trip please.

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I also take a small repair kit for the most common 'fails'. This includes cocktail sticks, screwdriver, spanner, soldering iron, drum key, gaffa and insulation tapes. Takes very little room and can live in the car 

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21 minutes ago, stewblack said:

I also take a small repair kit for the most common 'fails'. This includes cocktail sticks, screwdriver, spanner, soldering iron, drum key, gaffa and insulation tapes. Takes very little room and can live in the car 

Same here Stew. I actually have a spare of everything I use, apart from a cab. Think I would be really unlucky to blow all 4 speakers, hope I haven’t tempted fate though! Keep a small road trunk with everything in (apart from a bass obvs) including my 2 GK amps. I’ve always been the guy other band members come to when they need a spare item, but then again I think that seems to be the norm for most bassists ?

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1 minute ago, casapete said:

Same here Stew. I actually have a spare of everything I use, apart from a cab. Think I would be really unlucky to blow all 4 speakers, hope I haven’t tempted fate though! Keep a small road trunk with everything in (apart from a bass obvs) including my 2 GK amps. I’ve always been the guy other band members come to when they need a spare item, but then again I think that seems to be the norm for most bassists ?

100%

Common conversation in one band - 

BL: Stew, the PA doesn't work can you fix it?  I'm going out for a smoke.

BL: My music stand/mic stand/fan keeps falling over can you fix it? 

Guitarist: My strap has fallen off, I'm going for a smoke with the BL can you fix it. 

A different band - 

Drummer: You still carry a drum key/spanner/gaffa tape? 

This is hilarious because in most other walks of life I'm considered the ham fisted one you wouldn't trust to mend a bicycle puncture

 

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On 19/05/2020 at 16:56, 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.

This made me grin in a wry sort of way.  I always take a back up bass and back up amp - always have, always will. 

A few years ago I treated myself to a Mesa Boogie Prodigy Four 88 head, some would argue it was one of the best valve heads, it certainly cost me as much as a decent holiday to buy even second hand.  First outing I fired it up for soundcheck it blew a valve and took half the pcb with it.  Out came my trusty Quilter BB800 from the boot which remained my go-to for some while.  Mesa Head cost just shy of £300 to fix.

So it isn't just cheap stuff that can fail.  :D

 

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Er, I sometimes take one and have needed it a couple of times. 

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I admit I never take a backup amp. At the Rebellion Festival last year I plugged into the provided SVT stack, tuned up, all good. Just as we were about to start, nothing, amp had gone, so the crew switched to the backup. As had been said, even the expensive gear can go.

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I seldom take more than one bass, but it depends on the gig; if I need Jazz and P sounds then I’ll take 2 - sweaty rock gigs that just need a P bass grunt I just take the one for. 
 

I always carry spare strings and leads though.

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Got a dep gig with a wedding band. Good hourly rate including waiting time before and after our set. Markbass amp crapped out on me during the soundcheck. 

Doubt they'd have been in a rush to book me again if I didn't carry a back up of similar quality. 

I was appalled depping with them later when guitarist broke a string and had no back up guitar. 

Just assumed it was a given. 

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A guitarist I used to play with sometimes never took a back up guitar and used to say it didn`t matter as it`s "just a pub gig." The silly billy also used cables that cost about a fiver and could never understand when they would chuck it.

Now I`m far from being a professional musician but I treat every gig the same way if I`m playing to 500 or 5 people, if you are getting paid always be a good wee boy scout (did dib dob and all that) and come prepared!

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5 minutes ago, jezzaboy said:

A guitarist I used to play with sometimes never took a back up guitar and used to say it didn`t matter as it`s "just a pub gig." The silly billy also used cables that cost about a fiver and could never understand when they would chuck it.

Now I`m far from being a professional musician but I treat every gig the same way if I`m playing to 500 or 5 people, if you are getting paid always be a good wee boy scout (did dib dob and all that) and come prepared!

The ones who always asked me for a spare cable were the guys who spent next to nothing on theirs but laughed at me for buying quality ones, which last forever if looked after. I've also depped with a band that kept all their cables slung into a big trunk, and if you didn't get to the gig in good time you got the duff ones! I've always preferred to buy and look after my own cables, not to be anal about it but just to have that peace of mind in knowing they're all good. Having said that, my mate in my acoustic duo goes even further. He not only has a spare everything, but even a spare ipad (with all the parts on natch) and spare shirts / black suit in case of a drink / dining related mishap on high end function gigs. Needless to say he always gets paid for doing a top job.

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I always take a couple of basses to a gig, had to use the spare once in recent years, when the Jazz bass I had been using fell (with its Hercules stand) through the drums during a break. 75% severed the G string. Pulled the Precision out of the back the car and carried on. My brand new amp had failed earlier in the same gig, but again I had a spare.

Won't use Hercules stands again, though.

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I always take at least two basses to any gig, but I wouldn't now describe any of them as 'spare'. If I take multiple instruments, then I'll play everything I've taken.

In all honesty, though, this started out as taking a spare to every gig, so I suppose I should really fall into that camp, if only for old times' sake.

 

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I usually do take a spare bass, I take my hohner b2a as it takes up very little space. To me convenience is relevant, I dont take a spare cab for example as that would be very inconvenient but the hohner stick bass in its little air rifle sized gig bag takes up very little room.

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I have done before but not now. I do have a spare bass if I wish to take one though. Never had a problem that a back up bass would have solved, at least for now.

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I’m a bit baffled by those who think that because they have the tools to fix anything, it’s problem solved. If your bass fails mid set, are you going to whip out a soldering iron? 

Ive been gigging since 1980 and in that time I’ve only needed a spare 2 or 3 times, but it can happen. Once it was a wire that had come astray, mid song. Strangely enough I don’t tend to check the wiring (rather complex in that particular case) before every gig so hadnt noticed one was coming astray. Another time a jack socket in a vintage bass failed on me. And another time, a jack socket on a modern bass failed on me. And then there are batteries (one of the reasons I tend to avoid actives these days).

Still, I don’t always take a backup because sometimes it’s not practical (I don’t drive, for a start). 

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1 hour ago, jezzaboy said:

A guitarist I used to play with sometimes never took a back up guitar and used to say it didn`t matter as it`s "just a pub gig"

Sounds like a guy who’s going to go on to great things and struggle to find space in his diary...

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1 hour ago, 4000 said:

your bass fails mid set, are you going to whip out a soldering iron? 

No I pick up my spare bass. The soldering iron has been used during set up /soundcheck or half way break but not for intricate stuff. I now carry those little joining blocks for quick emergency cable making/mending. 

Since I discovered obbm my cables don't fail but other people's do. Also if I'm not going home between gigs I have plenty of time to fix a loose wire. 

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The need for a spare bass is also a great excuse to snag yourself an eBay/FB bargain beater bass, surprised this hasn't already been mentioned.

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I tend to take 2 or 3 basses and swap over anyway. Typically one fretted one fretless so I can get by with either.

I only take one bass to rehearsal, I find playing the same stuff using different basses is good for all sorts of reasons.

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1 hour ago, lemmywinks said:

The need for a spare bass is also a great excuse to snag yourself an eBay/FB bargain beater bass, surprised this hasn't already been mentioned.

There’s only so many times I can use that excuse 

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1 minute ago, therealting said:

There’s only so many times I can use that excuse 

Ah but then you do the bass up, turn a small profit and buy another!

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8 minutes ago, lemmywinks said:

Ah but then you do the bass up, turn a small profit and buy another!

There’s only so many times I can use that excuse!

... wait, am I supposed to sell them?

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(almost) always take, never needed.

I'm not a professional player in the sense that it is not my main source of income but I act like one 🙂 So I'm always prepared and would not let any problem with my gear affect the show or even get noticed.

I play Spector Euros live for many years and never had any technical problems with them, neither did I break a string. 
But I always carry a backup bass (another Euro) for the main gig I have which has samplers, clicks and rear screen projecting all set up for the show and there is no way I'd stop that for changing a string or such. I use wireless but always have a cable at hand (happened once or twice that the wireless went off or the receiver was kicked out of stage 🙂 )

Since I go direct most of the time I don't carry amps or cabs so bringing two basses in a double gigbag is not an issue. 

 

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