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Al Krow

Your best (and worst!) bass gear purchases of 2020?

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As someone who only started playing this year everything bass related that I own was a purchase this year.

 

Best has to be my Betsy Bass that turned up this week.

 

Worst is an Ashdown B-Social Lite, mainly because I still don't really know why I bought it. I've used it for about a week when I did eventually get away on holiday for a week in the summer and took my bass with me. It's actually a nice pice of kit  but as I also have a full size B-Social it was a completely pointless purchase.

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3 minutes ago, Andermtc said:

As someone who only started playing this year everything bass related that I own was a purchase this year.

 

Best has to be my Betsy Bass that turned up this week.

 

Worst is an Ashdown B-Social Lite, mainly because I still don't really know why I bought it. I've used it for about a week when I did eventually get away on holiday for a week in the summer and took my bass with me. It's actually a nice pice of kit  but as I also have a full size B-Social it was a completely pointless purchase.

IMG_20201109_190325_630.jpg.fcb55ce5cd0b4544aabfad0ed2bf9b83.jpg

Those Betsys are bloody lovely

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6 hours ago, Len_derby said:

The best, so far, has been a really nice Mandolin from @thebrig. It’s kept me entertained learning a new instrument during the lock-down. I even took away on holiday during that brief respite we all had. I got a casual job as a beach-clearer.

The worst has been a new gig-bag. Bought in March, it hasn’t been out the house yet.

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Great to see that you are enjoying the mandolin Neil, I was really sad to see it go, but after severing my tendons in a DIY accident, playing a mandolin is now impossible. 😐

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Ive bought loads this year - everything I was after came up at once. A Celinder J-update, ‘83 Musicman and some synths - but my BEST is probably the Future Impact pedal because it’s opened up so many possibilities with my mini bass which was already a full on synth stick. 

Worst - I bought the correct USB cable for my C4 but haven’t even fired up the editor yet. All in good time! 

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Been a funny old year, I have bought quite a few things, but it is hard to remember what was this year and what was last.

Best:

ibanez EHB1505ms - was a complete faff having to deal with bax and return it because the headstock was cracked, but on the upside there was a bit of an advantage to that. But ignoring that, it is a fantastic bass, light vibrant, lovely to play. In fact, now when I pick up a bass it is either this or:

Shuker Uberhorn - just a thing of beauty. Lusted after it at the bass guitar show in 2017 and now it is sitting on my wall.

and a small usb page Turner, cost very little, works perfectly. Was going to make one but this was cheaper than the box and switches

honourable mention to my BAM200 amp.

worst:

TC electronic spectradrive. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with it, works well, but when it comes down to it, it doesn't do anything I couldn't already do. I mean it is no good gigging, as I have a TC450 which had the compressor and drive in it, I don't need a di, I don't need a headphone amp.

so I will probably put that up for sale.

also Shuker 6 string artist. Great bass but not for me. Why did I decide that maybe 18mm spacing would be ok. But I sold it for what I got it for and got to find out what a nice chap mr Shuker is, when I got a replacement preamp for the one broken in it so not feeling bad about it and probably would have never got the uberhorn without having it first 

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Best: Custom built walnut Rickenfaker

Best: Rickenbacker 4003

Worst: Can't say I've bought anything else

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Best purchase this year for me has to be G&L SB-2, which was one of those “that’s the tone i have in my head” moments to the point where I replaced the pickups in my bitsa to MFDs too. 
 

Worst purchase for me was probably a tc Spectracomp. Mostly because after using it I realised I didn’t need a compressor (or I’m not clever enough to hear the worth) and I ended up dialling it back further and further until there wasn’t a difference between on and off. 
 

7C25F1C7-F926-42CF-BC51-3B507DF157D7.thumb.jpeg.312fdbc020c9a4e3fac2bac17521f34a.jpeg

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1 hour ago, simon88wilson said:

Worst purchase for me was probably a tc Spectracomp. Mostly because after using it I realised I didn’t need a compressor (or I’m not clever enough to hear the worth) and I ended up dialling it back further and further until there wasn’t a difference between on and off. 

On the plus side it's left you older and wiser, which has value in itself, right? And, fingers crossed, if you bought it used you will likely have not lost very much on it at all.

16 minutes ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

I should've signed up for the gear abstinence thread. 

I've bought nothing. 

But fortunately managed to avoid selling anything, too...

Agreed, I think this is definitely not the right thread either 😁

On 13/11/2020 at 11:17, MacDaddy said:

worst - Future Impact It's an amazing piece of kit and the sounds it's capable of are incredible. But to get the best out of it, you need to buy a cable which needs a computer programme, and ideally a midi pedal. All of which is far too complicated for me, being a bear of little brain.

2 hours ago, ped said:

Ive bought loads this year - everything I was after came up at once. A Celinder J-update, ‘83 Musicman and some synths - but my BEST is probably the Future Impact pedal because it’s opened up so many possibilities with my mini bass which was already a full on synth stick... 

One thing we can say with confidence about this Panda pedal in the Future, is that it clearly has an Impact on its users. 

Edited by Al Krow

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On 13/11/2020 at 17:20, Lozz196 said:

Best, two US Fender Professional Jazz basses.

Worst, a US Fender Standard Jazz bass. Was a great sounding bass but I found the depth of the neck uncomfortable to play.

Three Jazzes.... 

Where's Lozz196 and what have you done to him? This really is a year of unprecedented changes and events. 


 

On 13/11/2020 at 20:35, Pukie said:

Do I win?

251C386F-5FB3-4793-9E74-3478244AA84A.jpeg

Probably, show off!
 

1 hour ago, simon88wilson said:

Worst purchase for me was probably a tc Spectracomp. Mostly because after using it I realised I didn’t need a compressor (or I’m not clever enough to hear the worth) and I ended up dialling it back further and further until there wasn’t a difference between on and off. 
 

 

Hasn't it got loads of different compressors in it you can change? 

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For me... 

Best Buy: East Uni-Pre 5. Off someone here at a great price. It took a Lakland bass that sounded alright, but struggling to an amazing sound. He really is a genius John East.

Worst: East Uni-Pre 5 ... er it's the only bass related thing I've bought this year. Mostly I slimmed my bass wall down from 4 basses to 2... and then preceded to get tempted by vintage precision basses. 

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18 minutes ago, LukeFRC said:

Best Buy: East Uni-Pre 5. Off someone here at a great price. It took a Lakland bass that sounded alright, but struggling to an amazing sound. He really is a genius John East.

That's high praise Luke 'cos Laklands are supposed to be very decent already. JE does get a LOT of love for his pre-amps on BC - and sounds to me like something definitely worth checking out further. I'm assuming it wasn't a budget Skyline model you have? Assuming not, how would you describe the key differences you've found?

I had similar reaction when I started using a Tech 21 VT Bass DI pedal for the first time earlier this year - it just felt like there was a clarity and zing to the tone on a number of my basses that I'd not been aware had been missing before using it. And it's not like I had been using what most folk would categorise as a sub par rig: BF SC and DG AO900. 

Edited by Al Krow

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15 minutes ago, AndyTravis said:

AC410888-800A-4737-A229-305827E1F74F.thumb.jpeg.961dc40023891307fe6e24c740730ee1.jpeg

2020 was purchase heavy...

and isn't that just the ones you've still got? 

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18 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

That's high praise Luke 'cos Laklands are supposed to be very decent already. JE does get a LOT of love for his pre-amps on BC - and sounds to me like something definitely worth checking out further. I'm assuming it wasn't a budget Skyline model you have? Assuming not, how would you describe the key differences you've found?

I had similar reaction when I started using a Tech 21 VT Bass DI pedal for the first time earlier this year - it just felt like there was a clarity and zing to the tone on a number of my basses that I'd not been aware had been missing before using it. And it's not like I had been using what most folk would categorise as a sub par rig: BF SC and DG AO900. 

There's two parts of this, the existing preamp and the East.
It's a 1999 US Lakland and has the slightly darker Bartolini pups and original preamp ... I don't know if it was just me, or just my ears but I couldn't get on with the original preamp... the bass boost turned everything to mush, the mid cut turned the bass off, there were 4 different settings for the mids inside and I couldn't get any of them sounding great... What was wrong with it? Not sure. I think mainly how my ears were hearing it, and probably the it needed more input or something cos it seemed to sound better the louder I hit the strings. After 4-6 months of fiddling It was annoying enough that the bass was going to go... but the core sound unplugged of the bass is really nice... so....

The East was worth trying out. His preamps (IMO) are amazing. I find the Uni pre to be really really clean sounding. By that I mean not much distortion or colouration to the sound. I'm using a very good DI signal and Hellborg preamp I used to own as my yardstick to what a clean bass sound sounds like. It's  high fidelity without putting very much colouration in at all. I've tried the Glockenklang 2 band... and if you boosted anything then you could tell it's sound signature and the fact it was a Glockenklang - the east doesn't do that. Active buffered blend, so the pickups aren't interacting from each other....  a tunable bass and treble control... plus a bright pick attack switch to instantly push the bass into a completely different sound (really good with the slightly darker sound pups) swept mids - which I find super easy to use... and a passive roll off too.... From spending ages playing with the old preamp I now have a setting for each pickup setting, and then can use the passive tone to taste... which is great. (bare in mind I've not really been playing much this year! :D) For balance... the Eq is clean like a PA desk - and powerful too... I think it was @peteb who pointed out that +15db of bass boost, in the wrong hands is not going to be good at all. So if you're someone who likes a preamp to give a certain colour, or want to turn everything full up... there might be better preamps for you... 

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57 minutes ago, LukeFRC said:

and isn't that just the ones you've still got? 

Yeah, a sadowsky j, a 1975 p, an aria Steve Bailey and a status...trying to think if there’s anything else...

oh yeah, two Marcus Miller fenders...

oh, and a fretless fender hollowbody 

Edited by AndyTravis
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6 minutes ago, AndyTravis said:

Yeah, a sadowsky j, a 1975 p, an aria Steve Bailey and a status...trying to think if there’s anything else...

oh yeah, two Marcus Miller fenders...

oh, and a fretless fender hollowbody 

Come on then 'fess up - which is the one bit of bass kit out of all of the gear that you've got during 2020 that you'd choose to keep above all the rest? (I'm guessing very possibly the Sad PJ...)

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I don't have a best bass purchase because I can't afford the basses on my GAS list.   But I did purchase a guitar amp - a collector's grade Fender Princeton II to replace the player's grade Concert II.

Worst bass purchase was a custom instrument that in all seriousness a total joke and built by someone who had no understanding  about musical instruments.  A complete and utter waste of money that makes some of the junk on Youtube seem masterbuilt in comparison.  I still feel guilt about the trees that were used in it's construction.  If I strip all the finish off, remove the body wings and run the neck up against a belt sander for a bit, relaminate a new top on the lower wing and reglue it all, I MIGHT...might end up with something vaguely playable.

But the company did send me a hand wired 5F2 Princeton Tweed amp as compensation and it's quite good.  But I didn't really need another guitar amp.  I have four already.

Lessons learned: Do it myself.  Get the parts made and shipped unfinished, check dimensions and tolerances then sand as appropriate. Assemble myself and finish.

 

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3 hours ago, Kiwi said:

I don't have a best bass purchase because I can't afford the basses on my GAS list.   But I did purchase a guitar amp - a collector's grade Fender Princeton II to replace the player's grade Concert II.

Worst bass purchase was a custom instrument that in all seriousness a total joke and built by someone who had no understanding  about musical instruments.  A complete and utter waste of money that makes some of the junk on Youtube seem masterbuilt in comparison.  I still feel guilt about the trees that were used in it's construction.  If I strip all the finish off, remove the body wings and run the neck up against a belt sander for a bit, relaminate a new top on the lower wing and reglue it all, I MIGHT...might end up with something vaguely playable.

But the company did send me a hand wired 5F2 Princeton Tweed amp as compensation and it's quite good.  But I didn't really need another guitar amp.  I have four already.

Lessons learned: Do it myself.  Get the parts made and shipped unfinished, check dimensions and tolerances then sand as appropriate. Assemble myself and finish.

 

Well you can’t not say who this builder is after that. Someone here might be about to pull the trigger....

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Best:  After a gibbering frenzy of basses in and out this year which reached it's crescendo with the acquisition of a rare lightweight 1991 Stingray 5, I now have my "Excalibur". 

Worst: I bought a used MacBook and a Focusrite interface to finally get into the world of home creations. They are probably great but I haven't had time to even turn them on yet. An additional expense I could do without right now but at least they're there for when I do!

Plans for 2021:

Total gear abstinence (don't laugh) and begin to get involved with the monthly composition fun and games on here.

Lessons learned:

Playing all the time keeps the GAS voices quiet! 

 

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10 hours ago, LukeFRC said:

Hasn't it got loads of different compressors in it you can change? 

It has and I tried many out, every time I put one on unless it was very transparent I didn’t like it. I just don’t think compressors are for me! 
 

10 hours ago, Al Krow said:

On the plus side it's left you older and wiser, which has value in itself, right? And, fingers crossed, if you bought it used you will likely have not lost very much on it at all.

I wouldn’t necessarily say wiser lol

unfortunately I did buy it new but I did sell it on for not a massive loss 

Edited by simon88wilson

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9 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Come on then 'fess up - which is the one bit of bass kit out of all of the gear that you've got during 2020 that you'd choose to keep above all the rest? (I'm guessing very possibly the Sad PJ...)

It’s all lovely stuff, the Sadowsky pretty much means I won’t bother buying another Fender type bass (unless it’s something magical).

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1 minute ago, AndyTravis said:

It’s all lovely stuff, the Sadowsky pretty much means I won’t bother buying another Fender type bass (unless it’s something magical).

So - you will 😂

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8 minutes ago, ped said:

So - you will 😂

Never say never. Must say the ebs/Spector sounded ace at the rehearsal before lockdown stopped us...

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"...and then @AndyTravis said he won’t be buying another Fender type bass..."12654175.jpg.7f02f56b6fcc4618a85ef37e483195aa.jpg

 

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