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Tjhooker

Pros that use non-pro basses...

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Are there any you can think off? ... I suppose Jaco springs to mind, although didn't he mod a genuine US Fender? ...

Is there an argument for supernatural talent not needing any extra help along the way?

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I don't know what you'd consider a non pro bass, but in the budget end of things, Mike Kerr from Royal Blood regularly played a Gretsch Junior Jet. Superb little basses but cost less than £300 new. 

 

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Yep, basses are basses, two bits of wood that anyone with some decent tools could build and some bits of metal that are likewise not hard to engineer. A £300 bass in the hands of a pro will sound great, and not hugely different to a £30k bass. Contrast with the difference between a £300 and £30k acoustic instrument such as violin, double bass or mandolin and there’s no contest. I’m a half decent violinist, and recently played my usual instrument, a 100 year old German blonde, with a very high end bow. I could play lines at twice the speed I can with my usual bow. Give me a Squier or a Fodera, I’ll be able to play pretty much the same stuff at the same speed and it’ll sound pretty much the same

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I bought a bass from Leigh Gordon (norcheeba) and it was just a 90s mex jazz bass with a neck like a banana and action you could park a bus under. Sounded better when he played it tho ...

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A fair few in the punk/Oi world that have been pros for years use Mex Fenders, Squiers & Epiphones. 

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With the advent of CNC machines, pro and non-pro basses is not a definition that means very much. The gulf between a bass that a pro player and a non-pro player might choose has all but disappeared. 

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2 hours ago, Tjhooker said:

Are there any you can think off? ... I suppose Jaco springs to mind, although didn't he mod a genuine US Fender? ...

Is a Fender Jazz not a pro instrument anymore? 

It depends what you call a pro bass, I guess. Is it about the cost of the instrument?  The quality?  Is a Sire (for example) classed as a non pro bass, because it's in a relatively low price bracket?

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Surely a pro bass is any bass used by a pro? The player maketh the instrument, not the other way around, just as an Alembic or Fodera will not turn a fumblefingers into Johnny Talented.

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7 hours ago, Tjhooker said:

Ahhh .. does set-up have something to do with this too?

Depends what you mean, some players like a bass set up in a way that would not work for other players.....

7 hours ago, Geek99 said:

I bought a bass from Leigh Gordon (norcheeba) and it was just a 90s mex jazz bass with a neck like a banana and action you could park a bus under. Sounded better when he played it tho ...

I guess that a criteria for a 'pro bass' is that it can be set up to suit the player. Budget basses in the 70's and 80's often couldn't, but even the cheapest basses today generally can.  

I'll go back to the violin bow I mentioned above; it was like having a wand in my hand, it almost had a life of its own, having played violin for almost 40 years, that was quite a shock. I've played basses that retail at several thousand pounds and have simply never experienced that degree of price/performance sympatico. I honestly believe - based on a LOT of experience - that much above £1000, and by comparison with other instruments, there are very few improvements that can be made to an electric bass that make it a better instrument, in most cases just a more expensive one. Certainly certain woods building processes (hand versus CNC might) warrant the price tag, but when I think of my Wals for example, whilst they were glorious pieces of design and technology, as instruments they simply were not significantly better than similar instruments using cheaper components and less traditional build techniques costing significantly less.

Pros, and non-pros alike, play expensive basses for the same reason that people in all walks of life have a price point that seems appropriate to them for whatever it is they are buying. Stella Artois nailed it.....

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Apparently Herbie Flowers uses a Fender Squier from time to time. I bet it still sounds great when he plays it.

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I'm now keeping an eye out for a Wal violin bow ...

 

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3 minutes ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

Any bass that has been used to earn money?

Well, it was a rhetorical question, but the point was more that there is no such thing.

The term 'professional' is banded about a lot where it isn't warranted, usually by marketing departments and advertisers. I'm not sure whether they were taking the piss or not but Oral B had that 'brush like a pro' campaign a while back. A professional tooth brusher? A dentist? A pro at brushing thier own or other peoples? Doesn't matter, because it's nonsensical- it is merely there to imply some form of amorphous 'betterness'.

As BlueMoon says, Herbie Flowers may often use a Squier- Pete Way apparently settled on a bolt on Epi Thunderbird over his Gibsons, and there will be countless other examples, especially considering that many working players aren't 'famous'. Likewise, some of the fanciest or most valuable basses out there are owned by collectors, or someone who wanted that specific model which was saved up for, regardless of playing ability or the source of income.

I'm clearly not keen on the term when applied to most things, but I myself have made my living solely from playing bass for years, as have many here. It's amusing how the opinions of those of those who do play for a living are sometimes dismissed presicely because we don't adhere to the quasi-magical notion of 'the pros'.

I'm sure my £75 Harely Benton has earnt more money in my hands than my Status over the years...

I think my first post was more concise, but there you go! 😄

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2 minutes ago, Jus Lukin said:

I'm sure my £75 Harely Benton has earnt more money in my hands than my Status over the years...

Most pros throughout the last 60 or so years have probably earned the majority of their income playing basses of similar quality to the HB

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I just obtained a John East J-Tone, and dropped it into my bitsa Jazz. I think the pickups are Harley Benton’s finest. It sounds and plays absolutely awesome and professional to me. Total cost £230.

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I guess the definition of a pro bass could be associated with what is considered a premium product. A lot of this is down to perception, historical data and in a lot of cases, marketing from the manufacturers themselves. For example, Fender US has always been considered a premium product over a Fender Mexico. Likewise, a Fender has always been considered a premium product over a Squire. It's very much like the Audi, Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda thing where Audi is the premium product and the Skoda is the cheaper end.

In reality, we all know this is not always the case, you could buy an Audi and it turns out to be a dog of a car and buy a Skoda and it be a truly wonderful car. The same with basses, for some a Squire may be the most amazing instrument in their hands. As an example, I play a Fender Jazz American Vintage 75 Reissue which was probably about £2000 new, yet one of the nicest, most gorgeous basses I had was a Fender Mexican 70's Reissue that cost £700.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on the subject.

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But there is a Wal Pro, so everything else is non-Pro, isn't it?

Edited by itu
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11 hours ago, Beedster said:

........recently played my usual instrument, a 100 year old German blonde........

Not called Helga, by any chance? ;)

But fully agreed that it’s a much flatter playing field for electric instruments than acoustic.  These days I generally play a mid-range Warwick Streamer in preference to some of my higher end instruments (eg an Alembic S1 and a pair of Wals) as it sounds fine, and sits so comfortably in my hands that I don’t have to think about it.  But when it comes to flamenco guitars (which I’ve played for almost as long as bass) my 50 year old Contreras is like a living, breathing thing compared to almost anything  else I’ve played.  You couldn’t buy a cheap one. 

025297CC-C7EE-4395-89A3-B731CA394A49.jpeg

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27 minutes ago, itu said:

But there is a Wal Pro, so everything else is non-Pro, isn't it?

Almost. Don't forget your Arias 😉

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7 minutes ago, Doctor J said:

Almost. Don't forget your Arias 😉

Ah yes, they're Pro-too!

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But why should 'Pro' mean top end. Many pros in many field use equipment that gets the job done at a price point that reflects the cost benefit ratio in that context. What's the most expensive mic you can buy? It'll be bloody expensive. Is it the mic most pros would use? Mo, you're going to find far more pros use SM58s than using Neumans and the like. Even the relatively humble - by Neuman standards - SM7B has been used on some of the most famous rock and pop tracks out there, as well as in broadcasting applications worldwide and can still be picked up new for little more than £300. The term 'Pro' should not equate to best, most expensive or most desirable, just what equipment pros go to.

Let's be honest, the definition of a 'pro' bass in historical terms, and in many respects contemporary as well, is the standard Fender Precision. There, I said it :) 

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First one that came to mind is Mike Burkett, aka Fat Mike, from NoFX.  He plays a 90's Korean Danelectro bass, supposedly due to their light weight.  They can be picked up for a couple hundred quid, and don't seem traditionally road-worthy, but he seems to manage.  

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