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Pros that use non-pro basses...

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On 24/11/2020 at 19:26, Lozz196 said:

Yep, Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue, a famed Thunderbird user, used to play a Squier Precision at the end of the set and smash it. To me it would have looked more authentic if he’d trashed an Epiphone bolt-on neck Tbird, after a whole set on a Tbird the Precision just looked wrong.

That's just a bit sad, really; 'Look how crazy and wild and untamed I am, I'm spontaneously smashing my gear...hang on...just a sec...let me get the right bass...'  😁

If you're gonna do it, this is how it's done:

'Keith Moon was known for destroying his drum set. The most famous episode of this occurred during the Who's debut on U.S. television on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967. Moon overloaded his bass drum with explosive charges which were detonated during the finale of the song, "My Generation." The explosion caused guest Bette Davis to faint, set Pete Townshend's hair on fire and Moon was also injured in the explosion when shrapnel from the cymbals cut his arm.'

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For a large proportion of players, amateur or professional, your instrument(s) of choice are an extension of your personality. For introvert, extravert, narcissist or whatever that's going to drive your choice even beyond budget as even those with little to spend can find a bargain used instrument that's at least close to their aspirations.

Marketing things as 'pro' is simply that, marketing. I have a 'pro-user' adjustable spanner here, but it's pretty cheap. If I worked in a garage I'd probably kit myself out with Snap-On tools, but I know that Halfords kit is likely to be just as good (and has a lifetime guarantee - the one time I split a socket they replaced it no questions asked).

Plus another factor. I've got a fair few basses, one of them is a rare Fender (a Performer) and is at least as good as any bass I've played and is so easy to play with its skinny neck my playing goes up two notches just by picking it up. But it really only works for me when I'm standing up so it's never had the use of my other basses.

Both times I'be been recording a demo in a 'proper' studio the sound engineers told me to use my battered Hohner B2 in preference to the Performer because it sounded better (one said it was one of the best sounding basses they ever heard, but this was a local studio in Coventry not Abbey Road...)

OTOH I realise my flea bass is outstanding, I play it nearly every day. I change basses from time to time for the variety but I usually have two handy, and it's always one of them. This is simply because it's so comfortable (to me) and gives great range of sounds.

What I'm trying to say is that instrument choice is intensely personal and I imagine being a pro just gives you the opportunity to be more discriminating and gives you a certain licence to use what you want, not what you are expected to use. The roads of music are littered with 'Signature' models that the signee quietly puts aside after a tour or so...

 

Edited by Stub Mandrel
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4 hours ago, Muzz said:

'Keith Moon was known for destroying his drum set. The most famous episode of this occurred during the Who's debut on U.S. television on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967. Moon overloaded his bass drum with explosive charges which were detonated during the finale of the song, "My Generation." The explosion caused guest Bette Davis to faint, set Pete Townshend's hair on fire and Moon was also injured in the explosion when shrapnel from the cymbals cut his arm.'

There's a wonderful extra layer of comedy to that story: the Smothers Brothers' team knew well in advance about the group's destructive reputation, so their techs took them in hand and made sure they could destroy their instruments without bringing the TV studio down in the process. The rigged up the kick drum with what they deemed to be an "acceptable" charge and test-fired it to show the band, who were singularly unimpressed (by Daltrey's account: "it was more like a wet fart").

So Moon took the techs to one side - sweet-talking and bribery are variously mentioned by different sources - and persuaded them to look the other way while he loaded up the kick drum himself. It's not clear whether he was just unfamiliar with the material available in this foreign studio, or whether he deliberately overcompensated, but not even The Who were quite prepared for the size of the explosion that resulted.

Townshend apparently insists to this day that it was this incident which caused the most lasting damage to his knackered hearing...and not the decades standing in front of stacked Hiwatt 4x12s.

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5 hours ago, Muzz said:

That's just a bit sad, really; 'Look how crazy and wild and untamed I am, I'm spontaneously smashing my gear...hang on...just a sec...let me get the right bass...'  😁

If you're gonna do it, this is how it's done:

'Keith Moon was known for destroying his drum set. The most famous episode of this occurred during the Who's debut on U.S. television on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967. Moon overloaded his bass drum with explosive charges which were detonated during the finale of the song, "My Generation." The explosion caused guest Bette Davis to faint, set Pete Townshend's hair on fire and Moon was also injured in the explosion when shrapnel from the cymbals cut his arm.'

 

8 minutes ago, EliasMooseblaster said:

There's a wonderful extra layer of comedy to that story: the Smothers Brothers' team knew well in advance about the group's destructive reputation, so their techs took them in hand and made sure they could destroy their instruments without bringing the TV studio down in the process. The rigged up the kick drum with what they deemed to be an "acceptable" charge and test-fired it to show the band, who were singularly unimpressed (by Daltrey's account: "it was more like a wet fart").

So Moon took the techs to one side - sweet-talking and bribery are variously mentioned by different sources - and persuaded them to look the other way while he loaded up the kick drum himself. It's not clear whether he was just unfamiliar with the material available in this foreign studio, or whether he deliberately overcompensated, but not even The Who were quite prepared for the size of the explosion that resulted.

Townshend apparently insists to this day that it was this incident which caused the most lasting damage to his knackered hearing...and not the decades standing in front of stacked Hiwatt 4x12s.

 

Explosion at 7:43

 

 

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7 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

 

Both times I'be been recording a demo in a 'proper' studio the sound engineers told me to use my battered Hohner B2 in preference to the Performer because it sounded better (one said it was one of the best sounding basses they ever heard, but this was a local studio in Coventry not Abbey Road...)

 

 

My old Westone Quantum was a dream in the studio. So easy to get a great sound whatever I did with it, really even and consistent. In fact in the studio it comfortably outperformed any and all of the boutique basses I’ve owned. Wish I hadn’t got rid of it.

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3 hours ago, MacDaddy said:

Explosion at 7:43

Thanks for sharing that. I'd only ever seen the edited clip from the Kids Are Alright film previously - which includes the infamous explosion, but not the performance of Miles, nor the footage of the hosts trying meekly to recoup after The Who's performance! (The former, particularly entertaining for Entwistle's slightly sinister grin when he realises the camera's pointing at him.)

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A number of pro players will opt to use a cheaper East European or Far East version of their high end instruments for touring.

Ian Hill from Judas Priest for example.  His Signature Spector bass is a US through neck model but he apparently tours with the Czech bolt on models.

On the guitar front I've seen a number of players use cheaper models for touring.

Given the horror stories you read of instruments being damaged by airlines or equipment theft, taking a Mexican Fender, Indonesian Ibanez, LTD ESP on the road instead makes good sense. 

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30 minutes ago, bassbloke said:

...opt to use a cheaper East European or Far East version of their high end instruments for touring...

Given the horror stories you read of instruments being damaged by airlines or equipment theft...

There are very good cases available which can withstand even the airline personnel. My Modulus Graphite case was sturdy enough few years ago, when the crew demolished the case in Zürich. I was happy that the Quantum itself came back in good condition.

Famous touring bands have the money to take their valued instruments to cabin. If there are several basses, the issue is a bit different. Maybe one bigger case for many instruments might work. That kind of thing is surely hard to steal, too.

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12 hours ago, 4000 said:

My old Westone Quantum was a dream in the studio. So easy to get a great sound whatever I did with it, really even and consistent. In fact in the studio it comfortably outperformed any and all of the boutique basses I’ve owned. Wish I hadn’t got rid of it.

The bassist in The Macc Lads has been using a Westone for years - I first saw them in 86 and he was using it, and still was last year when we gigged with them.

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4 hours ago, bassbloke said:

Ian Hill from Judas Priest for example.  His Signature Spector bass is a US through neck model but he apparently tours with the Czech bolt on models.

 

He actually has a Euro signature model made in the Czech Republic. It is a through-neck model and is made to extremely high standards. The US shop is basically a custom shop....

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On 27/11/2020 at 07:53, Lozz196 said:

The bassist in The Macc Lads has been using a Westone for years - I first saw them in 86 and he was using it, and still was last year when we gigged with them.

Trevor Rabin has famously championed Westone too. 

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Watching a bit of the Eric Clapton Crossroads Festival 2019...

Excuse my ignorance... Not sure who the bass player is, but playing Squire Sunburst Jazz...

Gonna be a fair few $£€¥ of wood on and backstage...

Edited by PaulThePlug
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My favourite 'Legend on a cheap bass' is The The's James Eller playing his old modded Kay bass.

Just an incredible sounding bass. He used it to great effect on Julian Cope's 'World Shut Your Mouth' as well.
 


 

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A wee anecdote of an experience that changed my view on gear...

I remember my old originals band managed to get a support slot with the Pat McManus Band. I had no idea who they were, but Pat was a proper hero to our guitarist. What was surprising was that they used budget gear - With a Vintage (brand) Les Paul and a Pino style Squire P Bass doing most of the work. 

I had a chat with their bassist Marty about his gear. He had tried a proper Pino signature model in the past. There was a definite difference in quality - but nothing to justify a ten-fold increase in price.

Overall, their ‘cheap’ gear was perfectly sufficient to gig with, played well and sounded great. Also less to worry about when chucked in the back of a van.

From a whole other perspective, a friend of mine will happily drop £2k+ on a Gibson Les Paul to play at home.

Folk will play the gear that’s right for them - who are we to judge?

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On 29/11/2020 at 17:39, PaulThePlug said:

Watching a bit of the Eric Clapton Crossroads Festival 2019...

Excuse my ignorance... Not sure who the bass player is, but playing Squire Sunburst Jazz...

Gonna be a fair few $£€¥ of wood on and backstage...

I`m pretty sure that is Roco, son of Our Lord Pino. I think that it`s a Jap model and very nice looking it is as well. 

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On 21/11/2020 at 12:21, Doctor J said:

Almost. Don't forget your Arias 😉

I have an Aria bass - the Black & Gold 1 - it cost me £230 in 1983 so it was pretty cheap. Cliff Burton used to use the same bass. However it is an Aria Pro, so it doesn't count, I s'pose.

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Matt Freeman from Rancid regularly uses his Squier signature live, although despite it's modest price tag when it was available new, I'd happily put mine up against any Fender.

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14 minutes ago, Jono Bolton said:

Matt Freeman from Rancid regularly uses his Squier signature live, although despite it's modest price tag when it was available new, I'd happily put mine up against any Fender.

They are great basses, I very stupidly sold mine, but at a gig used one from another band as my bass had a fault (always take a backup, doh) and it was a pleasure to play. I’m sure many of us would snap one up if/when available.

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1 hour ago, Lozz196 said:

They are great basses, I very stupidly sold mine, but at a gig used one from another band as my bass had a fault (always take a backup, doh) and it was a pleasure to play. I’m sure many of us would snap one up if/when available.

The prices went daft on these in the used market. Well put together basses and likely pulled due to their high quality... ironically!

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Neil White from Canadian rock band The Carps played a Squier Bronco, all stock AFAIK.

When they toured outside north America, instead of shipping his bronco(s) over, he'd just buy a new one in whichever country they were in.

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I guess you could say Joe Dart.  Prior to his signature model EB he used all sorts of budget/intermediate level basses to record with, including a Mexican Fender Jazz, Squier P and PJ basses, Carlo Robelli Stingray clone, Fender P Bass Junior and a few others.

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2 hours ago, krispn said:

The prices went daft on these in the used market. Well put together basses and likely pulled due to their high quality... ironically!

I love mine. It plays and sounds better than many more expensive basses I've owned. 

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