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One bass or many!


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Hello all,

I am not sure if this has been covered before however I currently have 3 basses. As a bedroom player and not really ever thought about joining a band I have noticed I only gravitate towards one bass. I was thinking about looking at a custom order Sandberg or USA fender. 

If I sold all basses and put all my eggs into one basket will I be satisfied! What do other people think. What do others do.

A P bass or Bass with P/J or P and humbucker I feel I would not really require lots of basses? 

Looking forward to people's opinions but the other hand spending big bucks on a bass as a bedroom player is it needed! 

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@TheGreek has summed it up succintly enough. 

I'm down to six and feel I have all bases covered for whatever I'm called on.  Half are in cases, three are on stands (in different rooms) and I'm only really gravitating towards one of these day to day (and this is only because it's new to me, passive and plugged in 24/7).

If you're happy with one bass, that's fine, but just make sure it's the one.  Play many, ask for advice.

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Unless you subscribe to the less is more school of thought, therefore, less is better. Combine the 2 and we have a nice infinite, self perpetuating loop. (Sorry, I’ve been in the DoI thread and become more obtuse than normal).

Get on topic, Ez! Ahem...

Downsizing to one is a noble quest and by ordering a bass that covers many bases (pun intended) you could achieve your goal. However, what you could end up with is a very bass that will do everything, but doesn’t do any one brilliantly. You say you gravitate to one bass, what sort of bass is that? Do you pick up the others at all, if so, which one/s and why? It could be that downsizing to 2 would salve your conscience and free up some cash (if required). Perhaps try putting the less used ones away in cases and out of easy reach for a couple months and see if you miss/needed them?

Ultimately, this is Basschat and GAS rules. Therefore, don’t downsize, buy more! 😁*

 

 

*please feel free to ignore paragraphs 1, 2 & 4

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Either accept the quirks and limitations of one bass, go with it and make it yours, your core sound, and really bond. Or have a fluid attitude to it, buy and sell within the limits of space or budget and play within that trying new stuff out just to scratch the itch. 

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I’m in a similar position, I used to gig and play in bands but don’t anymore. I’m fortunate to have a nice collection of basses and I do use them all. For me, if I have space, can afford them, and use them, then it’s perfectly fine to have a few instruments. If budget was an issue, I do like the idea of pooling everything into one versatile bass though. A Sandberg PJ would certainly cover a lot of bases but not everything.

Dont worry about whether spending big bucks on a bedroom bass is justified- if you want to, can afford it and will enjoy playing a high-end instrument then go for it. 

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When I actually did gig a lot back in my 20s and 30s I only ever had one bass, an Aria Pro II Integra. Back then I had no attachments or responsibilities but also not a lot of money. Most of my earnings went on booze, other stimulants and travel leaving not much for anything else. This saw me through around 350 gigs in all.

My collection only increased when I was earning more disposable income but actually had less time for playing in bands on a regular basis. At one point I had 8 but am now down to 3. As I'm unlikely to be ever gigging much again it was easy to come to the decision to sell off the others. 

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Right amount of basses is one more.

I have fretted and fretless, and a double bass. Suits me.

If you think that the custom Sandberg is your ultimate solution, consider:

- string spacing

- pickups + electronics

- body shape and weight

- neck profile

- strings

After these you should think about the woods and colours. I wish you have played Sandbergs before. A jump into total darkness may be complicated.

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Don't know what your budget is, but generally, if it is an item you can only use one at a time, I think it is wise to spend the same money buying one expensive thing rather than lots of cheap stuff of the same thing.

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For years I only had one bass when we were gigging relentlessly. Then I started to build a collection by deciding I wanted a new one and never having the guts to get rid of the old one. Now I have 14 and I can honestly say, even although we are not gigging just now, I play every one of them at some point.

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22 minutes ago, Supernaut said:

You can only play one bass at a time. In nearly 20 years gigging, I've never needed a back up bass (or amp, or pedals). 

We used to play in two different tunings. I wanted  to tune to D and be done with it for easier singing but our guitar player said he didn't want to go that low so we compromised and went for E flat.We had an accordion player who wanted to play on his white keys so he wanted standard tuning. ( If we had gone down to D he would have been on his white keys anyway but that's another story) so rather than keep changing tunings, we carried a spare guitar tuned to the other tuning. 

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51 minutes ago, Supernaut said:

You can only play one bass at a time. In nearly 20 years gigging, I've never needed a back up bass (or amp, or pedals). 

I’ve never needed another bass, amp or pedal as a back up because my gear has always been reliable (full disclosure, I often take a fretted and a fretless and one of my pedals has a DI, but I have gone ‘one bass, one amp, no DI’). However, I have an old friend who has broken strings, had amps fail, etc. It really is a case of, to quote Mr Eastwood, “Do ya feel lucky?”

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1 minute ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

Oh dear. This (normally as a thread) never ends well 😂

To be fair, this is isn’t the OP’s conundrum as they don’t gig. Of course, I replied as knee jerk reaction, which was clumsy of me. This is how derailments occur I guess, to quote Vic & Bob, “You wouldn’t let it lie.” 

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Who doesn't like to own nice things? As long as you can afford it and you've got space, why not! 

The other way to look at it, if you buy 2nd hand, you'll not be losing money - especially if the basses aren't getting battered from gigging etc! 

 

As an aside, I look back and cringe over the years I did some quite massive gigs with no back up bass. Literally one loose wire away from a disaster! From about 2017 onwards, I've always carried a backup. Not worth the risk. 

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1 hour ago, TJ1 said:

Don't know what your budget is, but generally, if it is an item you can only use one at a time, I think it is wise to spend the same money buying one expensive thing rather than lots of cheap stuff of the same thing.

Agreed. One of my guitarists often boasts about his fourteen guitars. Problem is most of them are cheap rubbish. He should sell off 12 of them and make sure he has two or three good quality and reliable instruments for the bands he's in. And reliable amps and pedals. IMO of course. 

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I'm a bass player predominantly, well I used to be back in days. Now I own more guitars than basses. I don't play in any band. I don't smoke or hand my money to pub landlords, so technically I invest.

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Also coming from a bedroom player perspective:

I think for most of us the Bass buying isn't about the need, it's the gear head fetish anyone gets in any hobby...chasing the new shiny or the new sound.
I considered getting a sweet looking Sandberg, went through their configurator tool and priced up a P bass at £2100, factored in the brexit taxes and still considered it.

After a few months sitting on the idea I'm more cautious of making that big Bass purchase, the more I play the more I feel the need to play something before I know I'll be satisfied with it.

For reference I'm sitting here with 4 Basses now, Sire Jazz, Sire P/J, double humbucker Harley Benton and a cheap old passive Cruiser Jazz with a total value of around £1000 for all 4.
The Sire Jazz and H/H thumper rarely get touched, the P/J config with a flexible preamp covers so many tones it's meeting almost all of my needs.

The passive jazz is a weird project bass I can beat on, I recently cleaned up the electronics and got the neck pickup to work again...damned if it didn't blow my noob mind with the tone it made, those cheap passive pickups seem meatier than my Sire Jazz ones.

I think perception is playing a role, I watched this vid and tried the "from the ground up EQ" stuff he was talking about at around the 13-14 minute mark.
Resetting all my stuff to zero for a bit and rebuilding my sound from the ground up definitely changed how my Basses sound to my ear and pushed back the new Bass purchase plans while I see where I sit.

 

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I think the only option is to fill up your bedroom walls with every conceivable configuration type and colour that you like and budget for some quality wall hangers and space for all the hardcases 😂

Ultimately it’s your decision and your quest for the tone you like.  Do you need more? Of course not... do you want more? ... why are you here if you don’t! 😃 most importantly what ever you decide. Enjoy playing. 

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If i quit my band and decided to not gig again, i would be inclined to have/keep at least 2 basses. It depends on what you will be doing at home, i tend to gravitate towards playing along with tracks of bands i like. A lot of them downtune but some don't so my preference is to have a standard tuning and one which can live in a lower tuning. 

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I was up to seven last year and I realised it was madness because I only play one bass at a time. I don't gig anymore and don't have the inclination to start. They were mostly piling up in the wardrobe and not being used.

It was a long term itch I wanted to scratch, having an arsenal of bass guitars, but once it was assuaged I came to my senses and sold them all except one.

I had a CV Jazz and a Jap Mustang, both of which could have happily been 'the one', but I settled on a preloved, lightweight and slightly roadworn example of Pro P.

The moral I took from the story is that you have to play the field a bit before you settle down.

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Technically you only need 2 basses, a Precision and a Jazz. However, you really need a Stingray as well. Then you'll have every tonal palette covered. Oh, wait, but if your Precision has flats for the whole Motown vibe, then you're going to need another Precision with rounds so you can do punk, grunge and rock tone. Actually, you need a Fender Telecaster bass as that has a humbucker pickup and will sound different to anything else. While you're at it, you need a fretless as well and you might as well get a fretless Precision, Jazz and Stingray. Have I mentioned short scale basses, oh no. Ok, so you will also need a short scale bass for when you are older and your neck and shoulders are buggered.

So to summarize, you need

1 x Precision with Flats

1 x Precision with Rounds

1 x Precision Fretless

1 x Jazz with Rounds

1 x Jazz Fretless

1 x Stingray

1 x Stingray Fretless

1 x Telecaster bass

1 x Mustang Short Scale

So the answer is 9, you need 9 basses. I've used logic, a little bit of science and maybe a little bit of bias 😂

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1 minute ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

I had one bass once. It was about 45 years ago and immediately prior to that I had no basses 😎.

I remember the first time I upped the ante and had two basses...I reckon I was 16 or 17.  Living it laaaarge.

An Ibanez Roadster (RS924) and a Gibson Grabber G-3.  One was great, one was terrible but quite aerodynamic on at least three occasions.

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