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How many basses to take to a pub gig

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Posted (edited)

I usually take two, but there have been exceptions over the last nearly thirty years of gigging. When I was playing the really big places supporting touring acts, our set had need for six strings a few times. So I had bass, spare bass, sixer, spare sixer on those occasions. (and yes, I did break a string once and also once my bass just quit mid gig for no apparent reason.)

Once an old band I played with did a reunion gig, 500 tickets sold out, nice big place, only a few miles across the city, so I took everything. About seven basses, mostly 4 figure plus, my entire trace stack and a dedicated kickback monitor combo, all in the keyboard player's car, because I couldn't drive then.

 

Two songs in, he had a heart attack on stage right behind me and ended up being whisked away to hospital (he's fine now btw, this was over a decade ago). 

I ended up staring at the mountain of gear I was stranded with, and the only solution anyone had was, 'You'll just have to leave it in his (the stricken keyboard player) car overnight, or until someone from his family can come and drive it back to yours. (It wasn't an entirely savoury part of town, it would've lasted about five minutes!)

 

Now I only take two! (And can drive!)

 

(For those that are interested, the guy's dad came back from the hospital much later that night after the gig had finished (we had to play on without him) and drove me back to mine, even though his son was in hospital. - What a legend!!)

Edited by gafbass02
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Two - one will get played, the other hides at the back in it's case. I toured for years with only one bass - something that astounds me now - and never had an incident, but if people are coming to see the band it's our responsiblity to make sure we're covered for any little mishaps that could occur. Within reason!

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5 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

Having said all of that... When my 80s band gets going i'll need two basses: fretted and fretless. But that's a need rather than a spare. 

? ? ? Why do you need a fretted..? A fretless can cover that, Shirley..? :/

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I'm a drummer, and always have a spare kit on hand, just in case a drum head splits, or a shell gets crushed. I double up on cymbals, too, as they are so liable to break if hit hard. It makes finding space on stage a bit tricky, of course, but I've peace of mind, so... :|

...

xD :P

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10 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

? ? ? Why do you need a fretted..? A fretless can cover that, Shirley..? :/

Indeed it can. Except when there's the odd slap and pop, the tonal difference between round and flat strings, different pickup positions, etc. I have played many, many gigs with just the fretless but as the reptoire broadens so does the demand on the bass. 

And don't call me Shirley 😜

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I'm not a professional player as it's not my main source of income but I try to have a professional approach to gigs and part of it is that I don't want to waste anyone's time, including techs, bandmembers and especially the audience. Also my main gig has a setup with back rear screen projection, samples, clicktracks etc and the timing is tight. So should anything happen to my equipmnent or basses I want myself to have it solved quickly and without practically anyone noticing - that is my 'policy'. Therefore I take 2 basses to most of the gigs that I do, I think I can remember only two from the last few years I only took one (plus spare strings etc.)  For about 15 years and hundresds of gigs I pretty much exclusively use my Specor Euro basses and I neved had problems, no string breaks, nothing. I always take my double gigbag with two Spectors and have the spare one ready onstage out of sight so if after all anything does happen I can quickly solve it. 

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15 hours ago, MoJo said:

*** Back before the days of Basschat or even it’s predecessor Bassworld, I only ever owned one bass at a time and played the same bass at every gig for more than a decade. 
Since discovering Bass forums, I have owned more than 100 basses, ***

🤣🤣🤣

 

😎

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I've never needed a spare bass at any kind of gig, pub or otherwise.

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Posted (edited)

Always two.

The last time I only took a single bass to a gig was nearly 15 years ago. While I was getting a beer, the drummer knocked my bass off its stand (he denied it then, he denies it still) and broke one of the tuners. Luckily enough I was able to get home and grab a replacement in time.

The last time I needed a spare bass was ... erm ... last Saturday.

Given that it was a doubling gig, and it was the DB that bit the dust, I just played my Precision for the rest of the afternoon.

Edit: Incidentally, I have NO IDEA where that thumbnail comes from, but it's really pretty cool. Serendipity.

Edited by Happy Jack

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1 hour ago, Happy Jack said:

The last time I only took a single bass to a gig was nearly 15 years ago. While I was getting a beer, the drummer knocked my bass off its stand (he denied it then, he denies it still) and broke one of the tuners. Luckily enough I was able to get home and grab a replacement in time.

My drummer has knocked over my spare basses a few times, in rehearsal and on gigs. I've also had a spare bass go face down in to a pool of lager at a function. The spare seems to be the one that is more at risk than the one I'm holding! 

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I’ve never needed a spare bass in nearly 30 years of gigging. I used to go out with a couple of basses ‘just in case’, and occasionally I’ll take a second bass for a change of sound (mostly it’s fretless Jazz, but occasionally it’s nice to dig into a P with flats) depending on the band and the set list.

These days it would be nice to have a gig to go to; my first one of the year is in July!

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I usually take two basses to gigs but it's mostly as there both in different tunings. one in C and one in C#, i could probably get away with one bass and retune it but it makes my life easier and takes a little amount of stress out of the situation for me.

Also means if things do fail i have a backup. I've only had one time at a gig where a bass failed and it was an active which stopped working (battery) when we only had time to line check. I was sure it was a new battery and didnt have a quick release to change it. Ended up quickly changing it, losing screws in the process and being annoyed for the rest of the gig.

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Reading through, I see examples of broken machine head, jack socket, string, electronics and a couple of "no idea whys". Put that up against Murphy's Law and there is a definite argument for having some kind, even if not high end, of spare at a retrievable distance. And an amp. And some leads..........:(

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4 minutes ago, Little Dragon said:

Reading through, I see examples of broken machine head, jack socket, string, electronics and a couple of "no idea whys". Put that up against Murphy's Law and there is a definite argument for having some kind, even if not high end, of spare at a retrievable distance. And an amp. And some leads..........:(

... and a snare drum... and kick pedal... and a hi-hat clutch ... and a defibrillator... xD

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30 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

... and a snare drum... and kick pedal... and a hi-hat clutch ... and a defibrillator... xD

Defibrillator sounds a good idea, 

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Defibrillator?... Is that a boutique Distorted Chorusy Tremloish type pedal?

Stew Black 'prolly has one of them on his board...

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I take the bass I am going to use, plus this tucked away in my gig bag:

image.jpeg.4266edb4f5c8d1d3b37b9fa54e5fcdd3.jpeg

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I take spare everything to pub and club gigs. Both my basses are active and I check how much gas is left in the battery but always feel safer with a spare.

The problem I have is that we are a 5 piece or (with horns) an 8 piece band and that I usually get a postage stamp of stage space between the keys and the drummer. No room for a spare bass usually so if I needed to change bass I'd have to leave the 'stage' and go to the pile of kit hidden away somewhere 'off stage'... mumble grumble...pub gigs 🙄.

I always end up hitting a cymbal and Dave (drummer) goes all dead pan and tells me off... bit of a running joke, at least I think it is! Haven't managed to clock the keyboard player with me headstock yet.

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I always take two and a couple of years ago broke an E string thanks to a burr on the bridge of my old Status. But, it was tight stage and so I’d left the other bass in the car so had to leg it over the road and then back into the pub. Lesson learned - take two and have them both to hand. 

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I've seen too many unpredictable things happen to instruments at gigs where I've helped out with photography and/or sound. Straps and/or straplocks irretrievably giving way, guitar jack sockets suddenly developing a terrible hum, strings breaking, machine heads becoming stripped, guitars and basses hitting the floor, cables being pulled out of speakers, in the process breaking the speakon or plug... I could go on. We gig with as many spares as we can carry.

Regarding being disliked by the sound engineer if you have more than one instrument, well, it's the sound engineer's job to make you sound good no matter how many different instruments you play. He or she is not meant to sit there staring at his/her phone and complain if s/he has to do some work!

For Damo And The Dynamites I have to change the level and EQ on the bass channel every time @Happy Jack moves from bass guitar to double bass and back, and I also have to change some settings on Damo's guitar channel when he breaks a string in his main guitar (at least once every gig) and quickly switches to his backup, which sounds different. The frontman/guitarist in The Junkyard Dogs gigs with three guitars, all different, with one set up for slide. But adjusting it all is perfectly feasible on the fly at a gig.

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Posted (edited)

So far I have never needed a spare bass on a gig. Never broken a string either. I still take both basses to each gig and have 2 sets of spare stings in the case.

Edited by chris_b
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For a paid gig I’ll always take a back-up bass. My bare-minimum, for something like a casual jam or open-mic, is strings, battery and small Leatherman. Once I start gigging again (looks like it could be May 29th) I shall take my lockdown acquired Harley Benton short scale Precision as spare. Nice and small and perfectly gig-able. With an acoustic blues band I play with I take my bass ukulele as back-up. 

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10 hours ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

I've seen too many unpredictable things happen to instruments at gigs where I've helped out with photography and/or sound. Straps and/or straplocks irretrievably giving way, guitar jack sockets suddenly developing a terrible hum, strings breaking, machine heads becoming stripped, guitars and basses hitting the floor, cables being pulled out of speakers, in the process breaking the speakon or plug... I could go on. We gig with as many spares as we can carry.

Regarding being disliked by the sound engineer technician if you have more than one instrument, well, it's the sound engineer's job to make you sound good no matter how many different instruments you play. He or she is not meant to sit there staring at his/her phone and complain if s/he has to do some work!

For Damo And The Dynamites I have to change the level and EQ on the bass channel every time @Happy Jack moves from bass guitar to double bass and back, and I also have to change some settings on Damo's guitar channel when he breaks a string in his main guitar (at least once every gig) and quickly switches to his backup, which sounds different. The frontman/guitarist in The Junkyard Dogs gigs with three guitars, all different, with one set up for slide. But adjusting it all is perfectly feasible on the fly at a gig.

The one fail I have had on a gig is the failure of a Schaller straplock, I felt it go, caught it at about knee height, missed about a bar of the song and carried on with my foot on the cab with  the bass on my knee. At the end of the song I got a round of applause.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 29/04/2021 at 00:19, chris_b said:

So far I have never needed a spare bass on a gig. Never broken a string either. I still take both basses to each gig and have 2 sets of spare stings in the case.

This! IMO better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. It’s the same reason I take at least 3 jack cables, 3 speaker cables (for two cabs) and a spare DI box / preamp. 

Edited by Nickthebass
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