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How many basses to take to a pub gig

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As per the OP,  being from the era when you generally just owned one bass anyway, I've never taken a spare to a gig of any kind... ( even in more recent times when I've maybe owned 2..! )   Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've never had a situation where I was stuck / screwed due to toting just the one.

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I always take two basses. Shortly prior to lockdown, one had lowered tuning needed for 2 songs in our set as it was quicker to change bass for these than re-tune before and after these songs.  Having said that, I've always taken a spare as I don't want to be the person that causes a gig to stop if anything happens to my bass (luckily I've only had one failure in 20+ years of gigging).  I've also enjoyed the opportunity to play two different basses at a gig rather than have one bass that get's played all of the time and the others never leaving the house.

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I take a fretted and a fretless, and tend to play one set on one, and the second set on the other.  Mix them round too.  I've never had a string break or any other issue that needed a second bass.   Mike Watt does (in normal times) a couple of hundred gigs a year and as far as I know only takes one bass out.  I guess in an emergency a support band might sort him out, but he seems to cope.

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I always used to take two and never needed the backup.  We did a charity gig at a school, set up the night before and sounchecked and I didn't bother with a spare.  Sods law when I tried to plug in when we got on stage the jack socket disappeared into the cavity behind the scratchplate.  I ended up playing  the gig on a no name bass from the school's music department.  I never went to another gig without a spare.

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Twice in 2019 I had to loan a bass to someone for their gig. One was a charity gig, young band going on early and had never played through a PA, you couldn’t hear the bass over the buzz it was making, so loaned him mine.

Second time was a band setting up in my local, guy sound checked, but couldn’t get a peep out of the bass when they were due to start. I’d had a couple of pints, but only lived two minutes away, so said if someone gave me a lift home, he could have something to get him through the gig. Good deed done and guy was eternally grateful, ( and I drank free all night ). 

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Posted (edited)

I would never ever go out without a backup bass.

Passive, I just pick two basses that I'd like to take out for the evening.
A beer festival saw me show off 3 P Basses.
rig.jpg

Active, two basses, plus possibly my 12 string bass.

 

Edited by 12stringbassist

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I take 2 basses and a spare amp head to every gig. Most of the time I just leave them in the car. You just never know 

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Back in the days when I only had one bass (first half of the 80s) it was a Fender Precision which would mysteriously loose output mid gig from time to time. Therefore, I always have a spare bass with me, just in case. If it's safe to do so, I leave it in the car, otherwise it's at the side of the stage. 

I have never deliberately swapped basses for a different sound or to impress anybody, but at one memorable gig near Swindon a few years ago my bass fell off its stand during the mid set break and was damaged, but I was able to play the second set with my back-up bass.

By a strange co-incidence, I was using a brand new amp at the same gig, delivered to me by PMT (member of staff, not a courier) shortly before I left for the gig. The amp failed a few minutes into the first number, but the show was saved by my back-up amp which was swapped over in a couple of minutes.

Any real gig (rather than an open jam or similar) I always have a spare bass and a spare amp. These days, my spare amp is a Trace Elliot Elf, so it doesn't need much effort to carry!

 

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37 minutes ago, FinnDave said:

I always have a spare bass and a spare amp. These days, my spare amp is a Trace Elliot Elf, so it doesn't need much effort to carry

My spare amp was the PA.  No need to carry much extra at all.

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Glad this wasn't at a gig, went to tune the bass yesterday and it wouldn't tune up.

IMG_2072.thumb.jpeg.8e3a2de6e6a07c21fcb81ca3a15eb823.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Glad this wasn't at a gig, went to tune the bass yesterday and it wouldn't tune up.

IMG_2072.thumb.jpeg.8e3a2de6e6a07c21fcb81ca3a15eb823.jpeg

Not familiar with Schaller tuners. What's wrong?

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Posted (edited)

 

17 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Not familiar with Schaller tuners. What's wrong?

The massive split all the way along the tuner.. err.. whats it called.. the bit you turn? shouldn't be there. Meaning it no longer functions and it is not possible to tune that string.

IMG_2075.thumb.jpg.19a11659a7c2cf0b40a7a364949c870b.jpg

 

Edited by Woodinblack

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1 minute ago, Woodinblack said:

The massive split all the way along the tuner.. err.. whats it called.. the bit you turn? shouldn't be there. Meaning it no longer functions and it is not possible to tune that string.

 

 

Hard to distinguish the split from reflections but I take your word for it. I wonder if it's a fake Schaller as they are supposedly the good stuff.

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9 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Hard to distinguish the split from reflections

You can see the inside of the tuner near where it connects.

9 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

but I take your word for it. I wonder if it's a fake Schaller as they are supposedly the good stuff.

Absolutely no chance of it being fake. And yes, they are supposed to be good. I have never seen or heard of another one failing.

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17 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

 

The massive split all the way along the tuner.. err.. whats it called.. the bit you turn? shouldn't be there. Meaning it no longer functions and it is not possible to tune that string.

IMG_2075.thumb.jpg.19a11659a7c2cf0b40a7a364949c870b.jpg

 

I see. Must be a duff one.

I had a similar problem with a cheap EUB open big wheel gear tuner breaking free at the key, except the whole key separated from the drive shaft. A bit of Selley's black 2 part epoxy bodged it right back.

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7 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

You can see the inside of the tuner near where it connects.

Absolutely no chance of it being fake. And yes, they are supposed to be good. I have never seen or heard of another one failing.

I remember someone saying a year or two ago that Schaller's quality was not what it was. I would contact them and ask for their comment.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, FinnDave said:

The amp failed a few minutes into the first number, but the show was saved by my back-up amp which was swapped over in a couple of minutes.

Any real gig (rather than an open jam or similar) I always have a spare bass and a spare amp. These days, my spare amp is a Trace Elliot Elf, so it doesn't need much effort to carry!

 

I once had a brand new bass rig fail on me minutes before a gig (B*******r U***y 500 and 250w extension cab)  and I had to drive 20 minutes each way to get home pick up my usual bass rig. It didn't help that they decided to close the M60 for roadworks while I was on the way back. The DJ covered and we played late but the same length in one long set.

After repairs to the 500, the 250w extension cab then died on me at the end of a jam night. I began to feel paranoid.

After a replacement 250w extension cab arrived, I went to a rehearsal for a reunion gig with my old band. The 500 then refused to put any sound out. I went into the PA to get thru the rehearsal. Third strike in not very long. The whole lot went back.

My Hartke rig has never given me any grief.

Edited by 12stringbassist
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As long as there's no transport issues then its a nobrainer taking a spare. Don't get me wrong, I've only started doing it in the past 5 years or so, as I've now moved more into wedding gig scene where I'll almost always be driving so sticking an extra bag in the boot is no trouble, but I'll definitely be taking a spare in the future for any pub gigs I'll be doing. 

Not worth the risk in my opinion. I've had electronics issues just appear overnight on basses randomly, so who's to say it won't happen mid gig. 

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I went through a phase of taking a two or three of basses to gigs and swapping more frequently than I should! We normally play 2 x 75 minute sets.
An active five string with roundwounds for transposed songs that took me below low E, or needed a bright modern sound. A Jazz with flats for a more classic sound. You get the idea...

These days (as of my last gig 14 months ago...), a single bass more than often does the job. The active five string really can cover all the bases closely enough. I sometimes take a backup, but I've never needed it. When I do, I'll always give the backup a few songs - mostly for my own amusement.

We have added two fretless songs since we last gigged, so taking two may be a necessity if these stay in the set.

George

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1 hour ago, Chienmortbb said:

I remember someone saying a year or two ago that Schaller's quality was not what it was. I would contact them and ask for their comment.

Yeh, might do. Luckily it will be replaced - a new one will wing its way to me. I guess it's worth asking 

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On 28/04/2021 at 10:58, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

I’m definitely in the Chris Wolstenholme camp regarding how many basses to take to a gig, but it’s been a while since I’ve played a pub to be fair.

 

B93FBAB8-8865-416E-BFEE-3DE3BE962F87.jpeg

Looks like he has the same reliability issues with Status as I did... and even mine did a few gigs on its own before it started to dismantle itself. 

Still only ever used one bass at a gig. The venues that I played at meant it was just one more item to keep an eye on.

If I'd had two on the evening that two large less-than-gentle men wanted to relieve me of my Warwick, I'd not have been quick enough to lose them across Leicester Square...

Ah, those were the days!

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34 minutes ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

Looks like he has the same reliability issues with Status as I did... and even mine did a few gigs on its own before it started to dismantle itself. 

Still only ever used one bass at a gig. The venues that I played at meant it was just one more item to keep an eye on.

If I'd had two on the evening that two large less-than-gentle men wanted to relieve me of my Warwick, I'd not have been quick enough to lose them across Leicester Square...

Ah, those were the days!

That’s odd, I’ve not had one issue with any of the Status basses that I’ve owned and I played the first one a heck of a lot.

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1 minute ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

That’s odd, I’ve not had one issue with any of the Status basses that I’ve owned and I played the first one a heck of a lot.

My Streamline was a disaster. 

De- laminating fretboard, cracking lacquer, issues with the string clamp when not using DBE strings, poor implementation of series/ parallel switching. Also the only bass I've owned that had a batttery leak in it.

/tangent

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1 minute ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

My Streamline was a disaster. 

De- laminating fretboard, cracking lacquer, issues with the string clamp when not using DBE strings, poor implementation of series/ parallel switching. Also the only bass I've owned that had a batttery leak in it.

/tangent

Ah, it wasn’t a proper bass then!

Its a joke, it’s a joke 😂😂

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