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Bass confessions


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1 minute ago, Jean-Luc Pickguard said:

Unburdon yourself here with your bass confessions

 

I had owned my first Fender for about twenty years before I was brave enough to adjust the truss tod.

 

I owned my first Fender for about 20 years and detested it.

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I loved the sound of the Fender Precision for years.

 

So quite typically I only bought one after playing for about 20 years (was always trying to get the sound from whatever other bass I had bought).

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52 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

I loved the sound of the Fender Precision for years.

 

So quite typically I only bought one after playing for about 20 years (was always trying to get the sound from whatever other bass I had bought).

 

I got mine in a big swappage/trade thing.  1979/US, all black/rosewood Precision for a pointy Hamer bass and a load of Laney kit.  At that point I couldn't afford to change things about too much, so I just jumped at the deal. 

 

The pickup failed quite quickly.  It went through several pickup (and pot) swaps, EMG, Wizards, Warmans...I think a Bart at some point too.  The neck had a horrible dead spot range on the E and A strings; 2nd and 3rd frets.  It weighed a ton.  It was just horrible, really.  I have a 1978 Aria Pro II Primary that is a country mile better.

 

 

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My first decent amp had an 11-band graphic on it. It took about 5 years before I found out how to work it properly, and realised that pushing the low end faders up to +15 really wasn't a good thing at all.

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Yeah thinking about it I rarely used to change strings and used to get annoyed that my bass (Yamaha BB1100s)  couldn’t get a sound that so many others could (that ringing sound of new strings, doh). And in 1990 when we did a recording with a professional producer he set the intonation, I’d been playing 10 years at that point and had no idea what any of that was.

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1 minute ago, Lozz196 said:

Yeah thinking about it I rarely used to change strings and used to get annoyed that my bass (Yamaha BB1100s)  couldn’t get a sound that so many others could (that ringing sound of new strings, doh). And in 1990 when we did a recording with a professional producer he set the intonation, I’d been playing 10 years at that point and had no idea what any of that was.

 

Don't worry, even gibson only worked that out in the 70s!

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Sold my first bass a long time ago because I didn't like the tone. But, the "poor tone" was because it had rounds on and I didn't realise that flats for bass could be had and would have produced the sound I was after. 

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I have a few

1. If I buy a bass and the setup is good, action is low and no buzz then I wont even bother checking the neck relief, I will give the truss rod a quarter turn to check it turns and then give it a turn to revert it back.

2. If I buy a bass and the setup is good, action is low and no buzz and I dont hate the stock strings then I will try and find out what strings it has on it already so that I can either but the same or buy something with the same tension so I dont have to adjust the neck

3. I dont bother with intonation above the 5th fret on the E string, the other strings I do but unless you are playing a Fodera then the E string does not sound pretty when you play high up the neck

4. My knowledge of theory is pretty much non existent

 

There are more but I will leave it at that

 

 

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I've been playing for 40+ years and in that time have owned basses that by now must number well in to triple figures - likely double that if you consider the guitars I've owned as well. I have never owned a Fender (or a Gibson, for that matter) and the only US-made instrument I've had was a Peavey T40. This is not something I have any motivation to change.

 

I have easily made a far better living from buying cheap s/h guitars & basses, wiping them down & flipping them for way more than I paid than I ever did (or will) from actually playing them. That's despite, for a few years in the 90s, making most of my income from gigging.

 

I can't read either notation or tab, and have only a very vague grasp of any element of musical theory, despite being a fairly prolific and (some have said) competent composer* of various genres of music, latterly predominantly prog rock.

 

*When I say 'composer', I mean I sit around noodling & sometimes a few bits stick in my head for long enough for me to crowbar them together & make what I loosely think of as a 'composition'.

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My first bass was a Hohner Jack headless. It was bought as a Christmas present and hidden away, but in the weeks prior to the 25th, unbeknownst to my parents I used to sneak it out of its box and have a go every day after I got home from school. One afternoon, I broke a string and because they were headless they cost a fortune. I ended up selling half my railway set to the next door neighbour to pay for a new set of strings and my parents were none the wiser.

I'm only admitting this now as they are no longer with us.

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I think back in the dark days before the internet things like adjusting intonation and truss rods were a bit of a dark art.

 

Unless some kind sole actually taught you how to do it there wasn't really anywhere to find out. I don't remember ever seeing it in the 'teach yourself to play' books that I owned , although I was probably reading the wrong ones.

 

So I started playing early '90s and didn't do a proper set up on any of my instruments for at least 10 years, probably longer.

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I thought my the neck on my first bass had gone bad and wrote a scathing review on Harmony Central (as you do when you're 13). Turns out I'd butchered the setup as when I got it out to play again nearly 20 years later, the neck was fine. 

 

Still don't like the jazz bass sound for what I do though...

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