#1
Today I went to pick up my Ibanez BTB 405 from my friend's house, and was amazed how much faster and easier it was to play after a week or two of playing my starter Ibanez. I can do things on that bass, speed-wise especially that I just can't on my not-so-good bass. Obviously a good player is a good player, regardless of his instrument, but how much difference do you think gear makes?
#2
ibanez btb models are amazing, i played a 6 string btb and it was the most solid bass i have ever played
#3
Alot? I bought a good, quite expensive guitar in the beginning and it helped my alot advancing
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#4
Unfortunately with guitars and amps, most of the time you get what you pay for.
More expensive stuff will have a higher quality and will be much easier to play.
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#5
Sometimes it's the difference between struggling with an instrument or being able to concentrate on what you're doig!
Moving on.....
#7
its all pyschological, but it works

obviously if your current gear impedes you due to bad playability your going to get an improvement when using something that works like it should.

if you already have a decent instrument, getting a better amp can inspire you, as you hear yourself sounding better and gain confidence. its difficult not to get too obsessed with gear and tone but getting a little closer to how you want to sound always seems to help me play better.

having said that, take a good player and put them on your starter setup and they'll still sound good. gear upgrades are to me about boosting your confidence and expanding your horizons

EDIT:
realised how cheesy "expanding your horizons" sounded. . i meant like trying new styles. like plugging in and thinking "man, this is a great ________ sound" and trying to learn to play stuff to suit the tone
Last edited by clear and blue at Jan 15, 2009,
#8
Gear makes a ****load of a difference. I can't even begin to explain how much it does. A good player is a good player and a bad player is a bad player no matter what. A bad player isn't going to sound like a good player if he is playing a $4,000 Custom Fender P-Bass through an Ampeg SVT-8PRO with the 8x10 cab, but he'll definately have a much more impressive tone than, say, me playing my Ibanez BTB 200 through my old amp (45 watt Behringer piece of ****). Even my same bass through my new amp (Ampeg BA115) sounds godly in comparison to my old Behringer.

Quote by clear and blue
its all pyschological, but it works

obviously if your current gear impedes you due to bad playability your going to get an improvement when using something that works like it should.

if you already have a decent instrument, getting a better amp can inspire you, as you hear yourself sounding better and gain confidence. its difficult not to get too obsessed with gear and tone but getting a little closer to how you want to sound always seems to help me play better.

having said that, take a good player and put them on your starter setup and they'll still sound good. gear upgrades are to me about boosting your confidence and expanding your horizons

EDIT:
realised how cheesy "expanding your horizons" sounded. . i meant like trying new styles. like plugging in and thinking "man, this is a great ________ sound" and trying to learn to play stuff to suit the tone

It's not all psychological though. Sure if two basses have the same playability you won't play any better with one than the other, but your playing will sound a lot better with nicer equipment.
Last edited by food1010 at Jan 15, 2009,
#9
bad gear will impede your playing no matter how good you are. on the other hand although good gear will let you play to your potential at that given time it will not make you a better player
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#10
my advice is to stick with your starter gear, learn to play it well, and when you eventually do get a nice bass, you will be amazing!

x
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#11
Quote by shinhoman
my advice is to stick with your starter gear, learn to play it well, and when you eventually do get a nice bass, you will be amazing!

x
This
Quote by skater dan0
bad gear will impede your playing no matter how good you are. on the other hand although good gear will let you play to your potential at that given time it will not make you a better player
And this
#12
Quote by shinhoman
my advice is to stick with your starter gear, learn to play it well, and when you eventually do get a nice bass, you will be amazing!

x


i disagree, if his starter gear is forcing him to use bad habits to get a decent sound i.e. very agressive picking to compensate for weak pickups or a weak amp. or to heavy fretting because of high action then continueing with his starter gear will only impede him when he comes to play good gear. my advice would be to upgrade your gear if your unhappy with it and not unhappy because it's cheap, unhappy because it's uncomfortable or has a bad tone
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


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I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#13
But once you get into more expensive equipment, keep in mind your playing style and how it will work with the new gear. For example, you could spend $4,000 on a Lakland Joe Osborne, or $4,000 on a Warwick Thumb NT. If you're uncomfortable on the Thumb, it's going to impede your playing. If you don't like the tone, it's really going to impede your playing.

And my favorite saying: The timbre is in the timber! Your gear has a remarkably heavy impact on your tone. Yes, your playing style is a major factor, but face it; there is no way the Thumb and Joe Osborne will sound anything alike.
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#14
there is a lot of well thought goodness in this thread.

hope my usual BS doesn't throw this too far off course.

what you play is dependent on what you use to play it, the character of your tone is how you make it yours. even with a couple knob twists, you usually have a few key noises that are your tones. I hate Steve Harris'es tone- but without it, no Iron Maiden songs sound the same. whenever you turn on a Yes CD, the first thing that tells you it's indeed Yes is that springing scrAAtt sound Squire hits you with. similarly, in Running With the Devil by Van Halen, if there was fuzz and envelope filter, that simple driving bassline would suck- it makes the song cool as is.

every bassist has his own special trick and line of pedals that he uses to make his songs tell you they're his (or hers, but whose ever heard of girl bassists?) and that is what makes them comfortable- it's almost a segment of their soul. your tone is just the way you identify yourself.

therefore, the greatest comfort is sometimes knowing you're going to pick up your bass and sound clear or thumpy or twangy or fat, and that in and of itself is so comforting on a subconscious level, you play much better, feel like you play better, and in turn, play to the best of your ability.

that may not be all of it, but it certainly is an influence.
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#15
As far as technique, of course a better set-up and built bass is going to be easier to play. A better amp also makes it easier to hear what tones you're making and if you like them or not. When I got my Carvin found I liked the tone a lot better when my hand was over the bridge pickup, and it's been like that since. I've also rolled the tone knob off a bit, and favor the neck pickup a bit more.


As far as sound goes, though, it all depends on the gear. It wouldn't be hard to get within the ballpark of most any great player's tone while spending under a grand. It's a bit harder when they use a $5000 pedalboard (*could*muse*cough*), but for the more straightforward players it's fairly easy.
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#16
Money -___-

Everyone should get whatever bass they want for a first one. And a standard 100W amp. Should be a government legislation.

After that, you pay for you own ****.
#17
Quote by skater dan0
i disagree, if his starter gear is forcing him to use bad habits to get a decent sound i.e. very agressive picking to compensate for weak pickups or a weak amp. or to heavy fretting because of high action then continueing with his starter gear will only impede him when he comes to play good gear. my advice would be to upgrade your gear if your unhappy with it and not unhappy because it's cheap, unhappy because it's uncomfortable or has a bad tone

I agree with the overall "bad habit" argument that you are making, I just don't necessarily see either of these things as being entirely negative. Because my first bass was a Rogue (which people always feel the need to misspell as Rouge for some reason) and a piece of ****, I developed the plucking tendency that you are describing. I have a very aggressive attack on the strings and it works just fine for the styles of music that I play commonly (Funk, Prog, Punk), but it is not as if this cannot be toned down when I am playing Jazz or RnB. Being forced (by the basses design) to play aggressively builds strength in the plucking hand and this can be useful if you ever have a need for this strength. As for action, it is much the same issue. My Rogue had, effectively, non-adjustable high action and because of this I developed a great deal of strength in my fretting hand. Both of these flaws in my bass, in my mind, resulted in an improvement of my own ability to play (in a strictly physical sense), and therefore I don't see them as negatives (for a starter bass). It's like living on Earth for years so that you can move to the moon and jump really high. It wasn't exactly necessary to build up the strength in Earth's gravity but it just makes doing everything on the moon so much easier. Well, it's 3:00 am here and I know I'm rambling, but the main point is: nice gear can make a huge difference in terms of playability and tone, but it is, in my opinion, a good idea to spend at least some time on ****ty beginner gear so that you can build up the strength necessary to play well when you move up to the high-end stuff. Probably rather nonsensical, but hopefully it's somewhat understandable.
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#18
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I agree with the overall "bad habit" argument that you are making, I just don't necessarily see either of these things as being entirely negative. Because my first bass was a Rogue (which people always feel the need to misspell as Rouge for some reason) and a piece of ****, I developed the plucking tendency that you are describing. I have a very aggressive attack on the strings and it works just fine for the styles of music that I play commonly (Funk, Prog, Punk), but it is not as if this cannot be toned down when I am playing Jazz or RnB. Being forced (by the basses design) to play aggressively builds strength in the plucking hand and this can be useful if you ever have a need for this strength. As for action, it is much the same issue. My Rogue had, effectively, non-adjustable high action and because of this I developed a great deal of strength in my fretting hand. Both of these flaws in my bass, in my mind, resulted in an improvement of my own ability to play (in a strictly physical sense), and therefore I don't see them as negatives (for a starter bass). It's like living on Earth for years so that you can move to the moon and jump really high. It wasn't exactly necessary to build up the strength in Earth's gravity but it just makes doing everything on the moon so much easier. Well, it's 3:00 am here and I know I'm rambling, but the main point is: nice gear can make a huge difference in terms of playability and tone, but it is, in my opinion, a good idea to spend at least some time on ****ty beginner gear so that you can build up the strength necessary to play well when you move up to the high-end stuff. Probably rather nonsensical, but hopefully it's somewhat understandable.


well lets take your moon analogy a bit further, you're on the moon and you take your first jump expecting it to be just like earth. you gonna put all your effort into it like you normally would and you'll rocket into the air much higher than you expected, you're gonna freak out and panic and probably hurt yourself when you land.

I see what you're saying that the habits you had to develop to make your old bass playable have made you a stronger player. i've had the opposite experience. i had a practically unplayable first bass, the usual fisherman's tale of iches high action, impossible intonation and all that. anyway i had to use both my middle and ring finger to fret anything that my ring finger had to fret. partly because admittedly my ring finger on my fretting hand has pathetically weak muscles that just won't develop and partly because the action was so high i needed all my strength to fret some notes. also when i moved to my new bass i noticed that i was getting **** loads of buzz when i played which i figured out was me plucking too hard because i had to practically beat the old bass to get sound out of it and be heard. my bass caused me to develop bad techniques that i had to waste time fixing. time that could have been used to improve musically if i had a decent bass to begin with. those of you who heard my bass wars piece will know i still have a tendancy to overpluck the strings which gives an awful buzzing sound because i like my action quite low.

admittedly it's horses for courses, your bad experiences helped you whereas mine hindered me but i don't think anyone should have to put up with bad gear. good gear isn't out there just for those who've paid their dues so to speak, it' there for anyone who wants to be comfortable and sound good
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


Quote by fatgoogle
I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#19
Quote by skater dan0
admittedly it's horses for courses, your bad experiences helped you whereas mine hindered me but i don't think anyone should have to put up with bad gear. good gear isn't out there just for those who've paid their dues so to speak, it' there for anyone who wants to be comfortable and sound good


I agree with what Dan has said here. I was fortunately in the group where a less than ideal bass with high action helped me develop a rather strong fretting hand technique.

I belong to a studio that teaches quite a few younger players (5 - 10 years). One the things that annoys me to no end is poorly built starter instruments that impede or frustrate beginning players to the point where they chuck it all in and give up. So many of these instruments have the "form over function" issue, where they look great and "cool/pretty" but are nigh on unplayable for a beginner. That in my opinion is a crime.
#20
i got fairly lucky with my first bass it wasn't expensive but it played pretty good none the less and i excelled on it quite quicker then my friends who had no name instruments almost cause they found their playing was a chore while mine was pure enjoyment (most of the time). But up until like a week ago i used this crappy behringer halfstack and no matter what i did with pedals and tweaking it wouldn't sound remotely decent and it was quite discouraging. Now i got a mesa amp and play so much that everyone in the house near despises me now and i figure i'm improving because of this even tho its only been a week so i agree a large part of its mental u wanna play with your knew toys more then your old ones
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#21
A bass that sits comfortably on your lap or on a strap makes a huge difference.

If you can't stand your tone, then you'll want to upgrade either your bass, amp, or add some sort of pedal to the mix.

With regards to the topic starter's starter instrument, perhaps you'll want to lower the action a bit(that could help improve your speed). Just don't lower it to the point that you'll want excessive fret buzz and other unwanted sounds.
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Last edited by David12390 at Jan 16, 2009,
#22
I think gear makes quite a big difference, i started on a good bass and a crap amp, a Squier P bass special, i loved it, i played it through a Hiwatt hurricane, my playing was pretty good but my sound was crap, it put me off my first 6 months of playing and i bareky picked up the bass. I got around it and just started playing any way. I then got my rumble which improved my tone no end, but from like of experience with GOOD tone i didnt realise it wasnt what i wanted, or tone that was decent. So i had wasted money infact 450 euros.

I agree that good gear will help you alot, it will make playing more fun and an experience and pleasure rather than a burden. Especially to start on, my friend wants to start i keep tel;ling him to get something decent that he will enjoy playing, but he doesnt want to spend alot of money and so getting a cheapo will be better. I know hes going to quit soon.
Also a bad amp can change your idea of tone, you wont realise that to the generall people your tone is bad, its what youve got used too. Theres no substitue to good gear.
All this together plus practise and tecnique will make you a good player.
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