Gear red flag - Update!

opentune

Platinum Member
In any bandmate anecdote I’ve read (bio’s from Aronoff, Richards, Bruford, etc.) the desired musician is found through personal connections.
Well not always, and what else can one do when you don't know everybody. I thought Bruford answered an ad, but turns out he was 'known' too.
 
Last edited:

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
I am a bass player and it’s so weird how we (and probably guitarists) hear two different things from different camps.

on one hand, we have people who talk about how we focus too much on gear and how it’s a negative thing.

then on the other hand, the sound guys are complaining, smirking, and writing the “you won’t believe what this bass player showed up with” thread on AudioEngineerWorld.

🤣

See, while drummers are worried about bass players having gear that’s too nice, sound guys are mad about sound interference, low output/wavering signal, low frequency loss, noisy pickups, poor set up/intonation, etc.

having nice gear gets you this much closer to solely focusing on the music. For you, for your band, and for the sound guys. The less you have to scramble with failing gear, the sooner you get to sound-check and run through.

I know I sound salty, but this is a convo that professional stringed instrumentalists have to deal with all too often. We have nice gear because we like to get to the gig and get the job done. Sometimes it costs lol

as for the lack of skill level, it happens with every level of gear, with every instrument. From what I’ve seen and heard, at least.

TL;DR: salty bass player attempts explains why bassists/guitarists prioritize nice gear: sound guys treat us a little less horribly 😇
 

wraub

Well-known member
As a long-time semi-pro bass player, this-

I am a bass player and it’s so weird how we (and probably guitarists) hear two different things from different camps.

on one hand, we have people who talk about how we focus too much on gear and how it’s a negative thing.

then on the other hand, the sound guys are complaining, smirking, and writing the “you won’t believe what this bass player showed up with” thread on AudioEngineerWorld.

🤣

See, while drummers are worried about bass players having gear that’s too nice, sound guys are mad about sound interference, low output/wavering signal, low frequency loss, noisy pickups, poor set up/intonation, etc.

having nice gear gets you this much closer to solely focusing on the music. For you, for your band, and for the sound guys. The less you have to scramble with failing gear, the sooner you get to sound-check and run through.

I know I sound salty, but this is a convo that professional stringed instrumentalists have to deal with all too often. We have nice gear because we like to get to the gig and get the job done. Sometimes it costs lol

as for the lack of skill level, it happens with every level of gear, with every instrument. From what I’ve seen and heard, at least.

TL;DR: salty bass player attempts explains why bassists/guitarists prioritize nice gear: sound guys treat us a little less horribly 😇

Accurate low frequency reproduction can be a tricky thing, especially in a venue full of other, usually more audibly dominant instruments, dubious PA support, and people milling about. It takes good gear to produce these frequencies accurately, audibly, without the bass becoming a rumble, a fart, or mostly inaudible.

It's possible that bassists emphasizing their quality gear are using it to imply that they are aware of the demands of live sound reproduction of bass guitar frequencies, and have the gear to deal with such needs. This, in turn, should impress upon others their professionalism and readiness to play. The rest is up to an audition- maybe for them to decide from, as much as for those seeking.

That said, I have never led with my gear selection, which has led to some situations... Like the singer/guitarist who, when seeing the bass I'd brought to an audition, immediately said "Oh, you have a 5 string? I hate those." Might have saved some time- but, to be fair, he did say he liked my tone and my playing. Ultimately, I decided not to work with him. However, I have been asked about my bass gear very early on in many interviews. It is a thing, so maybe some bass players just hit you preemptively.

I have bass gear that works in almost any situation but isn't visually impressive. It's the audio I'm concerned with. ;)

edit- And, yes, I have had many sound people see my bass rig, visibly relax a notch, and say something like, "Oh, you're good here'." and then move on.
No complaints is good complaints. :)
 
Last edited:

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Update: Mystery applicant returned with video examples of his playing. He can play, & videos matched expectation from gear photo precisely ;)

Bass - I get the desire / need / usefulness to show good gear, but it's leading with that, or offering only that in isolation that gets me scratching my head. Outside of the bassist's own stage sound monitoring, rear line gear is of little interest in our specific situation, as all gigs are DI pre amp process. For other gigs, I very much get the need for good rear line gear.

Of course, a good sounding & well set up instrument is of interest (& something we take as automatic in someone who knows what they're doing), but even then, there's multiple other attributes that are far higher up the list of importance.
 

Trigger

Senior Member
Exactly. I have been a member of another drum forum where gear is the overriding focus. Gear acquisition, flipping and outright hoarding is the norm. Some guys have five, ten, even thirty kits. Some have more than fifty snare drums. The thing is, if you do actually every get to see a video or sound file, their playing is usually average or below.

Dude I've seen this so many times and it blows my mind.
 

moxman

Silver Member
Gear is just one of the check boxes along with things things like musicianship, experience, personality, reliability, commitment etc. You have to weigh all the factors and put them all together to make a decision based on an audition or jam etc..
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
If I were in the process of trying to promote my playing I'd put together a YouTube channel that had videos of current performances. I'd probably do a little "rig rundown" video with a list, but that'd be it. Then I'd direct people to my YouTube channel so they could see me in action, gear and all. It seems a pretty straightforward way of letting people see the things that are most important about one's playing.
 
Some guys have five, ten, even thirty kits. Some have more than fifty snare drums. The thing is, if you do actually every get to see a video or sound file, their playing is usually average or below.
Sadly, I know from experience that clicking Buy It Now is a whole lot easier than perfecting your blushda at 160 bpm, and the resulting (and addictive) dopamine hit far more immediate.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
Our current bassist is leaving our band this year to concentrate on a big theatre project. All amicable - he'll play out the season (what's left of it) if needed.

I'm the main contact person for bassists wanting to audition. The usual wide variety of applicants to date, but I was struck by an emerging theme. At least 3 applicants stated they'd send me a list of their gear, almost as an opener, or at least one of their main points in the first minute of an introductory conversation. In two cases, gear was promoted before any statement of experience.

They seemed surprised when I remarked we had very little interest in the gear they use, sighting that we'd expect a player to use equipment that delivers a sound they're happy represents what they're trying to achieve.

All instrument musos like to discuss gear amongst their peers, I get that, but to push your gear quality as a primary pitch to other musicians seems odd, or am I wrong? To me. it's a bit like the rep applying for a sales job & wanting to know what car is provided ahead of much more relevant information. If I was introducing myself to a prospective new band, I certainly wouldn't mention my gear unless I was specifically asked.

Anyhow, when I received video / audio submissions from the gear focussed applicants, they were all far below what we're looking for.
Maybe the bassist are thinking that they need to mention that they have a large cab (that can be used without PA assistance in a small venue??
otherwise mentioning gear first can be a sign of lack of experience, I don't know that time/patience you have so I guess you can weed them out at that point or during an actual audition, but I would at least ask why they are mentioning their gear it could be for the above reason or it could be something else....
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I know it sounds goofy, but I've heard a few times "tell me what drums you play" in audition calls. As if a player on another instrument can assess something about you as a player based on my report of gear that they probably won't have much of a grasp about.

Or maybe they just want to talk about their gear. :D I get that, too. Someone to finally listen to their gear story.

It's like when they old guy walks into the Catholic church, sits down in the confessional, and says "Father, I'm a 75 yr old Jewish man, and I'm living in sin with a 25 year old girl who insists on making love three times a day." The priest says"Well I see your dilemma, but you're Jewish and I'm a Catholic priest, why are you telling me?" and the old gentleman replies "I'm telling everybody!"
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
I was just thinking how funny it might be if when answering an ad for drummer, they would ask what kind of drums you play. What if you said Summit, Q, Virtue, Guru, A&F, Sakae, Canopus, Jenks Martin, or even Craviotto? How many non drummers have even heard of those? :unsure:
 
Top