Is it ever possible to have too many basses? I don’t think so! This is my current collection, all together for the first time ever. The one at the back is a Traben Phoenix, which is my most recent purchase. I found it on Gumtree back in March or April, and it had never been in the same room as all the rest of them! It has a lovely sound, and looks fabulous.
Let me introduce you to my collection. From right to left, they’re an Ibanez Soundgear SRX590, an Ibanez Soundgear SRX500, an Ibanez Soundgear SR305, a Squier by Fender Jazz Bass and the aforementioned Traben.
The SRX500 was my second ever bass – I won’t count one I had back in my teens when I really wanted to be a drummer – I traded in a Jim Deacon starter bass for this one. It’s a lovely red colour with sort of black tiger stripes, and a custom handmade bone nut. That was a result of having it professionally set up by a luthier (that’s the name of someone who makes and repairs guitars). I’ve had it for the best part of 12 years I think – and I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it.
The SR305 is the odd one out in many respects. It’s black, and has five strings: you can probably guess from the numbering that it’s a slightly cheaper model than the other Ibanez’ in my collection. I bought it on eBay, just to see whether I could play it, particularly as I was playing in a heavy rock band at the time. Here’s a big secret rarely spoken – 5 string basses only give you 5 notes more than a 4 string. They’re all lower notes, and sound awesome. I find that my fingers get confused with the extra string so it tends to sit on the rack and doesn’t get played much.
The SRX590 was another eBay find: it was nearly new and had never been gigged. I drove something like a 300 mile round trip to pick it up, probably 4 or 5 years ago. It’s mostly green with the same sort of black striped pattern as the SRX500, and a pearlescent edge. The only complaint I have with it is that the fret markers on the side of the neck are white, on a pearlescent background: this makes it difficult to see when on stage. It’s a minor complaint though – it’s a lovely looking instrument and I love playing it!
I bought the Squier Fender at the end of last year because I’d just joined a rock and roll covers band, and wanted something that wouldn’t look too out of place in the 60s and 70s. It’s a bit heavier than the others, and the neck is slightly wider, but it still has a great sound. It has fewer frets, which means I have a longer stretch towards the headstock, and my hands tend to hurt a bit when I’ve been playing it for a while. I even bought a tweed case to go with this one, so it totally looks the part,
I do have my eyes on at least one other bass, but won’t buy it for a while. And if I do, I’ll probably let the 5 string go as part of the deal.
I’m going to leave you with a lyric from a band I’ve only recently discovered. They’re called Clutch, and have been going for a long time. This is from a track called Earth Rocker, and this line pretty much sums music up for me.
If you’re gonna do it
Do it live on stage, or don’t do it at all
If you’re gonna do it
You better take it to the stage, or don’t do it at all