How Many Basses Does One Need?

Are you a bass collector – or a bass junkie?

December 27, 2018

As the old joke goes, a guy gets a new bass and his wife says, “So, I guess you’ll be getting rid of the old one.”

When I ask a bass player about basses and gear, I often get a response like, “Oh my, I have a lot of basses!” Then I’ll comment on how I bet they still naturally gravitate to the same two or three (or one!) almost all the time. That statement usually catches them off guard, because they know it’s true.

What got me to thinking about that was this week’s very special interview with Geddy Lee, in which he talks about his new Big Beautiful Book of Bass. The just-published release is a stunning display of over 200 prized instruments in Geddy’s collection. It includes all kinds of facts, with photos of vintage Fenders, Gibsons, Rickenbackers and more, each one having a special meaning to him. He lovingly describes the different models, styles, colors, the years the instruments were made, the players who inspired him to learn about them, and more.

For certain people, having a true passion for something, like… bass!, can be very exciting and inspiring. Others, however, may view their instruments simply as “tools of the trade,” bringing about a very different kind of enthusiasm.

In talking with players like Steve Bailey, Kern Brantley, or Kaveh Rastegar, for example, the subject of having a lot of basses often comes up, with an explanation of how each instrument serves a particular purpose and fills a specific need. On the other hand, Tom Petersson says he pretty much keeps his actively-used collection down to two basses (though both are 12-strings, so I’m not sure if math is a factor there!). Jeff Berlin shrugs at the thought of needing more than one bass – that’s all he owns. Even Jaco managed to “get it done” with just a couple of Fenders.

So are you a collector, or a bass junkie? Whatever your motivation may be, get what you want, get what you like, get what you need. Play bass and have fun.

Have a thought on the subject? Leave a comment, and let me know what you think.

Download Geddy Lee’s Big Beautiful Book of Bass here:

Comments on How Many Basses Does One Need?

  1. Max says:

    I think bass player needs exactly 3 instruments: fretted, fretless and upright. Everything else is just your personal taste.

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