Does MBD hinder progress?

As many of us do, I suffer from the affliction known as MBD and over my few months of learning the bass I have collected a few items to the fold.
I like to treat all of my flock equally and play a different bass most nights in turn. It also keeps them relatively dust and cat hair free.
However, I am wondering if the constant swapping of my practice bass might be just another level of difficulty to my learning curve.
Any thoughts?


If you are constantly changing between scale lengths, neck widths, strap lengths, etc then that’s probably going to mess with your muscle memory. But if your basses are set up consistently then I don’t see why it would be an issue.


I don’t know if it hinders progress. I do know that collecting things I don’t use is just something I don’t do, though. I generally only want to keep instruments around that I actively play and this generally seems limited to around two basses at a time. It’s also why I sold my 6-string, though sometimes I wish I had one around, it’s rare enough that I haven’t wanted to get another one.

I’m just not a collector I guess - having a bunch of stuff I don’t actively play collecting dust would annoy the crap out of me. Mileage varies there :slight_smile:


No, I don’t think so; it shouldn’t hinder progress! It might slow you down a little, but in the long run, you become more comfortable switching between different basses, which - IMHO - is a good skill, like being able to drive different cars with confidence (even though you might not need that skill very often).

You owned a 6-string??? :astonished:


Agree with above.
The only time this seems to be an issue is when I am doing Smandl work and switch from a Fender anything to the ESP. The frets are laid out just a bit differently and it throws me off, mainly because I don’t look at the fretboard during those exercises. That and the Traveler bass which is a very different scale length.

In the end I think switching is good as it makes you adopt to small changes more easily.


I don’t think that switching between basses hinders my progress, even switching between a regular 34" long scale and the fanned fret only takes a minute or two of adjustment.

What I found to have a much larger impact on progress was switching between a Bass and guitar.

Different, string spacing, string tension, string thickness and just a whole different mindset when playing. The second best decision I made when learning bass was putting the guitar aside completely while I was learning.


I am unsure about what mdb is… Multiple basses? I think that it may hinder progress if you are substituting with the purchase of the instrument the actual musical practice. I am guilty of this in many fields: books, of which I have enough for two lifetimes and I continue to get new. Fountain pens, boardgames, … it is sometimes a “stress relief”, the act of “fulfilling a wish”. Last item, I went ahead and got a pedal tuner, did I actually need it? Probably not, but at least now I am stroboscopically in tune with 0.1 cent precision.

But sometimes I find a bit of clarity in what I actually want to pursue, and learning to actually express myself through music is one goal. Also, I would like my bass to be as used, lived and “sound-ed” as possible. It is so new and shiny that I think I am playing it too sparsely…


Well, I’m two weeks off two years since I bought my first bass. Since then, I’ve own 24 and I’ve only really learned how different they feel since I’ve started learning the neck without looking.
I can jump from 34 to 34.5 to 35 and not care at all between Fender Pbass/Cort B4Plus/Ibanez SR605 & BTB 4, FBass BN5, have slight issues with the G7L 2500 Tribut and MM SUB5, and 2018 Thumb 5, but I have a horrible time with my 2006 Corvette 5.
And it’s all because of the progressively thicker neck profiles.
It’s quite distressing as the Corvette has my favourite sound to it. :frowning:

I can’t use my short scale basses at present as my feel is too far out and I’m being sensible and developing that spatial awareness.

If you learn to primarily visually reference your strings, you’ll get screwed up when you go from 4 to 5. Many people with massive 4 string investment can’t do it without feeling like they’ve stepped too far backwards, which is why you see so many 5 strings with “Not for me” in the For Sale ads.
If you learn to transition your reference by feel primarily, you’ll typically reference from the bottom of the neck.
This is quite handy as everything is pretty much the same between 4 and 5 strings.

Having this variety and understanding how it affects my learning to play means that I have accepted that it will slightly slow some things down, but it will also give me a slightly wider skillset as I go.
It lets me appreciate differences in brand new basses immediately. I can pick something up, sit it on my lap and assess it on a lot more than just the sound now.
There have been basses I liked the look and sound of that I will never buy.

Hilariously, this has all come about during our second lockdown and my more rigid practice routine.
I wouldn’t swap having multiple basses for a moment though. Only really a Strandberg to consider…


Guitar, not bass :slight_smile: :rofl:


And stroboscopic tuners are the shiznit. You’re likely better than .1 cent accurate…


I agree with this.
I got my full-scale 24 fret and my Kala Journeyman U-Bass.

Things I learn on one of these I can usually also play on the other, after a bit of warm up time to get used to the different fret size.
There are some exceptions in which I can stretch the distance on the U-Bass and not on the full-scale but apart from that I don’t think it’ll hinder your progress and will make you more comfortable switching basses.


That is pretty much all I do…

Ah… sorry to hear that - I thought you were really going to dig into the guitar!?


I would think that if the scale and the string spacing are the same, probably not, even though they most likely feel a bit different to play. If switching motivates you to practice more, then it might be beneficial.

But if upkeeping and gassing over instruments is taking time away from your practice (I know I’m guilty of this), it may be hindering your progress.

I tend to just play one instrument for a while, and when I feel I’m bored of it, switch to the other, and play that one exclusively for a while until I get bored again and repeat the process. It always takes me a little bit of time to really get used to the new instrument again.

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Loved it! But found myself not playing it and always playing the basses, so…


Thank you for all the replies.
I think @Ruknrole I may follow your lead and stick with one until I feel the need to change. Sounds like a good plan
I am starting to agree with you @howard with regards to having stuff sat around gathering dust. I will certainly continue with my planned cull buyers willing.
I certainly agree with you @f.guerrieri that the lockdowns we’ve had here resulted in a few buys that were purely to make me happy. The only problem being that sometimes the happiness was quickly replaced by buyers remorse.
I really got the answer I was hoping for in that it shouldn’t be something else to worry about.
Thanks again to the above mentioned forum members and @joergkutter @HowlinDawg @John_E @akos and @admacdo
And last and not least @juli0r . Good to see you back here mate


Thanks. I know I wasn’t very active. I’ve become more of a lurker, but still play bass and will check if I got any notifications here.
There’s just no regular updates as I’m not in the band anymore.
I’ll probably look for a new one after some private matters have been resolved.


It’s definitely good to see you!


I got 3 basses that i actively play:
1 jazz bass
1 precision bass
1 humbuckers bass

I often swap out the jazz bass for an other model. The humbucker is different tuning.


I have the same setup as well (PJ/JJ/HH). The HH is tuned to D standard, and the idea was to tune the other two to E standard and Eb standard, I just can’t make up my mind which one should be which.


I think it’s fine, and a good way to get used to them all. Over time, it helps you hear/feel the little differences too, which is good.

I generally have my regularly used jazz bass upstairs near me all the time for when I’m practicing the songs, and then the rest are in the music room. When I wander into there, I just grab what takes my fancy and play away. In fact, that has helped me pick certain basses over others.

For instance, I’ve come back from the pub after a few beers and I just want to mellow out with some blues. I’ll go into the music room and grab the mellow p bass I have and noodle away. But If I’m raring to go, I’ll pickup a jazz and funk about.

It’s all good!