Money doesn’t buy happiness? (a GAS story)

Hey folks!

I wanted to share my story on struggling with newly diagnosed GAS, hoping I release some of the tension I place on myself and maybe even get some advice moving forward.
It’s quite a journey, so brace yourselves!

First off, I didn’t see it coming.

When I first started playing bass in 2019, I wanted to start left -handed since I am a very dominant lefty and plateaued as a righty guitar player.
So, I got myself a shiny black left-handed Ibanez SR300E(L) along with this wonderful course and got off to the races!

I didn’t for a second think I needed anything other than my beloved Ibanez. I loved its tone, finish, playability and overall quality.

I took a small break for a good year or two, until recently (around November 2022), where I resumed this course with a rejuvenated mindset.
Lo and behold, my dear Ibanez needed an action adjustment on the E string.

Since I committed to some friends of mine to playing music together every weekend, I had trouble finding a place the does the setup for me so quickly, and the only time I could bring the guitar to the “lab” was the weekend, so it meant having a session or two without my bass.
And this is where everything started going a bit south…

My impulse told me I needed to get another bass for the meantime, and so I went to a local store, put my Ibanez there for a setup, and got myself I brand new jazz bass from a local manufacturer. I felt I bought the bass out of sheer necessity and shortly after the purchase I had come to regret it, but I felt I had no choice.

That bass wasn’t of that good a quality, being a 450$ purchase, and didn’t feel good in my hands, so I went to return it a few days later. The return policy wasn’t great too, so I had to buy other things in the total price of the guitar to return it…
Anyway, I got rid of that poor bass, but my beloved was still in the works, and another weekend comes by, and I need a bass!

So, I drive to another shop in another part of town, but I can’t find a parking place and I have other things to do, so I end up without a bass for that weekend. Fortunately, my father had picked up a right-handed Yamaha TRBX304 and didn’t use it for a long time, so I figured I could use it flipped over. I managed a bit, but I couldn’t bear to do it another week if necessary.

I went to that shop again, this time found a parking spot, went in and got into another dilemma - an ultra-brand-new left-handed Sire V3 or an off the wall left-handed Sterling StingRay with mild signs of use?
I ended up buying the Sire, regretting it a day later (my bass heroes are Bernard Edwards and Joe Dart, prominent StingRay users), returning it a day later and buying the StingRay. Hurray!

You’d think that would satisfy my bass craving, especially after I got my Ibanez back fixed a few days later. But oh no, that wasn’t the case.

That only got worse since now I had 2 basses and I found it hard to decide which I like better, and that GAS guy in my head won’t shut up about how I have 2 active basses and I really need to have a passive bass since all the greats either have a passive P or J bass…
I constantly found myself browsing all the guitar shops in the country (a pretty small amount, only 2-3 major stores here in Israel) desperately looking for left-handed basses, only to find the same small handful.

My itch kept bugging me so eventually I ended up going to that big store and looking at the last new Fender Player Jazz Bass in the country, which really convinced me I should be its owner. It had a subpar fret job at the bottom of the fretboard, which bothered me (and sadly still does), but it didn’t prevent me from buying it anyways…

And now we come to the present day. I have 3 left-handed bass guitars, and in each of them I can find a flaw… The Ibanez (ironically) is probably the best of the three to me, which only enhances the problem.
What also ended up happening is that I fixed the lousy job the stores did to my Ibanez by myself! Which only made things worse since it showed me all this saga could’ve been avoided with a bit more patience and resourcefulness.

Here comes the interactive part - what would you do in my place now?
I feel as if I haven’t really “found my voice” in a bass guitar (the only thing rounding up my collection would be a P-bass, but that’s probably the last thing I need now), and the only thing coming close to it is my dear old Ibanez.
I feel like a pendulum in that sense - when I had one bass I wanted more, and now that I have more I actually want less…

Feel free to share any comments, advice, suggestions, sympathy or criticism. Any would be appreciated!
Thanks for the read and have a wonderful day :smiley:

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First off: don’t be hard on yourself, this is all for fun.

Now. It sounds like you are happy with the Ibanez SR line. Why look further?

I see two problems here.

  1. Bass setups are a fundamental skill you should learn to do yourself. No one should need to take an instrument to a shop for a setup. It is easy and fun. Plus, as you found, are a periodic need anyway. Learning this would have averted this whole thing. Trust me, you CAN do them.

  2. You made a bunch of poor purchase decisions to buy things you didn’t really want, out of feelings of necessity. Stop that :slight_smile:

The way I would approach this is to sell everything except the Ibanez. And then think about what you really want as an upgrade. You know, the SR Premiums are very nice instruments and would preserve and improve on everything you love about yours, for example.

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How are you as a lefty bass player? More comfortable or less comfortable than right hand? Instruments are not like sports. I know many lefties that play right hand bass well. When people start everything seems out of place and uncomfortable anyways.

GAS is just a normal syndrome that most of us have, to possess more, lol. I feel empathy for you though, lefty GAS is probably 10 times worse than right handed, because the lack of selections, when you see one available you want to get it now because the FOMO, is too great (fear of missing out). Especially, if you are not in Europe or the US, where things are abundantly available.

I’m with @howard you need the basic skills in order to be better at GASsing. You may start by learning to identify the instrument’s issue and how to fix it properly. Get the right tool for the job, it makes your life easier. Sure you can fix anything with a flat screw driver but you need to have mad skills and experience to do that. Start taking courses at YouTube University about bass, and a few years of trials and errors you’ll be pretty good.

Consider yourself lucky, you are just GASsing and not modding and upgrading that’s another syndrome on its own, lol.

Speaking of Joe Dart, I love Joe and his bass, the Dart ii was available to me so I bought it, but I still want the Dart original, I did the next best thing. Made my own, it was fun and satisfying experience and much much cheaper too.







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Finding your dream bass is not a linear journey; it is a meandering one with mistakes in choosing and buying and culling and regretting (just ask @JustTim :wink:). But, seriously, in order to find out what you like, you almost have to own several basses and test them (more than how you could “test” them in a store) and then potentially sell (some of) them again.

As @howard said, this should teach you what you appreciate in a bass and your next iteration of finding a dream bass will already be less “random” and more based on experience.

And, every now and then, you might come across a bass that just feels right from the first touch - let’s just hope you have the corresponding cash when that happens :joy:

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No, for reals. I was going to comment on this thread with what I’ve learned over two years of GAS, GRS, and SAG, but… meh. I had to sell some basses for financial reasons that I didn’t want to sell, and … the hurt is still too near.

/cue dramatic sighs and crocodile tears here

But seriously, @joergkutter is correct. My only true feedback to the OP would be this: if you’re buying in a store, and you get to put hands on pre-purchase, and it doesn’t feel good in your hands, pass it by.

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Hi there, @FiftyTzent,

I am with @howard on this one, keep your favourite, and put the rest on sale. It’ll take a while to sell them anyway, in my experience.

Just play the crap out of the Ibanez until you are really satisfied with your skills. Because it doesn’t feel like you have GAS to me, it reads more like it has to be just right - which could be more of a “one bass person thing”, in my view.

And I find it interesting that you say your left hand is very dominant. Have you taken any tests? I find it sometimes funny to note what I do with left and right - I used to think I’m very much right handed. Not to question your experience, I love lefties! :grin:

Cheers,
Antonio

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There’s also ambidextrous, where neither hand is dominant. I’ve always said I’m equally clumsy with both hands.

But there might not be a dominant hand. I do some things right handed, others left, or switching back and forth

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I’m left handed cross dominant but learned right handed because the choice of left handed Instruments sucked.

I don’t regret learning with my ‘wrong’ hand.

Cross-dominance - Wikipedia

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Yeah. If you can do what @Barney and @JoshFossgreen do and play right handed basses, you’ll have a much larger instrument selection available to you.

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Thanks so much for your thoughtful responses! :heart:

About my left-handedness, I’m a very dominant left-hander, I do almost everything with my left (I tested as a 90% lefty).
I actually started playing guitar right-handed, after an advice of a right-handed friend of mine, and while his advice was practical, I felt like my strumming right-hand was limited in its ability and that I could play left-handed better. And since I didn’t want to start guitar over again with my left, and I really wanted to learn bass, I started bass left-handed and it feels a lot more comfortable to me :slight_smile:

About my self-diagnosed GAS, you guys might be right in the sense that I really want a bass that will be “the one” for me, and somehow my Ibanez got overtaken by a whimsical splurge…

I feel unsure about putting the others on sale though, I’ve never done that before and I fear I’ll regret the sale, since my StingRay and jazz bass are actually good instruments - my dad actually prefers hearing me play my StingRay rather than my Ibanez. I’ll definitely consider it thoughtfully.

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That’s also another factor to consider. Instrument tone and sound on it’s own when you practice with or without music, may sound vastly different to the live or recording situation. While others may not be able to tell the difference, but for us Bassos we know if our instrument “cut through the mix” or not.

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If you don’t need to, don’t sell them. You can still decide to sell them later. Just take your time.

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Without getting too deep into the plight of lefty things I’m going to say that I empathize to that. We don’t have the selection and we’re a vast minority in sheer numbers. But anyway I advise you to keep trying different basses. Even different variations of ones you already own. Look at the SR bass for example, it has lots of different finishes and electronics you can have in there. Eventually you’re going to figure out what you like and be able to find tune what you are looking for in a bass. I don’t exactly believe in a dream bass but I definitely have found the aspects I really like and steer towards them. If you want to experiment with amps, preamps, EQ pedals, strings go for it. You’ll be shocked at how those relate to tone and would be the first thing I’d be looking at if you like how your bass feels and you have the basics of what you want to sound like. I’ve been lucky enough to play on some really amazing gear and I’ll say that strings and amp/ EQ makes the world go round in terms of tone. And Ibanez for instance is a hell of a bass when you pair it with the right strings and audio setup. I really love mine.

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I had a similar situation - was fiddling around with a bunch sub $500 basses. My advice is to trade them all in to guitar center and take the discount on a new msrp $2000 bass…whichever one feels and sounds best. Mia jazz or p, Ernie ball, Ibanez. After years of not being happy I’ve settled on a jazz American pro ii and squire cv p. It’s a good combo and I may add a third if a good deal comes around, but no more gas.

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Couldn’t agree more. Before I started playing bass and still wrangled with a guitar, I went through so many and at one point had 10 guitars and rarely spent enough time with any of them and my playing suffered. I’m now down to one Fender '97 American Strat and, when I decided to take up bass, I traded in a Silver Jubilee Marshall combo guitar amp and got a used '75 Fender reissue Jazz and a new Rumble 100, later added a Squire Matt Freeman P bass and eventually got a short scale G&L Fallout bass. All my needs/tones are covered. I’ve never had a desire to stray further. On occasion, I look at the new products but what I have are all good instruments and I’m now just content to turn on, plug in and play.

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It’s fantastic when you can find the instrument that checks all the boxes for you.

I never like recommending one make, or type of bass, or any other instrument for that matter, over another.

It is such a personal choice and in the end all that matters is that you satisfied and are playing the instrument you want to and to hell with what anybody else thinks about your choice(s).

The same goes for your personal music genre of choice
I personally do not care at all for jazz but that’s just me but I do respect those that do like jazz.

You will never get everyone to agree with your choice(s) but after all they are not helping you pay for them.

Glad to hear you are happy with your choices and enjoy playing them :+1:

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Thanks @patricksrandall and @Frisk_Cat for chiming in, I might just actually pick up your advice!
Spotted a lovely left handed Music Man StingRay up for sale that I might just trade my Sterling and my Fender for :star_struck:
Stay tuned!

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