Gareth Montanarello

What I Carry In My Bass Case

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

I have always been a bit of a gear-nerd. (Huge. I am a huge gear nerd.) Over the years, I have bought, sold, and collected a ton of gear for guitar and bass and I am always fiddling with what I carry in my case and how I set up my instruments. I also really enjoy seeing what other musicians carry in their cases and learning how they setup their equipment. With that in mind, I figured I would do a dump of my most current bass-case-carry setup. This is most of what I use on a regular basis. I have narrowed it down to the things I find to be most robust, functional, and reliable.

In numerical order as pictured: 1. My bows and bow case: Kind of a given why I have this. The case is a double bow case I got from Thomas and George Martin a few years ago. It's lightweight, holds two bows, and has a pocket large enough to fit rosin, a tuner, and some pencils making it great for travel. I much prefer this case to the heavy, wooden one I had before. (which I quickly got rid of after a travel mishap...) I am not sure if you can order this from T&G, but I think Kolstein makes a similar case.

2. Bass strings: I have never (yet) had a bass string break on me during a gig, but I still carry an assortment of extra strings just in case. I have settled on Pirastro Flexocor Deluxe for my G/D/A strings and a their Permanent for my E/Low C. The Deluxes, on my bass at least, are fantastic, versatile strings. They have tons of clarity, tons of focus, and plenty of volume, complex tone, and stability. The Permanent I have mixed feelings on. It matches fairly well with the other three and is a fairly playable string, but it lacks some of the "sophistication" that the Deluxes seem to have (whatever that means). Beyond that, I don't really have any major gripes about this string combo. Getting some open notes started can be finicky at times since the Deluxes are a little on the tighter side, but careful bow work really pay dividends if you are patient with them. The other bag is a just a mix of whatever. It's mostly strings I either tried and hated or just had laying around and figured might be worth carrying just in case. Right now, I think there is an incomplete set of Bel Cantos (not my favorite...), a Helicore Hybrid long E (the other three are on a different bass), and a random Flat-Chromesteel E string. I also have a set of Flexocor Deluxe solo strings floating around here somewhere...

I get all my strings from String Emporium:

3. 0000 Steel Wool: I use this to clean finger residue off the end of my fingerboard. It's important to not use anything coarser than 0000 (Super Fine) or you might damage the wood. It can get a little dusty when rubbed on the fingerboard but the dust is easily cleaned with a rag.

4. Microfiber cloth: Good for cleaning off rosin dust or wiping down strings. Not much else to say.

5. Extra 1/4 cable: I usually carry one or two of these in my string pocket. I have had enough of these break or get stolen that I always keep extras on hand.

6. Mute: These come in all varieties. I have completely given up on the rubber ones- they never seem to create any discernible difference in tone so I pretty much exclusively use these fancy wooden ones. I can't remember where I got this mute as I (embarrassingly enough) have four mutes of different woods and sizes. I know there are plenty of places online to get them, however.

7. Wolf eliminator: Pretty self-explanatory. My bass is temperamental and has a few nasty wolf tones so I keep one of these eliminators on my bass and carry an extra just in case. I believe this one is from New Harmony Music.

8. Peterson StroboClip HD: Hands down my favorite tuner ever. Incredibly accurate, extremely responsive, and easily read in all lighting conditions. It's on the pricey side for a clip-on tuner, but the vast feature set (temperament changes, etc) and accuracy make it 100% worthwhile in my opinion. I use it all the time on both guitar and bass.

9. Carbon Fiber Laborie Endpin: I recently had my bass drilled for the Laborie endpin and this is the one I use when I am not sitting. I had this customer-ordered from New Harmony Music and the build quality is truly impressive. It makes standing and playing much less laborious and it actually improves the top-end response of my bass.

10. Papermate Sharpwriter Pencils: In my opinion, these are the perfect musician pencil. No lead to worry about breaking (or running out of) and no annoying clicks. The eraser could last a little longer, though...

11. Post-it Tabs: Good for marking cuts. Pretty much the only reason I have them.

12. (Really) Short Wooden Laborie Endpin: I mostly use this when sitting. It takes the weight off my chest so I can move more easily and saves weight over my heavy steel endpin. Also improves my bass' response. This one was a longer one that I cut down and stained. I think New Harmony also makes these but they can be found all over the place.

13. Pop's Rosin: The best rosin ever, and no, you can't change my mind. Sticky and sticky. I get it from String Emporium.

14. Leatherman Wave: Perhaps not something you would expect to see in this lineup, but incredibly useful nonetheless. The number of times this has saved me are innumerable and I highly recommend everyone, musician or otherwise, own one.

15. Dampits: I keep these handy just in case my bass starts acting up when the weather changes.

16. String Winder: Kind of a prerequisite for changing strings on an instrument this size. This has really saved my hands when there wasn't a drill nearby...

17. Extra endpin: This is the endpin my bass came with. Since getting setup for the Laborie endpin, I have pretty much stopped using this one. It's long, heavy, and chokes my A string A LOT. Not pictured: - Bass wheel: Makes bass-moving easier. Lives in my car 90% of the time. Be sure to get one with the proper shaft diameter.

- Small wrench: Not sure where it went, but I like to keep a small, adjustable wrench on hand in case I need to loosen/tighten the nuts on my extension.

- Bass stool: I use one of these foldable stools when playing. It's not the best solution but it's the most portable and Amazon has them for the lowest price I have been able to find. Also lives in my car most of the time.

- Pickup: My old Underwood recently died so I am looking for a replacement. I am probably going to get another one but I am always open to recommendations. - My case: Before I forget, I use a blue Tuff-Bag from String Emporium. It's made really well, is sufficiently padded, and has enough room for all my stuff. It also kind of matches my car...

That pretty much sums everything up! I would love to hear about what you carry in your case and why!


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