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Guitarist selecting first Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gorskkr, Jan 14, 2013.


  1. gorskkr

    gorskkr

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Hey guys (first time poster),

    I've played electric guitar most of my life and I'm going to be buying my first bass and bass amp this weekend.

    I was hoping you could share some advice or reccomendations for certain brands to check out, basses to play (when I'm at guitar center), certain woods to look for etc.

    I wouldn't say that I like any one particular style. I do love 90s alternative but I also like funk, and mostly I enjoy playing anything that pops into my head. I use a lot of loop pedals and I love using all kinds of different effects to create whatever may float into my head. So there isn't any one style that I'm trying to emulate.

    I'm learning the bass to create my own music; recording myself on guitar, bass, drums. I use a lot of loopers and will be buying a Boss BR-800 to further what I've been doing. I'm no pro, just a guy that enjoys making music (maybe I'll join a band some day or get more serious about getting my stuff out there for the rest of the world to hear) so please no snarky comments. Any help would be much appreciated! I'd hate to receive bad advice from a dude at guitar center that isn't a true bassist like I'm sure most of you are on this site.
     
  2. deeptubes

    deeptubes

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Tidewater
    Pick an amp first. Find a comparable one in store, and use it to sample basses. Play every appealing bass that they have and take notes - tone, playability, weight, versatility, etc. Keep in mind that some shops don't really do setups on all of their display models. Some will set up the higher priced models, but not the more affordable ones. This gives the immediate impression of a pricier item being superior because it plays better and sounds better. Of course it does, it has been tweaked. Take this into consideration, then make your decision.

    Welcome to the family!
     
  3. Aznslappadabass

    Aznslappadabass

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Welcome to the deep end.

    When starting out the most common advice (and the best in my opinion) you'll get here is to try EVERYTHING you can get your hands on and find out what feels right to you. People play all kinds of basses from any number of manufacturers. So it's up to you to decide what you like best. Personally I prefer Musicman style basses and Fender Precisions, both are very popular styles of bass with versions for all price ranges. I'd start with the Fender Precisions. Figure our what neck size is most comfortable, what sounds come from each instrument, and what looks like something you'd like to take home. Bear in mind that used basses will stretch out your value for dollar spent so if you find a good bass, look used first.
    For amps, you can pick up a used practice amp for super cheap and it will do fine. A Fender Rumble 15 can be super cheap and give good sound starting out (obviously in band settings you will need to upgrade that).
     
  4. johnson79

    johnson79

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Location:
    East Petersburg PA
    I'd say something with both P & J pickups. Be it a Fender, Squier, or whatever. I think that makes for a pretty versatile bass.
     
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  6. deeptubes

    deeptubes

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Tidewater
    Aznslappadabass has an excellent point about finding something used. You might want to try a ton of basses, see what you like, and try to find one used. I've been playing for almost 27 years, and I've only bought 2 brand new basses. I no longer own either of those.
     
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    A used Fender Precision or Jazz would be an excellent first bass in my opinion. :)
     
  8. Dredmahawkus

    Dredmahawkus Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    Location:
    Boston
    Disclosures:
    I stuck a bass in my
    I agree with the poster above. A used MIA jazz is a couple hundred more then a brand new MIM and much better. Not to say a MIM is bad I have one. I have a MIA deluxe too and it's much closer to playing a guitar. Lower action easier to pick if you want to pick... And it just feels smoother. Go play both a MIM and a MIA then buy used. You can get any bass you want used in the classifieds here.

    And just my advice from being a guitar player turned bass player. Don't bother with the practice amp. You will use it for like a week before you say I need a cab and real amp.
     
  9. unclebass

    unclebass

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Location:
    Southwest Louisiana
    Short scale bass might be a consideration since you are coming from guitar. May make the transition a little easier since the scale will be closer to that of a standard guitar. Would stay on the lower price end if you do that to make sure that is what you really need. Squier Jaguar short scale basses should run around $200, and you should have no problem finding some used out there for even less. Just make sure you try everything you can get your hands on. You are the only one who knows what feels and sounds right to you!!
     
  10. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    You're already getting more good advice than I'd have expected on an average Monday on TB. The one question I don't think I've seen anybody ask you to think about is whether you're going to play fingerstyle, slap, or with a pick. I personally migrated to bass from guitar, much as you did, and since my guitar style was very much pick-oriented, I played bass pretty exclusively with a pick for years and years, until I got to the point where I realized that there were a lot more sounds I could get with my fingers but not with a pick than there were sounds I could get with a pick but not with my fingers. But YMMV. I'm just saying that there are some basses that seem to be a little better for fingerstyle, others a little better for slapping, others a little better for picking, and you should keep that in mind when you're testing instruments.
     
  11. DrSpunkwater

    DrSpunkwater

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    If you want to be an excellent bassist, I also recommend you familiarize yourself with fingerstyle, slap, and pick. Seeing as you're into funk, you should strongly consider a Jazz bass.

    Not that a P bass can't do funk, but I find it's easier for me to get funky on a jazz bass.
     
  12. gorskkr

    gorskkr

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Thanks for all the good advice. Based on some of your suggestions I'm actually going to make the first stop of my process at a local music shop to play some used basses and amps on my way home from work today.

    In response to what Sid Fang said, "The one question I don't think I've seen anybody ask you to think about is whether you're going to play fingerstyle, slap, or with a pick.. "

    That's a good question and I hope my answer isn't too devoid of specifics... I actually have interest in all 3. I'm very interested in learning how to slap the bass. However, I feel the majority of the time I'll be using my fingers. I too play the guitar with a very heavy pick oriented style of play. However, I understand from reading a lot of articles written by bassists that its essential to learn to play with your fingers and that the bass is most intended to be played that way (although it depends on what type of style you like to play and what you think sounds best). I also don't know if that's entirely true, so bare with me if that's an inaccurate statement.

    So to answer your question I think I'll mostly be playing with my fingers, but I hope that later down the road I can get really good at slapping the bass bc it has such a sexy funky sound that I would love to learn to play well. I don't anticipate playing much with a pic other than hearing what kind of sound it makes to compare with the other styles of playing bass. I heard picking isn't the best option unless your mostly into metal (which isn't my first choice)- again, I don't know if this is accurate (I've been doing a lot of internet research.)
     
  13. Bassic Playing

    Bassic Playing

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    Do you have some sort of budget? Because that would make the difference between us suggesting basses such as a Yamaha RBX 170 (an excellent bass, but still very low priced), or things like MIA fenders.
     
  14. el basso

    el basso Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    agree with Bassic^ - a budget will help those with advice send you in a better direction.

    Since you'll soon be a converted guitar player, I would suggest checking out a thin body, thin neck piece like a Fender Aerodyne to make the transition a little easier.
     
  15. gorskkr

    gorskkr

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    I'm hoping to find a good bass for under $300 and an amp for $200. If it turns out bass amps are usually more expensive then that then I'll have no problem spending a little bit more.
     
  16. The Ethanator

    The Ethanator

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    St. Louis/Cape Girardeau
    if youre looking under $300, i would suggest looking at brands such as ibanez, esp/ltd, or even yamaha if youre looking for a more 'modern' bass. my first 'good' bass was an ibanez sr400qm which i snagged for $350. the same bass is now the current ibanez sr300- 24 frets, thin neck, style sweeper eq (wasnt a single bass tone i wanted that the preamp wouldnt deliver). the sr series are solid basses for the money, and very easy to upgrade should you choose to do so. you can also get similar features in the esp 'b' series basses, which use emg-size humbucking pickups. there is of course the yamaha rb series, which show up in most music stores from time to time, which are great playing basses with a variety of finishes and pickup configurations.

    if youre looking for a 'classic' looking bass, you may be able to find a used mexican or japanese fender for around $300, or ive heard good things about the squier vintage modified series. every once in a while youll see a musicman sub bass around (saw one at a nearby store for $250 last week) which are fantastic basses for the money, and ive been told they were american made (someone please correct me if im wrong). they play and sound very much like music man stingrays which cost well over $1000. hope you find what youre looking for!

    EDIT: also, upon reading your previous post, id highly recommend the ibanez sr series for multiple styles. my sr400qm slaps like no other, i was able to get a very good pick tone out of it when i used a pick, and ive used it in several metal bands (playing strictly rapid fingerstyle). the super thin necks also make fretboard navigation a breeze!
     
  17. Davo-London

    Davo-London

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Location:
    London, England
    For a guitarist try first the Jazz bass.

    Davo
     
  18. Funkinthetrunk

    Funkinthetrunk Registered User Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Location:
    DENCO
    This...or something with a Jazz type neck.
     
  19. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2000
    Location:
    Melnibone
    I'm not going to get naked with you (unless you're a woman), but I will say... buy a Fender and an Ampeg, be done with it, and get on with learning to play.
     
  20. rickwebb

    rickwebb

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Location:
    Riverside, Rhode Island USA
    I've been playing for 36 years, so here's my 2 Cents:
    Fender Jazz Bass (or something along those lines)
    Ampeg or Gallien-Krueger amps.
     
  21. mwig

    mwig

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Location:
    fresno, ca
    Get a Ibanez SR for your price range and style
    - it will cover it all. They are reasonably light, have a slim neck and easy to play. If you like playing bass you can always upgrade to something more expensive once you've learned the instrument. I had the same questions when I picked up guitar. I got a used Epi Les Paul and it was great to learn on. Keep it simple. There are a lot of low priced amps for practice. They are about the same. Your tone really comes from your fingers - just like the guitar.
     

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