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New Bass, New User

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by siloketh, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. siloketh

    siloketh

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    Hi everyone. I wasn't sure where to post this but figured this might be an okay place to start.

    My name is Daniel, I'm new to guitars and bass entirely but wanted to learn bass because it seemed like a better ground for me to learn and eventually graduate to a electric guitar.

    But that's not why I'm here, the reason being is that I just purchased a big beautiful Brownsville 5 string bass and wanted to know more about it from the people who may have played it (this style bass or any bass in general). I picked it up at a pawn shop for $60 after trading in some old items. I would like to know if this is a good bass to start, that my purchase of this bass was a good one and that its not some bad brand of bass guitar. Also, I'd like to know what the three knobs are on the body (top to bottom). Some basics if you will. Any help would be greatly appreciated, I'm new to this and wanted to learn.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird Supporter Supporting Member

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    Brownsville is not a professional bass. It is an entry level student instrument. That doesn't mean it is bad, just not expensive. The biggest thing is if it's truss rod is operational and the neck is straight, it can generally be made to play fine. You'll have to get a pro guitar tech assess it for you and set it up.

    For 60 bucks that's an ok price.

    The tuners may be fine but they may not have a long lifespan but can always be replaced.

    The pickups likely are just passable but fir learning they will be fine.

    The controls are, top to bottom: volume for the neck pickup, volume for. The bridge pickup and tone control. Use the volumes to blend the sound: you can get the "voice" of the bass to change this way. Use the tone knob to cut high frequencies.

    Beware, if you learn bass you will not want to degrade yourself to become a guitar player. In many ways, bass is a more difficult instrument to learn.
  3. snyderz

    snyderz Supporting Member

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    Looks like a cool bass. If you are new to stringed instruments, you may want to get it set-up by a tech. It will will save you from 'fighting' with the action, and make it much more pleasurable to play.
  4. siloketh

    siloketh

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    Thanks for all the info guys. I am new to string instruments but always wanted to learn.
    What are some key terms I should know about concerning the bass guitar?
  5. pfox14

    pfox14

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    Coming from someone who's tried it, switching from bass to guitar is not easy. They are completely different instruments. The electric bass was derived from the upright bass which is centuries old. The guitar's development is relatively new by comparison. Just my 2 cents.
  6. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

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    $60? You did just fine.

    I agree about having it setup by a pro. (New strings are part of that.) I also would hire a teacher. I went the "do it yourself" route for a while with clips on youtube and DVDs. Once I hired a teacher my progress as a bassist shifted into warp speed.

    Congrats, welcome to the world of bass and of course welcome to Talkbass.
  7. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration Supporting Member

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    Some key terms:

    GAS
    Mojo
    Vibe
    Flats
    Rounds
    High mass
    Tort
    Rosewood
    Maple
    Relic'd
    'burst

    Welcome to TB. After you hang out here for a while, you'll catch the humor and controversies. Have fun with your new bass and stick with it! And BTW... bassists are not frustrated guitarists! Or a step towards the goal of playing guitar. Many of us are strictly bass players and that's what we aspired to.
  8. Flyingfrets

    Flyingfrets

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    You don't "graduate" from bass to guitar anymore than I "stepped down" to bass from guitar (after 38 years). They're two different animals, each with their own challenges & rewards. No reason you can't play both (eventually). I do...;)

    For now, I have to agree with everyone else...get a professional set-up done by someone who knows what they're doing.

    If you find you enjoy playing, in the long run you'll want to learn to do your own for 2 reasons: first, you'll know what you like and you'll get a lot of satisfaction from dialing it in yourself, and second, it'll save you a LOT of $$ that you can invest in other nstruments. You"ll learn about GAS soon enough...:D
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Supporting Member

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    Let Billy explain it all to you.



    BTW when he gets to the bit about saying you HAVE to anchor your thumb on the pickups, I dissent. But anyway...
  10. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

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    Nice looking bass.

    Meh, guitar is overrated. Anyone can learn a few chords (that's why there are so many guitarists hehe) ;)
  11. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

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    From looking at the picture you might want to have a new nut made and installed. Are you able to take a better photo of that? It's hard to see properly.
  12. quiltkitty

    quiltkitty Supporting Member

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    Congratulations and welcome to TalkBass! I know nothing about Brownsville, but I learned on a student instrument and it worked just fine. :) After all, you are a new student so it is perfect for you! If you find you enjoy bass (and who wouldn't?), want to stick with it and improve, you can acquire something more to your needs in the future. The nice thing is, by that time, you will know what sound and tone you want, what style you would like to play, etc. and can tailor your choice accordingly. Since you are starting our, you have the opportunity to experiment and find out what you like.

    For getting started with music and strings, I recommend the Hal Leonard books for bass - they are excellent and start at the very beginning.

    I also recommend a professional setup to get your new baby in tip top condition. They can verse you in what they are doing and why as well, which will make you feel more comfortable with your bass.

    I also agree with others that playing bass won't prepare you to play guitar. I play both and they truly are totally different. They look similar but that's about it. They require different hand positions, techniques, skill sets, and mind sets. I prefer bass because I like all the wonderful counter-melodies and depth the instrument brings to a song.
  13. siloketh

    siloketh

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    Sorry for my absence, family life had to come first lol.
    I can't quote everyone on here so I just want to say again thanks for all the information. I wrote down the key terms given to me by tangentmusic, thank you and as soon as I get some free time today I will look into them further. Also tangent, learning to play the bass has seemed more relaxing than the guitar of that males any sense but it feels less mentally stressful. I'm sticking with bass from here on out! :)
    Flyingfrets, I took my bass to the shop yesterday and sure enough she needed a new nut, the current one was cut for 12 strings and also I'm getting her restrung with some new strings because the ones on there had too much "play". So $50 and its gonna get professional setup next Friday. Total invested so far: $70 not bad at all :)
    Hrodbert696: I have yet to watch the video but as soon as I post this I will and report back on what I've learned.
    Evil Undead: took the best picture I could for you, hope it helps
    Quiltkitty: thank you and the next time I'm at the shop I'll ask if they have the Half Leonard books there and pick one up.

    [​IMG]
  14. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Supporting Member

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    Holy crap, Evil Undead is right - what IS that? Looks like someone stuck a six-string guitar nut on your bass and didn't bother filing new slots (not that it would have been good if they had). I'm afraid you're going to have to spend a little more money to replace that. You can have a shop do it or get one and do it yourself - either get a blank nut from Stewart MacDonald and file the slots yourself, or get a premade one (like this - http://www.amazon.com/Graphtech-Bla...88250339&sr=8-3&keywords=five string bass nut). All you do is knock out the old one by taking the strings off and giving it a few taps with a mallet, sand out the slot and use a good strong glue (like gorilla glue) to put the new one in. Then put your strings back on, of course. Not hard to do, I'm the least handy guy in the world and I've done it on one of my basses. Just measure the width of your neck to make sure you're buying the right size of nut.
  15. ack

    ack Supporting Member

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    Brownsville was the first bass I ever owned. It was good enough of a bass to get me hooked on bass and both of my kids totally hooked on music (my youngest is now a drummer and my eldest plays everything and sings). We've all had our hands on that bass at some time in its life. Instead of selling it, I made it into a clock that hangs in our Jam Room.

    I hope you can get the nut replaced and a decent setup really cheap and start enjoying bass. Gear-wise, this bass should get you to the next step whenever you're ready.

    Good luck.
  16. JoeBbass

    JoeBbass

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    Any bass that's got a good set up will be a great bass to learn on. Get yours to a professional luthier and you won't regret it! My first bass's action was ridiculously high and I didn't notice for nine months, this set back my playing a lot.
  17. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

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    Yeah, new nut, and that middle string should go under the guide, and the tuning post should have a hole in the top to start the string.
  18. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty

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    wow..the nut definitely needs to be changed but it's easy as mentioned above.
    I remember when I got my first bass a long time ago, the string height was very high and one had to press hard on the fretboard. Not easy for a beginner but I thought that was what one had to do and all basses were similar. It wasn't until someone pointed this out to me I had it adjusted to the optimal string height. Bass playing became a whole lot easier then. :)
    One thing that needs mentioning, the kind of strings you want on the bass. Roundwounds are brighter sounding strings, Flatwounds are more earthy and less bright (think of a more acoustic bass type sound).
    Gauge of string too is important, for a beginner, I would recommend a lighter gauge.
  19. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan

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    You might also want to pickup a cord that has a 90 degree tip on one end (L shaped). Doesn't have to be an expensive cord. You may find that having the cord stick straight out the way it does now to be a nuisance. Low priority for sure.
  20. HeavyRockBasser

    HeavyRockBasser

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    Depending on what your budget is, here are some other things to consider...

    For $70, you're probably getting just the nut and restring. You should consider getting a FULL setup and fret dressing. This can turn almost any guitar into a good player.

    Better pickups and a new bridge would be a big improvement, too. If it holds tune, I'd leave the tuners alone. If you stay with the existing bridge, you can put some REMOVABLE Loctite on the screws, to keep them from moving. The vintage design bridges have a bad habit of adjusting themselves. If you upgrade, save the old parts. You can move the new ones over to a new instrument, and put this one back together, if you decide to sell it, later.

    If any of the pots crackle, or are unresponsive, replace them with some CTS pots. Those will only set you back $5 a pop.

    If you don't want to put any more money into it, then you can at least give it some TLC. Go over the instrument, and tighten all the hardware. If you don't have a Phillips screwdriver with a good tip on it, get one. The last used bass I bought had 14 loose screws on it! Then, give it a good cleaning, and rub some auto wax into it. I use Meguiars. Lots of guys swear by Turtle Wax and Zymol. For the fretboard, you can just leave it alone, or use some mineral oil (or baby oil if you don't mind the smell) on it. Instrument wax and fretboard oil are usually less effective and way overpriced.

    Hope this helps. And welcome to TB! hrb

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