A couple of questions....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HurleySk8r, Jul 1, 2001.

  1. HurleySk8r


    Jul 1, 2001
    Wutsup everyone. I am thinking about playing bass, and I was hoping to get some help on a few things. One of my big concerns is if I should start on a 4 or 5 string bass, or if it really matters. I also would like any recomendations on brands, because even I know that qualtiy is everything. Also, is it better to take lessons, or to teach yourself? A good friend of mine told me that teaching yourself was pretty easy, but all it takes is determination. The only thing is that I'm worried about developing bad habits. Any other suggestions are of course appreciated!


  2. First of all, welcome to Talkbass.

    I personally reckon that you should start on a 4 string. I you want a 5string later, you can move onto it then.

    I also think a teacher would be a wise choice. I taught myself and I did develop a few bad habits and I am only just realizing this.

    But it is your choice.
  3. HurleySk8r


    Jul 1, 2001
    Hey thanks! Bad habits suck, they are hard as hell to kick! Also, Is it better to rent or buy your first bass?
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Hurley - IMO, it would be nice to rent IF you can get a decent instrument, not always an easy thing to do. By nature of the fact that these are instruments no one intends to keep, rentals sometimes have flaws, like dead spots in the fingerboard, gamey electronics, buzzes, etc.

    The rentals I've seen from larger, established music stores that give lessons and carry band instruments seem to rent okay stuff. In a couple of cities I go to from time to time I deal with a couple of hot shot places that specialize in pro quality guitars/basses/amps and they do rentals for big name acts. Their stuff is superb. I guess what I'm saying is don't expect much from a pawn shop type place or a store that seems messy and dirty. Odds are, they treat their gear the same way.

    One great thing about a rental is you get time to discover what you like and dislike about the instrument that you won't be stuck owning. Then, when it's time to buy, you have a litttle knowledge of how you would like the neck to feel, what kind of weight feels comfortable, do you like the controls close up by the strings or down back under the bridge, etc.

    IMO, starting on a 5 won't hurt because you don't have any point of reference or habits developed on a 4 to foul you up. However, there are not as many products available to choose from for a 5 as there are for a 4, like strings, sheet music, tabs, books, etc. If your favorite players use 5's I don't see any reason not to get one.

    Teaching yourself is pretty easy and that is the problem. How can you correct and critique what you don' know isn't correct or the best way to do it? A GOOD teacher will give structure to your learning and you'll learn in a systemic way instead picking up random books and tapes that happen to look good. They'll give you objective feedback and hopefully challenge you. Getting a good teacher who plays bass as their primary instrument is the best investment you can make, other than your gear.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Like Rick said, if you want to play a 5, start out on a 5.

    There is no need to start on a 4 and work your way up.

    Also, follow the advice about getting a teacher.

    Even if you only take a few lessons, a competent teacher can show you the basic mechanics of playing the bass, where you don't get set into bad habits that hinder your progress.

    Good luck, and welcome to Talkbass!:)
  6. Hey HurleySk8r :)

    If you're planning on playing 5-string in the future, i'd advice you to start off with a 5-string too.

    About the lesson-stuff.. i'd go for a teacher if i were you.. it's not expensive ( e.g. my teacher charges only $ 225 per year, weekly 30-minute lesson :) ) and you know for sure that you'll learn it the right way,and thus have more fun playing your instrument later on.

    About the gear.. well.. basicly there's 2 things you can do..

    1) Buy a cheap beginner-set, which usually sound like poo, are absolutely terrible to use and which you will sell after a year, without doubt.

    2) Scrounge up some more $$ and buy yourself a decent bass ( that fits you like a glove ) with a nice amplifier. You will use them a lot longer, with a lot more pleasure, guaranteed !
  7. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
  8. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Welcome to Talkbass, and welcome to playing bass.

    If you want to play a 5 string bass, then by all means, start on it. Like it has been said, you don't have to start on a 4 string and work up to it. Similarly, you don't start with one string, then work your way up to 2, then 3, then 4. For me personally, I find a 5-string easier to play than a 4-string. This is because I can find a wider range of notes within a limited area on the neck, making less shifting necessary.

    I can't add much more to what's been said about renting.

    In regards to a teacher, I highly recommend it. Of course, you could teach yourself, but you can also teach yourself Cantonese, couldn't you? It's a matter of a teacher helping make the process easier for you. A teacher can give you advice on what to learn, and when. They can give you pointers on your technique, that you wouldn't catch if you're learning on your own. The value of a teacher is far greater than the money that comes out of your wallet.