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Advice for buying my first bass as a total beginner.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Esteban Alfaro, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. Esteban Alfaro

    Esteban Alfaro

    Jul 6, 2018
    Good night everyone. I decided to venture into the world of music playing for the first time in my life, at 20, and the Bass has always been my favorite instrument to listen to and watch people play; it's just so mermerizing. So, I decided to pick up my first Bass tomorrow at my local Music Store. The problem is, while I've done my research and already have a budget and an idea of the type of bass I want (narrowed down the choices), what looks good on the spec sheet doesn't guarantee a good choice in the instrument world. However, I can't do what more seasoned players do, of just trying each of the options and picking the one that feels best, because I don't have any music knowledge (don't have any bass playing friends either). As such, my question is the following: How do I test a bass for feel and tone when I can't play? What's the determining factor in this case? Thanks :)
  2. Soonerbldr


    Jul 31, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Find a used version of the bass your favorite players use so you have something as a common ground. It will make you more likely to pick it up and practice. If you have no experience then ask a friend who ma to go with you, even if they play guitar.
    If not take some time and fiddle around with a bunch nah of basses until you find one that speaks to you. I know it sounds corny but it really happens. That’s how I ended up with my favorite bass. As for quality look for major brands as you will get a better quality bass than a $200 bass. Gender P or J are great first basses. Look for an MIM or a good epiphone. Most of all have fun and find some peeps to jam with. It will make you better.
  3. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Dont be in a hurry. If you narrowed it down, but dont have bass player friends go to the store and pick up a couple to see if they sit on your leg and feel comfortable pressed against your body.
    See if there are any bass players there while you are. I have been at the store noodling and novices have come over to ask me to play a bass theyre looking at or ask my thoughts.
  4. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Greetings and welcome, Esteban!
    What, specifically, were you looking at and did you end up getting it?
  5. BassholeKI


    Feb 10, 2017
    Ditto trying out as many as you can before you buy.

    Then when you find the model you like, try and find it used. Your money will go a lot further that way.

    You'll also need an amplifier. Fender Rumble amps are good, but a used Peavey solid state is darn near indestructible.
  6. I wouldn't buy anything on specs, alone. Play it, plug it in, turn it up... If it sounds good, plays good, and looks good, you're golden. In that order though. Tone is king.
  7. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    For passive bass, Squier Vintage modified and Classic Vibe ; for active, Ibanez SR300E.
  8. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    Are Squier Standard Precisions unavailable in your area for $150-ish?
    Mim Jazz or P around $250?


    I guess a USA SUB would be fine under $600
  9. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    This is your first bass. . . don't expect to get everything right first time out.

    At this stage, developing a good technique is more important than finding "the" bass.

    Choose a bass that is easy to play and learn on. You will change your mind about the best bass for you as you get better at it.
  10. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    Since you don’t play yet, buy the one that looks cool. Understand that you may not get it right the first time — 6 months or so (+/-) from now, you’ll have a lot more ability to make a choice (and then more so again after a few years of playing), but for now you just need something to start on. Get the store you buy it from to do what’s called a "setup" before you leave so that it plays as well as it can.

    A Squire, or if you have the money, a Made In Mexico Fender, would be a good place to start. The basic choice for many is to get a Precision bass (sometimes referred to as a "P’) or a Jazz bass (called a ‘J’, for short). You can listen to clips on YouTube to see which you prefer, or just go by looks. The neck on the Jazz is thinner and a bit easier to play.

    Another popular brand for beginners is Ibanez. These have a noteably different look, sound and feel than Fenders. Just go by looks for now to see which direction you want to start off in.

    There’s lots of other brands out there too, of course, but maybe the above will help you narrow it down a bit.

    Good luck. Just get something, start playing and figure out the rest later!
  11. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    go play around with all of em

    when you find a sound/feel you like in your budget

    try that one

    your tastes will change anyhow

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