Advice needed on guitar players first bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Iversen, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. Iversen


    Oct 22, 2006
    I'm a guitar player for +20 years now and this small, but constant urge to picking up the bass has grown stronger and stronger these last few years up until now where I'm gassing badly for a bass.

    I'm not sure what to get, which is why I'm posting here on this forum where all the serious bass people seem to come.

    So far I have this going for me:
    I play bass using my right hand index and middle fingers, no pick and no slapping.
    My left hand technique is alright, as in thumb behind the neck, not on top of it.
    I know my way around the fretboard very well from the guitar
    and I can hold a beat alright.

    I'm a teacher (junior high) so I have access to two cheap basses, a Cort shortscale something and a Morris Jazz Bass. I'm playing bass with some fellow teachers in a band of not-so-skilled players, just horsing around... I'm the guitar player in other more serious bands.

    Now, what bass to get? I'll probably end up with a Jazz Bass, a Stingray or a G&L of some kind.

    Should I go for 4 or 5 strings? What are the cons of 5 strings apart from a higher price?

    Should I go for fretless or fretted? Fretted is pretty much like a guitar, only bigger, whereas fretless is a whole other beast. Is it better to start fretless and then fretted will come easily, or should I just get the basics down before taking on a fretless?

    Any thoughts?
  2. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    My only advice is to get down to the local guitar spot and play as many basses as you can and let your heart be the judge.

    The first bass you should try is a Fender Jazz bass since every human being on Earth has one. They are very popular for a reason I guess. Then I would try others.
  3. Ste_m3


    Mar 26, 2006
    Northwest UK
    if your coming from guitar, a jazz would work well, ive heard many a guitarist complain about how bad p bass style necks feel, i can only presume its due to the thickness of them!
    however thats all personal experiance, plus 100 on the above post :)
  4. Sandwich Man

    Sandwich Man

    Apr 30, 2006
    New York
    Fretted vs. Fretless: the difference is in the sound they make. You'll still have the position markers on the side, and because you're coming from guitar, it should be easier. It will still be difficult just at first though because of bass's longer scale. Play some fretless basses and experiment with slides, and some jazzy riffs if you know any, then try that stuff on a fretted. See which sound you like, it's really just preferrence.

    4 string vs. 5 string: a lot of players today that get into session work buy 5 strings because it's expected of them in the studio to have access to keyboard range low notes. 5 strings can be really fun sometimes, and depending on the genre you're playing, very efficient with hand positions. Try it out with your fingers and you might find the string spacing is too tight or the neck is too large. Although that feeling might probably go away, go with your gut. I'm a 4 string player myself, and have not yet truly gotten comfortable on a five. Sometimes, 4 is all you need. 5 just gives you some extended range and flexibility as well as not having to drop tune to all those guitarists you used to know.:p And just one more thing about 5 strings. Try out notes all along the low B string. The tension on the string should be good and not considered "floppy." If it is, stick that bass back in the pit it came from and run. That is all.
  5. Carl


    Sep 10, 2006
    I am also switching to bass from guitar. I went to a short scale because of an arm problem. I got an SX SJB-62 Short scale from Rondo Music and am extremely happy with it. The neck feels much the same as my Yamaha acoustic and it plays very well and sounds good right out of the box.

    Check it out.

    There is a lot of information in the Essex mega thread in this forum.

  6. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    I don't know what you want to spend, but I'd go for the best 4 string Jazz bass you can afford.


    Jazz basses can give you a good variety of tones, and they can be used for most any kind of music. Jazz basses tend to have thin, narrow necks, which are easier to play if you are just changing over from guitar. 4 strings will be a little easier for the same reason - thinner and narrower necks. While there are certain advantages to a 5-string bass in terms of playing positions, the 4 extra low notes aren't needed, IMO, they are just fun to have to rattle the pictures off the wall. Many amps and speakers have a hard time handling the lower notes on a 5-stinger, as well.

    I'd look around and play as many basses as you can. Don't forget to budget for a good amp, too.

    Most of all - Have fun!!! :bassist:
  7. ChrisPbass


    Jul 18, 2006
    Fairfax, VA
    I've been playing guitar for 23 years and bass on and off for 3. I've been borrowing other people's basses when playing with them. I just, last night, gave ishibishi my CC info for this P-bass w/40mm neck! This is the smaller size P-neck. Most P-necks are 42mm, most Jazz' are 38mm. So hopefully this is a good compromise!

  8. id recommend fender jazz or musicman sterling. i say this cause they have pretty tight string spacing so it won't be too much of a stretch from guitar.
  9. Iversen


    Oct 22, 2006
    Thanks for the replies guys and for keeping it serious. I know of plenty other forums where a thread like this would be all BS in no time...
  10. moro

    moro Geek

    Sep 5, 2006
    Bay Area, CA
    Definitely check out 5 strings. I started playing bass a couple of weeks ago after playing guitar for a few years, and 5 string necks are much more comfortable for me than 4 string necks. And I have pretty small hands.

    I don't know what prices are like in Denmark, but Mexican Jazz Vs are pretty cheap. If you like the Stingray, you could should check the Music Man SUB, which is a more affordable version.
  11. Winemule

    Winemule Guest

    Feb 27, 2005
    As someone who started out on bass, switched to guitar for 20 years, and then went back to bass, I recommend going with the Jazz. The long scale will throw you for a little while, but the neck feels right. My personal opinion is that the Highway One is the best value for money, but your results may vary. I bought one of the first ones, added a Badass bridge and a set of Seymour Duncan Antiquity II pickups, and have been happy ever since. I spent a year backing up a blues guy, now I'm working in an alt/country band, and the bass has worked fine in both contexts.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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