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Another newbie needing help

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by woodstock989, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. woodstock989


    Aug 19, 2004
    Hi there-
    Looking for opinions on a starter bass.....I'm looking at buying one of the following packages:

    1-Squier Bass Pak with Rumble 15 Amp:
    Affinity P-Bass
    Rumble 15 combo amp
    gig bag

    2-Squier Bass Pak with Frontman 15B:
    Affinity P-Bass
    Frontman® 15B combo
    gig bag

    (Only diff between 1 & 2 is the amp ?)

    3-IJSB190 Bass & Amp Jumpstart Pack:
    GSR190 bass guitar
    IBZ10B Ibanez bass amp
    Gig bag
    Accessory pouch

    I'd be grateful for any opinions of the above.

    I have no experience playing bass (or anything else for that matter), can't even read music (yet), and I'm looking for a decent, moderately priced starter setup. I'll take all the help I can get. :help:
    Thanks. :)

  2. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    take the ibanez package. i started with a squire P package 7 years ago and very unpleased with the big neck mine had on it. but it's all up to you. you may like the squire or you may like the ibanez. plus others. don't let price fool you. those rogue basses are quite nice for less than half of the squires.
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Just be aware that those amps are only loud enough for playing in the bedroom, and they have very poor tone.

    I would get an SX P or Jazz bass(http://rondomusic.bigstep.com) and a used Peavey Microbass. Better bass than the Squier(the Ibanez is decent), and a much better amp.
  4. I started about 5 months ago, and instead of buying a package, I just shopped around a bit.

    Considering I live in Australia, things are a bit more expensive here than in the US, but I ended up with a Yamaha RBX170 and a reasonably decent 20W practise amp for just over $400AU.
    There were the cost of leads, straps etc on top of that, but I was quite happy with what I ended up with.
  5. Blademaster Dez

    Blademaster Dez

    May 12, 2004
    Even if you have little to no experience playing bass, go to some music stores and try out instruments. At the very least, you'll get an idea of which instruments feel most comfortable against your body and which necks fit most comfortably in your hands. Run your hands up and down the neck to see if you like it. Fret the first few notes on each string to see how much of a stretch it is for you. Try it both sitting down and standing up. Does the neck dive? How much? If the neck dives too much, then your left hand will get very fatigued during a gig both fretting the notes and holding the neck up. If you're a hard gigger and not in the best of physical shape, a lighter weight bass is preferable to a heavier one.

    Borrow a pick from the music store and strum a little (I say borrow a pick since using a pick may be more intuitive than using one's fingers.) If the bass sounds good unplugged, it should sound good plugged in.

    Ibanez basses tend to have slim necks, which is great for people starting out. I started out on an Ibanez myself.

    Look the bass over. Does the finish have ripples or "orange peel" texture anywhere? While that certainly won't affect playability, if the finish was shoddily applied then that means other areas of the bass were half-a$$ed too.

    Even sample basses beyond your price range, so that you'll have a reference point of a "really good bass" and if a less expensive bass tickles your fancy like the premium one, you've got something.

    Plug the bass into an amp in your price range that you may consider. Turn the knobs on the instrument all the way up. If you get a scratchy sound, that's not a good sign. When testing an amp, try turning the treble up all the way. If it hisses to the point where it's annoyingly loud, skip it. Some hiss is to be expected given the treble frequency, but too much is still too much. Let your ears be the judge.

    Jazz basses have 'single coil' pickups so you'll hear what's called "hum" through the amp, but that's a characteristic of the bass. Although some instruments hum more than others. P-basses have a hum cancelling pickup so you don't get that hum at high volumes. During a loud gig, the hum may not be a big deal, but the studio is a different story.

    I'd try out both a Fender P-bass and a Jazz Bass. Both have slightly different neck contours. The Jazz has a slimmer neck than the P.

    I too would get everything separately rather than one of those budget package deals. I agree that the practice amps that come with those aren't great. But they're better than Gorilla amps which are the absolute worst ever made (seriously. Gorilla amps sound like the speaker's been punched in and your ears are stuffed with cotton.) You'll pay more in the long run by buying separate stuff, but you'll get better quality stuff. And you want decent stuff so you'll be motivated to keep playing and maybe have gear that will grow with you over a couple of years till you really know what you want and can afford better stuff. You can maybe get a headphone amp to practice with while saving up for a bigger amp for band gigs/rehearsals.

    If a slightly more expensive bass and amp than you can afford really speaks to you, save up. It's better to have an instrument you really want to play rather than one you feel kinda ambivalent too. You'll be more motivated that way.

    Welcome to the realm of bass. Best of luck in your hunt. I remember my hunt for my first bass. What's really great is that nowadays there are so many awesome basses in the lower price ranges than there were 10 years ago when I was starting out. I have trouble believing that there are starter basses out there with active electronics (meaning the bass has an onboard EQ system that's usually powered by a 9-volt battery.) But for starting out, I'd stick with passive electronics (like those in traditional Fender basses) so that the battery replacement issue is one less headache to deal with.

    Ibanez, ESP/LTD, Godin, Spector's Performer line, Schecter's C-series line, Peavey, and others I'm certainly forgetting all have good starter basses. I can definitely vouch for Peavey and Ibanez basses. Samick has some decent instruments as well, but people either love or hate them. EDIT: Of course there is always the preowned market. If you're a savvy shopper, you can find some nice deals. Oftentimes a higher-end preowned bass is better than a brand new budget bass.

    EDITS: revisions throughout.
  6. CrazyArcher


    Aug 5, 2004
    This question tortured me for long time... Why buying a starter-pack? It's like a lot of cheap stuff in one box... Or I'm wrong?
  7. If you are set on getting a starter pack, I would suggest the Ibanez. I bought a used GSR-190 3 years ago as an emergency back up and ended up really liking it. For a cheapo bass it has a decent tone and is very playable.
    Other than that, take a look at SX at rondomusic.com, all their stuff gets great reviews here. I own a Brice 5 string fretless and and it is a GREAT bass.
  8. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    Blademaster had a great post.Reread that one,all very good points.I can give you a few tips on saving money.First go to Guitar Center or one of the other large stores at the end of the month and wrangle price a little.Go especially on big sale events (eg. labor day, or a store anniversary etc., and always be an educated consumer.)Know what competitors prices are so that you know a good deal when you see one.Also, most guys that work in music stores are equipment junkies like me, and they probably have 5 basses at home that they are willing to part with, feel them out casually, you may get a way better deal than what you can buy in the store.I know, some of these tactics may be frowned upon, but if you only have so much money ,and you want to get the best deal you can, these things work.I have been doing it for a loooong time.
  9. I have no experience playing bass (or anything else for that matter), can't even read music (yet), and I'm looking for a decent, moderately priced starter setup. I'll take all the help I can get. :help:
    Thanks. :)


    The most important thing to remember about this whole experience is, (especially at this point): Don't worry about having to 'get it right' the first time. You've got a great attitude by what you've posted above. As you appear to have a very open approach to becoming a musician. Trust me, YOU ARE gonna make some REALLY stupid mistakes in your purchasing at a number of points in your life, (some of us w/ over 30 years in the business are still making them). If you have someone that can give you a heads up on one piece of crap over another...great; but just start playing, listening and yes...learn to read AND keep it up - its like a foreign language; if you don't use it, you'll loose it! (Hell, I'd venture to say over 90% of those calling themselves 'musicians' would have no clue of what to do if someone threw a chart in front of them!)
    Welcome and enjoy the journey.
  10. woodstock989


    Aug 19, 2004
    Well, that will go right along with all the other stupid purchasing mistakes I've made, like cars. :D

    Thanks everyone - the advice is much appreciated. :)

  11. Blademaster Dez

    Blademaster Dez

    May 12, 2004
    Be sure to keep us informed on how the hunt is going. And whatever you do, don't feel bad if you go to one store, try a bunch of basses, don't like any of them, and walk out. Just keep searching.
  12. woodstock989


    Aug 19, 2004
    Hi again,
    Just wanted to say thanks again for the advice - I ended up going with the Ibanez pack. I've read about the questionable quality of the amp, etc... but it'll be more than adequate for now.

    I know I've got a lot to learn, but I'm really looking forward to learning how to play. Can't wait! :)

  13. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Congrats, man.:) Enjoy.
  14. PunkerTrav


    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    Best of luck to you in the world of bass! Hope you enjoy your new set up.