Another "What Should I Get?" Thread (Bass + Amp)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Stoch, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Stoch


    Mar 23, 2009
    Hello everyone,

    I know you hate these threads and to an extent so do I. Believe me, up to now I have read dozens of similar threads on TalkBass, every single post. Yet I still felt the need to create one, hoping for your kindness and generosity, because, like everyone, I (wrongly) think my situation is a that little bit unique and maybe warrants a reply not seen by me on these other threads.

    So anyway, today I've sold my Les Paul to become a full-time bass player. Or rather, I've been playing bass on and off for a number of years (even in bands) and have always enjoyed it way more than the guitar, but I've never had my own bass and have always had to, sort of, be a guitarist for a number of reasons.

    And now I'm looking for my very first bass. My budget is pretty much unlimited (in a very reasonable sense of course, I do have a wife and a dog to feed) so though it is my first bass, I'm looking to buy a high-end one, once and for all. I know I'm gonna love the bass as an instrument, I have been playing, erm, "stringed instruments" (and drums) for over 10 years now, so I feel I've surpassed the "Get a Squier" phase.

    I've narrowed my search down, pretty much, to two: a Classic Stingray 4 and an American Deluxe Jazz Bass (or, maybe, a Deluxe P-Bass). I'll try to explain some conditions that I have in my mind, most of them unjustified. I don't want to buy a used instrument. I don't why, it's something spiritual I guess. I want a new bass that will be all mine, even though all of my guitars are vintage and even though I can get that 77 Stingray from which the few people I've asked recommend me to buy. Furthermore, the basses I'm researching are pretty much unavailable where I currently live, meaning I'll have to order online without ever seeing the actual instrument first. What stems from this is a desire to buy a 100% quality instrument, in other words, from a company where QA is top-notch and the quality doesn't fluctuate from one bass to another. I've heard that Ernie Ball make fine instruments in this respect and that Fenders, on the contrary, tend to be hit and miss. Is it true? Because that might mean I have to get a Stingray because I trust them to make all their basses well. Even if I could hypothetically try some Jazz Basses out, I know little about how to judge a guitars quality despite not necessarily being a newbie. I've always just... played. Never really looked into what makes a good guitar. So, basically, can I trust an American Deluxe Jazz Bass to be a fine top-quality instrument without seeing it first?

    Now to the actual tone and feel. I don't really have any particular preferences for a number of reasons:
    1) I do enjoy all kinds of music
    2) I currently live away from my home country and it's highly unlikely I'll find a band here. When I come back, however, that's the first thing I'm gonna do. What I mean is, I'll have plenty of time on my own to really learn to play bass, as many styles, as many techniques as possible. There's definitely a certain way I like my music, but it shouldn't, in this case, dictate the type of bass I have to get.
    3) If anything, since I'm getting a bass, I want it to be "ballsy" and heavy. I do enjoy lead bass and that's probably something I'm gonna play, but I'm not gonna solo or become a virtuoso.
    So that's why I started looking at the Stingray. It's heavy, it's huge, it's a proper bass, but at the same time a Jazz Bass is a Jazz Bass and everyone (professional musicians, famous ones at least) seems to prefer them. Tim Com, Flea, many others - started with Music Mans but then went for a Jazz Bass. Everyone seems to end up preferring a Jazz Bass, wherever they come from. So that got me thinking... MM makes great instruments and a great bass, but why aren't more, for lack of a better word, "famous" bass players using it? Surely there must be a sound reason. Jazz Bass right now seems to used for all styles, heavy, light, you name it. So I'm really torn. Besides, if I get a Jazz Bass, I save 300 Euros. Or even more. So which do you recommend? The P-Bass deluxe seems interesting, too. Haven't done much research about it, but the guy from Biffy Clyro plays one, and I like his tone.

    Now for the second, even more difficult part. I need an amp. I know next to nothing about amps. All I've ever had were practice amps because I live in flats, with neighbours all around me. With bands, we rehearsed in practice spaces with whatever equipment they had. And we gigged in clubs with whatever equipment they had.

    What I want is something portable, but something good. Because why spend loads of cash on a good bass if you can't appreciate its tone? I don't want a practice amp, yet I don't really need a proper big amp just for myself, do I? Is there any option in between? Someone told me I should buy a good amp head and play through headphones... But then again, will I get to hear the tone properly? It's stupid, I know, but I want to be able to enjoy the way my bass sounds, during those 5 minutes when I can crank it up when no one's around :) So please help me with this, because with amps I'm just lost. Totally. I guess a combo would be nice (although it's tempting to spend more and get a proper stack), but which one? Again, I'm ready to spend, but not bucketloads of money because the lion's share well get spent on the bass.

    So yeah, that's pretty much it. I apologize for the post being so long and making little sense. The community here is great, one of the best I've ever seen, so I'll just be really grateful for any input. I hope I've explained my situation a little, enough to have a general idea of what might be good for me.

    Thank you!
  2. inthebassclef

    inthebassclef Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    Hey Stoch,
    glad to help and I am sure that there will be many other replies to come.

    Here is my take the classic stingrays are outstanding basses and are really versatile. They get a lot of tones and the necks are some of the best in the business. It is a very aggressive bass. Probably one of the loudest production basses out there. But also are not necessarily cheap at around $1800.
    From musicman I actually do prefer the sterling, I had one and regretted selling so much I bought another. It is a little more contoured and more comfortable to play IMO. Sound wise gives you a few more options too because you can coil switch the humbucker.
    Overall musicman is a solid choice and reliable quality. Very few misses come from musicman

    On the other side is the Fender. This is of course just my opinion but I actually prefer the American Standard series over the deluxe. The Standards are passive while the deluxe is active. On a Fender I just like the passive sound better. Volume and tone is my preference when playing a Fender because it has that more classic sound and when I hear bass in my head it is a passive Fender.

    Related to that the MIA standard Jazz is a really solid bass and so is the MIA standard p bass. I am a p bass lover at heart because it has that fat mid range that I love. The Jazz bass has a nice tone too. They are both unique in their own right. I would personally play both to determine what sound you like better. And yes Fender can be hit or miss so you should play the exact one you are going to buy to ensure it feels right for you.

    Related to the Jazz bass or P bass thing the jazz will offer a little more tonal options while the p will sound like a p and that is that. However, just my opinion but again I think the p bass tone fits almost every genre of music and when I hear a bass line in my head it is the sound of a Fender P bass.

    With all this said if you are going to buy a new bass I think you can not go wrong with any of these basses. They are the three classic basses that are in countless songs through music history and no band will be unwelcoming of any of those basses if you showed up with them.

    With regard to amps. There are many options depending on your price range and taste. A real good combo will take you very far. I personally like the Hartke Hydrive combos. They sound great, more flat tonally, so they let your bass speak instead of eqs. But you can eq the heck out of them as well. They are also very little and really easy to move around.
    If the Hartke thing is not your taste. Another great amp but much more expensive are the Mark Bass combos. They are also very little and really easy to more around but very expensive. Tonally more modern sounding than a Hartke.

    Hope all this helps.
  3. Yup, I recommend a P-bass as well.

    If you go with the p-bass, check out the Ibanez Promethean series. GREAT portable, amps. Not too expensive. I own a P3110 myself. It doesn't have much hi-end, so the sound's really old-school. Great i.c.m. the P-bass.
  4. Stoch


    Mar 23, 2009
    Thank you! Anyone else? I guess the post IS too long...

    Despite saying I want a new bass (I still do), could you please check my other thread and comment on the two vintage Jazz Basses that ARE available here in Portugal?
  5. inthebassclef

    inthebassclef Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    Here is the major problem with mid to late 70's Fender.
    They were mostly heavy and they were really played and beat up. When you find a good one they are incredible instruments but you have to play them to determine their true worth. One in good condition is worth some serious money. So to buy one from a classified is a risk to say the least. If it is from a reputable dealer than you are fine because they usually have a trial period if you buy it online.

    I would avoid those two jazz basses for sure. If you are looking to spend over $2000 on a bass and want to go new I would look at Mike Lull basses. Honestly though I think you are best off looking at an American Standard Fender and saving a bunch of money.