Are Expensive Basses Necessary?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BrendonK, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. BrendonK


    Apr 23, 2016
    I'm asking this because I wanted to know if there are any reasons to spend more than what I already have on a bass. (Currently own a Yamaha TRBX 505, was around £550 at the time). What I wanted to get out of it was a modern bass sound which is used widely throughout most types of music (I always see bassists using a Fender P or a J bass on stage), I need a bass which can be gig or even studio worthy. I don't really have the equipment at the moment to push my bass to the limits so I'm not sure whether it's good enough but I'm currently saving for some better gear (I am well aware that things like the quality in amps, are equally or even more important than the instrument itself.) Is there any reason to buy a more expensive bass or am I perfectly fine with what I already have. I am generally looking for a bass which can provide a very professional, solid sound which can be used in genres such as indie rock. This could include anyone from 'The Smiths' to 'King Krule'.

    So ultimately, the question is. Am I missing out, and do I need to spend more to get a better or a specific bass in order to fulfil the sounds I'm going after? Or am I perfectly fine with the bass I currently have, provided I have the suitable amps and other gear.

    TL;DR : I want to know whether I need to spend more for an instrument provided I already have a very good quality amplifier. Bass I currently own is a Yamaha TRBX505, am I missing out or should I be able to gig or even go to a studio with the bass. I am mainly looking for a sound which would sound good in a professionally recorded song as well as be a very good gigging bass.

    (I've been playing for over two years now, but I still have little knowledge on what type of basses or qualities, or even if I need to upgrade my bass. Hence why I am asking here)
  2. twinjet

    twinjet Powered by GE90s; fueled with coffee. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Use what works, sounds good and is fun to play. That's all.
  3. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    You are asking on TalkBass? Of course they are necessary. And you need another one!
  4. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    When figuring out how much to spend on a bass, the only things that matter are:
    (1) Can you afford it?
    (2) Are you comfortable spending that much?

    If the answer to both questions is "yes," then it doesn't matter if your bass was $100 or $10,000. If it does what you like you don't need to justify it to anyone one way or the other.
  5. 12BitSlab

    12BitSlab Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2016
    Liberty Township
    Sir Paul McCartney purchased his Hofner because it was cheap. I heard he did OK with it.
    Ric Vice, MonetBass, BadMonk and 50 others like this.
  6. TMARK


    Jan 10, 2012
    Richmond VA
    Nope. A bass that plays, sounds and feels good is all that is required.
  7. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Ric Vice, BadMonk, Spectrum and 16 others like this.
  8. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I will now stop being a wise acre for about a minute. I play Thunderbirds because I like them and can get sounds I want out of them. The price isn't much of an issue one way or another as far as I'm concerned. I have a bottom of the line Epiphone that I like for reasons that are different from why I like Gibsons that cost more. None of them cost as much as other bass guitars that are out there, even other Thunderbirds. I don't have any urge to buy another bass guitar, because what I have does what I want it to do. Point being that whatever works is whatever works, and price isn't a factor unless you don't have the money or you have it and really want to spend it.

    OK, minute's up. Back to the usual. Of course you need it!
  9. I've owned an Ibanez SR885 for more than 20 years. It still sounds and plays great. I always received compliments from people when I was actively playing in a band.
    grrg63 likes this.
  10. GoLeafsGo

    GoLeafsGo Not Quite Right!

    Oct 25, 2013
    Ajax Ontario
    Of course they are. To the companies that make them.
    BadMonk, Iristone, andruca and 2 others like this.
  11. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    If its your profession and your income depends on it, you should have gear suitable for the job. If its just a hobby for bedroom playing or for a garage band, who cares? Unless you are paying your bills playing music, its just a hobby.
  12. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    I have a $3,500 bass that is worth it and several $500 basses that are worth it. If you have the money and you WANT a more expensive bass, cool. But if you play the one you've got well and it does what you need, you don't NEED an expensive bass.
  13. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    If you are playing in front of other people and have fellow musicians depending on you to do your part, you need to have gear that is reliable and meets your personal standard of quality. After that, it's just a matter of preference.
    Ric Vice, BadMonk, rmayer and 3 others like this.
  14. Thump C

    Thump C

    Dec 20, 2016
    Some people can play the bass and the bass can play some people! No!
    The Owl likes this.
  15. Warhawk

    Warhawk Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2003
    South of Heaven, Ohio
    What are you playing your bass through? I'd go to some music stores with the bass in question and try it with different amps. If you can't find the sound you're looking for then perhaps you need to look at the bass.
    Just because there's a ton of people using Fenders out there (don't get me wrong, I love Fenders) doesn't mean that you need one to sound good.
    jd56hawk and Ellery like this.
  16. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination

    Dec 30, 2006
    It is more important to have a bass that is problem free and has a good setup done regularly. Save money for better amps, but even those don't require boutique level of quality. I have a Sadowsky that is amazing, but I also have a Mexican P-Bass that is just as worthy as the Sad live or in studio.
  17. bridgecables


    Jan 11, 2016
    Is your bass comfortable and easy to play? Then it is probably fine for now. It's not some bottom of the barrel junk.

    If at all possible, take that puppy to a music store, and try some amps and other equipment out. Push it to the limit and find out how you like it. That'll answer the question better than 100 informed opinions.
    Ric Vice, The Owl, Relayer71 and 3 others like this.
  18. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    What you mean you already have "a bass"? A bass? Where do you think you are asking this question? This is TB where the rule is: You can never own too many basses!

    Of course expensive basses are necessary! That's why I own a bunch. So let's get your mind right. The real question is how versatile a bass do I need? Well that depends on what music you play. When I played in the polka bands I had one bass... a jazz ... well actually two basses, a Jazz and an upright, but we are talking bass guitars. What if you play more than one kind of music? Well people here in TB will assure you that a P-bass covers a wide range of styles. And it does. And my G&L L2500 is widely said to be one of the most versatile basses out there. Does it cover wide range of tone? Yes it does. Does it cover all cases perfectly? No it can't. No bass can. So the other option is to buy a bass that covers your music du jure perfectly. Fine. But if you change styles it now may no longer even be close to being right. Will my G&L L2500 work when what is really needed is my Alembic fretless 6 string? These two basses will be rather hard pressed to do a perfect job covering for each other. And neither will do the perfect P-bass copy either. So then you have to go buy the bass that perfectly covers the new style. Get it?

    So Where you fit into all this is up to you. But most of us here already have made up our minds. If you need a hint, go out and actually play a Modulus, a Ken Smith, an Alembic, a Fender custom shop, a real Stingray and so on, and then let us know what you think of them. You get to decide if any of them are "necessary".

    As for how "expensive", the rule is "if it sounds good, it is good!" I use my SX basses a lot because for certain things they do just what I want. The reason some basses are expensive is because they have certain features that are expensive to produce for a variety of reasons. If you have to have those features whatever they are, then you just have to fork out. If you find features/sound you want on an instrument that costs less, then lucky you.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
    The Owl, DrummerwStrings and gebass6 like this.
  19. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    nope but they sure are cool!!
    Ric Vice, rmayer, gebass6 and 4 others like this.
  20. Gizmot


    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    Okay - this is slightly uppity - but, as I've said before, it's not about what you use - but about who you are.

    Expensive basses are not a necessity of life, but they make it a lot more enjoyable. I love paying my nice basses and get a thrill everytime I strap one on.

    There are lots of analogies we could use here - but do you wear the cheapest clothes or drive the cheapest car? I'm not well-heeled, but I don't.

    I'm not extravagant and I make certain that I get my money's worth out of whatever I buy.

    Get something that makes playing more enjoyable and that you really enjoy. Life is too short to do otherwise.

Share This Page