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Bass dilemma--Please Help!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TN_writer, May 26, 2004.

  1. TN_writer


    Feb 3, 2004
    Maybe you pro’s can help me out. Forgive me if I’m a bit wordy here, but I wanted to convey all the info so I could get the best opinion from you folks.

    I’ve always loved the low sound and depth which a good bass player gives the tunes. About 6 months ago I decided to learn how to play the bass (I already play piano and keyboards).

    I purchased a used Peavey Milestone IV 4-string ($200) just to see how I would like this. I took some lessons, read some books, and watched some tapes and jumped in. I hooked it up to my home system (mixer board, monitors, etc.) and started playing from sheet music then moved up to playing along with some CDs (rhythm & blues, pop, etc.—no metal or funk). I replaced the flat-wound strings with round-wound and liked the sound a bit better.

    Now after 6 months I find that I’m really addicted to this instrument (haven’t touched my piano / keyboards too much as I play my bass all the time). My wife is really amazed how well I can play my “cheapie” Peavey. I don’t plan to play for any band (maybe stand-in for a few tunes just to have some fun) as I play mostly for my own enjoyment.

    I know how important it is to have a good instrument in order to “move to the next level” and I’m ready to move up to a new bass. I would like to move up from my 4-string to a 5-string in order to get more sounds. I want a bass which has good low sounds but can also cover a wide range of tones, mid-range and up, but I do love those low bass sounds with punch.

    After some research over the last month I’ve narrowed it down to two basses: Either a new Carvin LB-75 (about $1,100) or a new G&L L2500 (about the same price). I’ve read a ton of reviews on the Internet and seem to get more confused. Yesterday I stopped at our local music store and saw a new G&L L2500--it was gorgeous and seemed to play well. I’ve never had the opportunity to pick up a Carvin (I live in a small town and we don’t see anything but mostly cheapie basses) and I’m afraid of ordering one without playing it.

    I’ve heard that swamp ash bodies are better than any other wood. Should I be concerned with what type of wood the body and neck have?

    Both instruments have good reputations. I’m kind of leaning towards the G&L as I believe I can get a wider range of tones with it vs. the Carvin (more electronics). My hands are a little small but this doesn't seem to really be a problem with the G&L.

    So, which instrument do you folks think I’d be happier with? What are the pro's and con's of each?

    With regards to strings, I’m thinking about putting some D’Addario strings. What are your suggestions here as to what kind of strings I’d be happy with?

    Thanks in advance for any info you give to help me make this important decision. Feel free to email me with any suggestions.

    Thomas Kennedy
    Morristown, TN
    email: tkennedy@charter.net
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    In your situation, I would go for the G&L, simply because I have experience with it. On the other hand, I have never played a Carvin and the reviews seem to be all over the place with those.

    Wood does affect tone, abut there is no best at anything. I have heard it has a bright, deep tone (think 70's Jazz sound)

    As far as D'daddario strings, I like the XL Lights (XL170, I believe). They are perfect for me because they sound great for picking, finger style, and slapping.

    Good Luck choosing your bass,
    Adam Barkley
  3. If you aren't planning on playing out with a band, I'm not sure a 5 string is the right direction. You will not find yourself sitting around the house noodling on your B string.