Bass newbie seeks advice

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Armand Karlsen, Apr 1, 2002.

  1. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    I'm interested in learning bass guitar, and I'm asking if you guys have any advice for me (apart from "get a bass" :) ). A bit about me: I'm a leftie, interested in rock/metal, never picked up a guitar before.
  2. Stupidnick


    Mar 22, 2002 room...
    I was in this boat about 7 months ago...
    bass is pretty cool man.. hmm
    well I suggest when you buy a bass goto some music stores and see what you like..what may sound good to one person might not sound good to the other.
    but some good basses to look at are yamaha, fender, spector(very good basses), and corts...

    You dont want something cheap but not something that will put you in dept either..
    Just one thing.. Have fun and practice only when you want to.. dont feel forced to play your instrument..
    goto and learn some lessons once you get your bass.
    Drink lots of Mr Pib and jones soda.. okay well thats not 100 percent a neccesity.. but ya know..hehe >=D
    anyway.. just remember have fun.. and dont look as a bass as a backing instrument for a guitar..

    good luck on finding a bass

    EDIT: oh yeah..
    i forgot to mention if you like hard rock metal.. be sure to check out a distortion pedal.. this isn't a must.. but when i first got my fender i gotta real cheap rocktek metal worker and fell in love with it.. im running it through a peavey amp too. and people often say i sound like dimebag's guitar distortion.. it squeels.. =D
    but oh yeah make sure you buy an amp.. this isn't a 100 percent requirement but look at some like used instruments stores unless your willing to dish out good money for something thats real loud..
    but check out a amp thats around 20 to 50 watts.. thats all you need for now unless you wanna get into big wattage.. which makes your bass louder... heh
  3. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    Thanks for that. You said don't get cheapos.. are Peavy basses any good? Re: "don't look at a bass as backing for guitar".. that's the original idea that turned me onto bass - to see what I could do with bass as more of a lead instrument :)
  4. No....cheapos are bad. Somewhere in the middle is good. :p
  5. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    Distortion on a bass? Booyah! :D
  6. Stupidnick


    Mar 22, 2002 room...
    peaveys make good basses/amps..
    there made like 20 minutes from my girlfriend.. (meridian, Mississippi).. yeehaw.. lol

    Good luck.
  7. Very true. In other words, don't buy Squier.
  8. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    I've seen a couple of nice, affordable basses (according to the guy in the shop :p ) in my local music shop, one of them a 5-string. Now I'm working to get enough money to buy a basic setup.
  9. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    When you go to the shop to buy, try to bring a friend or acquaintance that plays already. They will be able to tell you whether the instrument is crap or not. What is key, of course, is whether or not you find it comfortable. Amp-wise, you shouldn't need more than a 30-watter at this point.

    As far as playing goes, learning a few songs that you like and playing along with the album is a good way to get started.

    I strongly suggest looking into learning some music theory (if you already don't know some). It's quite useful on bass, especially if you want to try it out as a lead instrument. Nevertheless, you should probably concentrate on picking up the basic skills first - fingering technique, rhythm, phrasing and time.
  10. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    I tried getting the feel of a righty in the store and i didn't like it one bit. And I like the idea of leftie bass, it sounds a little less "generic" to me :)
  11. Well, I'm left handed, and I play a right handed bass. But I can also write with both hands and eat and stuff with both, but that's not the point. I'm left handed and I can do it. But if lefty is easier for you go with left, but there isn't as much out there for left handers for some reason :( .
  12. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    We are only 10% of the population...
  13. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    If he is just beginning, lets not goet too complicated, wait a year or so until you get the hang of writing your own stuff and wanting to improve. After you have improved and modified your own music to the extent that you cant anymore, THEN go for the effects.
  14. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Hey Armand,

    Welcome to the wonderful world of bass.

    So you need a bass huh? I encourage you to get a bundle deal, (bass, amp, strap, case, and stand. Maybe even some picks). Many stores will offer discounts if you get a number of items together. I can't tell you much about leftie basses, but there are some things you should do before walking out of store with one.

    1. Don't fall in love with a bass for reasons that are only aesthetic. Just because it looks cool doesn't mean it's a good bass.

    2. Go to different stores. Some stores only carry certain brands, so you won't get a good feel of what differend makers' basses sound like. Guitar Center, in all their glory, seems to have a plethora of Ibanez, Warwick, Fender, and Musicman, but not much else. Visit different stores and see what is out there.

    3. Don't play through the best amp there. Play through an amp similar in quality to what you're going to buy. An incredibly impressive amp may "lie" about the quality of the instrument.

    4. Play it sitting down and standing up. You want the bass to be comfortable standing and sitting. Think long term. Although you may only be playing by yourself right now, in a year or two, or sooner, you may want to play with others, and you'll probably be standing up. You certainly will be if you play live for an audience.

    5. Put the bulk of your money into the bass, not the amp. You will find various opinions on this, but the reason I feel this way is because amps are easier to upgrade. You want a good bass that is comfortable to play. You can always buy a better amp down the line.

    Now that you have a bass, an amp, a strap, a case, and a stand, you're ready to play. Yes, have fun. Do all those things, but remember that you'll get out of bass what you put into it. Try this thread for some info on beginning:

    Read through that thread, and that might be helpful. Read through as many old threads here at Talkbass as you can.

    And definitely report back to us, let us know how everything is going, and please please please feel free to ask us any questions you may have. Their is an amazing amount of experience here.

    Good luck!
  15. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I forgot to mention. This was many years ago, so I don't about inflation, but I spent $450 on my "initial bundle." It included a 4 string fretted Ibanez, Peavey 65 watt amp, gig bag, 15' cable, and a stand. I think that this was a pretty good deal.
  16. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Welcome to the the mother of all instraments, bass guitar, and to talkbass.

    Jazzbo's post is loaded with great advice, but Id like to add one tiny little thing to it.

    When you test drive some basses through the amp's. Make sure the amp's equalization and high and low shelvings are set flat. (O on a rotary eq, and dead center on the other kind)

    This will allow you to hear the bass's natural sound and give you more acurate representation of what the bass actually sounds like. A good well eq'd amp can make even the biggest piece of junk sound good. So remember to set it flat.

    I also recomend that you play the bass unplugged for a short while so you can get a good idea of its natural acoustics.

    Good luck in your quest!
  17. Armand Karlsen

    Armand Karlsen

    Mar 30, 2002
    London UK
    I'm looking more seriously at various basses now (gonna get a job to actually pay for the setup). Would you say it's better to start on 4-string? I talked to some other people and they said it would be better to start on 5-string because it would get me used to more basses early on (i.e. i learn on 5-stringand a 4-string is a 5-string without the low B). Sounds a bit fishy to me...
  18. Hello Armand and a warm welcome to Talk Bass.

    One of the guys earlier suggested staying away from Squier. Whilst I'm not really a Fender man, I think Squiers are well worth a look. If nothing else they are a reasonable way of getting quite a fair bass (some Squiers are excellent instruments but you gotta sort them from the bad ones) for not that much £££. I had a Sq. Affinity P Bass who's set up was nothing short of superb. Like a fool I sold it :rolleyes:

    Think about buying used. You're less likely to get a complete kit that way but you're more likely to get a good instrument in really good condition at a good price. For instance, my dealer offered me a superb, used Yamaha BBN5 for £175. Compare that to their new price (£360) or a new Yamaha RBX270 @ £200.

    I really like Yamaha (though don't own one at present). Players really do seem to get a lot of bass for their money with Yammys. I was told that Yamaha subsidise their lower end basses (and, I guess, guitars) to get newer plaers onto the Yamaha ladder as it were.

    Best of luck.

  19. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    You can start on whichever instrument you prefer. Starting with a 4-string is done more traditionally, but that does not mean that it is easier or better, it just means that that is what most people do. A 5 string will give you greater ease and facility. You can play a wider range of notes without having to shift your hands as much. At the same time, the neck will be wider, and will take some getting used to.

    Try them out. Try out a 5 string and a 4 string. It's really just a matter of playing as many basses as you can. And I loved Cassanova's advice about playing the acoustically and with the EQ settings flat.