Bass starter packs for 4th-8th graders

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RutherfordBrave, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Sidebar: I wonder about buying and having kids play cheap instruments. But I am in two opinions at the same time.

    1) A cheap instrument will burn a kid out pretty fast if it's nasty to play or they cannot pull the strings down to fret them.

    2) A cheap instrument may cause a kid to want to do as good as he can even though it hurts to play - the challenge is ON and they almost instantly want a better instrument.

    I was in the #2 scenario for my first guitar. I KNEW there had to be something better out there and just stuck with it - bleeding and discolored fingers and all.

    Is there a PTA that could buy a dozen or so instruments and then rent them to aspiring Jacos every year?

    Seems to me that the recovery from the PTA's cash outlay (donations?) would pencil-out pretty fast.

    Perhaps the school wants to weed out the REAL aspiring bassists by having them hump that bass and amp to-from school. A little sweat is a great way to get the primadonnas out of the way - fast!
  2. Yeah, PTA... The issue here is that she teaches in Catholic Schools, not just one school. Usually they aren't big enough to support a full band program, so they have someone come in for a day to teach lessons and do a concert band that can do christmas songs and a spring festival. Organizing rentals via a PTA would be spread among five different schools, in her case -- not something that would even be easy with one school, I suspect.

    There is a local music store that will rent them a bass, amp, etc., but it ends up being the same price after monthly payments as it would have been if they just bought it outright at the beginning of the year. Good for the local store, but the parents seem to be awfully confused as to what to ask for (they usually end up with 34" scale basses, even if they were told to ask for SS) and then they ultimately want to buy something after a few months to not deal with rental fees. After going through this with a number of parents, this gets old pretty quick...
  3. Don't most kids either a) burn out in a couple of weeks or b) get it on and really want to play the instrument?

    There may be a third option too - the may want to change the instrument for something more to their liking or ability. I think renting would be the best way for this to work out.

    If - at the end of the burn-out period - the kid wants to be a harmonica player or something more 'portable' then the love may not be there in the first place and the rent stops when the instrument is surrendered to the rental store.

    That would seem to be a good way to cut the losses quick and no-body's out much at all.

    Some kids'll stick it out and then there's the specter of the parents really having to get with little Jaco and buy him/her a decent instrument.

    A Win/Win for everyone as far as I can see.
  4. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    Nothing you do will satisfy every need or desire. If I were organizing it I'd put together a deal for a package (not a pre-package) with short scale and one with a standard scale. Maybe around $300 on the low side to around $500 on the high side for a standard scale bass. If enough volume can be assured one of the vendors may be willing to give a 10%-15% discount on each sale.

    The parents can either go with what's been suggested and negotiated for them or take a trip to the music store and fend for themselves where they're almost certain to buy whatever crap that store is pushing if they don't know what they're doing.
  5. hhenry


    Feb 17, 2011
    NFLD, Canada
    The Squier Jaguar SS is the perfect guitar for your needs, Sir,

    PERFECT !!

    Good choice.
  6. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Inactive Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    This one here is easy. Google it. Find the best price and go for it. Any of the "starter bass packages" are very similar and will give you a good price fair deal. Most come complete with bass, amp, strap, cord and a few other things. The main decision is short scale or long scale. If you hate one kind, there are dozens more out there... Start shopping around. MF and GC usually have big sales on open box packages that you can pick up for a song (yes that was a pun)..
  7. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Honestly, I don't think the kids can tell the difference until after they know what they're doing and can feel it. I seriously doubt that one kid - particularly a fourth grader - sticks with it because he had a beautiful MIA Fender and another gives up because he was frustrated by a cheap Affinity.

    However, if one were to tell parents that they have to get the $1000 instrument, the response will be that most of the families can't afford it, and you will have a whole pile of kids who won't even get the chance to learn to play at all. Tell them that their kid can get started on a $150 instrument and they'll give it a try.

    My feeling is that beginner players, especially kids from families with tight budgets, should go ahead and get the cheapest decent bass they can. A year later, if they've stuck with it and have learned what they really want, they can go and sink the cash into a great bass. That was why I suggested the school acquire a set of SXs in bulk and rent them out; at the end of the year they can either go back to the school, or be bought by the families to keep. Rent them at $10 a month and the school will have its money back after a year anyway.

    In a couple of weeks if they don't have a structured program of lessons. I got my daughter a used guitar off CL for about $120. She took lessons for a year but never really practiced, I was ready to cancel the lessons but she insisted she liked having them. All of a sudden about six months ago she gets all excited about the Beatles and works hard to learn Beatles songs. She gets a lot of homework and doesn't practice as much as I'd like, but it took that whole year for her to really get committed to the instrument.

    And again, there will be a big difference between 4th graders and 8th graders here. 4th graders don't really have their own taste in music yet. They'll be motivated by whether the music teacher is nice and whether they can handle the material. 8th graders "own" their music more and will be motivated by whether they can reproduce some song they know and like, and how music competes with their other interests and entertainments.
  8. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    That's crazy. I wouldn't take something even MIM Fender level in without doing a setup on it(I do my own setups). I assure you that store-bought Broncos would immensely benefit from even a rudimentary setup (relief-action-intonation, not even doing the fret or nut stuff).
  9. Yeah, not so easy if you're a parent that's faced with 10 different options. A lot of these starter packages come with amps that aren't going to be useful for anything other than bedroom practice, so when they come to school and have to turn up a bit they sound like garbage if they're playing in the band. My first bass amp was a Peavey Minx 110, which I personally outgrew in about six weeks but had to keep for two years until I had saved up enough scratch to buy something bigger... That's a different scenario, of course, but I hate telling parents to buy something that's a POS when they can buy something that might be useful down the road. I would never want to play through a 15w amp with an 8" speaker like these amps, but if it were slightly more powerful with a 10", it might suffice for different things. (Note how I'm hating on my original Ampeg advice in the OP...).

    The ideal situation would be parents who were decently educated on the matter, but usually they have a thousand things going on and this seems inconsequential until their kid starts complaining about playing something that doesn't work well for them. That's a larger issue that usually is only addressed if she hands the phone to me when they call the house :)
  10. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Not to mention that many a parent doesn't know what action is. Those bass in a box deals are bought sealed and the kid gets what they get. They have no idea. But any Squier, SX, etc. Can be set up to play nicely. I suspect they rarely do when a parent buys one at some outlets.
  11. The Broncos were purchased through a local music store my wife used to work at. Like the SX option, she had to request that they get Broncos in and I assume they gave them a once over prior to pushing them out the door. But again, these are rentals, and when the parents go to buy from this place they end up spending another $100 after the store markup, taxes, etc. I fully understand the benefits, but when it comes down to it $300 vs. $400 ends up being a big difference for a lot of families.
  12. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    Cut out the middleman and make a mass order on the first day of school with rondo. If your broncos need setups (and believe you me they do) then paying so much more when an SX can be reliably setup to play well is a bad idea.

    On the amp side, do they ALL need gig-worthy amps? That's something i would expect the school to provide, since I can't see a kid wheeling a 1x15 or 4x10 to and from school every day.
  13. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    Dude, he's asking about the Jag Short Scale. :rollno:


    If you have questions about the Jag Short Scale, stop by the thread in my sig and ask away. I'm a little biased, but others will be upfront about it.
  14. Castle1227


    Oct 12, 2011
    Rowlett, Texas
    FWIW, I was given an ibby starter pack from a friend to get started on. It's a gio mikro short scale, and came with gig bag, tuner, cable, and practice amp. Not a bad kit by any means for a beginner.

    Bass shipped already set up, just tune n play. Had a local shop double check, and all was in order.

    Amp is serviceable for bedroom practice, and would be my only "complaint." It's tiny. 6.5" I think? Works, but push it too hard and you'll blow it right up. Still, very portable. Weighs nothing.

    Also included was a small tool kit for adjusting the action, ect. Nice addition for when you start learning how you like things set up.

    Gor under $300 shipped, not a bad way to go if you don't know if the kid will stick to it.

    Also, american musical supply generally has decent discounts, and will break purchases up into payments @ 0 intrest. An option for some parents that may not be able to eat the expense all in one go.
  15. It wasn't the scale, it was the body, bro. The body was so uncomfortable, it dug into my ribs. :bawl:
  16. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Inactive Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I will politely have to disagree. From 4th grade to 8th grade is a big difference. Middle schools here in my area all have amps that the kids use. The amp in those packages are supposed to be used for in your bedroom practice. No they are not super good or on stage playable, but for practice. Especially if price is the concern or even longevity of use. They are what they are. Starter kits. If the kid loves it, your golden for a birthday or christmas present of a larger more functional amp. If the kid hates it, then you can easily move it into the garage to collect dust and know you have not spent way to much on things. Now, since I am a musical parent of 3 very talented musical teens, I see this from a different perspective. Also, since 2 of my kids and myself mentor the music programs at our elementary and middle schools, we see this all the time. Most muggle parents just buy cheap without knowing. That is not what I suggested at all. I said to find the best deal. Knowledge is power!
  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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