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Bass Suggestion

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rick P., Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Rick P.

    Rick P.

    Apr 18, 2015

    I'm in the market to buy my first bass guitar. I don't know how to play bass but from what I've seen I'd like to purchase a four string fretless electric bass. Can anyone argue why this wouldn't be a good choice (getting fretted and or more strings?). Can anyone also recommend a good model to purchase? I'd really like to get a good quality instrument in the 1k to 2k range (maybe someone can argue about the price point versus quality as well). I'm totally new to this so I have really nothing to go off of. As far as the kind of bass music I enjoy a good example would be "Get The Funk Out" by Extreme, have always enjoyed rock music with a prominent bass sound to it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    If you are attracted to 4-string fretless, there is nothing wrong with starting out with that. Against it, someone might point out a greater learning curve for fretless as opposed to fretted, where all the notes are laid out for you. If you are a new musician with an untrained ear, this will certainly present an added challenge.

    As far as having the added strings, quite a bit of modern music at least occasionally hits notes below open E. And both the low B and high C strings provide added fingering options to limit shifting. But 99% of the notes you will be called upon to provide as a bassist will probably be found in the traditional 4-string range.

    With regard to what bass to get, other than boutiques you pretty much have a wide-open field with that budget. You could get a MIA Fender, a Stingray, a Carvin...all good choices, but it depends on your personal tastes. I'd recommend getting your hands on as many as possible, then spending some quality time with your top contenders.
  3. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    A fretless 4 is just fine. Learn a fretless & you'll be ahead of many/most when it comes to tone. If you've got a grand or 2 to burn, also peachy. Buy used (in excellent or minty shape) to get the best bang-for-the-buck. The TB classifieds is a super place to look (& buy).
  4. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I wouldn't start with a fretless unless you really understand what you're getting yourself into. There's a good reason why Leo Fender put frets on the electric bass, and why fretted basses are much more widely used than fretless ones.

    My recommendation to any beginner starting from scratch is to borrow or rent an instrument and amp to begin learning on, if at all possible. One reason is that once you've spent some time learning to play, you'll have a better sense of how much you love it (or not) and how committed you are to it, and thus how much you are willing to invest in it. Two grand seems to me like an awful lot of money to invest in something that you haven't even actually tried yet. Another reason is that the more you are able to actually play, the better position you are in to try out different basses in a store to see what you like and what you don't like. If you started out learning some stuff on a borrowed fretted bass, you could then try out a fretless and see for yourself how different it is -- and then be in a better position to decide if that's really what you want.
    BassHappy likes this.
  5. revroy

    revroy Supporting Member

    and also don't forget to budget in an amp - it has almost as much to do with the end resulting sound as your bass. You don't need huge or overly powerful at this point but a poor quality will make even the best bass sound poor.

    I would argue a fretless jazz bass, either made in mexico or even one of the Squire Vintage Vibes. They are quite good for the money, heck, quite good period. Used, they are very inexpensive and resale is good. Then get a quality small amp. If you can find a used Genz Benz shuttle or Contour, that is what I would choose. Genz Benz is no longer in production, but there are other very good options out there. Then, either bank the rest of the money and treat yourself to a really nice bass in a couple of years when you know what you want or use the money to get lessons from the best teacher you can find.

    Another bass option would be to order a Carvin bass kit. The wood parts are extremely high quality and the hardware & electronics are not bad. Then you also have the fun of putting your bass together (not difficult if you are good with your hands, patient, and careful). If you do a good job, it will be the equal of any factory bass. The downside is that resale value will be very poor regardless of how good a job you have done

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