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Beginner bass for a early teen

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 4fit?, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. 4fit?


    Sep 11, 2008
    Hi all. I currently have a 1980 Peavey T-40. As you all know, that is one chunk of a bass. Well, my son (12 years old - into rock and metal) is wanting to take up bass and he is having a hard time with the weight and sheer bulk of the T-40. I have decided to part ways with the T-40 and pick him up something better suited for him.

    Now, here comes the age ol' question.......which bass for a beginner? I've talked to a local shop and he has offered to swap me even for a used Squire Precision Bass which he has for sale for $199. From the reviews I have read, this "even swap" doesn't sound so "even" to me.

    So, I believe I am probably going to sell the T-40 outright. Not sure what to ask for it or what I'll even get out of it. Anyhow, I have been looking at 2 Ibanez pieces; the GAXB150 and the GSR200. There is only about a $40 difference in the two (GAXB = $160, GSR = $200). The body styling of these really seems like something my son would really like, as opposed to the vintage-type styling of the Squire. The reviews on these seem to be pretty good, with the GSR having far more reviews than the GAXB.

    I reckon my question is.......what would you do? If you have any other recommendations other than the two Ibanez units I listed, please post them up. BTW, my price range is in the $200 area, which I know isn't going to get me a great bass, but something semi-decent for a beginner of his age.

    Thanks in advance for any help/guidance you can provide!!!!!!
  2. OXploiter


    Aug 1, 2006
    My suggestion is to take your son to a music shop and actually let him try out a variety of basses of different brands, to see what is most comfortable for him. At his age you don't want something that will negatively affect his posture.

    And you can tag along to keep him on budget :)
  3. EvilTwin


    Aug 5, 2008
    GSR200 would be a good choice. Nice thin neck for developing hands and P/J configuration so he can discover his sound, light weight. Pretty good bass for the money. It was my beginners bass, and it helped me explore what tones and neck I would prefer in my next bass. I still have it as a backup, even though I decided a thicker P bass neck would work better for me. I did need a good set-up and the factory strings didn't last long, but it stays in tune for a long long time and has a nice deep lush sound.
  4. 4fit?


    Sep 11, 2008
    Thanks for the reply. He has tried out a couple different basses, the GAXB being among them. The weight, neck thickness, and body styling are all what he is after. The GSR200 is roughly the same size and weight with a slightly different (better, IMO) body design which he actually likes better. But, we haven't been able to find one in a local shop to try out in person.

    After trying out the Squire today, I have determined that it is a bit big and bulky for him. The Ibanez (or something similarly sized & shaped) is what I will ultimately be looking for I believe.
  5. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    You won't go wrong with a GSR200 - it's very playable. However there is also merit in letting your son decide (with some steering from you) what he would like. Hopefully you can find someplace to try out a Squier P, Squier J, maybe a short-scale like a Bronco, and an Ibanez. Any of those (and others) would make a fine starter bass, but they are very different from each other. Give your son the deciding vote. Just my $0.02
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    T-40's get a lot of love around here. I think it might be worth while to get a supporting membership and see about maybe swapping with someone on the TB classifieds.

    Just a thought......
  7. mfgl


    Jul 1, 2008
    Altoona PA
    Im a beginner too so take it with a grain of salt....but i love my ibanez, sr485...which now is like the sr505 with different brand electronics. If you have a place around that sells used stuff you can get really nice ibanez for around 200. Thats what i paid for mine in :"like new condition". In any case everytime i go to the music store to buy accesories i fiddle with some of the other basses there, I say fiddle cause i can barely play a song but none feel as good/light/thin neck as my ibanez. A few sound a little deeper on the high strings then mine and i wish i had that, but once i get a bigger amp maybe ill try flatwound strings or some kinda effect to thicken up my high end. But for learning i think its the perfect bass, even for a five string, my newbie fingers i can reach a lot of notes and practice for a good while before cramping up while doing so. Not to mention the quality, the bass retailed over 500$ or so new, so it might not be the same comparing them to what you can get new for a few hundred dollars but all the low end basses i try at the store dont seem to have the same fit and finish, cheaper looking parts (tuners and bridge esp) Anyhow If you see any used Ibanez give em a look over, for a while there was a used sr485 here in classifieds for 215 shipped.
  8. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Excellent idea.
  9. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
  10. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    When I was your son's age I got a cheap P-bass copy. That's what I would recommend as well. Something from www.rondomusic.com would be a good start. Make sure it's long scale.

    Keep the T-40.
  11. How big is your son? If he's close to "man sized" then a full-scale bass (P, J, fill in the blank) that feels good will do just fine.

    My student is about 12 and he's not a big kid so we got him a Gretsch short-scale bass that fits him really well. He'll be able to play that for quite some time until he grows more and can better fit a full-scale instrument.


    A Squire Bronco, Fender Mustang or the Gretsch that we got for my student are good possibilities.
  12. gibsonbassist45


    Jul 13, 2008
    +1 for this great man.
  13. Bassenstien


    Jun 13, 2006
    Definately +100
    TB guys won't screw you and are very helpful
  14. gibsonbassist45


    Jul 13, 2008
    +1 for this great man.
  15. 4fit?


    Sep 11, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies guys!

    That is a very good idea. May just have to do that.

    The thing is, he really doesn't like the looks of the P-Bass and wants something more like an aggressive shaped Yamaha, Ibanez, etc. I have told him that the style doesn't affect the sound, but I know how kids can be. If he doesn't like the bass itself, then he's not going to like playing it. I have to get him something that he really likes.

    As for the T-40, I really don't have much use for it. I haven't played it in quite some time.

    My son is about 5'2" @ 92 lbs. Tall and thin. His hands are not that large, just like mine. I think he is too big for a really small scale bass like the Ibanez Mikro, but something in the 32" range would be perfect for him I believe.

    Again, thanks for all of the replies guys. Keep them coming! :bassist:
  16. Aw, just get him a Rickenbacker!

    It's aggressive-looking, shorter than 34" scale (33.25" or something like that, I believe) and it's one of the coolest bass brands on earth!

    Now dropping that kind of change on a first bass is probably not well advised, but hey, if he sticks with bass he'll be able to play that one till the end of time or until he decides he wants a more mild looking, less aggressive bass...

    I don't actually think you'd consider that as a viable option - but I thought I'd float it just the same.

    The Gretsch is a 30" scale - a little shorter scale than you cited, but longer than the Ibanez Mikro @ 28.5". I am an average size guy @ 5' 11" & 160lbs - I have long fingers so I can deal with 34" and 35" scale instruments. I love playing my student's bass! It feel great - not 'toy-like' or novel. It feels like a really solid, do the job instrument and it has that killer Les Paul-ish shape which is pretty rock 'n roll - maybe too retro for your son.
  17. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

  18. StarscreamG1


    Dec 17, 2007
    Hi OP! Good posts here and if I may add. I was 12 years old when I wanted to play bass and I bugged my grandparents for months about it (my mother passed away so I was with her parents)...well one day they went and got me one. I had no say in what I wanted and never got a chance to see what was out there. He just walked in one day and handed me a Memphis Lawsuit Pbass copy. :scowl: No books, no lessons and least of all no knowledge on how to 'set up' the neck...Im surprised I still play (again) after the horrible breaking in on I got with it.

    PLEASE take your son with you and allow him to have a say in what he wants. He is the one who has to play it so he will know, even as a beginner he should know what neck feels good to him IMO. And then at the very least have him learn about how to set up the neck!!

    I would keep your T40 if I were you. Oh it would get much love here and there'd probably be a line of people to buy it if you posted it (after you upgraded your membership) and you might think thats ok cause you don't play. I got rid of my T40 thinking I'd never want to play again and some years later when I got back into it (last year) all I could obsess about was getting a T40 back!! Which I did :hyper: :ninja: :bassist: :p

    Oh and by the way, no way is that an even trade; the T40 for the Squier. :scowl: T40s are starting to come into their own value wise. If you wanna sell it no one can make you not but don't let yourself give it away!!

    Welcome to the board! ^_^
  19. kjpollo


    Mar 17, 2008
    I gotta say, the advice you get around here is usually really good and this thread is no exception.

    Hit as many guitar shops as you can find in your area and let your son play as many basses in your price range as possible.
    This way, he'll feel more like its really "his" bass.

    Also-you've gotten great advice on the T-40. If I had extra $$$ and didnt need to do something about my amp, I'd have made an offer already. But those basses are PLAYERS!!! If the electronics are still good, you can coax a large range of tones from 'em. Plus they're pretty near indestructible. The key is how well you can handle the weight.
    If you do upgrade your membership, you will probably have no trouble selling it, even in a pretty "down" market.

    Like several others have said, those basses are well-valued in these parts. Wish I still had my old one....
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Rondo has lots of models that have more "modern" shape that may better suit your son's preferences, definitely check them out. Going to a store is a good ida of course, there's so much to choose from, as a beginner looks are easily as important as tone, maybe even moreso!!

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