Beginner Bass Guitar Recommendations

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jake Chess, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Jake Chess

    Jake Chess

    Feb 11, 2011
    Hello, I am a new member of TB Forums and I have decided to start learning the bass because it expresses the most heart-moving sound I have ever heard.

    I know very little about the bass (though I am familiar with reading notes and scales [I played piano for a number of years as well as learned the bass for a short time]).

    What bass guitars would you recommend for a person that is 5'5" (1.68m). Is fairly cheap (I won't really notice to much of a difference between a really good bass and a beginners bass). And will last for a while?

    I have searched the internet and people say to stay away from the Fenders. I also heard that the Ibanez GSR190 is highly recommended.
  2. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    Fenders (and to an arguably varying lesser extent Squiers) are quality instruments. I don't own any, and I never will, but they are legit basses.

    An Ibanez SR is a good choice for a first bass. They are light and ergonomic, and their necks are quite skinny. A GSR190 is as good a choice for a first bass as any other.
  3. Ibanez, Yamaha or Squier. Buy used.
  4. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    Normally my standard recommendation for a first bass is a Squier P. But since you are a smaller player, I would recommend one of the Ibanez GSR series, or perhaps an Ibanez Mikro. Small-bodied basses with slim necks, relatively lightweight and easy to handle.
  5. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Look into the Squier Vintage Modified & Classic Vibe series. They offer Precision, Jazz & Jaguar basses.They are very good entry level and beyond basses at affordable prices.
    By the way, welcome to the deep end!
  6. I'd suggest an Ibanez SG series bass also. They are inexpensive, very well built, comfortable and will last a very long time. Probably the best bass on the market in the price range that you are aiming for and I will presume that you are looking to spend between $200 and $300.

    My first bass that I bought 8 years ago was an Ibanez Soundgear 300 DX model. It was a great bass and my teacher could play it and make it sound like a million dollars. I got caught up in the Fender craze that, if you hang around internet forums long enough, you may get caught in a craze too. Nothing wrong with that. Fenders are a great instrument.

    Today I prefer G&L basses but I wish I'd have never sold that 1st bass.

    Good luck and remember that your focus should mainly be on learning how to play your bass and not too much on gear.
  7. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I still have my first Ibanez Soundgear SR-400. Bought used for $200. I have had several more expensive Ibbys since then - same feel but none had the same great sound as this 400, so I can't part with it. It is my backup backup.

    VERY easy to play and a large variety of sounds. Great bass for you. Just for example - there is a Soundgear bass right now on the L.A. Craig's List for $135. If it isn't abused, this is a good deal on a good bass.

    Don't get sucked into buying a really cheap bass - it can be very hard to play with poor sound and discourage you.
  8. Jake Chess

    Jake Chess

    Feb 11, 2011
    I firstly would like to say thank you all for the very informative and quick replies; The responses really does help!

    Alright, that's good to hear. I just wanted to check. I'll check out the Ibanez. Haha~ I don't want to be 'lugging' around my bass.

    Yes, I heard that buying used is always a good idea for beginners. Thank you for reminding me. ^^

    The original reason why I made a separate thread about this topic (even though there are many like it) I wanted to make sure that the bass is right for me. You know? The fit and feel is somewhat important for me.

    I see! I will then look at the Squiers, for it seems like they are recommended rather often too.

    Technique over glam, yup yup, I agree. Thank you for the detailed recommendation!

    Just another set of questions:

    Do basses have assigned brand of 'strings' that would be optimal to use or is that a negligible detail?

    Should I go to a music store and try out basses hands-on or just look into recommended basses online?
  9. The gsr190 is a good starter. I'm assuming your refering to one of the jumpstart packs? If thats what you like go for it. I still have mine and play it regularly around the house. 6 years latter the bass and the amp still work great.
  10. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    A used Squier Precision or Jazz can last you for years.
  11. 1) As far as string brands being assinged .. NO but scale length and number of strings (4,5,6.ect.. ) and the tone you want (this one is major) are huge factors. Theres a million string threads on here check them out.

    2) Always go to a music store and try before you buy if possible, Always.

    Good Luck!!!
  12. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    Yeah, the GSR190-200 are very good starter instruments that will easily suit you for many years, they could serve as a good backup instrument down the road as well. Great product for the price, especially used.
  13. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    Squier or SX - A Jazz or a Precision copy. They work well even in a decent band.
  14. Jake Chess

    Jake Chess

    Feb 11, 2011
    Good to hear some personal reviews.

    I'm more leaning on the GSR, but I'll come back for a final decision.

    1. Should I just come with the strings the bass comes standard and then as I get better switch?

    2. I shall! Thank you for the advice!

    A lot of good things I hear about the GSRs. I will probably chose a GSR that feels right for me.

    Alright, what are the differences between the Jazz and Precision?
  15. StrangerDanger

    StrangerDanger Neo Maxie Zoom Dweebie Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    North DFW, TX
    Not to put too fine a point on it but here ya go:

    Jazz-skinnier neck, 2 single coil pick ups, More highs and lows, Cuts thru the mix

    Precision-Chunkier neck, 1 humbucking pickup, more midrange punch, Sits well in the mix

    You can also get a P with a J neck and mixed pick ups, these are typically called hybrids.

    Take a look at Fenders website and you'll get the idea.

    Peace and happy thumping.
  16. honeyiscool


    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    My first bass was a Squier Bronco Bass and I still love it. I love it so much that I've never felt the need to upgrade to a Jazz or a Precision, I went sideways to a Musicmaster and Mustang Bass instead.

    If you're 5'5", you might do well to have a smaller instrument. The Bronco is not an instrument that sounds good right out of the box, but it's one pickup change away from having a killer sound.
  17. Just bought my first bass a few weeks ago. I'm 5'6". My advice would be to play around on as many basses as you can at a music store that has a large selection to choose from; something like a Guitar Center or Sam Ash. Take note on which guitars feel right in your hands: weight, balance, neck girth, etc. Tone is important, too, but also know that different strings, proper setup, and even the amp that you use affects a bass's sound. I ended up getting a new Yamaha RBX170 for $180; compared to the other basses that I auditioned, it was the best for me in that price range. If you decide to buy a used bass, invest in a set of new strings; new or used, have your bass set up by a professional to insure that your investment will sound and play at its best. Good luck!
  18. BigOldHarry


    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Test drive at stores and find the make / model you like
    DO NOT STRESS about color. Stress about feel / playability / tone.
    Buy used on TB Classifies or Ebay
  19. Jake Chess

    Jake Chess

    Feb 11, 2011
    Thank you everyone for the great advice. I will definitely be able to get a good start with your help.

  20. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have someone who is knowledgeable with you if you shop locally - and for a first bass you should if possible. They will be able to point out things about the instruments that you will not see. Also they can steer you away from used basses that have problems that are not obvious.

    It is also really good to find someone local who can help you set the bass up and teach you how to make your own adjustments. The setup on most instruments in shops and ordered online is pretty sad. There may be some exceptions in high end basses but that is the rule with the more affordable instruments.

    Good Luck,