Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

beginner

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by joedude, Apr 27, 2004.


  1. joedude

    joedude

    Mar 14, 2004
    I really, really want to learn to play bass guitar, and I was just wondering what the best package to buy is, on a budget.


    Joe
     
  2. Hurley

    Hurley

    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    Do a few searches on this site. I'd recommend Essex (SX) basses. Search for "beginner amps".

    :bassist:
     
  3. Check the starter packages HERE

    GUIDE LINES............

    Buying Your First Bass and Amp

    Most importantly I would advise you not to spend too much money on your first bass. Choosing the right bass won’t be easy until after you’ve been playing for a while. Once you have a good year of lessons behind you, you can make wiser choices with your (or your parents') money.

    Size

    Bass is a large instrument. It can be played with any size hands, but for most everyone it will require some stretching in the beginning that you are not used to. For beginners, it is a little easier starting on a bass that has a smaller neck. If your hands are smaller, go with the smaller neck. If you have large, meaty hands, go with the bigger necks if you prefer.

    Tone

    I could go on and on about tonal differences in basses, but in the few hundred dollars range the differences aren't that big. Get a bass that has two pickup configurations. Typically there are P-pickups and J-pickups. They are named after Fender's Precision bass and Jazz bass. The P-pickups look like two offset rectangles - one under each pair of strings. The J-pickups look like a long, thin rectangle. Both have their own sound. Also the placement of the pickups affects the tone. A beginning bass with a P-J setup will give you the most tonal variety.

    Where was it made?

    Most basses are now made in foreign countries. I have taught many beginner students and seen many beginner basses. The poorest quality basses seem to come from China, Mexico, Malaysia and Indonesia. The best quality basses seem to come from the U.S.A., Japan and Korea. This is definitely something you should pay attention to. It is usually clearly marked somewhere on the bass.

    4-String or 5-String?

    For a long time 4-string basses were your only option. Now there are 5- and 6-string basses. The difference is a 5-string bass has an extra lower string. This allows you to play 5 lower notes than a 4-string bass in standard tuning. This is pretty low! For most styles of music you don't need these lower notes. A 4-string bass can be tuned lower to get two of those lower notes. So you only really gain three extra notes on a 5-string. If you intend to play the hardest heavy metal, you probably do want a 5-string. Those extra notes will be used often.

    I think it is easier to start on 4-string. Some of the technique is easier in the beginning and changing over later is not too hard. Also, cheaper 5-string basses rarely sound very good.

    What I recommend

    For the money, I recommend MIJ Fender basses. They are Japanese made and are very consistent in quality. They sound good, are easy to play and are built well.

    What I would avoid

    I would avoid store brands such as Rogue.

    Buying Your First Bass Amp

    You will need an amplifier of some sort. Again, you will develop unique preferences for different sounding amps so don’t spend big yet.

    Watts

    Watts basically describe how powerful the amp is. More watts means more power which means more volume. If you are just going to be practicing by yourself at home, you don't need but 20 to 50 watts. If you plan on playing with a guitarist or keyboard player, you may need 200 watts. And if you plan to play in a band with a drummer right away, you need 300-400 watts. You don't want to turn up an amp more than 3/4 of the way. It sounds better to have more watts not turned up so much than fewer watts turned all the way up.

    Speaker Size

    Don't be fooled thinking a big speaker means more bass. A good 10-inch speaker can deliver more bass than a cheap 18-inch speaker. Smaller speakers have a punchier sound and bigger speakers have more boominess. A 12-inch or 15-inch speaker should serve you well.

    Get an Amp Now!

    Don’t wait to buy an amp. You need something to hear yourself or you will ruin your technique! Go buy something to get going.
    Practice hard and save money. When you learn how to play something, go around to all the music stores in town and play every bass and amp you can find. After a while you will begin to notice the subtle differences between various basses and amps.

    Then you can make your own decision based on your newly developed ears, eyes and hands.


    Good Luck and I hope you get some use from these suggestions!


    [​IMG]
    Treena
     
  4. petch

    petch Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    Well said Treena! :)
     
  5. joedude

    joedude

    Mar 14, 2004
    Is a Washburn XB100 a good beginner bass?
     
  6. bassturtle

    bassturtle

    Apr 9, 2004
    Yeah, not too bad at all :)