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Beginning with bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cindy5656, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. cindy5656


    Aug 17, 2012
    I've been playing guitar for about a year now and I want to learn to play bass. Unfortunately I don't know much about it and neither do my friends. I've been playing mostly poppunk and punkrock with the guitar and I want to do the same with bass, so not really the hard stuff, but pretty fast. The only problem is that I have pretty small hands (to compare on my guitar the range between my indexfinger and pink is from the end of the 1st fret till the end of the 4th fret, normal scale). With the guitar this isn't a problem, but I don't know if it will be with the bass. Ofcourse I've been thinking of buying a shortscale bass, but I am wondering if this won't effect the sound. I don't have the best experience with shortscale guitars, so I hope this won't be the same with bass. Right now I am still saving money, but my budget will be around €400-600. Preferably with amp included, but it doesn't matter if it's not. Is it actually a good idea to buy a signature bass, or could you get one just as good but way cheaper? I've been looking to the Mikey Way signature model if I'd buy a shortscale and otherwise I was thinking about the Matt Freeman signature bass.
    Next to that, what kind of amp could I buy best? I assume a Roland will always be good? I am not in a band, so it'll be just for home purpose.
    Thank you very much
  2. Welcome to the world of bass and welcome to TalkBass! This site and its members have a great amount of information to share with you.

    If you haven't done so already, take some time to go through the stickie posts at the top as they contain a number of frequently asked topics. Feel free to ask any questions in these forums. They are regularly answered within minutes. I'd like to think TB members are a supportive group.

    Don't worry about small hands. Large hands = bass is just a myth. I do not have large hands but a long shot. I have a 6-string and 7-string bass (just adjust thumb position.) Many companies produce shorter-scale basses. Perhaps you might be interested in 34" scale. Some companies produce a 32" bass.

    To begin, you can get a decent used instrument for a relatively low price if you look at Ibanez, Yamaha, Carvin, Spector (Legend), Schecter, Washburn.
  3. BluemoonIbanez


    Aug 14, 2012
    Playing bass is fun! :hyper: Go to a library and see if they have electric bass start books, beginner books, music theory of the bass, etc. Learn, read, play the notes in the book. They can teach you basic patterns you can apply all over the neck. Look for used gear, better gear at a lower cost basically. As for an amp, I suggest 15-25 watts for a decent home practice amp.
  4. +1 Also, you can look in the Ask a Pro section of TalkBass. YouTube can also be useful to watch some techniques.
  5. cindy5656


    Aug 17, 2012
    Most punksong (atleast the ones I know) are played with a 4 string bass, so I think that'll be fine for me too. Thank you for giving me a couple of brands, because I didn't really know where to start looking. My guitar is also a Yamaha and even though it's a cheap one, it has a good sound, so I'm very satisfied with the brand.
    I can read notes, because I've been playing clarinet for a long time, but I didn't know how to play a 'b' or something like that on the guitar, even though I knew the name of the note. So I just looked for the tabs on the internet, or tried it by ear. I don't know how it is with the bass, but I think I could learn that.
    Thank you for all the tips
  6. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Banned

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    I would treat this like a "beginner" situation, and pick up a low-cost, short-scale bass and a cheap amp. That way, you won't drain your bank account. Then. if you do join a band, you can upgrade your amp as needed to meet the volume level of the band.
    Punk bass has a pretty open-ended sound; I think of it as "cold and crunchy". I play punk with a Spector bass and Mesa amp, but my dream punk sound is Dave Riley's from Big Black: Peavey T-40 bass and old-ass Ampeg.
  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    My roland bass cube (I think, it has 4x4" speakers) it an absolutely amazing practice amp, it is expensive for a practice amp but easily the best practice amp on the market in my experience. It has a bunch of built in amp modelers, effects, tuner and most importantly a built in metronome that does 2/4,3/4,4/4 as well as 30ish drum patterns in a variety of styles.

    Short scales won't sound any different but I would highly recommend you try a 34" scale bass, it will seem large at first because you're used to guitar but it isn't that bad. I have seen some pretty small girls play full scale basses proficiently.
  8. Warmuth


    Aug 6, 2012
    I recently converted from guitar to bass and have small hands as well. The only time it becomes an issue for me is playing with the bass slung low. If I'm playing a song with a lot of 4 fret stretches I just adjust it higher. Mostly I only have to do this with older songs with more complex basslines. Pretty much anything in the harder/newer/punk rock territory can be played with 3 fingers and I often just use my index and ring finger for the four fret stuff since the bass line is usually pretty simple.

    I liked the Ibanez basses the best for my hands, nice thin necks and they feel very guitar-like body wise.
  9. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I agree with this. I used to play short scale though my hands are pretty normal and fingers nice and long. The big advantage is if you play chords or double stops. I can reach all kinds of things on a short scale I can't reach on a 34" bass. BUT, most all of the time bass lines are single notes, so this is why the small hands = short scale is a myth. Remember that the frets get closer together as you go up the neck!

    I also second the Ibanez thing. They are great values in basses. They feel wonderful and sound as good. I've got a cheapo Ibanez 6 string bar bass and it's probably one of the best feeling/playing basses I own. Tone ain't too shabby either for such a bargain bass. Check them out!

    And lastly I'd urge you NOT to get a "practice amp". Those always seem to end up wasted money to me. Try to find something used in a 70-100 watt combo. (My "practice amp" is a 75 watt Laney combo) That way you have decent practice volume and tone as well as having a nice combo for playing with others and quieter venues later on.
  10. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Check out Ibanez soundgear (SR) basses along with the Esp Ltd B & F series. Very nice slim necks. The jackson JS3 is also worth a try. While it is a little bit wider the profile is done in such a way that its just as playable as the Ibanez and Esp Ltd basses Ive owned.
  11. katplaysbass


    Jul 19, 2012
    I would recommend going to a big music store like Guitar Center and just trying out a ton of basses first of all to see what feels most comfortable in your hands. I have small hands too and I've never really liked the feel of shortscale basses. What I have found though is that basses with more of a Jazz bass profile neck (slimmer as opposed to a chunky P-bass neck) are easier for me to get around on.
    Try out a Yamaha RBX170 if you can. These basses are incredibly light and have a very comfortable neck for players with small hands. They're also super cheap, especially if you can find one used.

    As for a practice amp, a little Crate or Peavey combo should do just fine.

    Good luck!
  12. This...

    I bought my Jag SS used, and I jumped on it because I had previously went to a GC and tryed out basses. Fell in love with the neck (small hands person) and purchased a used Jag when one came up.

    That is the best way to find out what you like, even if you don't know any notes or strings or frets or anything. Just pick up basses and start plucking strings and moving your hand along the neck. Feel for the neck that you like and also pay attention to the tone and listen for what you like.

    Buy an amp that is 30 watts or more. Or buy the highest wattage at the lower price that you can find. I have a 30 watt "practice" amp and I keep on half way most of the time. But I have enough power also to jam with a guitarist or drummer if need be. Not as much as i'd like, but just enough. The more power you have the more you can turn it up and you can always turn it down. :bassist:

    Good luck.
  13. coldwar1977


    Aug 1, 2012
    Check out a Precision Bass. Perfect for punk.

    And one more tip: if you want to play punk rock you might consider playing with a pick to get the right sound. All famous punk bassists use(d) one!
  14. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
  15. cindy5656


    Aug 17, 2012
    Thank you all for answering, sorry that I respond so late.
    I would like to go to something like guitar centre, but I am Dutch and I live in a really small town, so the only music shops we have are really small ones. In 2 weeks when all my re-exams are done, I can finally look for a bass.
    I've been looking to the basses that you suggested, but I think I'll have to try a ss and a 34 inch to compare what I like better. Unfortunately the internet is not yet so far that I can try that online xD The only basses they have in store what you also mentioned is the the fender sr.
    I am wondering about the amp since you suggest atleast an amp of 30W (and some even 75-100W), can you turn it down enough? I live in a quiet neighbourhood and with my guitar I have only a 15W Amp I put the volume on about 1/10th. I don't mind turning it up a bit, but most of my neighbours see that differently since they have small children.
    I am glad that the small hands won't be a problem.
  16. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Banned

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    Yes, you can. A 15w guitar amp will be much louder than a 30w bass amp. There are several threads on TB that talk about sound output, wattage, and power. At 1 or 2 on the volume knob, a bass amp can be very quiet. However, it will vibrate through the structure of your house, so no bass amp is quiet enough if you live in an apartment and have upstairs or downstairs neighbors.
    You may want to get an amp with a headphone jack if you are worried about disturbing anyone.
  17. cindy5656


    Aug 17, 2012
    Luckily it's not an appartment. The houses are seperated, but it was more that the people a block away wouldn't still hear it. I assumed that 30W for a bass amp would get the same level of sound as a guitar amp. I will look for the thread, thanks

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