best bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NAF1138, Jun 21, 2001.

  1. NAF1138


    Jun 19, 2001
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I decided that I wanted to start playing bass. I do play guitar, but as I have found out by reading this board, that ain't going to help me too much. That's why I wanted to start this post out by saying thank you, to whoever the thanks should be given to. Talkbass was a godsend, I got so much info I wouldn't have been able to get otherwise. Thank you.

    Ok onto the question. This is just asking for your opinion. I haven't bought a Bass yet, but don't have much of a place to start for comparison, a frame of reference so to speak, of what a really high quality bass sounds like. Basicly I don't know what to listen for if I am just going to go down to my local guitar center and start trying stuff. (I did do this the other day, had no idea what I was listening for and left almost as confused as when I went in). So here is what I want to know. What are, in your opinion, the absolute best basses out there. I plan to go back, play them, decide what I like, and then find a bass in the $300 range that sounds as close as I can get. I kind of have an idea of what is good, but I know a lot of them are not "mainstream" basses that I would be able to find easily at a Sam Ash or Guitar center.
    Also, just for fun, what do you like about the bass.
    I think I can figure out what to get on my own if I can get this little bit of info.
    Thanks again,
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Nick - Welcome to TalkBass. Hope you have some fun and learn a little here.

    Maybe I don't understand your statements above correctly, but it appears you're asking for recommendations of the absolute best basses so you can go out with your $300 and get one of them. Er, uh, $300 might get you the pickups or the quilted maple body top from one of the finest basses but that's about it.

    Are you asking about good choices to consider for your $300 ?
  3. Cogno

    Cogno Guest

    Jun 11, 2001
    A used Mexican Fender Jazz or P Bass
  4. You can get a NEW one for $300.

    Um, $300 isn't going to get you the absolute best bass out there, and I don't think anyone would agree on the best one anyway. But a Fender would be a real good idea.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    NAF1138, welcome to Talkbass.

    I think that you are wanting us to recommend the best basses that are available, so you can compare them to $300 basses, which is the actual price you are prepared to spend.

    This is probably a futile quest, for 2 reasons.

    First of all, best is a very subjective term, so you are likely to get 100 different answers on the best bass. Second, it's going to be hard to find a $300 bass that compares to the best out there.

    I will make a few recommendations on really good basses to compare cheap ones against though.

    Pedulla, Warwick, Lakland, Zon, Modulus, Fodera, Sadowsky, Peavey Cirrus, Ken Smith, Warrior, Conklin, Curbow, Mike Lull, MTD, F Bass. The list is endless.

    Infortunately, a lot of these cannot be found at Guitar Center, Sam Ash or your local mom & pop store.

    Play as many as you can, and then play the models in the $300 range. You might find an inexpensive bass that you like, but probably not as much as your favorite top end bass.

    A couple of decent $300 basses to look at are the mexican made(MIM) Fender Jazz bass and Precision basses. Peavey, Yamaha, Cort, Washburn and Dean also make decent low priced basses.
  6. Fleabass is right. i got my MiM Jazz bass for 310$
  7. THe MIM prices have gotten real weird. I was at teh GC yesterday, and they had 3 midnight blue J's, all MIM, all new. 2 of them had a price tag of $220, the other had a price tag of $340, is there a reason for this?
  8. ]

    strange....the only thing i noticed is in my musicians friend catalog, the MIM jazz is now $319, and it used to be $299. The MIM jazz fretless is $349, where it used to be $319. The Jazz V is now $389, where it used to be $349. Haven't noticed any P price changes yet. They're probably next.
  9. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    So, as already stated, I'm understanding that you want the best bass out there, but only want to spend $300.

    Spending $300 on a bass is fine. But, you won't get anywhere near a $3000 in almost any single category, let alone a combination of them.

    Another issue is that different people like different things on basses. Some (but certainly not all) of these are

    different woods - perhaps more rare and/or more highly figured.

    hardware - some hardware is better than others, some just different.

    electronics - one difference in price can be active vs. passive. But, there are passive basses out there that are more expensive than active. It's a wide open area.

    construction - neck through vs. bolt-on vs. set-in necks can affect the price, sometimes a little bit, other times quite a bit. Within the "neck" issues are other areas of contention as well, such as neck shape and if whether or not the neck was laminated. Ultimately, construction is a very big deal with sound, and you can write texts that discuss only characteristics of construction of a bass guitar.

    name brand - like it or not, some brands simply cost more because of the name they carry. Peavy may never make an instrument that costs over $3,000, whereas Fodera may never make an instrument that costs under $300.

    Certainly there are many more areas of contention that I haven't listed, and within each area, there are tremendous possibilities that can affect feel, sound, price, aesthetics, and snob-appeal. The bottom line is that you'll have a hard time finding a $300 bass that sounds like a Fodera, Sadowsky, Spector, Elrick, MTD, Pedulla, or Alembic, but many of these basses may be able to dial up the sounds of a MIM Jazz...;)
  10. NAF1138


    Jun 19, 2001
    Los Angeles, Ca
    yes, I can only spend around $300, no that is not what I was asking for. Embellisher got it right, I just want something to compare the cheaper basses to. I just was hoping I could get some advise on what was actually good, rather than just playing everything that is expensive in my local guitar center. A friend told me that music man stingrays are really good, but he isn't really a bass player, more of a guitar guy who know a little about basses. I Hear a lot about Shadowskys (sp?) and G&L's on the board here, but as far as I know I haven't seen either of these in the guitar stores near me. I guess I just want to have an idea of what a great bass is supposed to sound like, that way I can work my way toward that goal sound. I know that there are probably hundreds of different opinions, but that is ok, I want a lot of different input that way I can make up my own mind what I like, I just was hoping for a little guidance.

    Thanks again,

  11. well obviously this is very difficult but i understand completely, as having started playing not too long ago. basically it all becomes preferrence, but ya always got to find your preference somewhere. well a good first call i'd say, listen to basslines you are maybe familiar with in bands and see if you like how it sounds(typically bassists like a bass that can cut and has punch, but not all). then find out what that bassist plays, of course his bass is probably custom made totally, but its a place to start. also as far as basses i'll try to stay with brands that are out there more and give a variety to cover some of the different "types" of basses(though sound and feel is limitless there are kind of categories) spector and warwick basses are definately a place to start. many people like fender, and that might be your cup of tea. your friend was right about stingrays, Ernie Ball makes quality stuff, though you may or may not like it(i personnaly don't) then i'd say modulus, MTD, G&L round out the different types as well as i can without going too high end with basses that you won't find( like alembic) also just look at the price tag, if its expensive that means some people at least must think its worth it, you pay for what you get, though there are better and worse. happy hunting, but also i'd just like to note spectors make a pretty good lower end bass(professional series) and MTD make some good ones(Kingston) so if you like those brands they aren't totally out of reach, same with fender. good luck
  12. FunkFlo-Mofo


    Jun 22, 2001
    I'm really not sure what everyone thinks is so great about those Fenders. I've played on a few bases in my day, and in my opinion Fenders play about as well as a 2-by-4 with strings on it. They have great tone, I'll give 'em that. But the one I played was 1300+ bucks, and I wouldn't choose it over my Ibanez Ergodyne in a million years. If you want my opinion on a first bass, get an Ibanez. They're made over seas (some models) so they're cheap. Also, because of the price, the features are are the same as higher priced models. For example, the 1300 dollar Fender didn't have active electronics, a countoured body, an extremely smooth rounded neck, or a 5 piece neck, like, again, my beloved Ergodyne. That's just my opinion. Course, as far as high priced basses go, I'd rather have a Warwick. They make me drool. Oh yeah, Conklins are sweet too.
  13. agyeman

    agyeman Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    Try an Ibanez ATK400 if your shop has imported some from Japan. They are great basses for the price, and have lots of features like active electronics and tru-body stringing.
  14. liran


    Dec 18, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
  15. I started off with a Squire P-Bass, I learned so much on it :). Anyways My friend started off with an Ibanez it was good too. Umm so I think that An Ibanez or a Squire are good starter basses.
  16. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    For $300, old Ibanez Roadstars and Peavey Palaediums or Dyna basses are hard to beat.

    Welcome to the board.
  17. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    NAF, I think you're on the right track.

    Testing _everything_ to find a perfect set of ergonomics and sound (perfect for you, and in that order of priority) and thereafter choosing the best within ones budget.

    Way to go, mate! And welcome on board!