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Buying a bass, need some suggestions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gsummer, Mar 13, 2001.


  1. gsummer

    gsummer

    Feb 11, 2001
    I am looking to buy a new bass that will be my only instrument (at least for now :). I currently play a Fender P-bass special (anyone want to buy it?) Anyway, I like Fenders but I know that there is alot more out there. Could you please give me suggestions for what bass company or model I might want to try. The styles of music I play are: Blues, Rock, Funk (fingerstyle and slap and pop) and jazz. I am also getting into flatwounds and I want a bass that works well with them too. I am thinking of going for a passive bass (partly because its cheaper and partly because I like the more fundamental sound). What bass would handle these styles and requirements the best (in your opinion of course). Please let me know what you think. I do not have the years of experience playing different basses that some of you do so it would be a great help. Also, I have not ruled out Fenders by any means so feel free to let me know which model Fender would be the best for me. Thanks.

    Galen
     
  2. gsummer

    gsummer

    Feb 11, 2001
    Oh I forgot, I should add that I am looking strictly for a 4 string. I'm not putting down people who play multi-string basses, but it just isn't my style.

    Galen
     
  3. If it weren't for the passive requirement, I would have recommended you try out a MM Stingray.

    But as everyone else will tell you, go to your local shop and play every bass. That should help.

    FF
     
  4. Gsummer, I can entusiastically recommend The Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass. As you probably know, it's a thin hollow body bass, but, I've had absolutely no problems with feedback. It would
    be perfect for all the styles of music you mentioned
    except slap; it's more of a dig in finger style bass, but, of course you can use a pick. As for the sound,
    it's hard to describe without hearing it live, but to
    give you an idea, it sounds kind of like a good Pre-CBS Precision bass, but has an extremely warm tone
    and an open type acoustic sound. I know this description sounds odd, but you really have to hear it first hand. It's got a low impedence( not low volume ) humbucker hooked up to a Gibson type 3 position varitone switch which gives it an output from mellow to wild. One excellent sound you can get out of this beauty is to turn the midrange all the
    way down on your amp; sounds like a cross between a bass guitar and an upright bass. The neck is close to the width of a P-bass, but flatter.
    The neck is also the most balanced I've heard on any bass from low E to the 20th fret, period. No dead/hot spots. I wanted on for about a year and
    a half just from the ad they used to run in Bass Player Magazine, and the reviews of a few owners that I'd run across on the web. I bought mine online without ever hearing one live or playing a single note on one; it was a gamble I know, but, it sure paid off. I have nothing but praise for this axe. It's so underrated and overlooked.

    Well, that's my two cents. This will probably be the only recommendation you'll read for this bass, and it's a shame. It really is a top quality superb sounding bass.

    Good luck with your search,

    Mike J.

    P.S. This bass was made for flatwounds.
     
  5. gsummer

    gsummer

    Feb 11, 2001
    In regards to the stingray suggestion, I am not against active PUPs and I have played a few stingrays and liked them. I have heard other people say that they didn't fit well in a jazz setting, though, and while that is not a major problem it was somewhat of a concern. Of course maybe they were wrong. Also, how would flatwounds sound on a Stingray? The one I played had a nice powerful punchy tone, but it didn't exactly say flats to me.
    As far as the Jack casady, I have yet to try one and from your glowing review it sounds as though I'm missing out. Do you really think it wouldn't work for slap at all? If that is the case then I probably would need a different bass. Maybe one day I'll get an epiphone in addition to this bass I buy now.

    Galen
     
  6. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Joplin,Missouri
    I love my warwick corvette pro-line but that might be more than you want to spend! But i love the funk slap tone it gets!
     
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    I'm going to suggest a Zon Sonus. It's just like a souped-up Jazz bass. The neck is super fast and comfortable and sounds fantastic. Lighter than most other basses too.

    Will C.:cool:
     
  8. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Joplin,Missouri
    Hey big wheel ive wanted to try a zon do they have the ability to get very low action without hitting fretts? How much was it?
     
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Yes. They're fully adjustable, except for neck relief.

    As for price, you can get them for around a grand. I got mine in a trade with a friend.

    Will C.:cool:
     
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    If you do not want active electronics, that let's out a lot of fine basses.

    A good P bass or Jazz bass might be what you are looking for.

    As for basses with preamps, here is another vote for a Zon Sonus.

    I have a Sonus Custom fretless 5 and it is the best bass that I have ever played, except for a Sadowsky that I was fortunate to play once.

    Here's a pic of mine. Mine has about every option so was pretty expensive, but like BW said, you can get a fretted 4 entry model for around $1100, and I have seen used ones for around $850. You don't see many used Zons though.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Hey, M-Bel. I never considered trading my Pentabuzz for anything until I saw your Zon. Jeez, that's Gorgeous.

    Will C.:cool:
     
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Thanks, BW! I love my newest baby.

    I chose it over a PentaBuzz, and it was a tough choice because I have had GAS for a Buzz since 1979 or 1980.

    But after having it for a few weeks, I know that I made the right choice.:)
     
  13. Embellisher, simply irresistable!

    Let me go out on a limb here; as far as the wood
    goes, is it flamed maple on ash?

    Mike J.

    Trying my hand at identifying woods. She's beautiful.
     
  14. Gsummer, as far as the Casady goes, I can't say enough good things about this bass. I know it almost sounds like I work for Epiphone, but just about everything they say about the Casady in their ad is true! I'm not really into slapping, but believe me, this bass was not made for that.
    It's a real shame they don't market this thing more
    aggressively. I even wrote that on the warranty card when I sent it in. A lot of guys don't consider
    this bass because a lot of stores don't carry it. If you don't buy one as a first bass, consider it as a
    second; you'll never regret it.

    Mike J.
     
  15. air_leech

    air_leech

    Sep 1, 2000
    Israel
    if you put down that "no active EQ" rule it sounds like this guy wants a Lakland.

    a G&L might also be a good choice, they are relatively cheap 2nd hand and you can enjoy both passive and active sounds and the active mode is not too harsh since the EQ is passive all the way down (down--> because since it's passive you can only cut freqs. but not boost).
     
  16. gsummer

    gsummer

    Feb 11, 2001
    I don't quite understand what you mean about my no active EQ rule? Are you saying Lakland's are passive? I assumed they were mostly active basses, but maybe they make some that aren't (or maybe they all aren't I don't know). Lakland's are expensive, though. Does anyone have any recommendations about G&L's? I don't see them very often in stores. Where can I find one to try? (I live in Boston and my local guitar center said they don't carry them so maybe they are hard to find around here).

    galen
     
  17. If you want the best value for your money talk to Dave at DP Custom

    www.dpcustom.com

    His prices are lower (for now) than the overpriced junk hanging on the wall in most music stores. I on two of them that I designed the way I wanted. I have small hands so I needed thin narrow necks. He delivered. Check out the postings and pictures on the two or three forums concerning Pushic basses or dpcustom on this site. Email me if you want to see more pictures of my DP Customs. My pix are too big for this site.
    mcrracer@gte.net
     
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Michael, it is burled redwood on swamp ash.

    Very light, resonant, and woody sounding.

    And gorgeous, too. Isn't that what's most important?;)
     
  19. Based on what you said you're looking for, a G&L SB-2 might be the bass for you. They also have a new passive Jazz style bass - the JB-2, but I haven't seen one in the flesh yet. Anyway, the SB-2 has J/p type wiring but actually has a very close approximation of the Jazz bass sound with both pickups on (more so than most P/J basses). It also works extremely well with flatwound strings. All in all, it's a very natural sounding bass with better than average workmanship for that price bracket.

    As for finding one to play, I don't know about Boston specifically, but I know there are a few places in NYC that carry them. You could try e-mailing G&L to find out your nearest dealer

    www.glguitars.com

    or have a look on www.gbase.com which has ads from a number of different dealers. You might find one near you.
     
  20. gsummer

    gsummer

    Feb 11, 2001
    Thanks, I'll try those places out. My question to you, or anyone else who has an opinion, is what is it about G&L's that makes their version of the Fender style bass better than the current (as in not vintage) Fender version? Is there a real tangible differencre in quality of sound or playability? I know I have to try them out for myself to see what I think, but I would just like to hear from some people who have an opinion.

    Thanks

    Galen