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Buying first rig, where to allocate the bucks

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ratman2356, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Ratman2356


    Aug 24, 2012
    Hey all, Stone cold bass n00b here. I have been reading and researching here and all over the WWW in preparing to buy my first bass and amp to start learning to play. I have learned a lot but am now down to decision time and need some specific advice.

    I have been to many music stores and played around with a lot of different models but of course being totally new, I suck at evaluating what I am seeing.

    I have a pretty small budget to work with here, about 300USD. So far I like the Squier affinity p-bass for it's deep sound and the wide neck at the nut. I am a big guy with XL hands and it feels a lot more comfortable than the smaller j-bass neck, even tho the j-bass seems more versatile with the two pups. I also like the feel of of the body on the Yamaha RBX170 and the Ibanez GSR200 lines, but not so much the thin necks.

    Here are the options I have come up with locally buying used where I can to get more bang for my buck.

    Squier Affinity P-Bass - Used VGC $120
    Squier J-Bass MIM - Used GC $150
    Peavey Foundation S - Pawn shop special $50
    Yamaha RBX170 - New $179
    Ibanez GSR200 - New $179

    Fender Rumble 15 v1 - used $45
    Peavey Basic 50 - used $60
    Fender Bronco 40 - new $220

    Behringer VBass V-Amp for $75

    I do like the Bronco 40 amp modeling effects or the V-Amp as I feel they allow added fun factor to keep interest up and increase my chances of sticking with it.

    Peavey has a paint chips and dings and needs strings but is only $50 bucks, maybe less if they take an offer. Have not fired it up yet, would only buy if electronics are intact.

    I will be playing only at home as I do not know any musicians so no need for power to play in a band. This is just for me and to jam with my daughter who is a beginning guitarist at home. If playing bass sticks, and I am doing everything I can to try to set myself up for success to make sure it does, I have no problem upgrading gear in a few months.

    I am concerned about the smaller necked basses as I have some occasional arthritis flareups in my hands and they feel a little cramped down by the head. However I hear a thin narrow neck play faster and have better range of motion than wide /shrug.

    Other concerns is the Peavey Foundation S. Am I getting into a potential nightmare trying to bring this thing back to life as a n00b? I am technically inclined and like the idea of refinishing / restoring it but am trying to be realistic as well.

    Suggestions on the above?

    Looking to play mostly 80's rock and some slap n pop funk eventually.

    Thanks and sorry for the mini novel.
  2. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    If you can find a good deal on a Squier Vintage Modified Precision it would be well worth a few extra $$$. The Squier Vintage Modified and Classic Vibe series offer terrific value for the money and are a significant step up from the Affinity series.
  3. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    If you have arthritis flare ups, smaller necks aren't necessarily a cure-all...sometimes a more substantial, hand-filling neck produces more relief as it "meets" the fingers more naturally.

    What WOULD be a good option for this condition is a short-scale bass. Brings your arm in closer to the body, so no excess extension that could aggravate the condition.

    For a real good bang for your buck, dont rule out the SX series so highly praised for their price / goodness ratio. Here. try this one:

    Build quality is good. Sound is pretty decent, and not too bad on the wallet. AND, kid friendly due to slightly smaller form factor, in case your child gravitates to bass as well.
  4. kbakerde

    kbakerde Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    My suggestion would be to checkout the Peavey. If the electronics work then get it. If you get a good deal on the bass, then you could look into an amp like the Fender Rumble 30 or even the Acoustic B100. The B100 would last you a long time, it's 100W, decent sounding but good for a beginner, and Musicians Friend has then for $159 and free shipping. The Rumble 30 is $179
  5. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains

    If I were in your position, I would find a used Vintage Modified P bass and a cheap amp.
  6. bassfran


    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Welcome, Rat. Good on ya' for doing your research.

    I don't have any experience with these particular basses but I think the most important things for you to determine are;

    #1. Is the neck straight? and #2. Is it comfortable for you?

    Of course we'll assume that the electronics are in working order.
    Check for rattles, loose tuning keys, and cracks in the wood. If the neck is badly bowed it won't intonate properly and will be costly to repair.
    Grab a fresh set of strings, a new cable, tuner, and a long, wide strap and you're ready to go.
    As for your amp choices, (assuming they all work properly), I'd lean toward the Peavey since it has 50w of power and a 12" speaker. Inspect the speaker for damage if possible, listen for any hum or extraneous noise, and check for scratchy pots. Get a can of contact cleaner if necessary.

    Best of luck to you and your daughter and have fun.
  7. Uncle K

    Uncle K The bass player doesn't get a sandwich Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    Just ennie-meenie-minie-mo it out. As a noob you don't know what you want yet.
  8. kevmc28


    Feb 28, 2008
    Somerset, NJ, USA
    Foundations are great sounding basses. Buy it and bring it to a tech for a setup and new strings...totally worth it.

    I'd also recommend a Peavey head used for around 100 bucks, like a Mark III or Mark IV and then get a cheap 115 cab, like from Seismic Audio - basically any cheap bass cabinet with a 15 inch speaker. You could do all of this for under $350 and have parts you can grow with as you advance in your playing.
  9. Ratman2356


    Aug 24, 2012
    JXBass: What about the MIM Squier standard J Bass, is that much different than the Affinity?

    And I will see what I can find in the vintage and classic as well as SX units suggested. It seems from the comments so far, that the focus should be more on the bass than the amp. I kind of thought it might be the other way around as any bass I can afford now will most likely be upgraded within a year or so, where the amp can last years and years for practice.

    Hover: I have seen a lot of people who agree with you that small necks are usually worse for arthritis. Unfortunately, I am finding it's a lot harder to find wide necks than narrow. I looked at a couple of short scales but they really seemed cramped. I am 6'2" with long arms.

    I love the idea of a P-Bass Special with a P-Bass neck on it. Maybe a DIY project someday.

    I just read the 12 page refinishing thread and I must admit it has me itching to take a crack at the Peavey. Super slim neck on that one tho from what I recall.
  10. Ratman2356


    Aug 24, 2012
    Quoted for Truth. Every time I think I have it worked out, I learn something new and it all goes out the window.

    Thanks for all the reply folks! You are really helping me out here.
  11. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    I gotcha. My comments on the neck were more of the "thicker" front-to back vs. width at the nut, but yeah.

    I am proportionately the same as you...I can see where a short-scale may feel cramped, but I don't. I tend to fly on shortscale necks. :)

    Good luck on the hunt, and welcome to your new favorite obsession in the making.
  12. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I'd probably shy away from doing any sort of refin or major tweaking until you've got a basic foundation for what you really like. Obviously, changing the color wouldn't make you play any different, but if can easily put you without a bass for an extended period of time.

    It sounds like you're really not a fan of the thinner neck, so I'm thinking a P bass type of neck is the way to go. Whatever you do decide to get, take it to a tech so it's playing as good as possible right from the start. That will give you a nice foundation for what it's capable of feeling like.
  13. Ratman2356


    Aug 24, 2012
    Any comments on the Fender Bronco 40 amp or Behringer V-Amp? I picked up a Mustang 1 amp for my daughter and the amp modeling and effects on it are a heck of a lot of fun to play with. I love the idea of having that for my bass. Is it worth it or is it like Siri on an iPhone where every one plays with it and loves it for a week or two and then never touches it again?
  14. Kit=drums Rig=bass... bass rig, drum kit
  15. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    Sorry, no personal experience with the MIM Squier Standard J Bass. I've owned three Squier basses, all Vintage Modified Series: Precision, Jazz, and TeleBass. Of them all I much preferred the Precision for its neck profile, simplicity, light weight and tone. They were all very nice, just my personal preference.
  16. Ratman2356


    Aug 24, 2012
    DOH!! Sorry...
  17. tgriley62


    Jan 25, 2011
    S.E. Mo
    Just my 2 cents but, get the Foundation. If it is good shape you will have a great MIA bass that is capable of doing everything you would want, including being able to gig with it latter without any mod's
  18. carpcutter


    Dec 6, 2010
    I have a Peavey Foundation and love it (I also paid considerably more than $50 for mine). If the neck looks good and feels right, I'd definitely plug it in at the pawn shop (assuming they have an amp) and test the electronics. Lots of bang for the buck, even at the price I paid.
  19. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    It's funny to me how, whenever this question is asked, everyone chimes in with their personal favorite rig, whether or not it's right for the OP, or even in the price range.

    IME (and I've used all the amps mentioned), the Rumble 15 isn't enough amp if you're playing with a guitarist. It's only enough if it's on a table at ear level, and then just for solo practicing. I don't care for Peavey tone (personal preference, not a knock against Peavey), so I would go for the Bronco 40. If you're open to suggestions, I'd look at the Fender Rumble 30 combo, too. It's less expensive than the Bronco, and it's more basic. I'm a big fan of basic for a beginner. Why? Because it forces you to learn the bass rather than playing with EQ trying to find a certain sound. The sound is in your fingers. Leave the EQ flat and play around on the bass, moving your plucking hand and changing techniques. Once you can get a good sound that way, then try playing with EQ to get it the way you want.

    Of the basses you mention, I prefer the Squier P Bass for its simplicity and feel. After that, I'd look at the Ibanez then the Yamaha. The Yamaha is probably (and arguably) the best built of the listed instruments, but doesn't fit everyone. The most important thing in a bass is feel. Try them on, run your fingers over the fretboard, make sure that it feels good in your hand. Don't let the salesman tell you about fit or feel (I made that mistake and wound up with a Jazz bass that felt like crap to me after a while, even though the Jazz is designed to be more ergonomic, and many people prefer them to Precisions) until you have tried them on your own.
  20. The Peavey has a pool cue for a neck, but it's a GREAT bass. I have one, and it is entirely suitable for a working man's gigging bass. Make sure the truss rod is good.

    As for the XL hands, I can't help you there. You just have to try out all the ones you can for the best feel.

    I'm going to go against the grain and tell you to get a Korg Pandora headphone amp. Tons of amp sims, effects, cabs sims, and you can pop your CD/iPod into it and play along with them. That V-amp will do the same trick.

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