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Choosing a bass "blindly"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bobbykokinos, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. How many of you, when you go buy a bass, you just go play a bass. If you like it, you buy it. If not, it goes back on the shelf. Not really paying attention to the brand, the types of wood, pickups/preamp, etc....

    In my 16 years of played. I dont think there has even been once that I went out and said "I need to find a bass that has xxx wood, xxx pickups, etc..." I've always just walked into the store. If it felt great, I bought it. Honestly, I dont even consider scale lengths at all.

    Just curious if anyone else is like this..
  2. GSRLessard14

    GSRLessard14 All-Things-Claypool Enthusiast

    Jun 23, 2005
    Newington, CT
    mmm.... there's more to it than that. The brand affects me to some degree. I don't like Fenders, for example. I respect Fender's influence, but they aren't for me, I don't see the big deal. I usually don't resort to impulse buying unless it's an extremely special occasion. When I found a used Modulus Quantum 4 fretless in guitar center, I bought it practically on the spot after about a half hour of playing, but this is because I know the quality of modulus basses and knew it would be worth the investment and that guitar center doesn't normally stock modulus basses. I was slightly concerned because I didn't play fretless prior to that, but it's a lined bass, and the tone was orgasmic, so i bought it for a grand.

    I've been looking more online lately at basses, mainly out of boredom. I bought my Modulus VJ4 on ebay without every playing one before, but i was assured by the brand name that it would be a good investment. I'm reluctant to buy without playing on anything more than 5 or 6 hundred bucks.

    Oh, and as for scale lengths, i don't really worry about scale lengths for 4 strings, but i have to have at least a 35" scale for any extended range bass.
  3. tiredman9


    Aug 15, 2005
    New York
    I'm exacly the same way...maybe thats whhy I own no Fender Ps but a PJ and no Js but a Lakland Scheff which has J pickups just further apart.

    I usually sit down and feel around the neck for a while and if its too thick and clunky and too sticky i put it right back because I would be spending the entire gig thinking about taking a saw to the back of the neck. I can't stand a thick neck. Thats probably why I play fours too and also 34"s but I really want a Bass VI style. When I went into a tore and played the Shecter Hellcat VI, I said "Im buying this." But then I remembered I have no cash to give away.
  4. I generally do a lot of research when looking for a new bass to buy, but I had a student with a Stingray and I played it one afternoon and was blown away by it. I didn't care about the specs at all - this bass was made for me and my style of aggressive playing. The notes sang out for me and I knew I had to get one. I bought a brand new Stingray 5 less then one month later (I got lucky and found a discountinued color so I got a smoking deal). I generally avoid heavier instruments so before then I never even considered looking at a Stingray and until then had never tried one.
  5. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Always blind so far. The only thing I've bought in store is my amp...2 basses and a guitar that I've bought (1 ebay, 2 Rondo)
  6. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    primary for me is feel.
    I sit down and play an instrument. If it feels awesome, maybe I'll plug it in.

    If it doesn't feel right I'll never play it, regardless of how good it sounds.

    That said, my last bass I bought was on ebay, but it was a MIM fender so I knew what they felt like. Currently in the mail is a The Bass Company 5'er. I haven't had a chance to play one so I'm totally nervous about it. :bag:
  7. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    usually i'll go in to say "yea, i need a new bass". i'll find one i like, then go home and research the heck out of it. then go back 1-3 more times and play some more.
  8. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger Commercial User

    Sep 22, 2005
    Not Mars
    The Overlord of Nordstrand Pickups
    That's exactly what I do. I can drool all I want at specs, pictures, etc. but only by picking up a whole bunch of basses do I know what I really love.
  9. UrbanIvy


    Aug 1, 2004
    San Francisco
    First bass I bought was completely blind because I didn't know how to play at all at the time and didn't know what to look for at all. My gut turned out real good because I still love that bass (Ibenez 400SR), and feel it is one of the best "cheap" basses out there.

    For my second bass, I demo'd a Warwick Thumb at guitar center. Did a bunch of research online and talked to people. Realized very fast that the older ones are much higher quality instruments. Found a used one online, purchased it, and it has worked out great.

    I'm still looking for something new and special though.

    I have learned so much in the past year doing extensive reading on wood types, pickups, various luthiers, etc., so I would have a real difficult time purchasing on spot again unless I was very familiar w/ what I was getting.
  10. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. My first bass was kind of blind, I went in with a $400 limit, and picked up everything and the SR400 felt great. Ran in back and they had it in black so I got it.

    Everything after that, I pretty much got Ibani for a while, I knew they were great for me, back then. Nowadays I gravitate towards Fenders.

    I just bought a Strat. I went in looking for something with "strat style" pickups and played everything. REALLY liked this one no-name brand for $69 used, but I was REALLY unsure of the neck, didn't seem stable to me at all. I found a nice MIM used picked it up and fell in love.

    It's wierd that I always come back to Fender.
  11. matrok


    Jan 10, 2005
    Ferndale, Michigan
    That's me. Can't begin to count the number of times I've put down a bass without ever plugging it in, always leaves the sales guys scratching their heads.

    I've pretty much stumbled into every bass I've ever owned with the exception the Rick 4001 I used to own. That was a serious quest for the "right" one.

    My Reverend 5L I bought totally blind. I ran across it on bassgear.com. I knew of them, but had never played one. I liked what I had heard about them so I went for it. Loved the bass, unfortunately arthritis is setting into my left hand and I'm only comfortable playing my Reverend four string now. Hate to see her go, but I'm thinking about getting another four string to make into a BEAD
  12. i got my KSD without even touching it, i sent my kubicki to brian barrett and he sent me the KSD...best thing i ever did...all i did was read the review in bass player, saw the pic on the low end website and said yeah, i want it.......its a jazz, no way it can feel or sound bad:p

    of course id like to sit and play one first but hey, see what i want id get it, you can always sell it again
  13. I'm the same as you bobbykokions, I have been playing for 25 years and I have never really considered what a bass is made of before buying it. I think it's just the old school way of doing things because of the lack of information at the time.

    Now it's all different, you can go into information overload before picking a list of what you want to try. I have a friend who wont have a bowel movement until he finds the perfect toilet paper online.

    I guess it's a difference between what you know, what you want, and what you can afford.

    My very first purchase was because it was "a bass" Mostly it was a bass I could afford.

    My second was brand specific. A Rikcenbacker. Still didn't now much other than Chris Squire (and others) played one and I loved that sound. Didn't know the difference between a 4001 and a 4003, didn't know why the fretboard was the color it was. It played and sounded great.

    Third, I wanted something more versatile and upscale. It came down to what was available. I know a little more but got a Pedulla because I liked it over an Alembic. Wood, finishes. fretboard, electronics didn't have much to do with my choice.

    Fourth. I had the internet now, plus Bass Player magazine and a GC opened in my neighborhood. Through the information available I found out a lot about brands and their electronics, scale, etc. I still didn't care about what materiel, but the weight was considered in my decision, also scale. it was 1999 and 35" five strings was the shinizel. After trying out all kinds of basses I got a Lakland. Still. the deciding factor was because it was "the one" after playing it.

    Now a days I think I would go overboard with the information available and probably have a seizure, or maybe just be too old to play it before I came to a decision. Sure, If I wanted a P bass it would be simple, Fender. Just pick which one. What if I wanted a modern Jazz, all kinds of options. What if I wanted a total custom. My head would explode. Most of these I wouldn't even be able to try before I buy so that changes everything.

    All this would change if I had only a few bucks to spare though. I would resort back to buying it because it was "a bass"
  14. i should of mentioned, the main things that matter to me, ash body, malple fingerboard and either a MM style humbucker, or two single coils
  15. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    I've bought a couple of basses blindly and can honestly say I haven't been disappointed in either purchases. When I did actually sit down and play one I saw in a music store, it fit me like a glove, it played like a dream and sounded awesome! Of course it was a USA Spector NS-2 and I've loved them ever since. They seem to me to be the standard by which I judge other basses. I know there are other basses that may sound good, feel good and are better built than Spectors, but I haven't found one yet. When that happens, I'll buy one.
  16. When I was young, I bought my first "real" bass, (Gibson G-3), sight-unseen. Had the local music shop order it for me.

    Eventually picked up a Fender short scale, (don't remember quite why, now...), but when I was in college, traded them both, (+ some $$), for a Rick. Went in and just bought it right out of the store. (Cool little used guitar shop in a converted house in Oregon.) Played it a little, but knew I was buying it the moment I saw it.

    These days, I've tried out what I've gotten before hand. Sat with a Fender Jazz 5-string for a while before making up my mind, and then sat with some Warwicks before ordering one, which I eventually upgraded from a 4-string to a 5-string fretless after trying an FNA out.

    I'm an advocate of "try before you buy" now. Makes a big difference in how you expect it to sound when you get it home. Not as many surprises, (or disapointments...).;)
  17. Kobaia


    Oct 29, 2005
    Denton TX
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amp Gruv Gear and Mono Cases
    out of the 6 basses i've owned, i've only played 1 before i baught it. then i defretted it.
  18. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    My Fender P Bass was a huge impulse buy on ebay. The auction was ending in less than an hour when I noticed it. It was an offer (the price) I couldn't decline for its condition.
  19. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    So how'd it turn out? Is it "THE ONE", just OK, or do you regret the purchase?
  20. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004

    Which model did you get? About how much do you think it weighs (maybe you actually weighed it-- I always weigh mine:D ).

    Being a 32" scale guy, I always liked your Kubicki (esp, since it'd been the Stu's). How do find adjusting to the longer scale length?