1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Expensive vs inexpensive basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TKnights, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. lee_raff


    Feb 5, 2012
    1. Those of us who have "wasted" thousands on beautiful, custom, hand made instruments which we consider objects of joy; be kind; life has a learning curve. We were young once, too. My first bass (a "zim-gar" thank you) was the best bass ever... until I graduated to my next (a Hagstrom!) It can take years to train one's ears.
    2. If you can't be kind... at least be funny.
    3. Most classic rock recordings made in the '50's, '60's, and '70's were made with Fender Precision basses. There is a reason for this! And if (in 2018) your band covers these oldies; you'll probably want to be playing a bass which has an old p-bass sound. Your "tool kit" should contain more than just a hammer, of course. But if you play rock and roll music in public; then IMHO the p-bass is your "hammer."
    4. That being said; I've backed a trio (where I want a big fat wall-of-sound to fill in where the guitar isn't); but backing a larger group works best with a different "narrower" sound to "punch through" the mix. In 2018 one can do this with active electronics and modeling; but some basses are just better for some music. (Maybe a better bassist could make one bass sound great on everything; I speak for me.)
    5. That being said, about 15 yrs ago, I saw a new-fangled "squire" bass which claimed to be "hand crafted" (in a large communist dictatorship in Asia); it was hanging on the wall in the former Manny's in NYC. For about a hundred bucks, it played like "butter" and I declared, I'll take it! The bass in the box the salesperson fetched from the warehouse, however, felt like garbage to me; as did the next several. Finally, I bought the actual display bass from the wall (which was probably hand-selected from hundreds in the shipment). Of course, replacing the hardware cost more than the entire original bass... but my band-mates would be upset if I played a cheap bass which malfunctioned in the middle of a gig; so that's really not an option. My band, the bar owner, (etc.) really don't care if I "like" my bass or if it was a good deal; they only care that I do my "job."
    6. So I say "bravo" to all who think their $100 bass is the best in the world; may you live to look back at your own post one day and have a chuckle!
    Berniez40 and Exxi3 like this.
  2. Exxi3

    Exxi3 Guest

    Feb 22, 2011
    I second this motion :bassist:
  3. A bass does not have to be expensive or complicated to sound great. I believe you could go your entire career and never pay more than $400 for a bass. I have some fancy basses but prefer to gig mostly with my cheap Ibanez. Been gigging with it for years and thinking of buying another one in natural wood. The Ibanez is light, plays nice, looks nice and it rocks. However, when I plug in my (real) vintage Jazz it really-really plays and sounds great. Guess I don't miss it until I play it and there is nothing like it, but it kills my neck in about 20 minutes.
  4. jaynov26


    Mar 1, 2006
    I agree, since 9 out of 10 bass players suck, your pricey instrument makes no difference. However for us guys who can let it fly? We don't take a Hyundai to the race track!!
    Exxi3 likes this.
  5. Exxi3

    Exxi3 Guest

    Feb 22, 2011
    In the video he says it was 60 quid back then, which is about 670 quid of today.
    trickyric likes this.
  6. Exxi3

    Exxi3 Guest

    Feb 22, 2011
    Cool, like Roadkill's Draguar!
    I hope it's a bit less rusty, though ...
    Marc DLarosa likes this.
  7. LowEndOperative

    LowEndOperative ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2013
    "Expensive vs inexpensive" is rather subject to individual budgets. Get the best bass you can afford, have it setup so it "plays like butter" (hackneyed, I know), and you're fine.
  8. jaynov26


    Mar 1, 2006
    And....you guys would take either or both my Alembics at the drop of a hat. Yet, my new Ibanez BTB1905E which is not cheap, in fact their Premium line is really good too. You may not notice the difference if you're playing a Squire or a Dean. Believe me...the soundman does!!
    Exxi3 likes this.
  9. Exxi3

    Exxi3 Guest

    Feb 22, 2011
    There are so many beautifully done swaps nowadays...
    Have a look a this twin turbo LS swapped RX7:

    There's a beautiful single turbo RB25 swapped 240Z here too:
    240Z : Season 2 - YouTube
  10. Exxi3

    Exxi3 Guest

    Feb 22, 2011
    There's a mic in the ball and they have in-ears, it helps.
    That's why the ball sounds so loud, btw :D
    MordBass likes this.
  11. Exxi3

    Exxi3 Guest

    Feb 22, 2011
    But, but, that's the gist of most of the replies OP got before he started gear-shaming everyone who didn't agree with him. SMH...
  12. Exxi3

    Exxi3 Guest

    Feb 22, 2011
    Nope, there are DEFINITELY bad instruments around, and even worse ones, I've played quite a few.
  13. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    Squire is a pretty high end bass, if you're talking about Chris Squire signature.
  14. Exxi3

    Exxi3 Guest

    Feb 22, 2011
    I've been looking for a 'bone to grab locally for a while, but they're either too expensive or diyng/dead. I'll have to go the eBay route probably. What's the worst that can happen anyway, I can always use it as a plant pot :roflmao:
    I found a very nice Selmer tenor sax for veeery cheapo though, hard case and all, and I'm very happy with it. I can't play it to save my life, but when I massacre Baker Street in the sunset out of my window my sex appeal almost doubles, or so I've been told :smug:
  15. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    since I discovered AliExpress, I dont buy basses anywhere else.
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  16. Vyvvyan


    Jul 8, 2018
    New to all this bass stuff. Until scoring the bass I have now at a stupidly cheap price I have always played guitar. When it comes to cheap vs expensive and which is better, I've found what someone said waaaay back in the thread to be true. It's incremental, and exponential. Thanks to thieving low life scum, all my expensive axes and equipment disappeared. Then meeting my lovely wife, having two kids and a mortgage, all my axes and equipment now come from garage sales. One axe cost me $5 (then another $2000 to repair separating glue joints and the like) and turns out it's worth a mint. 1957.
    I find even after dreaming around music stores trying out really expensive stuff I can never afford (justify), that this 1957 piece of acoustic magic just plays and sounds better than anything I've owned or tried. Material. Craftsmanship.

    With the garage sale stuff, I don't just buy any old crap.....I try to stay to known cheap brands. I have an Epiphone "Special II" …..yeeaaah, real special..... ;-) and a fender squire strat. No capitals used in the strat description on purpose. ;-) :-D

    After getting them home, I spent about an hour on each dressing frets, tightening screws and adjusting action and intonation.
    They both play really well, and sound very, very good. The timber is of a lesser quality. The electrical components are cheaper. The hardware isn't as good a quality.

    Surprisingly, plugged in and played anywhere from "minding my own business" right up to "neighbours are ringing the cops" volume, it's hard to fault the two of them even when compared to stuff hanging on a wall with large numbers on it in a music shop.

    I found the biggest piece of the puzzle to be the missing finishing touches. Frets not level, sharp edges on frets, action, intonation, truss rod, blah,blah,blah. All ten minute stuff.

    In short, I can't justify $4000 to $7000 Aud on a top flight US Strat.

    An entry level US Strat is around $1500 to $1800 Aud.

    Is the entry level US Strat $1000 to $1300 better than the Indonesian Squire I picked up for $100 ? ($1000 to $1300 because a new Indo strat is $400- $500)

    Not from my experience.

    Obviously, the $4000 to $7000 are.

    There's some slight, noticeable, differences in tone between the entry level $1800 US Strat, and the Indo Squire. Not enough to annoy me, and not enough that people who don't play will ever pick it.

    It's a good enough axe that people who do play are impressed (head shaking, laughing impressed....same as me.) at just how good the little cheap pile of junk is.

    I still love the expensive stuff though..... :)
  17. Martin Risso

    Martin Risso

    Jun 30, 2007
    I bought a used Fender Squire for $200. After I put a nice set of flat wounds on it, it works and sounds great. If I can get the balance exactly right between the P pickup and the J pickup, I can actually get a Ricky "growl" on top of Fender punch. But getting the exact right P/J balance is tricky. If I could find an active board that would make one control the volume control and the other the "balance" control with only a few dB + or - to the other, I would put it in the bass. I always leave the passive tone control wide open.
  18. wmhill


    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
  19. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Either this is a made up story, or you didn't follow instruction as to how to adjust the truss rods.
    wmhill likes this.
  20. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I’ve never seen a thread saying cheap basses are anything but super fantastic. I rarely see a thread bragging on expensive basses.

    When you have a great bass you don’t need to justify it. :thumbsup:
    Jeff Scott and Exxi3 like this.

Share This Page