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First Bass Advice

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by firger, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. firger


    Feb 14, 2003
    New York, NY
    I've been looking at purchasing my first bass to start from scratch on. I'm in NYC, so it's not like I don't have a vast array of opinions and selections when I'm out there looking, but I wanted seek advice from the players out there on a couple things:

    What are the most important questions to ask before you purchase a bass (as a beginner, or not)?

    I understand that a choice is largely based on feel and personal interaction, but barring that, any recommendations?

    Any other advice will help. Thank you in advance.

  2. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Here are some rambling thoughts on purchasing. Take what you will, I am sure others will be even more helpful.

    Assuming you are clear on your budget constraints and your needs (amp, strap, strings, case, setup in addition to the bass) your first question should be: can I try that one out? As you said, playing is a subjective experience. I would also be somewhat price conscious and shop around to compare prices. As a new player you need to get a feel for the value of the basses in your budget range. Not every store has comparable/favorable pricing.

    When dealing with a salesperson try and deal with the one that plays bass. They tend to understand the needs of a bass player more than a guitar playing salesperson would. Although I have met a few guitar playing sales people who really knew their stuff.

    I try and get them to let me play the bass through a variety of amps so that I can judge the sound of the bass more accurately. If you know what amp you are going to purchase play each bass you try through that amp to see how it sounds. Let your ears do tell what works and what doesn't.

    Beyond that I would make sure you are clear on their return and exchange policy. If the sale is final (that is no returns) you may want to walk away from that purchase. Once you have developed a more clear understanding of your needs a final sale might be OK.

    There is no such thing as a stupid question when you are spending your money so ask them whatever you feel is appropriate when you are trying the instruments out. Try to focus on quality, ask if they have had problems with that model, and if they will do the setup for free. (Setups should always be free with a purchase).

    One thing that turns me off buying from a particular store is when they bash all the brands they don't sell. That is usually an indication that they will try to push you into what works best for them profit wise and not necessarily suggest what would be best for you.

    Good luck :)