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First new bass, just need a couple tips

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JP_1337, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. Hi all, I am looking at buying a new bass and before I make the 4 hour drive to the nearest major guitar store (I live in a somewhat remote part of Australia) I wanted to pick your brain so I have some idea of where to start looking when I get there.

    I know I can't pick the 'right' bass until I try them out, but I want to go in there armed with some basic ideas to try out before I start pulling them off the wall so to speak.

    Here's some info:

    Currently play a Fender Squier Affinity Jazz bass (my practice bass)
    I like playing 4 string and don't want to go to 5 or more at this point.
    I'm not in a band and don't play gigs, this is for me personally. - I occasionally jam with a mate but mostly play with backing tracks at home. (I would like to one day play in a 3 piece lounge band (Bass, piano & drums)

    I like to play smooth jazz, but also like to play some rock as well, so a bit of versatility is ideal.
    I want something with good build quality, I like metal knobs and minimal buzzing in the pickups. (my current bass gets a lot of static if the tone knobs aren't just right)
    Passive or active with passive switching. Not really into active only (But am willing to consider)
    Under $800 would be nice

    Looking online, I like the look of the Yamaha TRBX504, but that's just through basic reviews and a couple youtube vids.

    If anyone could give me some guidance for when I go into the shop I would appreciate it.
    Suggestions on some basses to look at, or what type of bass/features lend themselves to styles I mentioned.
    Any specific questions that would be good for me to ask while I'm there.

    I ordered my current bass online in a beginner package, came with 15W amp, cheap lead and strap and gig bag. Before that I had never held a bass or played any type of guitar, so going into a major store like this is a bit daunting.

    Thanks in advance for any help, I hope I provided enough info.
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I cannot help your hunt, but I can comment on your Squier getting buzzing unless the knobs are right. With both knobs wide open, do you get a buzz that goes away when you touch the strings/bridge/metal? If that is the case, and I suspect it is because it is a Fender, a simple shielding job will remove that hum, so don't let that hum steer you away from a great playing bass.
  3. If the shielding is what I have heard of people lining the electronics cavity with some sort of copper tape stuff, I'll look into that. It might make my practice bass more enjoyable, and at least now I don't have to worry so much if the new basses I look at buzz a bit, one less thing to worry about.
  4. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    In light of your criteria, see if you can try out a Fender Aerodyne. I don't know what they go for brand-new on your side of the world, but it might be worth either looking into or to consider a used one. Here's why;

    • I got one for my first bass and it's a solid piece of work, despite some chips and dings in the finish (they tend to do that).
    • Personally, I love the versatility I get from the Precision/Jazz configuration (some here pooh-pooh PJ's…to each their own, I say).
    • Mine was originally strung with D'addario medium-light flats (45-100) and could be very mellow or made to sound more aggressive when played with a stronger attack and mixing in more of the Jazz pickup.
    • The only times I get a lot of buzz off of the bass is when I'm practicing near my computer station and it's picking up on all the tech and lighting around there. It could probably use some shielding, but if I do that I'll use a few layers of conductive paint. It may not have the conductivity of copper, but I won't have to worry about it losing it's adhesiveness over time.

    Another bass I've been recommending a lot recently is the Fender Blacktop Jazz. I couldn't say for sure if it's what you would prefer, but I've been crowing over them for their versatility, affordability and sheer aggressiveness. If you like a mellow sound, solo the neck pickup or roll the bridge pickup down to about 25% or less. But when you want to get more "bite" and "roar", bring up both pickups to full. It's a serious beast!

    And last, but surely not least, there's the Squier Classic Vibe Jazz. Basically, it's the top of the Squier line. As long as you don't find a dud, this is a serious quality bass, and I won't add the "…for the price you pay" suffix. It's a fantastic bass, regardless of brand or price.

    Does your mate have the experience and knowledge, not to mention time and availability, to help you check out prospective purchases? If so, take him along to as many stores you can hit in one go and make a day of it.
  5. Shovel


    Jun 4, 2013
    I like my Fender MIM Jazz, But I would consider getting used if the shop offers used instruments.
    Squier's are good as long as you don't get an off one. I have no experience with Ibanez or Yamaha, so I'm not sure of the quality. As always though, Pick the one that feels and sounds the best to you.
  6. G00D+~VIBES


    Nov 21, 2008
    Kansas City
    Pay close attention to weight and neck feel. Invest in these two, everything else can be adjusted down the road
  7. @Malak; Cheers for the suggestions. The Aerodyne looks great, but in Aus is almost double my budget, although I will still have a look and play if I find it in the stores as it sounds like a great bass.
    I'm strongly contemplating D'Addario chrome flats on whatever bass I get, been wanting flats for a while but don't feel like restringing my J.
    The Blacktop fits in the budget and looks promising, I will be interested to hear it in person and get my hands on it, the dual P pups look interesting and the white chrome pearl colour looks sexy.

    Although I will look at and try any suitable used basses at the shop, I am steering away from them because I promised myself a shiney new bass as a reward for learning to play. Subsequent bass purchases I will happily consider used, but this one is special lol. But if there is a used bass there that fits what I want and is better than the price equivalent brand newies, of course I will consider it.
  8. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
  9. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    JP; I forgot to include this Blacktop Jazz audio clip created by fellow TB'er audiomitch. The attack is a bit more crisp than usual since he's playing with a pick, but it's still a decent representation.

  10. That sounds great
  11. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    It's freezing here, so I am envious that you are enjoying Summer in Oz.

    Just wondering if you are still playing through the 15 watt amp, or if you have upgraded? Even for practice, those beginner pack amps aren't so great. I think, if you haven't already upgraded your amp, that would be the best use of your money right now.

    Amps aside, there are so many factors to consider, it's tough to recommend a bass. Lots of people prefer a hifi tone for smooth Jazz, so something with Bartolini soapbar humbuckers might fit the bill. The Ibanez SR series are worth a look, or maybe a Peavey Cirrus, if they fall in you price range in Australia. A modern sounding Jazz Bass like a Marcus Miller or Carvin SB4000 might fit the bill, too. Again, I don't know about availability or pricing Down Under.

    A good shielding job on your current bass could make a huge difference, as has been suggested. Copper foil and just a tiny bit of work with a soldering iron can make all kinds of hum and buzz go away. Of course, single coil pickups will always hum a little when they aren't balanced.

    Good luck. Let us know what you wind up with!
  12. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    You should try seek out a Yamaha BB414x
  13. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    The new Yamaha's are really interesting to me.
  14. theNecatoR


    Jun 23, 2012
    I don't own a Modern Player Jaguar, but I've tried them a couple of times and I must admit they are really good and cheap as they can get. You also get nice block inlays and a P/J combo.
    I must admit that I'm partial on Jags, if you can get a Deluxe one with that kind of dough, go for it: Active/Passive and series/parallel switching.
    Cheers and happy buying, mate!
  15. @WoodyG3; I mostly play through my computer with guitar rig 5, my speakers are pretty amazing and the customizable effects are awesome, which suits me fine at home. I got bored with the fender rumble 15 pretty quickly.

    I am saving for a GK MB 212-II, almost there, I'm planning on ordering it same time that I get my bass. I know it has to be ordered, so there's no chance of me taking them home together, but I will be rocking out soon. In the meantime, I can get some amazing tones from my PC setup, though I'm hesitant to go past 30% volume given the way the windows shake lol.

    I do love the look and features of the Ibanez SR series. As far as my budget goes, the SR500 would be it, not really enthused by the colour though. But oh my that SR1800 is so so so sexy.

    I didn't really take to the Yamaha BB series, but I won't judge them until I see them in person. I still really like the TRBX504, it's features really speak to me and I am looking forward to strapping one around my neck and having a play