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First 'proper' bass, working towards a tone.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BlkMt, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. BlkMt


    Feb 3, 2014
    Hi guys,

    1st post on TalkBass! I'm hoping to get some advice on buying a bass upgrade. Having played guitar for a few years, i've switched over to bass in a new band, as their guitarist quota was full. I'm absolutely loving it so far, the transition has been great for my creativity and enthusiasm. For the last few weeks i've been playing a beaten up old Peavey (I think, the headstock has been sanded), that I am borrowing from a friend of a friend. I'm pretty sure he will never play it again, but even so I feel the need to pick up a bass of my own. Plus, it sounds pretty average.

    We are a post-hardcore band, and i'm after a pretty specific tone. Somewhere in the spectrum of Bob Weston from Shellac, or Al Cisnero of Om/Sleep/Shrinebuilder.



    I don't have the money for a Travis Bean or Rick, but I love that bright hi-gain, single coil sound. In terms of shape, I've played a few guitars down at Denmark Street, and as soon as I picked up a J-bass I knew it was the one for me, such comfort and playability!

    So, I guess in summary - Hi-gain single coils with Jazz Bass comfort. I'd rather stick with passive pickups too if possible. Budget is around £400-£500, so... up to about $800.

    So, a few options are;
    Buy a MiM J Bass and upgrade the parts later,
    Cherry pick parts from Warmoth etc and build it myself,
    Look into a different line of basses, based on your suggestions.

    Any advice from you low-end veterans would be hugely appreciated! Glad to be rocking on 4 strings!
  2. Whats your amp? IMO a great amp is much more important than a great bass, as long as the bass plays and feels good. Id rather have a really nice amp/cab w plenty of power and headroom and a $100 SX bass than than a top shelf bass and a crappy little combo amp.
  3. BlkMt


    Feb 3, 2014
    Amp is currently hired from our practice room, so, whatever they have had available at the time. Which obviously is not ideal.

    I should definitely think about factoring in an amp as well, MarkBass make a pretty nice looking tube hybrid that i've got my eye on, sadly its probably out of my price range; But yeah, advice on an amp would be brilliant too. I can hire a cab for the time being to save money.
  4. BlkMt


    Feb 3, 2014
    Just wondering if anyone had any more advice they could give me on a bass/amp combo? Obviously I'm not expecting instant tone without any hard work, but a starting point would be ace :)

    Thanks again!
  5. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2011
    Bob Weston of Shellac uses Solid State Amps for his grind tone, a pedal that can nail his tone is a Rusty Box.
    Al uses tube amps and big cabs…
    I personally went the tube route.

    On a tighter budget I would get an older GK 400RB and an Avatar 2-12.

    I agree that a nicer amp adds more to tone.
  6. BlkMt


    Feb 3, 2014
    Thanks bud, I'll investigate further. Big fan of tube amps on the guitar side of things.
  7. Malak the Mad

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

    Listening to that song by Om got me thinking; if you like the feel of a Jazz bass, but want something that can get "gritty", much like the transition at 8:22 does, see if you can try out a Blacktop Jazz. It's a straight-up Made in Mexico Jazz body and neck, but it sports a pair of Precision pickups. Drop the bridge pickup off, you get a fairly convincing (if not spot-on) mellow P-sound. But when you bring the bridge into play, things get all kinds of aggressive/boomy. All in all, a pretty decent range of tones.

    Here's a sound clip created by fellow TB'er, audiomitch. Do bear in mind, he's playing with a pick, so that changes the sound slightly, but it's still a decent representation. By the way, dig that lovely sustain!

  8. A good all around bass I'd recommend for an affordable price is a Lakland skyline.
  9. BlkMt


    Feb 3, 2014
    Hmm, that Blacktop sounds great! I had looked at them previously, not sure why I hadn't pursued that train of thought, seems like a good solution! I'll try and find one to play nearby.

    Having a look at Laklands now, the Decade sounds amazing, but even the Skyline version is out of my budget.