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Forget about price. What is the best 4-string bass one can buy? Vintage or New.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GranSportMan, Feb 4, 2016.


  1. GranSportMan

    GranSportMan

    Dec 14, 2010
    I would like to know, if price wasn't a concern and you could have any 4-string bass in the world, which would you choose? I'm talking about a bass that plays and sings like there's no tomorrow. A bass that would sound just as good through a 50 watt amp as it would through the best system out there. Which would you choose?
     
  2. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    A 1955 P bass, bathed in the smoke of a burning 1954 P bass.
     
  3. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    There's no such thing as best...but you do have plenty of great basses to chose from.
    If you want to go crazy, you might start with Alembic, though.
    Regardless, I recently found my perfect bass, so I don't really have to consider wishing.
     
  4. jdthebassman

    jdthebassman

    Jul 11, 2010
    I already own it, my well played 66 p-bass
     
    shrigg, Miker27607, baileyboy and 3 others like this.
  5. soong

    soong

    May 10, 2007
    Sydney
  6. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    My best bass is almost the cheapest one I ever got. They go for around 400 dollars used. If I bring a jazz or something else, my guitar players insist I bring this.

    I had it set up last week at Main Street Music, in E. Greenwich, RI. The owner, Steve, is a bassist, and he raved over it. On passive, it can do sledgehammer P, a refined J all with good tonal options. Switching to the active circuit, it will give you P with howling growl all the way to clear 80's clank and modern funk slap. Extremely versatile bass. DiMarzio pups. Mine is vintage 1981. Back then Ibby had the Fender Japan contract. Their basses were well built and great quality.

    Ladies and gents, I present my well worn workhorse, little dings and all. My 1981 Ibanez Roadster:
    DSCN1136a.JPG Copy of OGandMarkG.
     
  7. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    There are better and worse, but there is no best. Or there is no best, only different. After one determines personal preference as far as specs go (fret size, board radius, neck shape, scale length, pickup array, etc), it's futile trying to determine what "best" is. My "best" is another mans plywood and vice versa.
     
  8. A completely hand crafted, lightweight, modified Peavey T-40 style bass.
     
    Aiden675 and dickfitts like this.
  9. Alexander

    Alexander

    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I second the 1955 PBass. Mine is a Masterbuilt reissue and it sounds unbelievable
     
    dfoehr and Pyrat like this.
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    If you put in the time to bond with a Ric 4003, Not much else is gonna touch it. Same with a decent Fender P-Bass. It's more about sticking with one bass making it truly yours.
     
  11. Every bass that has a straight neck, a good setup, tuners that tune easily and stay in tune, standard electronics and non-scratching potis, a good balance and decent strings will deliver.
    If you are into a kind of high end sound with active preamps, a 2.000,- bass will be an improvement over a 600,- bass, but - as Marcus Miller proved lately with his Sire basses - the improvement isn't THAT significant, it is there, that is all.

    There is no bass that sounds good through a 50 watt amp, but not so good through the best system of the world or the other way round, just because of a design flaw that could be healed if you would invest more money into a bass.

    At least from 1.000,- upwards, strings, pickups and even more so quality outboard gear for recording purposes will have a much higher influence on the way you sound than anything you invest into improving the primitive design of a classic electric bass.

    Million selling albums were recorded with instruments that equal instruments available today for between 500,- and 1.000,-. When listening to Jamerson I never thought for a second: if only he would have invested 4.000,- into his instrument, how much better would it sound.

    Playing and singing like there is no tomorrow: you need one priceless gifted human being or one priceless interrelation between some human beings and the right place and the right moment for this. If it is there, (nearly) any Squier will do. Even a funny cheap shortscale bass like a Hoefner will do. Ask Paul.

    I could hardly think of any single human being that could have make the world sing and play, if only he would have had the 5.000,- for the bass that would allow him to show his talent. It was only the bass he or she couldn't afford that prevented him or her from becoming the most admired human being in the world.

    The only reason, I own more expensive and (one) vintage basses - besides the feel and the look - is: When I suck, I can't convince myself that if only I would own a decent instrument, the real thing, I would not suck, it must be the bass.

    If I would lose all my instruments and outboard gear and preamps and effects in a fire tomorrow and had only 2.000,- to spend for new gear, I would buy a 600-700,- bass ( a used MIJ Fender or one of the newer classic models made in Mexico), a 350,- mic-preamp (no bass preamp, a mic preamp) and a 500,- - 700,- compressor.
     
  12. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    There is no one single right answer. Of course there are countless completely wrong answers too.

    Given the initial description focusing on the word "sing" and "any amp" I'm gonna have to go with a Wal. There's a shocker.
     
  13. Antisyzygy

    Antisyzygy

    Dec 8, 2014
    Washington
    I'll just echo everyone else and say it really depends. There isn't a right answer for everybody. It's going to depend on what music you play and your individual tastes and style. Also each bass even among the same year and model will be a little different. Some will have straighter necks and better fretwork than their brothers. You'd have to try a bunch out to find the one that feels the best.

    Through a 50 watt amp, depending on model, I'm not sure you're going to get all the attributes you asked for. An amp after all is like 50% of your sound.

    If you're looking for versatility with a great array of tones I'd say some sort of Active PJ with a bypass switch and passive tone knob available. PJs in my book are some of the most versatile basses available, and they get the classic P tone that seems to work in almost every style of music. P's just sound good without much fuss for sitting in the low end in most styles of music. With the added J bridge pickup you can get some brighter, growly, modern, popping, or punchy tones as well.

    Having a hybrid active/passive bass also adds some versatility, as sometimes you're going to want the added versatility a preamp gives you, sometimes you want a classic passive sound. Having a passive tone knob available I think is essential for some of the classic P sounds. Having the active preamp makes it useful in live settings too as you can dial in the treble and boom to the room you're playing in. Mid controls (especially if you have a mid-frequency selector available) tend to be where the preamp gives you the most versatility in timbre.

    That really leaves things like American Deluxe Fender Ps, the Ibanez Talmans (TMB 600 for example) and some 80s basses (Ibanez, Aria, etc.). I'm sure there are some brands or eras I'm missing.
     
  14. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX

    I don't know. But I bet the brand name rhymes with "fire"!
     
  15. FourBanger

    FourBanger

    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Sire?
     
  16. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    This is still the best sounding (and playing) bass that I've owned. And other players who have heard it tend to agree

    yyd1.

    yyd22.
     
  17. danomite64

    danomite64

    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I'd get a mid-'80's Wal MK 1.
     
  18. As long as it is short scale and has flatwound strings on it, I'll be happy. Wouldn't really care if it was an Epiphone, Gibson, Squier, Fender, Hofner or Alembic. All work for me.
     
    ICM likes this.
  19. Oldschool94

    Oldschool94

    Jan 9, 2015
    mtd435_walnut_front.
    Now it just needs single coils, and maybe passive electronics.
     
  20. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    I have played several outstanding basses: Thumb NT, Acacia, Pedulla, and Smith. However, I keep coming back to 2 in my collection.

    My G&L SB-2 is simple, durable, sounds amazing, and is far more versatile than it has any right to be. The other one is an L2k body with a fretless Moses neck that I installed. I have not found a bass that plays better (all credit to the ingredients, not the chef). These are modest basses but I wouldn't trade them for any others.
     
    FantasticFour, Thor and covermego like this.

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