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! :)

Getting my 1st Bass....suggestions please!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by charley, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. charley


    Apr 8, 2006
    SF Bay Area

    I am a full time stage/studio musician. I have been playing guitar, banjo, and mandolin for many years, but am hoping to add my 1st bass to my toolbox.

    I think I have decided to go a more classic/vintage vibe route. I had previously considered the possibility of getting a longer scale (35' plus) 5/6 string bass...figuring it could cover some serious territory and work in any situation.

    I think, for now, I am going to start with something a bit more traditional. I am thinking about a 5 string Jazz Bass or 5 string P Bass. I want to get something decent quality, american made, and will probably upgrade the electronics down the line...

    Can anybody tell me more about the differences between a P and a J?

    It seems like the 5 string versions are not popular...why?

  2. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    You've been on talkbass for 8 years and you don't know the difference between a jazz bass and a precision bass and you think 5 string basses are unpopular?

    Assuming you're not being silly, you should go to Guitar Center and try out a Fender American Standard 5 string precision and 5 string jazz and see which you like better.
  3. A lot of folks don't need the extra notes, it's like asking why 7 string guitars aren't more popular ;)

    You could always go with a P-J setup, this gives you the P pickup in the standard position and a J in the bridge.
  4. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    Unless you need the low B thing I'd highly recommend getting a regular (4 - string) Jazz or Precision bass.

    The nut width and string spacing is different on both so go try them and see which one your hand likes the best. Let that be your guide.

    Great music has been made on them for decades.
  5. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    There's a 10 string bass near me on CL. lol!!

    5 strings basses are very popular, as mentioned above, best to go to GC or your local music store and try a Jazz and a precision out. Different sound and feel altogether. I don't know what your price range is but you can also go look at the classifieds here or on CL for a used bass (once you've tried them out and decided which one to go with).
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Fender American Jazz Deluxe V. Where'd you hear that 5-strings are not popular? All the pros except one have gone over to 5-strings. A 5-string, two-pickup bass is going to be the ultimate in versatility. Avoid a P-bass as your first bass. Get one later if you must.
  7. Lupob6


    Aug 18, 2013
    Central NJ
  8. brianrockwell84


    Feb 12, 2014
  9. charley


    Apr 8, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    Really, with the Fender J or P, I am just curious if any more experienced bass players have had problems with the low B sounding too loose/farty.

    And, as far as comparing a P and a J, just curious which offers the most versatility of sound. I have played, and enjoyed, both a P and a J. While I am very comfortable hearing a bass in a band mix, my serious attempts at bass are few. Curious less about overall tones, and more about the nuances that make one different from the other....

    And yes, I have been a member here for some time, but not a very active one. I have the same name over at thegearpage, where I am much more active...I am mainly a guitarist, picking up bass as a secondary instrument.
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Well, I just shared this on another thread, may as well copy it here too... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKEHQdONP90

    (no, it's not me).

    Do you have a budget?

    For versatility, if you're going to buy one and only one bass, I'd go with a five-string and something with two pickups. Carvin does have some great options, like the SB5000 or the new PB5 (adding a bridge pickup). I'd also suggest trying something in the Yamaha BB series. Yes, some 5ers have floppy B strings, and there's no solid rule for which one won't - try before you buy. But when worst comes to worst, you can play a 5er like a 4 and treat the B string as a thumb rest, and only use it when you need to.
  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Well I'm not sure why you think that an old school sound is the only thing for you without acually having tried more modern basses, but that's your choice and it's valid.

    Which brings up the number of strings question. And that has to do with just how "old school" do you want the music to be? If it's the classic basslines of yore, a 4 string bass is going to be the answer because that's what the masters of that era played.

    Now for me, not so much into the old stuff, I prefer a 5 or 6 string. And no matter how many times people will tell you this, it's not about a couple of extra low notes. As a guitarist you are familiar with moving patterns up and down the neck (capo or otherwise) but not side to side, string to string. That's because a guitar has that nasty B string. But basses are tuned in 4ths and you can move patterns sideways from string to string as well as up and down the neck to change keys.

    Now that doesn't work so well on a 4 string because there are not that many strings and room to move sideways too, but on a 5 or better a 6 you can shift all over the place without going up and down the neck like mad. It's really a different instrument with a different approach to playing although if you choose, yes, you can play a 5 string as if it's 4 string with the B string ignored.

    So that said, let me now point out that in spite of couple of brief forrays by Fender into 6 strings basically "old school" basses are not 6 stringers unless you spend a LOT of cash (SX 6 string being an exception I'd HIGHLY recommend for a 6 string noob). And furthermore Fender B strings pre 2008 tend to be "meh" at best and floppy at worst. That how long it took Fender to get serious about building 5 string basses! They still don't sell 5 string PJ Fenders!

    What I'm getting at is you've created a kind of situation by wanting 5 or 6 strings AND "old school" (Means Fender jazz or p-bass) at the same time. Now that happens to be what I'm into at the present moment by owning three of those SX 6 string jazz bass clones. Does it work? Don't know. My jury is still out. I do know so far I love it. The 6 stringers I've owned for a long time are all the standard active, "modern" thing: Ibanez, Alembic, Ken Smith, Modulus.

    My view: In my opinion you are making a noob mistake by trying to pick your bass for life and spending alot of money on it BEFORE you've had the experience of what bassworld has to offer you. Unless you have cash coming out of your ears, I'd strongly suggest that you TRY a few things for lower money like the SX Jazz 6 string or an Ibanez SR series 5 or 6 string, and so forth until you have the bass experience as to what does and does not work FOR YOU, and THEN whip out your wallet and say THIS is what I want as my "bass for life".

    Choose wisely! ;)
  12. DannyBob


    Aug 28, 2013
    For a first bass? Really?...
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If you always want to sound like you're playing a P bass, that's fine.
  14. charley


    Apr 8, 2006
    SF Bay Area

    Well, I figure I just can't go wrong with a Jazz Bass. Plus, I think wanting 5 strings is reasonable, for the added versatility. No this is not the "bass for life," but I do want to start with something decent quality. A used American Deluxe Jazz V is about as high in price as I want to go for now. I do think this should get me a quality piece of gear that is both capable and tuneful.

    Thanks for the bit about the low B being better post 2008....that is extremely helpful.

    I will, most likely, upgrade the bridge, tuners, and electronics as I go...so eventually the bass will get better. But, I want to get something good from the outset, hence the desire for a Deluxe Jazz V.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You're definitely on the right track there.
  16. drumsnbass

    drumsnbass Bassic User Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Seattle WA area
    You are already a musician, and already know (hopefully) quality instruments. So get yourself a 5 string quality instrument. No, you don't need a Fodera or similar high end boutique bass, but if you have the bank for it and you (think) you already know what you want (based upon the kind of work you do and the music you play I imagine), then spring for a better quality instrument. Don't go down the road of upgrading pups and electronics, go try a bunch of quality basses and pick the one that feels best and sounds best.

    I suggest you go used if you can, and don't necessarily buy something because someone tells you it is the ultimate bass for you. You have instruments and thus know what feels good to you, your bass neck should at least feel as good in your hands.

    In my own meager case, I have tried a lot of basses (and frankly I am by no mean much of a bass player), and in the end my main basses are a Zon 519 fretless and a Sadowsky Metro VJ 5 string limited edition. I own these primarily because I love fretless, and I love the neck shape on both nbasses. In fact, the first time I ever held a Sadowsky I knew I would own one. And I just got one.

    My basses have rather flat necks. You may like rounded necks more. Who knows. Like has been said before, go visit Guitar Center and try a few, but pay particular attention to what feels good in your hand (neck radius) and later you can but the build quality you want around that radius.
  17. lava4485


    Dec 31, 2013
    (About Low-B being Farty: If U get a Bass which allows to have the strings through.... Only have the B strung through and the others kept normal..... done in a Carvin, one of my friend plays)

    Why would all P/J's be Fender? All strats be Fender's?? All 'Pauls be Gibson's?

    If U like the vintage vibe... U might as well love both of the P and J! I would Highly recommend Going for a CARVIN PB5!

    When U would be ordering in the Custom shop.... Choose both the P and the J pup! It's gonna be a custom-instrument made for Ur liking and would be American made! Not all P-J's needs to be made by Fender! :p

    and as for Tuners/electronics upgrade go.... Carvin does give a already-hi-end stuff in a much more reasonable price! :)
    The pickups are a bit confusing though! It sounds awesome but it will make you wonder is it's active or Passive.

    As Mr. Drumsnbass said, U maylike different features than others.... Carvin will let U choose some of the features! :) Like I prefer more sting spacing than normal on a 5-string..... the Carvin's hip-shot bridge's allows us to get so...