Good first bass for funk-, jazz- and salsa-loving adult

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thundr, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Thundr


    May 30, 2020
    What’s a good first bass for an adult? I’m into funk, jazz and salsa, and would like to eventually jam along to some of my favourite tunes. I’d like to noodle along plugged or unplugged, and also confess to being a sucker for some aesthetics, hence my current wishlist:
    Yamaha TRBX605;
    Hofner HCT-500 VeryThin Bass;
    Yamaha BEX4 (can’t find one!);
    Ibanez AGB205.

    Good ideas or bad? Any further ideas? Thanks & keep thumpin’
    HolmeBass and alanloomis1980 like this.
  2. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    The TRBX stands out as the only solid body of the bunch. It's a good axe and flexible tone wise. It's what I think suits more modern Latin based music.
    The rest are hollow or semihollow body instruments and will have a different tone, arguably a bit more like an upright.
    I don't think there are any dogs in your shortlist, so it comes down to:
    • 4 vs 5 string
    • Solid or hollow body
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  3. Vinny_G


    Dec 1, 2011
    A one that is not tuned in B minor. :bag:
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  4. 350125g0


    Mar 4, 2020
    A used Fender MIM jazz bass, or one of the newer Squier Classic Vibe jazz basses would be my recommendation, but I prefer passive basses to active ones. I'd recommend taking some time to go to your local music shop to pick up and play a bunch of basses that you like that you can find in stock... mess about with the knobs and see if you can get sounds out of them that hit or come close to what you like. Alternatively, youtube can be a good resource for the way things sound if you can't find what you're looking for locally.
  5. filwitheneff


    Feb 22, 2008
    Funk, jazz, and salsa? Of the basses on your list, the Yamaha TRBX605 would be a perfect fit (and could take you beyond those genres as well). I've considered getting one myself.
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  6. Thundr


    May 30, 2020
    Thanks, @abarson. In your experience is it better to learn on a four-stringer and then move to five-stringer, or does it make no odds as to whether you first learn with four or five strings. (I'm thinking in terms of e.g. avoiding picking up bad habits etc.) Also, how much better is a semiacoustic or hollowbody bass than a solidbody bass when it comes to practicing unplugged (i.e. without an amp)? (I'm much more into jazz/funk, but do also like the Latin vibe.) Thanks again,
  7. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I haven't delved into the 5-string arena, so I can't offer an opinion on that.

    Neither the semi-hollow or fully hollow body versions are going to be adequate for meaningful unplugged practice, unless your household and neighborhood are very quiet. This is also true of ABGs (acoustic bass guitars). They're fine if you're sitting around, an idea pops in your head and you just have to work it out before you forget. But I would not advise planning to do this as a routine. These instruments are too quiet to practice unplugged and you will develop a bad habit of playing too hard to hear yourself.

    If your tendencies are more towards jazz/funk I'd go with a solid body. Many of us use small headphone amps when using a rig isn't possible.
    Ideally, you'd find an open shop in your vicinity that has both body types and you can compare yourself.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  8. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Yes, +1 for a Jazz or J style bass. Just find one that feels good to you.
  9. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    On that list, the Yamaha TRBX. Most definitely not the Hofner. It isn't going to do funk very well. Slapping on that bridge..uh uh. I tried it myself. lol I do play a lot of funk and jazz, along with rock and some alternative and used to have a Rogue bass similar to that Hofner for some classic rock music.
    As mentioned above, I would probably go with a solid body for versatility - something like a Fender P or Jazz type bass, I would say more P than a Jazz but that depends on preferences.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  10. Mili


    Nov 14, 2015
    Funk?! P-Bass + Flats!
    Frumius, filmtex, Ace Of Bass and 3 others like this.
  11. Holdsg

    Holdsg Father of Pugs Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    Mili likes this.
  12. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    From that list, another vote for the Yamaha.

    But for those genres, Fender Jazz Basses and various J clones have been doin' the job well for decades. And for a first bass, I'd also recommend going passive rather than active. Tone is in the fingers, not the EQ.
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  13. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile, ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀ Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    +1 for the Yamaha
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  14. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Inactive

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    Jazz Bass!
    Ace Of Bass, dune and bobyoung53 like this.
  15. Remoman


    Mar 14, 2017
    Really, you can start out on most anything. Your knowledge and tastes are going to evolve anyway. However, from your list, I'd think the Yamaha TRBX605 is the best choice. Very versatile instrument, good looks, should work for anything you take on and have a good resale value if you choose to down the road.

    But I'd say start on a 4-string, so the Yamaha TRBX604 instead. I'm a 5-string fan, and will always be a 5-string player. But the majority of the learning material out there is geared towards 4-string so the TRBX604 will it will make it easier to digest. Then you can get a 5-string later and add to your collection!
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  16. Of those four, the Yamaha TRBX605.

    I'd suggest others, but none would be hollow or even semi-hollow.
    Ace Of Bass likes this.
  17. Bleecker

    Bleecker Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2006
    Etown NY. USA
    I've no experience with your choices, but the solid body is for me...

    I'd also recommend a Jazz type bass, nice easy playing thin fast necks, versatile sound-wise.

    Good luck!
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  18. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    TRBXs are good basses, and quite versatile. It would be great for all the styles you mention.
  19. Sean150


    Jul 18, 2018
    I have the TRBX 604FM and it is an amazing bass. The active/passive switch adds to the variety of tones. Also since someone mentioned it I slap on mine with no issues.

    I prefer 4 string and most lessons are based around 4; however the same logic applies when you add another string so it’s not too hard to figure out.