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Guitarist changing to bass, 4 or 5 strings? Cheap or expensive?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fastfwd, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. I've been playing guitar for 10 years but not a lot so I'm still a beginner. I want to try out playing bass because I had an offer to join a band.

    Should I start with a 4 strings or 5 strings bass?

    Get a cheap 200$ bass and change later or go right away for a bass I will want to keep for years?
  2. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Go with whichever you want.

    And check out SX's - Rondomusic.net - they're cheap and of very high quality for what you're paying.
  3. dangnewt

    dangnewt Veteran Dispenser

    Jun 6, 2003
    MetroWest Boston
    I'd buy a sub-$200 bass - either used or a new SX. I also switched from guitar and really didn't know what I wanted until I had been playing for a couple of years.
  4. Go inexpensive first - if it's a rock gig, you'd want the 5 for the low B string.

    But don't give up the guitar - just add to your arsenal of versatility.

    I was a jazz guitar major in college (at least for a year), but most of the calls I got to play were for bass all throughout high school and college. 20 years later, I finally put an order in for a quality bass to celebrate playing music for 40 years, and I get 3 guitar gigs in a row.

    "You never know what you're going to get." - Forrest Gump
    "Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity." - forget who said it (it's late, and it's MAY!)
  5. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    The only thing I would differ on is when I added bass, I knew enough to be willing to go ahead and get a quality instument and not one I would change right away. I wouldn't go overboard, but I would get something solid. You know enough to tell what you like. Then you'll get GAS.
  6. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    I'd say get a 5. The music today often has parts south of a 4's low E. 5s are cooler anyway! :)

    Cheap, depends. You may find a less expensive 5 to have a weak low B string, which kinda blows the whole point. Some cheaper 5s that are not bad include the old Brice Douglas 5 string Jazz Bass that Rondo sold for a while, around $300 new. Used, 200 or less. I have two, VERY nice basses. They both compare EXTREMELY well in feel and "mojo" to my Fender Jazz 5, a '92 US model. Also, the Tribute L-2500 can be had used for around 400 bux, GREAT "cheap" 5. MTD Kingston, another less expensive example. Old PV Dynabass5, or TL5, both very solid instruments, both should be under/around 400 used.
  7. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I'd say start on four, you're used to E A D and G. Just give you a bit of common ground for the transition. Start cheap, buy a used Mexican Fender that you can sell for about what you paid when it's time to upgrade. If you decide you can use the lower notes, THEN buy your fiver.
  8. I switched over straight to a six-string bass from guitar, but I had already been playing someone else's bass for a few months and had gotten familiar with a four string - I knew I wanted more range.

    Perhaps you could tell us what kind of music this band will be playing?
  9. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Yeah!! Convert, good move. Bassists get all the chicks. Or so im told.

    4 string.
  10. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    I'll go along with getting a 4 first and a MIM Fender is a good choice.

    Remember too you leave behind that great luxury guitar players have of getting away with buying that 500.00 amp that has a nice overdrive and two 12 inch speakers ... Now you have to keep up with that, with a clean solid bass rig! So figure on somewhere in the 1000.00 range there.
  11. Thanks for all the replies. I'm pretty sure I want a 4 strings to begin with now since it will be easier to figure out the tuning(same 4 strings as guitar).

    As for cheap or expensive. I went to my local store and am still debating. Either get a nice 4 string Godin with active pickups for 700$CDN or get a Peavey for 200$CDN. All my guitars are made by Godin and it would just make sense to get the same thing for the Bass. I'm in Quebec if you have to ask "why Godin?". Patriotism. Also they make really good guitars and I expect the same from their basses.

    I already use a 130x2 watts power amp for my guitar. I think the bass will work out ok with this too. I was thinking of getting a GNX4 multi-effect for the guitar and this would work for the bass too.

    So now the only thing to decide is... Get the Godin bass I really want for 700$ or be reasonable and get the Peaver for 200$ to start with?

    I think that reason will lose again.
  12. morf

    morf Banned

    Feb 17, 2006
    Id say go with a decent 4 stringer, under 1000 bucks. Please play it with your fingers :)

    Edit: If you want some humph get a bass cab.
  13. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Erm, make sur eyou don't use the guitar cab/speakers...

    they go boom!
  14. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I'd get a seperate bass amp if you were you, a bass played through a guitar amp may sound great on its own but will most definitely lack low end so you'll be unable to cut through when you're playing with a band.
  15. You will probably want more than 2 x 130w for bass. The Godin basses are excellent, you will be very happy with them.
  16. The amp I have is a PA, not a guitar amp. I may have to get a bass cabinet since those I have only have 12" speakers.
  17. Spoke with my GF and she convinced me to go for it and live a little while I'm young. I think it's going to be the 4 strings Godin at 700$. I'll definitely want to learn to play with my fingers but will probably want to try with a pick too.

    I hope my amp will be OK for a while. I'm not playing any stages right now so as long as it sounds OK at home I should be happy.
  18. reachjkh


    Nov 21, 2002
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Check out www.avatarspeakers.com for a reasonably priced bass cab.

    Also, since you're coming over from guitar, I'd suggest that you really pay attention to the drummers foot as a source of inspiration. Guitar and bass really feel different. It took me a while before I felt like a bass player after playing guitar for so long.
  19. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao EspaƱa
    3 words (and a number) warwick Corvette standar 5.
  20. rhythm


    Dec 4, 2005
    I know I say this all the time, but......try a Spector!

    I have a Euro 5, and it's incredible, can handle anything, the amount of pro's using them is a testament to that.

    Even the Legend and Performer series are of very good quality.

    As for strings, I play 5 mainly, but 4's are still very good, just try a few and see what you think.

    Good luck.

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