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Guitarist is after a bass for home studio

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kooky, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Kooky


    Jan 9, 2013
    This is my first post here, so hello everybody. Can you let me know what's the best bass for metal? ;) Just kidding, I am however hoping to get a bit of advice. I'm a guitarist and currently looking into getting myself a decent bass for my home recording studio (and maybe for some session work as well). Bassist in my band has a Warwick Thumb 5 string bass which sounds absolutely amazing, is comfortable (I'm loving the neck, thin with strings next to each other), sits well within the mix too. The problem is that it's just too expensive. Bass is not my main instrument and I can't justify the cost. So the question is - is there anything out there that's similar to the Thumb and doesn't cost an arm and leg? I keep monitoring ebay for second hand thumbs but so far all of them were too expensive.

  2. MoscowRadio


    Sep 28, 2012
    You might want to look into an Ibanez SR505 or a five string jazz bass. The Ibanez has two active humbucking pickups with a 3-band EQ. The jazz has two single coil pickups and most models are passive though some active models exist.
  3. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    You may also want to check out a Warwick Rockbass Corvette Basic if you find Warwicks comfortable and you like the sound. It won't quite get you the German made sound, though.

    They make an active version and a passive.
  4. +1 on the Ibanez SR505. Had one for a few years and gigged with it regularly until I used it as a trade towards my G&L. It was a VERY comfy bass, and sounded great.
  5. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    It's pretty general advice that's probably gonna pop up again, but you should go into a store and play everything in your price range. Sure you liked the thumb, but who knows what else you'll like.
  6. ajunea3


    Feb 14, 2008
    Baton Rouge
    Precision Bass
  7. +1

    Though I don´t have one, I´m more of a single coil type of guy, but I have to admit this is the perfect bass if you look for a simple good one for going straight to tape.
  8. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    The truth? Anything will work so don’t stress too much.

    Keeping it simple and in no particular order:

    Fender Precision – Big fat bottom end that has been found in every genre from R&B to heavy metal. You really can’t go wrong here, but here the versatility comes from your technique more than the bass as it is a one pickup one tone knob affair. Despite their simplicity, or perhaps because of it, they are fun to play.

    Fender Jazz – Classic and versatile. The advantage here is that it has two single coils for a more defined sound than the P, but then again they are single coils so can be prone to 60cycle hum (i.e. hiss) however with both pickups engaged they’re hum cancelling. One nice thing in your situation is that the Jazz has a smaller neck and would have a more familiar feel to a guitarist than the thicker neck of the P bass.

    Ernie Ball – The modern classic that is similar in overall vibe and feel as the P bass but with more interesting electronics for added versatility. Most have a big ol’ humbucker for some series oomph.

    Ibanez – The Soundgear series has arguably the thinnest necks in the business with a wide range of models from fretless to 6 strings, bolt-on to neck through. They are definitely a modern design, with a small comfortable body shape and most if not all, have an active EQ (treble, middle, bass). This makes them extremely versatile for the studio.

    On a budget?
    There is nothing wrong with the Squiers or EBMM “econo” line (I forget the name at the moment). Like your guitars, a good setup goes a looong way. Other companies like SX offer some great options if you're on a tight budget. I have no experience with them but I know many people here love them for what they are.

    On a budget but want something nice?
    If you’re not afraid of a little elbow grease, a Carvin kit runs about $450 - $650 depending on options (4 or 5 string, passive or active, woods, etc.. The kits are made from the same parts as the factory ordered $1,000+ version, you just have to do the finish sanding, staining/paint, assembly and you’re ready to rock. They’re solid and worth a look.

    I hope this helps in some way. Enjoy =P
  9. OP, what is your budget? If you're open to used instruments, they're always the best value.

    If you already like the sound of a Thumb, you don't have to go for the full German-made Warwick. You could get one of the asian manufactured Proline Series or Rockbass models. The Prolines and Rockbasses these days have gotten better than their predecessors.

    A Corvette will cost less than a Thumb and still give you a good Warwick growl. Again, the same Proline/Rockbass options are available to you here.
  10. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    For a lower cost bass, I would recommend a passive bass (or at least one with an active passive switch). You cannot go wrong with fender-type basses - precision, jazz, or PJ (has one jazz pickup in the bridge position, in addition to the precision pickup).

    Yamaha tends to offer a good bang-for-buck (e.g. BB414), but ultimately, you should go to a store with lots of basses, and try as many as you can to see what fits you. You don't have to buy there, just try as many as you can, to get an idea. Then look for the best deal, which can usually be found in the used market ;)

    One more thing - do not rely on your perception of the sound in a store. The sound can be manipulated in many ways, of which strings tend to be very important. And strings are often old on basses in stores, with a bad set-up. Keep that in mind :)
  11. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I do a lot of music recording and have found that a Jazz bass sits in the mix better than any of the the other basses I have in the studio. I was recently listening to a mix from 2009 on my earbuds and noticed how good the bass sounded. So I called the guy that played the bass part on the song and asked him if he remembered which bass we'd used on the track. He said, "it was your old 62 reissue Jazz". I've since started using a Sadowsky J bass which has even better note definition but for me it's always a Jazz bass when recording. You can dial in the punch and bottom as needed and the notes get captured without muddiness or too much bottom end. I use a P quite a lot for live playing but in the studio it's the J. YMMV
  12. Aznslappadabass


    Nov 27, 2012
    Personally speaking getting a Precision style bass will always be a good choice as is probably the most iconic sound for the electric bass. I've played several recent of Squier's precision releases such as their classic vibe serious and some vintage modified basses, I think they are phenomenal choices and are great bang for your buck.
    EBMM or Ernie Ball Musicman has two different budget bass lines in the SUB series (approx. sub $300, pun intended new) and their Sterling by Musicman (SBMM) line (approx. $600-700 new and about $400-450 used). I personally use a SBMM Ray34 and it is a fantastic bass that gives plenty of power and punch, especially in a band setting.

    As with any suggestion, take the time to try as many basses as you can before you buy. It's also a good idea to consider what types of music you want to play and what sound you want.
  13. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    A total inexpensive sleeper for a guitarist looking for an occasional double is the Yamaha RBX170. A guitarist friend of mine bought one for his home studio for writing demos and it sounds nice, especially with a pick.
  14. DeMayunn


    Dec 12, 2012
    +1 on the RBX170, Tried a few in the shop, coming from guitar the neck is pretty good.
    a very solid axe indeed
  15. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest

    Get a line 6 Variax bass perfect for home recording the different sounds you can get are incredible.
  16. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    we use a fender jaguar mij for recording, easy to play, lots of different tones, active and passive, it plays as good as my g&l sb-2
  17. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    im a presicion guy, and think the roadworn pbass is extremely nice. Some of fenders smaller basses like a jaguar or mustang..you really should try different stuff to find something that "speaks"to you..
  18. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    For recording purposes a good Fender works well and on the used market can be found on the cheap.
  19. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Whatever you get, go passive for studio DI work.

    The Precision is the dominant studio bass forever, with reason.

    I have a few dozen basses. The only ones I use for recording are Precisions and one passive EBMM with flats.
  20. Nothing else sounds like a thumb-it's really its own thing. Unique sound.
    Can't go wrong with a P or J. You can get a J to kinda sorta sound like the thumb by favoring the bridge pickup a bit, if you're really into that tone.