Help me choose my first bass.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by katalyzt13, May 24, 2012.

  1. katalyzt13

    katalyzt13 some dude

    May 22, 2012
    Okay, I am getting ready to begin playing bass – been playing guitar for a few years. I was previously decided on the bass I wanted, but not the amp or effects I would need. When I posted questions about amps/effects everyone seemed to be talking me out of my choice in bass, so please help me decide on a bass to meet my needs.

    First, I will be playing everything from Stoner Rock such as Kyuss type stuff, to funk a la Bootsy Collins. I want a bass that I’ll be happy with because I’ll be stuck with it for a while. Below are some preferences:

    1. I prefer neck thru.
    2. I prefer active electronics.
    3. I hate the old school style of bass saddles, whatever they are called.

    The bass that I had decided on previously was the Epiphone Thunderbird PRO IV. This isn’t same as the standard as it is neck thru (7 piece neck), has active electronics, has an upgraded bridge/saddles from the standard, and the strap button was moved to counteract neck dive. I like this bass because it has the features I like, and I like it a lot aesthetically.

    I need a bass guitar, preferably new, for $400 or less – a 4 string, but wouldn’t disregard a good 5 string if it met my budget and other preferences. I plan to play mostly for myself, though I may jam with or possibly sit in with a local “indie rock” band at some small gigs.

    I’ve had people suggest a stingray or jazz bass, and looked at some of the OLP stingrays but I’m not especially impressed. If you make a suggestion, please let me know why. I’m in a position where I know a little about regular electric guitars but my knowledge doesn’t all translate over to bass guitar so I’m not absolutely sure what I want/need.
  2. NightTripper


    Oct 20, 2011
    What changed your mind about the T-Bird Pro? Sounds perfect for what you're after, and the great, classic looks are a plus. That's what I would personally get. Don't let the Gibson/Epi haters get you down. :bassist:
  3. tegs009


    Apr 26, 2012
    1. thunderbird is a bad choice, no offense, i understand how cool they look but gibson can't make basses

    2. excellent starter bass for you is an ibanez soundgear with actives, no neckthru but those things aren't as cheap. it does have a 24 fret neck that is the thinnest in the buisness

    3. I use it for everything from reggae to metal, you should be fine
  4. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I think you'll be quite limited in getting a neck-through in that price category, especially if you're looking for something new.
  5. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    Excellent and perfect suggestions and comments. I concur fully.

  6. katalyzt13

    katalyzt13 some dude

    May 22, 2012
    1. I've taken the Ibanez Soundgear under advisement (I do prefer their bolt on guitars to other bolt on guitars, they seem to do a better job of it)

    2. Whats the scoop on the Peavey Grind bass guitars? They are passive, but otherwise the features look nice for the price.
  7. katalyzt13

    katalyzt13 some dude

    May 22, 2012

    I had people telling me the pickups in the TBird Pro can't do what I want and that the neckdive even on the Pro is so bad it is distracting. I am not absolutely changed, but figured I would have a good forum for people to give me the benefit of their experience.
  8. nightwulf


    Feb 27, 2011
    Edmonds Wa
    Best way to do it? Go to the store with the biggest selection, and start playing EVERYTHING in your price range...if none of those "sing" to you, go to another store, and repeat the process...You say you're going to be "stuck" with this bass for a while...All the more reason to find the bass that suits you best...If you get a bass that "sings" to you, you'll play it...often...if you get one that feels like a slab of lumber with wires nailed to it, you won't...Actives DO give you more control, but if you find a bass that plays beautifully, but is passive, you can always add active electronics later...Each bass is an individual...find the one you like to play, and the rest will take care of itself...
  9. sadasar


    Jan 21, 2012
    Dallas Texas.
    endorsing artist hard luck king guitars and knuckle head strings
    Ibanez sound gear is great. If you want a neck through set up you may want to raise your budget unless you get a really good deal on a used bass. I use my sound gear for everything I've also used a fender jazz for just about everything can't go wrong with either.
  10. katalyzt13

    katalyzt13 some dude

    May 22, 2012
    Well, I like the look of the Soundgear SR370...
  11. mcglyph


    Aug 17, 2011
    Buy a used Carvin SB5000 or 4000, no neck thru and you won't even notice. They are active, and have all the tonal qualities you could want. They are out of your budget new, used, they are very cheap, can't really beat them for all aroundness. Would not recommend anything else. You said it yourself you want a bass you will be happy with for awhile, get something someone bought custom, made exceptionally well, reach just a little higher and play something sweet.
  12. ChadonBass


    Mar 12, 2012
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I bought an ESP LTD for well under the $400 tag...B-50FM. I'd look it up, but I'm at work. Anyway, it's a great bass, especially in the price point. Has P and J pickups and tone boost. Sounds good and is pretty easy on the shoulder.
  13. katalyzt13

    katalyzt13 some dude

    May 22, 2012
    Yeah, I generally like Carvin's stuff - my main guitar is a DC145M I had built earlier this year. Can't find a used SB series that I can afford for 400 or less.

    The LTD I will have to check out some reviews - I know I never liked LTD guitars, so it is making me biased.
  14. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    Sounds like you want something modern. the schecter stiletto elite would be right up your alley. this bass has a neck-through mahogany body, it has soapbar pick-ups, and it has a smooth curvacious design.
  15. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    B.S. !!
  16. katalyzt13

    katalyzt13 some dude

    May 22, 2012

    By modern, I do want something with modern features, but the reason I prefer the TBird is because it has classic lines. The Schecter Stiletto is out of my price range, though - need to stay under 400$.
  17. phayes1007


    Apr 19, 2011
    Without trying to sound arrogant... for someone purchasing their first bass, neck construction (i.e., Bolt-on vs. Neck-thru) should not be one of your primary considerations or deciding factors. First of all, you're VERY unlikely to find a decent-to-good quality 4-(or 5)-string neck-thru bass within your budget ($400 or less, as you stated). At an $800 or less budget, for example, finding a good neck-thru would be much more realistic. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of both types of neck construction--I own one bolt-on (Ibanez SR506) and one neck-thru (Ibanez BTB575), and I love them both to death. There are advantages associated with each design, but it's worth mentioning that you have a larger variety of basses to chose from if you go with a bolt-on neck. Neck-thrus tend to be rarer because they are generally more difficult and more expensive to assemble as well as to repair. In theory, neck-thrus will have more sustain, and also a somewhat stronger definition/emphasis of the fundamental frequency relative to the higher overtones, than bolt-ons, because... when the strings are strung along a single-continuous piece of wood (from the top of the neck all the way down to the bridge/end of the body), as opposed to two-separate pieces (Bolt-ons), less of their vibrational energy will be lost during the transfer of energy from the strings to the wood/body. Hence, greater sustain and less dampening of the fundamental. But in reality, it doesn't always work out that way... a well-made, tightly-secured bolt-on bass with no dead spots in the neck wood or body wood beats a poorly-assembled neck-thru any day of the week. I could go on about the subtleties and differences between the two types of basses, but I don't think it would be of much help to you. So try and look past the bolt-on vs. neck-thru characteristic when you test out different basses... let your ears decide which bass has a superior tone quality, whether that be more sustain, more clarity from the highs to the lows, etc.

    Moving on... I happen to prefer active electronics, as well (especially on 5-and-6-strings), and I think pickup construction is a totally legitimate factor around which to base your decision. Some pros of active electronics: greater tonal variety, as you can boost/cut bass/mid/treble frequencies (whereas you can only cut the bass and treble on passive basses), and IMHO, generally a fatter/more pronounced low-end with more clarity of the fundamentals on the lowest 2 strings (the E and the B, especially the B). If you're looking at 5-strings, I strongly recommend active over passive. That being said, it's mostly a matter of personal preference, and ultimately, there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to pickup selection.

    Anyways, I'll offer some recommendations within your budget. I've been an Ibanez user since the day I started playing, for 10 years now, I've gone through 4 of their basses (SR300, SR305DX, SR506, BTB575), and I can't say enough good things about them: very durable over time, very ergonomic design when it comes to playability, decent-to-great active electronics, in-stock at nearly every major guitar dealer or store, and very competitively priced. You can find plenty of 4 and 5-string Ibanez SR-series basses for $400 or less that should suit your purpose right now. I'll admit I'm slightly biased, of course, but I've had nothing but great experiences with that company, so I thought I'd share that. Good luck with your search, try as many different basses as you can get your hands on, and feel free to message me if you've got any questions.
  18. katalyzt13

    katalyzt13 some dude

    May 22, 2012
    Phayes1007, I understand that I may have to give up on the idea of the neck thru but it is what I've been comfortable with on electric guitars and I think I'll feel the same with bass. Also, a lot of the bolt on bass guitars I've messed with have felt flimsy to me - I know it is in my head, but I can't help it.
  19. phayes1007


    Apr 19, 2011
    Hey, no worries. If you do manage to find a quality neck-thru bass within (or outside of) your budget that you love enough to buy, more power to you.

    One more thing I wanna mention, and then I'll shut up afterwards lol. An electric bass is a completely different beast from an electric guitar. It's understandable to want to compare the two in terms of feel, comfort, playability, etc., especially when you're a lot more familiar with one than you are with the other... and it's really tough, mentally-speaking, to sever any connections between the two... but believe me, they're as dissimilar as day & night, and they should never be compared to one another at any meaningful level. Your comfort/preference for a certain electric guitar design/style will have absolutely no bearing on the types of basses that you will find more comfortable. Bass guitars should only be compared with other bass guitars. Otherwise there would be no need for or any bass-exclusive forum... all bass-related: topics, info, resources would just be thrown into an enormous, general guitar forum website (I don't even wanna imagine what that would be like...)

    Just out of curiosity, what are the neck-thru electric guitars that you say you're used to playing? I'm not as knowledgeable with electric guitars, but from what I understand, neck-thru designs are extremely uncommon to find on them (compared to electric basses).

    But anyways, good luck man. Hope you find what you're lookin for.
  20. katalyzt13

    katalyzt13 some dude

    May 22, 2012
    As far as what neck-thru guitar I use, right now my main guitar is a Carvin DC145M I had built earlier this year. I have bolt ons and set in neck guitars as well, but neck thru feels more natural and just has better sustain, etc.
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