Help me narrow this down (new bass, $800-$2000 range)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Golem II, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    Caution: long winded and rambling post. If you don't feel like reading, just name a great 4-string fretted bass and tell me why you like it.

    During my few years as "big stick hitty guy" in various bands, I've been through the following basses:
    -Kay precision deluxe cardboard bass o' death
    -Ibanez something-or-other (I think the model number was TR something)
    -Dean (not sure what model, maybe Edge series) 6-string with a two-by-four for a neck
    -Yamaha RBX765A

    I'm currently playing the Yamaha, which sounds pretty sweet but has painfully high action (despite my many futile attempts to lower it.) Not good, considering that I'm trying to learn to tap and I'd like to not develop tendonitis, carpal tunnel and what not before I turn 21. Also, I find that the fifth string sounds terrible and just gets in my way most of the time.

    So, I'm saving for a nice high-end bass with significantly lower action and possibly a "faster" neck. I'm looking primarily in the used/ebay market to save money, considering that any bass will likely receive some scratches and dents in my care. I plan to spend about $1500, but will go lower than that if the bass satisfies me, or higher if the bass has something extra that really pleases me.

    I think I'm going for a 4-string fretted, but I'm not sure about the neck. I like the look of a neck-thru, but bolt-on might be more practical for me. Not sure if it will make any difference in my playing. In the realm of basic Fender axes, I've found that I greatly prefer precision basses over jazz basses.

    There are just too many brands and models to choose from, especially with so many extremely high-end secondhand basses being affordable through ebay, bassgear, etc. Right now I'm leaning towards Zon, though. If I perhaps wanted to spend less money, I'd go with a nice P-bass, Musicman, Peavey Cirrus, MTD kingston or Lakland Skyline. Any suggestions?
  2. Have you considered Warwick? They have some nice neck through models.
  3. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    Yep. The thumb is the only Warwick model that's really impressed me so far, and I'm not crazy about the look and the way it balances.
  4. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
  5. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    Keep in mind that I'm NOT looking for a J-bass at this time, and I'm looking primarily in the used market which will make the assemble-it-yourself route pretty difficult (Not to mention that I don't know any good luthiers and I'd probably botch the job if I did it myself.) To narrow it down, I'm most interested in:

    Warwick Thumb Neck-thru
    Zon (probably Sonus)
    MTD 435 or Grendel
    Wal Mach I
    Lakland 4-94 or Skyline
    Modulus Flea

    Can anyone compare the strengths and weaknesses of a few of these basses? I play in a couple of loud, straightforward rock bands, if that's any help.
  6. Out of those i would take the Wal.
  7. I'd go with the neck thru thumb.
  8. turkish

    turkish Guest

    Jul 14, 2002
    FCCAUSA, or here
    i'd say lakland 44-94, but thats just because i love laklands:D
  9. I got the bass for ya!
    Click to the link in my sig!
  10. Music Man

    That's what I would choose at least.
  11. If I had that money, I'd be looking at a Czech Spector 4 string - new! Or maybe you can get a US one used for your budget. I love the way they sound (the Czech ones), the way they play and the way they balance!

    I also believe that they are way cheap for a bass of their qualities and abilities!

    Just my 2 cents worth!
  12. Same here. They may sound a little odd tapping - i'm not sure - the electronics in a Wal are EXTREMELY powerful and flexible.

    Wals are, IMHO, the ULTIMATE high-end rock bass - killer punchy lows, punchy midrange (easily made to growl like nobody's business, and I am talking GROWL, not clank, not grind, outright GROWL!!!) and really even, compressed-sounding highs (but can be made plenty bright if you so desire).

    Some stuff to listen to if you're interested in a Wal would be RHCP's _Blood Sugar Sex Magik_, any Tool album with Justin Chancellor on it, and any of the following Rush albums: _Power Windows_, _Hold Your Fire_, _A Show Of Hands_ (live), _Presto_, and _Roll the Bones_. Keep in mind Geddy uses very thin Rotosound RS66FM's, so the bass is capable of MUCH more low end than he's getting. In fact, all Wals have a low end cut pot in the control cavity because they were causing too many lesser 10" speakers to fart, especially the 5 string models.

    For a high-end bass in a loud, straightforward rock band, a Wal would be a great choice. You'd also have major flexability to cop many bass tones, inclunding P's, which you say you like, and it'd be great for messing around with other styles outside of your regular bands.

  13. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I still would have to suggest trying out an Elrick.. I think they are fabulous.. completely handmade but cost less than most handmade basses.. check em out.. you may or may not like them.. but its worth a shot. is the site
  14. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    I haven't played a Wal yet, but Justin Chancellor's tone on Lateralus is exactly what I'm going for. I'm already kicking myself for not buying the one that was just on Ebay for $1300.
    BTW, I've been perusing Wal's website, and I may have misinterpreted something they wrote, but... do these basses have an XLR output in addition to the usual 1/4" jack? And does the use of the XLR jack render the bass "passive"? (one thing I'm looking for is a bass that can be used in either active or passive mode, though it's not that important to me.)
  15. i will seriously sell you my peavey cirrus 6 string. if you want just pm me if you want it or not.
  16. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    Please pay attention, people. I don't want to buy YOUR bass. I don't even have the money for one right now. If I wanted these replies, I'd post in the "used gear: wanted" section. If you have to offer me a bass, please make sure it at least fits the criteria I described at the start of the thread. Sorry, I don't mean to throw a hissy fit, but I'm just trying to find out what I'm going to be saving up for. Thank you, just trying to get some objective and fairly unbiased opinions.
  17. Cool! While most definitely not my favourite Wal tone (anything off Rush's _Power Windows_ is... particularly the second verse in the song "Middletown Dreams"... the thing just rips...)

    Yes. I'm not sure if they can be used simultaneously, however - but I know you have to have a 1/4" plug in the unbalanced jack to turn on the preamp - so if you're going to be a doing a lot of XLR out it may make sense to just go buy a 1/4" plug with no wire attached it to keep in that jack so the preamp stays on without having a second cord dangling off the thing.

    Wal basses can not be switched to passive - however, they can get some very passive-sounding, warm tones.

    I've read over at the Wal Basses forum over at The Dudepit that the single 9v battery will last insanely long. One guy said he only changes it once a year, regardless of whether it's dead or not... yipes.

    If I owned a Wal, I think I'd change the battery each time I restring the bass, unless I find that I play it enough to need more frequent changings, which doesn't sound likely given the amount of time others are getting out of their batteries.

  18. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    You're up to about the entry-level price of a new Hanewinckel, I can say from experience he builds great basses. $1600 (retail price, direct price is lower) would get you a "bare-bones" model, which means 3-piece neck, bolt-on, Bartolini soapbars and NTBT, nice brass bridge, great construction (sculpted, 6-bolt neck joint, comfortable carved body, perfect balance), very good action. You could probably also get MM+J (or whatever) pickups for little or no extra charge.

    Other than that, I would be looking at a Wal if I were in your shoes (albeit a Mach III :) ).
  19. I'm in love with elricks, do you know how much they usually cost? My dream would be a 4 string neck-thru with a spalted maple top an pink Ivory fingerboard. :melts: Ahhhh yea, I can just imagine it...