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Help me pick a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by squeally dan, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    Playing in a wedding band. I was the guitarist but have been on bass the past few months. We mostly play funk and dance music: look and gang, cameo, commodores, etc.

    Currently I'm using a 90s American Fender jazz bass that i got from a guy here. I like the sound of it, but seems very heavy and even with good set up it doesn't feel the easiest to play. That may just be a guitarist still getting used to playing bass. I have tried a better strap but still getting lots of shoulder pain.

    What could I find in the $400-600 range that might be lighter and fit with the style of music we play? Also, wouldn't mind trying a 5 string. I also don't mind buying used.
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Guitarists usually like Ibanez basses. Lots of choices in that price range.
  3. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I had an Ibanez SR505 that I liked and the neck was on the small / thin side - a great instrument in your price range.
  4. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    Cool. I assume Ibanez would be gigging quality and good tone-wise for what we do. I've never had an Ibanez guitar.

    Also, the overall weight is an issue, but you bring up a good point- the neck does feel very big.
  5. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    My SR505 was really light and sounded quite good. I sold it just to upgrade to my Carvin Icon but the Ibanez is a great bass and value.
  6. Ibanez's are usually very light compared to others. Especially Fender.
  7. yukon1736


    Mar 26, 2012
    +++1 on the Ibanez basses

    I have a MIA Fender Deluxe Jazz, but before that I played an Ibanez BTB 300. The model i have has the stacked pots (so it looks like only 3 knobs if you do a google image search) and walnut body (nice dark wood). That guitar is amazing for only 400 bucks or so brand new when i got it. Neck was super fast and comfortable, and the guitar was pretty light. Always sounded pretty good. I'm always amazed when I think that it sold for the price it did.
  8. VinKreepo


    Nov 13, 2009
    There is an Ibanez SR480 in the classifieds here for $175... better jump on it before I do :p

    But in all seriousness, the above comments are true. I started out on guitar and got an Ibanez after that. Now, all I have ever owned is Ibanez, even after playing a Deluxe P (way too big and very uncomfortable). I would say an Soundgear (SR or SDGR) is the easiest Ibanez to play without question.

    The SR480 I mentioned above has a mahogany body as do the modern SR500 series others have suggested above. While mahogany is a very nice, durable wood, it is not a defined/bright sounding as the J you are used to and still a somewhat heavy wood (not as bad as that J though).

    If you want a drastic reduction in weight, look into an SR 885, 645 as they are made of either basswood (extremely light). There are a few on the classifieds here and on eBay at fair prices ($200-350 depending on condition).

    I have an SR 645 that has been gutted. If you live around Fayetteville, NC, I can let you take a look at it so you can get an idea of just how light it is.

    I can't decide if I want to part with it or not lol... it's just so darn light.

    EDIT: Can't remember the model but this should be the 4 string cousin to the 645
  9. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Word Up! :D

    Have you looked into a short scale bass as a possibility? I hear a lot of guitarists who have embraced da bass, or who switch instruments during a show, like playing short scale basses.

    Maybe a Fender or Squier Mustang, or even a Squier Jaguar SS would fit the bill? They match the nut width of a Jazz but the scale length is about four inches shorter. I've also heard a lot of talk about the Ibanez Mikro, but I've never had a chance to see one up close.
  10. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    Almost all guitarist I know that switch to bass love my Gibson EB3 bass. It's a Gibson SG body with a short scale neck and some DEEP tones.

    You can pick up an Epiphone copy of that for $300 new - well below your budget.

    Ibanez is a fine bass - but you'll need to go through a few to find one you like. Same with Yamaha.

    If you don't like the Jazz Bass you have, then I'd suggest going smaller and not larger because the JBass is universally noted as being a very comfortable bass (meaning small to me).
  11. petro_bass


    Dec 4, 2012
    As with any bass be sure to try it with your setup if you can.
    I looked at an Ibanez when I was in the market and the newer ones with the super thin bodies and active pickups seem really attack heavy. I like a setup with some growl if I need it, but I would have had to seriously eq it to make it fit a smooth "vintage" sound.
    Of course I was playing a GK rig at the time.
    It's all up to your ears and what you like!
  12. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    Any other suggestions besides Ibanez.
  13. Just shop around for another Jazz Bass if you like the overall feeling and tone. Bass guitars wary in weight so you could find a much lighter Jazz Bass...
  14. boristhespider7


    Jan 27, 2008
    Aerodyne Jazz or CV Jazz. Both made of basswood, much lighter, but v decent instruments for the price and budget.

    I also love the Mustang's but it sounds more like a P than a J IMO. If that's your thing def worth getting your hands on one and giving it a play. Really comfortable with the short scale.

    Personally don't like the EB0's or EB3's unless you like mud. If you like a J tone i'm not sure you'd like an EB3. But you do get some guitarists use them eg. Macca's current guitarist/bassman. The cherry red certainly looks the part on stage IMO
  15. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    I played a Geddy Lee bass that felt more comfortable.
  16. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    If a Geddy Lee felt nice then definitely try out an Aerodyne. I'll admit, I am biased since it was my first bass. I think they look super-sharp and I love the range of tone & sound I get out of a P/J configuration. Boris is right, they are very lightweight. The only downside is that they show off fingerprints very well, so if you get one, keep a polishing cloth handy before going onstage.

    Here's mine (+drop-D tuner and copper-plated strings).


    Currently Fender and Squier are discounting most of their models. The Aerodyne Jazz is going for $700 (down from $800) on most of the big retailers…Guitar Center, Sweet Water, Musician's Friend, etc.
  17. Look into getting a used Guild Pilot!

    They can be had for under $500, weigh around 8lbs, have a thin neck, are well balanced, and the EMG's rock!
  18. James Mobius

    James Mobius

    Feb 28, 2011
    maybe there's a reason so many people recommend Ibanez, soundgear V, thin neck, not super heavy, hey a bass is a bass though. get a well padded strap and grin and bear it. or maybe if you can find one, a used Hohner Steinberger copy, I had one, very light weight V. might have to put higher quality pick ups in it.
  19. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    Cool suggestions, and I actually am trying to play standing daily instead of standing with strap. Maybe I just need to get used to it.