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Help me purchase my first bass (and amp)....please?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JimmyCraig, Jan 19, 2013.


  1. JimmyCraig

    JimmyCraig

    Jul 12, 2012
    Hi there

    I've been playing piano for 2 years and guitar for 1 and I guess you could say bass for 6 months, but I've never had my own bass, I always used my friends, even though I was the bass player for a band for a while.

    I love bass guitars, the whole bass sound and really want to get more proficient at it. So here I am

    The bass I'm looking for needs to be versatile, I want to play things like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the Jack White stuff that actually uses a bass, but might be playing metal and some indie stuff. I recently got into Death From Above 1979 and it would be nice if I could get a sound like that with the rest. Of course I understand that no one bass-amp combo can do this all so compromise is alright.

    Right. Now I need the bass and amp for gigging as well as home use, so the amp needs to be loud enough to compete with the band (at like clubs and bars etc). I'm not looking for any more than 4 strings. My budget is around $1200 for both the amp and bass. I will definitely be up for used.

    If you took the time to read this, thanks, sorry I promise I will give you that minute of your life back at some point :D
     
  2. Liv3rman

    Liv3rman

    Dec 28, 2012
    You won't go far wrong with a MIM P or PJ for that sort of cash, plus a bundle left over for a nice 1x15 300w combo.
     
  3. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    Lloegyr
    If you want to be versatile soundwise, maybe consider spending a bit less on the bass and amp and getting a pedal or two to tweak your sound?
     
  4. Liv3rman

    Liv3rman

    Dec 28, 2012
    +1
     
  5. There are a LOT of great affordable basses out there. You could shop around for years and keep finding new stuff you like, so for now I'd recommend that you start out with a straightforward 4-string Fender Precision (P) or Jazz (J) bass. I prefer the J myself, but a P is a great all-around choice. Look for a used Made In Mexico (MIM) Fender, or a Squier Classic Vibe model. Ibanez and Music Man also make excellent basses.

    As for the amp, you have a lot of factors to consider. Before you shop around, you need to decide what your top priorities are. Size, volume, weight, overall tone, tonal versatility, etc. I decided that having a lightweight amp with decent volume was the most important thing (I'm not super picky about tone). I got a Gallien Krueger MB210, and I love it. It's loud enough to compete with my band's drummer in a small club, and it has an XLR direct output to run into a PA system. I'd recommend GK combo amps if you want something that's easy to carry around. But definitely try a bunch of different amps so you can hear the different tone options, and see if there's anything that jumps out at you. Good luck!

    EDIT: You might want to reserve some cash for a pedal or two. I don't think you really NEED any effects to be a good bass player, but a bass fuzz or overdrive pedal could be a good investment if you're going to play hard rock.
     
  6. logans59

    logans59

    Jul 1, 2012
    Kennesaw, GA
    Used Fender (or New Squier) Jazz and a 1x15 combo. I like Hartke, but Ampeg or GK is also very good.
     
  7. SRFSterling5

    SRFSterling5

    Sep 24, 2011
    Hawaii
    My first bass was a $200 Precision copy made by Hondo. For the
    amp a $300 Fender Bassman. That got me going until I was able
    to afford better gear later. That was probably long before you were
    born. If I had to do it again, I probably would have gotten a better
    bass and gone cheap with the amp. That bass was completely different
    after changing the neck, pickups (installed a J pickup for a PJ configuration)
    and getting a better bridge. With all the cash spent on that stuff I could
    have gotten a better name brand bass. Try out different models until you
    find one that feels good in your hands. Then take it to a luthier to get a
    good setup done. This will make the playing experience much more enjoyable
    and hopefully contribute to you exploring this incredible instrument even more.
    Good luck on your new adventure.
     
  8. vince a

    vince a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    One of my students was finally ready to purchase his first bass and amp. He had a similar budget . . . we went shopping. Found a used MIM P bass and purchased a brand new GK MB410II . . . all under $1200. Yes, a bit costly for a rookie, but he is an ex-gui**** and is learning quickly . . . plus he has the $$$. Also, the music store threw in a set of 'Chromes' flats. We'll work on the rest of the mods, if he needs them, when he is ready to join a band and start gigging!
     
  9. JimmyCraig

    JimmyCraig

    Jul 12, 2012
    I'm thinking of getting maybe the Epiphone thunderbird bass, or the Fender Tele bass (or the p bass if I go with the cheaper amp) and for the amp I'm thinking maybe orange (no GK where I live) because I have an orange guitar amp which is fantastic. Maybe the orange crush pix 100w which would leave me plenty of money for pedals or the orange thunder 500w bass which is stretching my budget a bit. I can't find any other good bass amp models, besides maybe a Marshall MB series, but I hear bad things about them.
     
  10. Stimpy

    Stimpy

    Nov 17, 2012
    Manchester
    I'd suggest a Squire Vintage Modified Jazz Bass (I don't own one, but they are amazingly popular around here). Don't be dismayed by Squire on the headstock, they are quality instruments.

    Then I would suggest, a good value, lightweight, high quality bass amp, such as the GK MB150. I'd consider ordering online if you still can't find one locally.

    And finally I would suggest a good Multi-FX unit. Decide what effects you need first before buying seperates as you can sink a lot of money here. I suggest the new Zoom B3.
     
  11. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    Lloegyr
    One thing people often don't consider when buying a bass is the balance and position it hangs on your body. A lot of basses can be uncomfortable for a lot of people. Don't just try a bass sitting - put a strap on it and play it as you would at a gig. make sure you can get to the lower frets without stretching too much.
     
  12. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    Lloegyr
    you should be VERY dismayed if it says 'Squire'... :eek:
     
  13. JimmyCraig

    JimmyCraig

    Jul 12, 2012
    is it worth the extra to get the fender instead of the squire? Or should I rather get the epiphone thunderbird?
     
  14. AllenLee

    AllenLee

    Jan 6, 2013
    Texas, USA
    My first bass was an Epiphone Thunderbird that I still have. After getting a strap and standing up with it I quickly discovered how awfully balanced it was. Search "Thunderbird Neckdive" and you will see what I'm talking about. There are some fixes out there (relocating strap buttons, lightweight tuning machines, thick strap, etc..) but I haven't personally tried any of them.

    I now have a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar (longscale, Duncan-Designed pickups version) and love it. The versatility of the P/J pickup configuration, build quality, and looks are all excellent.

    IME, IMO, the Squier instruments are a great value and would be perfect for a first bass. The Affinity series are good, but the difference in price between the Affinities and Vintage Modified or Classic Vibe series is absolutely worth it.

    The BEST advice I could give you on bass selection is to get out to your local music/guitar shop and try them out!

    Good luck.
     
  15. cureyfreri

    cureyfreri

    Jan 20, 2013
    I prefer the J myself, but a P is a great all-around choice. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  16. Malak the Mad

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

    I, too, like the versatility of a Precision/Jazz configuration. If I want a "meatier" sound, I drop the J down to half to zero, then back to full-on for both for a more well-rounded sound.

    Now for the obligatory "I think you should check a [ enter name of make & model ] out" pitch/plug. That said, this is merely a recommendation from a fellow, fallible sentient being who has his own, but perhaps not singular, opinion.

    On the subject of balance and weight, after re-stringing my Fender Aerodyne (stump…stump...a lighter-than-normal Jazz bass…pitch…plug) I was curious where the center of gravity was while facing strings-out (playing position) to evaluate it's "neck dive" or lack thereof. Surprisingly, I could balance it on three outstretched fingers under the neck plate, right where the neck and body meet. Once the "wobble" stopped, it just hovered there. Now that's balance! Later, I tried it on my others (Squier Jazz & P-Bass Special)…not happening.

    In my case, I really lucked out making the Aerodyne my first bass. It's not cheap, but for what you get, it's very reasonable. You can find them used for a few hundred less than street price, like I did.

    If you have some extra cash, try out more than a few different strings. I've been trying out many different types over the past year-and-a-half, and I've found a couple that really work for my hands and ears. In fact, changing strings once kept me from unnecessarily selling off a bass I thought was under-performing. It can make all the difference in the World! Slap on a new set and see how they feel over the course of a week while they break in. D'Addario's tone chart is pretty handy and helpful.

    I can't weigh in on amps. I'm working under some serious noise-restrictions. But if it keeps my A.D.D./migraine-prone girlfriend, who works her photoshoppery-magic for a living at home, from murdering me most cruelly? Well, I can live with that. That and I do like to be able to cart around my headphone amp and/or Vox Tabletop Bass amp. (it's sooooo adorable!)

    Good luck in finding what works best for you! Welcome to the Deep End!

    P.S.: Are there any other models that can pull the "balance-trick-thingie" off? I'd be curious to try them out.
     
  17. You have a wide range of choices. Danelectro basses are really light weight, have great action and strong sounds. Squier basses are also useful and are not too expensive. Then you can start looking out for other reputable makes. If you intend to play in clubs and bars, then a 1 x 15" combo should suffice. I have a Carlsbro Viper combo for my small works, My stereo bass rig, Tonehenge, is a 2 x 4 x 15" set up with a 200watt stereo amp. That is really the ultimate. Something to work towards.
     
  18. mogpipe

    mogpipe

    Apr 22, 2011
    Can't go wrong with the Squier 70's VMJ bass. Got one for Christmas. AWESOME!!! Feel, being soooo important, this thing feels, and plays great!
    Sharp looking and is a tone MACHINE! The Duncan Designed pups really deliver. Slap a set of Chromes on there and you're good to go! I read alot reviews first, many by folks who prefer them OVER MIM Fenders having had both.
    Was looking at EBay basses last night, was amazed at how many people are dumping thier MIM fenders. Saw like two Squier VMJ's for sale (natural finish), one for sale for $174.00! A steal!
    It says Squier on the front of the headstock, but says Fender on the back!!!
     
  19. BassManMike73

    BassManMike73

    Apr 20, 2011
    Portage, MI
    I agree with everyone who's suggested the Vintage Modified jazz. I have one or about a year and I miss it like crazy.

    As for an amp, when I first started I decided to go with a separate head and cab (rather than a combo) so that I could easily add a second cab or upgrade the head later on. That would e my recommendation, and Hartke makes good stuff for your budget. A 410 and lower end head should be feasible. Especially if you find a deal on something used.
     
  20. mogpipe

    mogpipe

    Apr 22, 2011
    ^ Hartke has some good deals on thier LH series heads. Uncomplicated, straight ahead dial in and play, without a million knobs and sliders.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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