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help out a desperate bassist

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fadel, Jun 6, 2003.

  1. Fadel


    Jun 6, 2003
    I am going to buy a bass... I dont have anyone to guide me and i am not that experienced.

    i wont be able to try the bass myslef because there arent any places here that sell basses or at least different kinds... im having it ordered. but as for quality, i can have someone try it for me.

    this will be my second bass. first good bass i hope.

    so far i am basically going by two things. it's look and it's price.

    however a lot of basses satisfy these two standards of mine and i cant make a decision.

    at first i liked an esp bass (attached) but then i went to their website and noticed that all the people ..famous people that use esp are metalheads.
    metal is a style that is famous for its rootnote basslines... how horrible.. so i dont know if that should be a sign.

    i came across an faq and a question asked "what is the best bass?" the answer was that there is no such thing blah blah blah... but here is a list of the best... esp wasnt on it... and it was a pretty long list.

    so my guess is i have to also go by reputation.

    because these are some things that are not written in the specs.

    ...right now i dont know what i want to play.. i want a bass that would allow me to play almost anything...

    i also dont know if i should be getting a 4 string or a 5 string. the common answer to this question is, it comes back to what I need.
    the problem is i dont know.
    i am not at a level that can allows me to decide.. i have never touched a 5 string before and i dont know how useful or how different it can be.

    the 5 string issue is not my major problem... i can just stick with 4 strings no problem.

    back to the basics.. i know that there is single coil and humbucking pickups and they can be active or passive. i thought it was a hard decision until i found out that i can have all at the same time. active.. and one of each.. I dont know why anyone wouldnt get that. maybe i dont know very much. (by the way... i have read that soap bar pickups can be either single or humbucking... when a bass has two soap bar pickups, shall i assume that one is single and the other is humbucking?)

    however... what are your thoughts on the following... they looked good to me... is there anything more that you know about them that i might not know?

    i attached some pics.. some of them are more than $500 so that might be out of my range... but they're just samples

    (and sorry the thread is long)
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Three questions:

    1. Where are you? If you can safely mail order, you can't be thousands of miles away from the nearest store with some basses in.

    2. If you don't want to play metal, what do you want to play on the bass (jazz, pop, blues, etc - and what techniquest - fingerstyle funk, slap, pick, tapping, etc).

    3. Following on from the above, which bassists have a tone you like - a lot of that will be due to their other gear and the majority will be in their hands... but that might also throw up some clues as to what would be good for you.

  3. Welcome to TalkBass....

    I see wulf beat me to it!

    He raises some important points - if you can give us some answers we might be better able to advise you......maybe even someone will be near to you!

    Some of the points you raise:-

    4 or 5 - personal preference, also do you need it for the music you play?

    Pickups - active of passive, this can also be a personal preference thing too. I have basses that are passive and others that are active ,and one that is switchable between the two!

    Sopabars can be either, but don't assume that if a bass has 2 soapbars that one is a single coil and one is a humbucker. I have a couple of basses where both soapbars are are humbuckers!

    Also, if you like the look of the bass, don't worry about associations with metal abss players, your main consideration is how the bass sounds, plays and looks to you...no one else. It's your hard earned money, spend it as you will, but try to make sure that you'll be happy with what you get! :)
  4. Fadel


    Jun 6, 2003
    i am not lazy... i really dont have any music shops that have a collection of basses around me... i live in Egypt.. When i go to a shop they have one bass. i play it.. but i have nothing else to compare it to and i dont think they're that good anyway. They have catalogs.. i can order through the catalogs no problem.. however i am having a friend getting it for me from NY.

    I would like to be able to play rock.. alternative..blues.. funk.. something heavy.. ..i dont know.. its hard to name music..
    and no i dont use a pick..
    i try to play slap bass sometimes...
    but i dont play slap bass that often.. but its ok if the bass is not good for slap bass because i'm afraid i'd get something good for slapping and it would sound too delicate when i play other stuff.

    I thought the active pickups just gave you more control over the sound... from what Johnny BoomBoom is saying it seems like it also affects the sound...

    so if i get one that switches between active and passive.. does that mean i get both sounds?

    thanks again
  5. Right, so if you're getting it form New York you have quite a selection!!!

    Active circuitry in a bass provides you with 'boost' control. That means that instead of having tone controls and only being able to have maximum tone, and then go down the way, active allows you to boost bass, middle treble (for a 3 band system) or bass and treble (in a 2 band system). Some active systems just provide a higher output level from the pickups - a sort of pre-amp in the bass. Some people like this, some don't.

    I'm not really too sure about the basses that you have listed, but if your friend is in New York - you might want to ask him to look at the used 'Professional Series' basses. Your budget won't allow you a new one, but I dare say they may have used ones that may fall inot your price range! Check out:-


    And look under the 'Professional Series'. I bought one of these a while back (REX2000/5) and think that it is amazing value for money and one hell of a sound - but that is my personal preference. I play heavy rock to heavy metal - but the bass is very versatile! Might be worth getting you friend to look at Spector.

    Does your friend play bass???
  6. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Paging all Egyptian bassists - where's Fadel to go shopping in the land of the Pharoah's?

    Regarding active pickups, they tend to give a higher output because they power a little preamp inside the bass. This helps the signal travel down longer cables without loosing the higher frequencies and also opens up a wider range of tone shaping options on the bass. I'd say that an active / passive switch is a useful thing to have - not only in case your battery dies in the middle of a show but also because it does have different qualities you might like.

    What kind of bass have you got at the moment?

  7. Fadel


    Jun 6, 2003
    No, my friend doesnt play bass but her friends do and they could try it out for me.

    Spectors look like blobs..
    but i will consider them

    it sounds like you can buy a spector blindly and not worry about quality.. its a guaranteed make.
    thats great.

    any other sugestions though?

    my friend suggested a yamaha..i didnt think it was a great idea.

    right now the bass i have is a ..powerbeat :rolleyes: ..it buzzes like crazy and it electricutes me :meh:
  8. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I haven't heard of 'Powerbeat'. Yamahas tend to be pretty good quality - certainly the ones I've played have been quite decent instruments.

  9. Fadel


    Jun 6, 2003
    i am not surprised. ..its very bad... it even has a couple of bad frets.

    I dont know why i dont like yamaha... maybe im paranoid that its not a cool name or something. thats dumb of me
  10. on that pic you have of 4 basses, I loved the first one (the BTB)...it played so nice and was so affordable it practically seemed like it was stolene. It has a very tight feel cuz of the 35 inch scale, and not only did it look elegant, it sounded really rich and has a nice pallet of sounds.

    I'll wish you good luck on your hunt.
  11. of the four basses you've got there, 2 are neck-through construction, and 2 are bolt-on. so if you decide whether you want a bolt-on or a neck-through, you will have cut the number of possibilities in half.
    for a neck through, i'd take the toby.
    for a bolt-on, i'd go for the btb.
  12. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    What is that you said about Spectors??? I'm confused if it was good or bad:confused: and how about filling out the profile?:D
  13. Fadel


    Jun 6, 2003
    what's the difference between a bolt-on and a neck through? i know that the bolt ons can be replaced if broken and the neck throughs cant. besides that... whats the difference between them and how will it affect my playing?

    and how can you tell what kind of neck it is from looking at one?

    I said that i dont find spectors the best looking basses but i would consider buying one.

    looking like a blob is hardly a compliment
  14. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    how much money are you willing to spend?
  15. Fadel


    Jun 6, 2003
    i know that the toby i attached costs more than that
  16. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    For that money, I'd get a Fender. A Fender is perfect for almost any musical situation. I'd stay away from actives in an inexpensive instrument. Typically, that is one of the places where corners are cut. With that said, out of those pictured, I'd pick the Toby. Those are very good, nice looking basses, especially for what they cost.
  17. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I think you are searching for basses that just look good. you didn't say you wanted a bass full of tone.. for $300-$500 you can get plenty of "cool" looking basses... but that really isn't important.. tone is what you should be looking for...there are several basses that I think look decent and sound great for the price.

    Fender Jazz
    MTD Kingston
    Yamaha (don't know model names)
    Ibenez BTB

    Those are some that I have played recently that I was pleasantly pleased with
  18. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    This is a Conklin GT, it's for $449 in MF, I reccomend it and I have a feeling JT would do also;)
    Schecter's can't go wrong, elegant look also, it's for $499 in MF
  19. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    Yamaha is one of the most trustworthy brands out there, I hav'ent seen a "bad" Yamaha to this day, this one is for $499 in MF
    This is a Cort Curbow, it's made in the same factory as the Conklin GT and has a reputition of being a great low-end bass.
  20. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    bolt-ons tend to have more of a snap to them. neck-throughs tend to sound more gentle or subtle with more sustain. that's the general consensus, anyway. each bass is usually different from all the others: brand for brand at least...

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