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How do i choose the right bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kaspergreenday, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Kaspergreenday


    May 19, 2010
    Hi TalkBass! :bassist:

    I have been playing bass for about 4-5 years now, and i am still playing on my humble Fender precision (mexican) bass. I have waited for the right time to buy a new bass, which is gonna be soon (money wise)! My price range is around 5k, and that is alot of money for me, so i wanna know what im dealing with!

    I have made the commitment to actully aquirre some knowledge on this topic, since i always have been that type that have 'just played', instead of worrying about long scale basses, pickups, and so on. I guess, i was hoping, that some of you had some general buying tips, and some great resourses for general knowledge on the hardware of the bass (Fx. finding the tone you want, how do you know the bass is worth it/quality, bass hardware), ANYTHING is apreciated , the bottom line is; How do i make the right choice for me?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Play as many as possible and choose accordingly.
  3. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Exactly. No reason to spend 5k for a bass either. Tons of excellent pro level basses available for much much less.
  4. hgiles


    Nov 8, 2012
    $5000? Are you kidding me? Nice budget!

    Play what's readily available around town. Friends, Shops, Craigslist. If you're lucky enough to find a TB collector nearby then you might go see if they'll let you try their boutique basses out. Shops don't sell enough boutique basses to keep many in stock, so you'll be lucky to find a shop with more than one or two. Tough one.

    If someone offered me $5000 for a bass I wouldn't even know where to begin.
  5. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    What do you like/dislike about your Fender? Basses are like women. You can decide that you are going to be happy with the one you have and make the best of it, or you can chase em for the rest of your life and never find the right one.
  6. tdub0199


    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga.
    5K for a bass & you don't know what you are looking for.... I would spend more time practicing on that MIM P rather than blowing 5K on a new bass.....
  7. johnson79


    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    I've got 99 problems, but a $5,000 bass aint one.
  8. I was going to say similar. If you are going to spend that on a bass, I'd go beyond just "play them all".

    Narrow it down a bit. Spend some time with the Fender, just deciding what you really love and really don't about it. What do you like that it does have? What do you wish it did have?

    Give yourself a good idea what you really want, what your bass expectations are. The go and play as many as you can that match your criteria. It'll save you time, give you a better idea what you want, and you may not need a full 5k to get it.

    Maybe you'll even gain new appreciation for the Fender, whether you buy a new bass or not.
  9. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I concur---don't spend even close to that on a single bass at this early stage in your bass playing life(or possibly, ever:). Frankly I think that would be crazy. Unless for some reason you feel you must have some serious vintage bass, or over-the-top boutiquey beast, but I can't imagine why you'd want to put all your eggs (and $) in one basket like that. Heck, you could buy 3 or 4 seriously awesome basses for 5k! And, after many years of looking for one, I personally came to the conclusion that there's no such thing as a truly do-it-all bass. You're better off with a couple basses for sonic variety than just one that costs as much as some people's cars.

    What about your other gear--amp, cab, effects, cables, etc.? Maybe put some of your budget towards those things as well. How about other instruments, like guitar, keys, or home recording setup if you're interested in writing/producing but don't have that stuff yet? For 5k you could outfit yourself not only with a very nice new or used bass (or two) but also with other musical tools.
    And if the MIM P is working for you, consider keeping it and upgrading the pickups. A cheap way to seriously improve an OK bass, and keep it in your quiver. I have a homely old Franken P, that's worth about $250-300 after my upgrades and it gets used on sessions as much as my USA Lakland Glaub.
  10. I would never spend $5000 for any bass, unless you plan on making your living with it. Even then, you would be better off spending that amount for 2 or 3 different basses, to have backups if your main one gives you problems. If you do spend 5k, have it insured!!
  11. If he's only played the Fender what can he judge that against?

    If there's a local shop with a good selection try various options. If there is a local TB get together, go. There will most likely be several basses that you wouldn't get the chance to play otherwise. Try as many as you can. There is a world of bass out there.
  12. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    For 5k I would buy a mim jazz a sterling ray. Then you have most any tone covered. Then bank the rest
  13. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I went from gigging a Ric to gigging a Mexi P bass..... Nothing wrong with what you have.

    Do you like the P bass neck width? Have you tried something with a slimmer neck profile?

    If I had $5K to spend, I'd figure out which neck profile fits my hand best, and see if I thought 2 PUPs were any great improvement over 1.

    Then I'd talk to Nino.
  14. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    eenie, meenie, miney, mo?
  15. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Funny how so many people who don't know squat about this person feel entitled to tell him how to spend his money. :rollno:

    He might make $250,000 a year and $5,000 is nothing to him. Or he might have saved every penny for the last five years so he can buy his dream bass. Either way, he's not asking for financial advice, he wants to know how to make the right choice for him, not for us.

    Just my 2 cents, but I would try to find a shop that has a lot of high end basses so you could try a bunch out. I would also read all the reviews I could find on talk bass, call the makers and arrange to try some basses by your final choice before you drop $5k. Better to spend a few hundred dollars on a trip than $5k on a bass you don't like.

    Follow your dream and don't let small minds dissuade you!
  16. EXACTLY!
  17. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Just try out every bass you can get your hands on regardless of brand name or price tag (high AND low) or what TB says about it.

    Don't forget to look past what Guitar Center carries.

    For my dos centavos, I'd remind you about checking out Carvin. They aren't the biggest name and wont get you TB oooos and aaahhhs, or boost your ego but for the money your talking about you could have TWO basses loaded will all the fixin's. They are not a full custom shop, but they do offer a dozen or so models and around 100 options to choose from. Plus they're made here in the states and Carvin started around the same time as Fender so they have been doing this for a while.

    Play every bass you can find and get the one you like regardless of brand recognition or what TB says.
  18. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    Keep trolling TB you'll get a sense of what you like. only you know where your shoe pinches you.
  19. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Shop, do a lot of comparing, take mental notes and above all....take your time. The bass that fits the needs of one may not fit you at all.

    In searching for a 5 string bass I looked off and on for about a good 8 months. Must have played about 25 basses before I found "thee one" I was looking for.
  20. johnson79


    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    For that kind of scratch you should be able to get something nice built.
    Depending on where you live you might be able to check out some luthiers, or talk to some on TB. Go to some bass shops that have a large selection.

    That's not the kind of purchase I would make without doing a ton of research and trial.

    Honestly, if a $5,000 bass is your desire, do it. It's definitely not my place to tell you how to spend your cash. Go ahead, stimulate the economy!