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How do I decide what bass to get?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by aasti3000, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. aasti3000


    Jul 18, 2012
    I'm prepared to get a bass but can't decide what to get. I played around with a Fender P, Fender Jazz, Marcus Miller, Musicman Sterling Black Stealth 5 string HH, and a MusicMan 5 single H. My problem is I love the tones of the Fender Jazz and Marcus Miller but I have HUGE hands and was cramping up after about 5 minutes. The MM 5 H has the neck that feels very comfortable but not impressed with the tone like that of the Jazz. The P bass has AMAZING punch...but the neck is kind of narrow but not like the Jazz Bass. Now the Black stealth has alot of tones (but I couldn't duplicate the jazz or the p bass), feels FANTASTIC IN MY HANDS. The look is not my forte but I love the feel of the neck. So, what's everyone's advice of how to choose...the feel? Or the Tone's you want. Love the P and Jazz tones but love the MusicMan feel because of my huge hands. Any advice is welcome.
  2. BassDaddy77


    Feb 12, 2010
    NE Ohio
    Sounds like a five string Jazz might be worth looking into.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    5 string P/J of some sort?
  4. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    What about a Spector or Warwick? Even G&L, I think you get a neck that's a little chunkier than the equivalent Fenders if I remember right. Caveat: I own none of the above, just impressions I remember from trying them out in stores.
  5. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    That's what I was thinking.

    On a general, philosophical note, I pick basses by tone, not feel (i.e. neck dimensions). I can eventually familiarize myself, physically, with just about anything... as long as it sounds good. You just have to put in the time with it, and use good technique. (IMO!)
  6. aasti3000


    Jul 18, 2012
    Love the advice. This forum is great. So I guess I'll try out the precision and Jazz 5 strings. (The guitar Center near my house were all out of them so I have to wait.) Question, I mentioned that I loved the tones of the Precision and Jazz but can't afford both. But I searched other bass forums and some bass players said they can get the Precision Bass tone out of a Jazz bass. Is that true? If so then I'll focus more on the 5 String Jazz. (Wish my hands were smaller but I'm a huge Pino Palladino fan and his hands are huge also...need to learn his technique....if that can be done...ha ha ha)

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    You can get a similar tone to a P bass by backing off the bridge pickup on a jazz. It won't nail it, but will be in the ball park. Flatwounds(and practice) will get you closer to Pino's tone.
  8. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    You can also do the fabled "series/parallel mod" to a Jazz Bass, giving you the choice of having the pickups wired in series or parallel. Parallel is the regular (factory) mode; series gives you a tone with more low-mid punch, a bit more like a Precision Bass. I highly recommend it.
    If you're interested, do a search on this forum. Not being electronically proficient, I had a repair guy do it to both of my Jazz Basses, and it cost me under $20, parts and labor combined. It's reversible, and requires no physical alteration (routing, etc.)
  9. aasti3000


    Jul 18, 2012
    @Dougjwray - That's sounds like a plan. I know there is a guitar technician in my city so i'll call with your information before I buy the bass. Looks like I'm going for the Jazz (preferrably that Marcus Miller I was playing). Thanx a billion!

    @AMJBASS - Gonna go to GC today and give that a try. If I can't get it then I'll try Dougjwray's mod suggestion since the cost is extremely reasonable.

    Great Forum....you guys are making this much easier to decide. Anymore advice is appreaciated.
  10. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Glad to be helpful.
    Just a bit more on the series/parallel thing: The way it was done for me, in series mode the bridge pickup volume control is deactivated. The two pickups work together, and the neck pickup volume control becomes the master volume control. The tone control is unaffected. I had the neck volume pot replaced with a push-pull pot, so that when it pull up on it, the bass goes into series mode.
    There are other ways to do the series/parallel mod -- for example, a certain model of Jazz pickups made by Dimarzio allows for a more complicated switching scenario -- but I personally like the way it was done for me, because it emulates the simplicity of a Precision Bass.
    Also, you can simply have the bass rewired in series, but I like having the option of going back and forth, if I want.
    Good luck!
  11. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    this is gold!

    Doug: you can't look at me now but I'm clapping at you:hyper:

    All of this allowing Aasti3000 to save lotta money with just a MIM standard V Jazz, or MIA standard V Jazz, with no need to approach a MIA deluxe V Jazz, Marcus Miller V Jazz or Custom Shop Reggie Hamilton V Jazz (for P/J purposes) for active circuitry is not necessary down by your precious suggestion.

  12. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Wallace, thanks for the kind words!
  13. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    The only thing I could honestly say is:
    I ain't thought about that,
    I ain't thought could it be that easy...
    You did

    Thank you from me as well, for I've learned something new. And effective.


  14. aasti3000


    Jul 18, 2012
    Okay, called the guitar repair store and the guy on the phone said the owner could probably make the modification but he won't be back in the city until next September for...what ever reason. UGHHHHHH!!!!! But he said if you want a J/P tones out of one bass try the "Fender Precision Deluxe Special". He said it has a Precision body and a Jazz neck with both the P pickup and the J Pickup. Has anyone ever heard of this bass? Found some used ones for sale on the internet for around $400-$600. Much better price than the Marcus Miller. If anyone is familiar with this bass please comment about it. Love to know about it.
    @Wallace - sorry but I'm new to the bass terminology. What is "MIM", "MIA"? Is there a significance difference with these type of basses?
  15. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I'm not into routing, otherwise my modster guy (I call him "my roadie") does it almost everyday with many kind of humbuckers
    soapbars or doublecoils that is...

    It's not luthier artisan job, it's just electrotech of sort and the managin' of some wire and capacitor, I feel sorry you ain't get it done for so long, when it's that routine.

    Anyway, what he told you is partially correct but unuseful for you.

    Partially correct: Fender active deluxe Precision Special is a MIM (made in mexico) Precision standard body with a MIM (now you know it) Jazz standard neck, golden vinyl pickguard
    in three ply parchment one place, vintage 4 saddle bridge in standard 4 saddle one place, ceramic noiseless bridge single coil with 18v 3 band equalizer.

    The best one looks like this:
    View attachment 278839

    Beautiful and good soundin', but unuseful for you 'cause each and everyone of us insisted for you to trust us about the Jazz V, for a wider neck

    Otherwise a Precision Special is a Precision body with ordinary slim Jazz neck. Maybe too slim for your needs.

    Check other GC, if this is feasible for ya... I'm nobody to criticize others, but it's a bit frustrating to find a convenient solution and not be able to pursue it for someone else's limit


    PS: MIA stands for made in America:
    American Standard V - passive -

    American Deluxe V
    Marcus Miller V
    Reggie Hamilton Custom Shop V - active/passive circuitry, top quality basses

  16. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I have 2 of the P-Bass Specials, and like them a LOT. They have the smaller Jazz necks, better for my not-huge hands, and the J Pup adds just a little extra growl when needed.

    However, it seems that you want/need a wider neck for your hands. Maybe an older P with the 1-3/4" wide nut width? Too wide for me, but might be comfy for you.
  17. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I might get spanked for this, but here goes, anyway. :smug:


    A five-string Jazz copy, with a 1 7/8" wide neck at the nut. Chunky, too. Delivery (within the U.S.) usually within 2-3 days. Excellent customer service. And... NOT EXPENSIVE! (This one is alder, though, and the Fender Marcus Miller is ash... if it matters to you.) (Both woods are fine.)

    Search "Essex" here on TalkBass for about 1,000 threads discussing the pros and cons of this brand. I like them a lot.
  18. aasti3000


    Jul 18, 2012
    @Bassmatic & Wallace - Gotcha. How about I'm learning so much from this forum that I forgot about the hand cramping issue when I played jazz. I stated a thread about the deluxe p special and that person said I would get both tones anyway and to stick with the Jazz. So I'll just wait until the GC near me gets more 5 string Jazz in and go from there. Everyone has been a big help. Thanks. If you have any other advice my ears are open.
  19. aasti3000


    Jul 18, 2012
    @Doug - Now that is a price that's in my league. Looks great, and can you vouch for the sound? Well, I guess you would. You wouldn't put the link up for nothing. Once I talk to the owner from the guitar repair shop and give the ok that he can do it, I might have to own this.
  20. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    aasti3000, there's a reason why I mentioned that TalkBass has a lot of info about these basses (do a search for "essex", not "SX", because the search engine can't handle 2-character search terms). I do like them, and they are great for the money, but you need to expect that are not QUITE as nicely made as, say, a Fender Marcus Miller. I have an SX P-Bass copy, and the neck is straight, the pickups sound great, the tuners work fine... but there are minor cosmetic flaws, the fret ends needed to be filed smooth, and the string tree needed to be replaced with a Fender-style one (the SX version has sharp grooves which can saw away at the strings). The pickguard looks like someone trimmed it with a steak knife to make it fit the bottom of the neck.

    Anyway, the point is that if you research it a bit, you'll find that a lot of people love these basses, and a lot of other people think the first group is a bunch of fools. :D Many people buy them simply to get some practice in modding (if you screw it up, you won't have lost a lot of money!) So please read up a bit before jumping in.

    I use mine for serious gigging and love it.

    One very good thing-- the main contact guy at Rondo Music, Kurt, is famous and well-respected for his customer service; if you get one with a warped neck or something, he'll exchange it for you with no argument (or give you a refund).

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