How do I know when to upgrade?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Zoop Soup, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Zoop Soup

    Zoop Soup

    Mar 21, 2013
    I started playing bass in December, so I won't be looking for a new instrument anytime soon. But I have to know, how am I supposed to know when to upgrade? It seems like there's "high tier" basses that you get at the end game of bass playing IE: You know you're serious and are willing to seek out a quality instrument.
    But how am I supposed to know when I'm supposed to get one of these high tier basses? This may sound like a stupid question and I expect some "You'll figure it out" answers but I've been wondering this since I joined the forums. Is there some skill ceiling I'll hit on my current bass that I will have to upgrade to surpass?

    (I have a Yamaha RBX170, if that's relevant)
  2. MarshallNole


    Dec 1, 2013
    I'm fairly new too but am about to pull the trigger on a new bass.

    I'd say if you know you are in this for the long haul and you have the cash for a higher end bass, go for it.
  3. Jefff


    Aug 14, 2013
    When you have the money.
  4. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Get it when you want it and have the money. Don't over think it. :)
  5. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    The Yamaha is a great instrument to learn on.
  6. davrip


    Jun 30, 2012
    You spend more time looking as basses in ads than practicing.
  7. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    .. when the bass you have isn't meeting your needs .. or, when people on TB tell you that you need to, without having any idea what your needs are ...

    ... if you spend enough time on here, it will almost certainly be the latter of the two ...
  8. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out....

    Feb 6, 2010
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    you will know when you also have been around long enough to find your own definition of "high end bass".

    for some, it is a $7000 flamed burl-top fanned fret 9 string with bartolini pick-ups and LED's in the neck etc. etc.

    for others it is $7000a pre-CBS 57 Fender P with all original everything...(this would be me)

    the best advice is to meet people, talk shop with them (and on places like TB), try other basses, find peoples opinions.

    any joking aside, with only 2 months of being in the bass world, you haven't been exposed to many facets of playing that could shape your decision. Give it time. Get into some of the history of the instrument. See what has stuck, and what has not in the evolution of our instrument.

    What many have found is that the amount of money you spend is usually not relevant to what a bass will mean to you when you start to figure out your place in our world.

    For me, it is (mostly vintage) Fenders b/c of Geddy Lee and Steve Harris, and the 80's "pointy" basses - Charvels specifically - cause of my upbringing in the metal/thrash of that era. When I was young and had stars in my eyes, these were the "untouchable" basses.

    Most on this sight would look down on the Charvels - and especially not deem them "high end", but I do, b/c they mean more to me than a Sadowski, or Alembic or Mike Lull. And no offense is intended towards those basses, cause if someone gave me one for free I wouldn't say no as long as they felt right.

    Welcome to it! It is a life long natural high, filled with bouts of GAS (Gear Aquisition Syndrome), frustration, satisfaction, needless money spending etc
  9. Zoop Soup

    Zoop Soup

    Mar 21, 2013
    That's what I get hung up on. How could it not meet my needs? I know some basses have different woods and different pickups, but can't I just install some new pickups directly onto my Yamaha? If I'm being ignorant I'm very sorry. I'm still pretty nooby
  10. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    As has been said, when you can afford it and want something different. The bass you have now can get you a long way. Usually, the more you play you will have opportunity to try other basses, and listen to others playing different types/styles of basses, and you will form opinions on what you do and don't like. This is good fuel for GAS.
  11. When you find a bass that you play better than the one you have... and can justify it financially.
  12. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    I may be letting myself in for a flaming like no tomorrow but a better question would be is there ever a need to upgrade? The bass I play now is an Ibanez RB850 RV.

    Is it cheap? Yeah. But it does what it should.

    Focus more on your playing rather than your gear.
  13. badstonebass


    Jun 7, 2006
    Been playing guitars and bass for 30+ years. I have had all levels of "quality". What I have learned is that I like a decent working man's bass best. One that I don't have to worry about beating up. One that if it fails in some manner it's no big deal. They are a tool to me. Give me me a good setup and comfort and that's all I need.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    ... when your GAS "gives you that extra little push over the cliff."
  15. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out....

    Feb 6, 2010
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    this is definitely true. I still play the first bass I ever 72 Fender P. Bought it in 85. Never felt the need to "upgrade".
  16. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    Yes, you can modify your bass, but most basses have a characteristic sound, and you can change it with pickups, etc. but that is a lot of trial and error, and often doesn't change the fundamental nature of the instrument (in my experience, and I have done this). Jazz bass has a characteristic sound, as does a Pbass, as does a Warwick Corvette, or a Gibson Thunderbird. Then there is a whole world of custom made basses, and that is a whole different animal.
  17. Zoop Soup

    Zoop Soup

    Mar 21, 2013
    Oh, I haven't even looked at any basses since I got mine and don't seen any foreseeable time in the future where I'd need to get a new one (which is probably because of my lack of experience.) This was a question mostly spearheaded by curiosity, but I'll definitely keep all this information in my inevitable future purchases
  18. Eminor3rd

    Eminor3rd BLAAAAARRGGHH!! Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    Allentown, PA
    Whenever you want man. It's a hobby, not a diploma.
  19. MarkH_129

    MarkH_129 noob

    Jun 22, 2013
    Santa Rosa, CA
    My first Bass was a MIA Fender Jazz of 2006 vintage. I love it. I also thought that it would be an appropriate purchase, as I intended to play it and wanted a nice level of finish, but not over doing it. Since then I have also accumulated an Ibanez 1405, a Rickenbacker 4003, and and an Azola Bug Base. They all have things that I like, and they all have their own tone. So, yeah, play, play, play. Go to guitar center and play their stuff, go to music stores and try different stuff, talk to other bass players, and, as a guy once said to me "The best you know, is what you know" so go out and try stuff. oh, and play.
  20. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Whenever YOU feel the time is right. Playing bass, learning bass is a spiritual journey, and it's a matter of growth - no matter if you're a hobbyist or a pro - as you get older, you find out more about yourself - and you make changes if need be - the thing is, you will know when the time comes. Same applies to bass. Don't let it be just a financial thing - if you want a custom hand made bass that costs $5k, that's fine, but only you will know if you want it. I know this may seem a little bit 'pop psychology', but I think this applies to musicians in general. If your heart is in it, you will know when and follow that muse.