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How do you pick a new bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Vegiehead, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Vegiehead


    Jan 23, 2006

    Im interested in how you guys pick a new bass..

    As an example you walk into a shop and pick up a bass what do you look for?

    Neck width?
    Body shape?
    Pick up type?
    Name Brand?
    Overall look of it?

    Ive eard guys say the feel and sound is more important than the brand and they sound like wise words so does the better brands have a better feel??:confused:


  2. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    All of the above.
  3. I play what feels right to me. I like passive pickups better than active electronics, but that is my personal preference. I own the Fender Geddy Lee Sig edition, Epiphone Flying V bass, an Ibanez SR-500 and a Peavey Fury 2. Both the Ibanez and the Peavey are active electronics, and are great basses, thin necks, fast playing, versatile and very light. The Flying V is lightweight, plays awesome, looks cool, but is a little neck heavy. I am absolutely in love with my Geddy Lee Sig. It is fast playing, looks so cool, old school, the fretboard has a nice finish, block inlays, and sounds like a Fender J bass should sound. It is heavier than the others, but worth it.

    So, every bass has its ups and downs, you are going to have to play them all to decide what you like as far as weight, pickups, scale, quickness of neck, tone, etc.

    Happy playing!
  4. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    First thing is looks- it's gotta have the right visual mojo happening first. Then I always play unplugged for a bit, mostly checking out the neck, and seeing if it sounds good acoustically. If it passes that test, then it finally gets plugged in.
  5. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    if it fells good and sounds good. i don't care what it looks like. i do like a nice heavy bass.
  6. I agrizzle.
  7. JayAmel

    JayAmel Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    Yes. Definitely in search of lighter basses than those I used to play in the past.

    Sure, but payment facilities may sometimes make this criteria less important.

    Of course.

    Mainly when I played 5ers, which I don't anymore.

    Must be comfortable to me.

    That's technical data for me, I prefer trusting my ears without prejudice of what kind of PU is mounted.

    May happen, especially if a specific model in a specific brand has a specific tone and feel I'm after.

    Yes, that's the part of criteria that is pure personal pleasure while being not that important when you think of it.
  8. Bloodfist


    Mar 18, 2006
    Charleston, SC
    When I'm shopping around, I tend to lean torwards a heavier bass. Everything you listed are qualities I look for, but mainly the action and tone is what I'm after. I used to be a Fender lover, I had a '73 P-bass, and a Fender precision deluxe lite. The Deluxe lite was really nice and the active pickups were killer. I gave up Fender though and switched to Spector. They just seem to have a better sound for the music style I play.
  9. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    My opinion - you think about all that stuff, but in the end you buy the one you play and fall in love with. Even if it's not exactly what you were looking for in all of the above categories. Kinda like girls...
  10. Only way is to go out and play as many as you can at least for a few minutes to see what it's like. You shouldn't ever consider colour or looks to be a factor until after you play it. My opinions have changed dramatically, and so has my sound.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    My top three:

    1. Playability
    2. Looks
    3. Tone

    Putting looks ahead of tone will surprise some people, but I'm honestly not all that picky about tone. That is, I enjoy variety.

    To put it another way: there are too many good looking, good sounding basses out there for me to even consider playing an ugly* one. :p

    *one that I find unattractive, anyway
  12. 1) comfort. gotta check standing and sitting. i add weight into this group.
    2) construction. is it a well put together bass. 90% of the time it is good enough, but hey, let's throw it in there...
    3) tone. naturally thru an amp i'm familiar with.
    4) looks. i like nice looking basses
    5) price. this is kinda like asking mom for a new toy. you can fall in love with it and play it in the store, but sometimes u look at the price tag and you just know she's just going to shake her head and say "no".....
  13. I pretty much let the GAS decide which bass to go with. The GAS is formed usually based on either tone, looks, or feel for me.
  14. Can I change my answer.....:cool:
  15. ArwinH

    ArwinH run rabbit run

    Dec 1, 2005
    Southern California
    That's been my experience. +1
  16. I scanned all these great suggestions, so if I am repeating any previously mentioned words of wisdom, forgive me.

    I look at what my favorite players are using -
    For example::
    John Paul Jones:Fender Jazz
    Flea:Music Man etc...

    Now I know my examples are out of date (Flea has his Modulus thing going and I know JPJ and Geddy have used other basses since) but because I loved what I heard from them, that gave me a great starting point. So right away I was looking at Jazz, Ricks, and MM's...

    By the way, my current bass of choice is my Music Man Stingray 5 - and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

  17. 1) Sound
    2) Ergonomics
    3) Cosmetics
    4) Cost

    If it meets all four, I want it. If it violates any of one of the four, I pass.

    I don't bother going in music shops, scant selection = wasted time.

    Ebay is the ultimate store. The risk/reward ratio is acceptable to me.
  18. Vegiehead


    Jan 23, 2006
    Thanks guys

    Its great to get some much variation in the comments.


    James B
  19. predmachine


    Feb 23, 2006
    Everyone has different priorities and yours will be different as well. Mine are playability and sound. I like a thin neck because I play a lot of fast rock and jazz. If I played country this would not be as important. I want a classic tone, again because of the type of music I play---so two of the three basses I use have this kind of tone---the third has a metallic tone, which I really don't care for, but which is necessary sometimes. Listen to the music you want to play, then look for the kind of bass that will give you that sound (played through an amp that will also give you that sound). But first and foremost, make certain of its playability---if you hate the way it feels when you play it, you won't be playing very much of anything.
  20. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I agree with Templar. Here's my latest (scored this morning):
    1. Sound: it's a P! What else do I need to say?
    2. Light body, "C" maple neck
    3. Maple fb, ugly pearl finish (strange shaped lighter patches that were apparently underneath decals -- I don't want to know) but mainly, no pickguard.
    4. $130 + a $40 Fender molded hard case.

    It's only a lowly Squier, but if you'll look at Templar's criteria, "brand name" doesn't appear on the list. If you're into wheeling and dealing, you want to get stuff with resale value, but this is a player. I love it already. :)

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