I need a good first bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by buck_weat, May 13, 2002.

  1. buck_weat

    buck_weat Guest

    May 9, 2002
    Southeastern Ohio
    Hello All,

    I am wanting to buy my first bass, and I have a few questions....but a little background might be in order first...

    I have played regular guitar for over 30 years, mostly self-taught. I've not played very much in the last few years, though. Then I saw the Bela Fleck free preview back in Feb, and I was totally blown away. Then I discovered Victor Wooten...and was again blown away. I had never heard the Bass guitar played like that.

    Anyway, I am inspired again and want to learn to play Bass. My problem is I'm not sure which guitar would be right for me. I have a few questions that I hope will help me in my search.

    First, What are the differences in the active Basses vs the passive ones? I've found some with passive pickups, active pickups, passive pickups with active circuitry, etc.. What exactly does the active do for me? Is it just and on-board EQ? Does it sound that much better?

    Also, do I need a 4 or 5 string bass? Is the 5 a LOT harder to learn on, or should I get a 4 to start out with for a few years?

    I want 24 frets, and action that is good for tapping.
    I want the guitar to last me a few years. I don't want to go out and buy a piece of junk, and then have to buy another one in a few months.

    Yamaha has an active bass for around $400, and Ibanez has a few I've seen in a popular music catalog. I've seen that some people on here like the Peavy Cirrus. Would that be a good choice to start out with? I'd like to keep the price around $600, if possible also.

    I know I sound like a total newbie, but I've tried some local music stores, but they can't seem to help me much. They're small, and only carry a few different models of bass, so I can't sit down and compare a lot of different instruments at one time.

    Anyway, I'll shut up now. Thank you so much for reading this far. Any input you may have will GREATLY be appreciated.

    Now....on to choosing the right AMP!...:)
  2. This sounds like the perfect case for suggesting the MTD Kingston 5. Everyone loves it around here (I've still yet to play one, unfortunately) so I'm not sure if it has the 24 frets, but the price figure sounds just right. You might also check into a used Lakland.
  3. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Yup. Full two octave neck. Best 5er uner 1000, one of the best B strings, period. It blows away som 2000+ Bs I've tried.

    I'd expound upon that idea, but it's floggin a dead horse. Just do a search for them. I'll pop up in the threads more often than not.

    MTD K5 Goooood....:D
  4. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    hmm.. it would be hard to get a Cirrus for $600.. you might find a used one for $800-900...

    However for your price range I suggest as mentioned before, either an MTD Kingston or a lakland Skyline series bass.. The Skyline is more expensive i believe... not terribly more.. but more
  5. I'm far from an expert, but I've heard lots of good things about the Cirrus, and I'm sure there's a lot of people here that would back that up. I don't know what part of Ohio you're in, but there's a store near me in N. Ky that always has Peaveys in stock. You can email or PM me if you need the name and number of the store.
  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Moving from guitar to bass, huh... You're headed down the rockin' road to groovin' good times. The bass is a much more fun instrument than a guitar. :)

    To anwser a few of your questions:
    There are active pickups and active EQs. Most "active" basses have passive pickups and active EQs. Basically this can give you better pickup blending than a passive bass for reasons that an electronics expert could explain but I can't. It also gives you EQ controls on your bass at your fingertips that go far beyond the "tone" control (high cut only) of passive EQs.

    Active is not "better" than passive, just different. Personally I prefer passive EQs, but this is highly individual.
    The 5 is not really much harder at all. In some ways it's actually easier to play than a 4.

    You may be able to find a used Fender USA model in your price range. That's what I would recommend if you're willing to go used.
  7. Peavey isn't bad to start out with, I certainly doubt you'll have any problems with playability or tone. Still, it'll probably be out of your price range for the moment. The MTD Kingston 5 is probably the best 5, I've heard rave reviews about it, 2 octaves, not active eq, but its not a big deal.
    Active EQs have preamps, which are basically miniature versions of the preamps in your amps. They boost the signal coming from your bass so you can raise the level of highs, mids and lows in your signal going out to the bass. This is handy because 1) you can adjust your tone on the bass and not your amp and 2) they're much more versatile. Active electronics need one or more batteries to function for power. Passive electronics don't need any power, but they have less tonal variety, you can only cut highs (some upper-line basses allow you to cut mids too). Its more in terms of taste, some people love active electronics, while others thing they take out the "soul" of the basses sound, I like both.
    Active Pickups I believe are powered pickups like the Active electronics, however, they just boost your output and don't do much for your signal (I might be wrong here.)

    As for 4 or 5. 5's aren't necessarily much more difficult than 4's to learn, if your starting out its about equally as hard to play both. Though if you have small hands you might have bit more trouble with the 5's. Again it comes down to which kind you want, 5 go much lower, so if you like lower notes and lots of bass, you could go with that. If you like more traditional stuff, go with the 4.

    Hope this helps