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I need some advice. Please Help

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Natalia, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. Natalia


    Apr 30, 2004
    Magnolia, Texas
    I just got interested in the bass, I know its sad that I have waited this long to start. I want/need as much info as possible from whats the best beginner's bass to websites that can help me. Thanks do much guys and gals!
  2. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Welcome to TB.

    In regards to the "sticky" threads, check out the "NEWBIE LINKS" thread in paticular.
  3. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Welcome to TB.

    In regards to the "sticky" threads, check out the "NEWBIE LINKS" thread in paticular located in the Basses Forum.
  4. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    You are already at one of the best web sites for bass. As far as a beginners bass goes, go to your local music store (If there is one near you) pick up and play every bass you see. Buy was is most comfortable for you to play, that and what you can afford. Just because you are a beginner doesn't mean you NEED to buy a beginner bass.

    Good luck with your bass quest, and welcome to Talk Bass. :)
  5. Natalia


    Apr 30, 2004
    Magnolia, Texas
    Thanks so much for the advice! I really appreciate it. The more info the merrier, so keep posting :D

  6. Buying Your First Bass and Amp

    Most importantly I would advise you not to spend too much money on your first bass. Choosing the right bass won’t be easy until after you’ve been playing for a while. Once you have a good year of lessons behind you, you can make wiser choices with your (or your parents') money.


    Bass is a large instrument. It can be played with any size hands, but for most everyone it will require some stretching in the beginning that you are not used to. For beginners, it is a little easier starting on a bass that has a smaller neck. If your hands are smaller, go with the smaller neck. If you have large, meaty hands, go with the bigger necks if you prefer.


    I could go on and on about tonal differences in basses, but in the few hundred dollars range the differences aren't that big. Get a bass that has two pickup configurations. Typically there are P-pickups and J-pickups. They are named after Fender's Precision bass and Jazz bass. The P-pickups look like two offset rectangles - one under each pair of strings. The J-pickups look like a long, thin rectangle. Both have their own sound. Also the placement of the pickups affects the tone. A beginning bass with a P-J setup will give you the most tonal variety.

    Where was it made

    Most basses are now made in foreign countries. I have taught many beginner students and seen many beginner basses. The poorest quality basses seem to come from China, Mexico, Malaysia and Indonesia. The best quality basses seem to come from the U.S.A., Japan and Korea. This is definitely something you should pay attention to. It is usually clearly marked somewhere on the bass.

    4-String or 5-String

    For a long time 4-string basses were your only option. Now there are 5- and 6-string basses. The difference is a 5-string bass has an extra lower string. This allows you to play 5 lower notes than a 4-string bass in standard tuning. This is pretty low! For most styles of music you don't need these lower notes. A 4-string bass can be tuned lower to get two of those lower notes. So you only really gain three extra notes on a 5-string. If you intend to play the hardest heavy metal, you probably do want a 5-string. Those extra notes will be used often.

    I think it is easier to start on 4-string. Some of the technique is easier in the beginning and changing over later is not too hard. Also, cheaper 5-string basses rarely sound very good.

    What I recommend

    For the money, I recommend MIJ Fender basses. They are Japanese made and are very consistent in quality. They sound good, are easy to play and are built well.

    What I would avoid

    I would avoid store brands such as Rogue.

    Buying Your First Bass Amp

    You will need an amplifier of some sort. Again, you will develop unique preferences for different sounding amps so don’t spend big yet.


    Watts basically describe how powerful the amp is. More watts means more power which means more volume. If you are just going to be practicing by yourself at home, you don't need but 20 to 50 watts. If you plan on playing with a guitarist or keyboard player, you may need 200 watts. And if you plan to play in a band with a drummer right away, you need 300-400 watts. You don't want to turn up an amp more than 3/4 of the way. It sounds better to have more watts not turned up so much than fewer watts turned all the way up.

    Speaker Size

    Don't be fooled thinking a big speaker means more bass. A good 10-inch speaker can deliver more bass than a cheap 18-inch speaker. Smaller speakers have a punchier sound and bigger speakers have more boominess. A 12-inch or 15-inch speaker should serve you well.

    Get an Amp Now!

    Don’t wait to buy an amp. You need something to hear yourself or you will ruin your technique! Go buy something to get going.
    Practice hard and save money. When you learn how to play something, go around to all the music stores in town and play every bass and amp you can find. After a while you will begin to notice the subtle differences between various basses and amps.

    Then you can make your own decision based on your newly developed ears, eyes and hands.


  7. jello


    Apr 13, 2004
    Cumming, GA

    Waited so long? Jeeze girl, I'm a (very) nearly a decade older than you and I haev my very first intstrument, period, on the way to me now. Welcome to the forum!
  8. looking back on when i started, here are the things i wish i did differently:

    1) buying a bass - i started with an alvarez dana, not a bad bass but it wasnt great and had no resale value, i probably would have been better off starting with a 5 string so it wouldnt feel so odd now, or i would have started with a precision bass because the large neck would have me feel more comfortable with just about any bass... a sx p bass from www.rondomusic.bigstep.com would be good

    2) the amp - i bought a crate bx-15 and i still have that to this day, its a decent amp and you can find them super cheap on ebay, however when i started out i was kind of shy about letting other people hear me play so i didnt use it all that much... plus living with parents / neighbors it becomes an issue... so i started playing with my bass unplugged... bad idea... you miss a lot of things by playing unplugged, this leads to sloppy playing style... what you need to consider is if you will be playing with other people guitarists, drummers whatever, right away... if not maybe a good headphone amp would be better than a practice amp because you can use it whenever / wherever you want without worrying about any of the issues above... for this the korg px3b is pretty good and they can be had pretty cheaply on ebay

    3) the lessons - when i started all i cared about was having my teacher tab songs for me so i could play them with my friends... what a waste of time, we only played a few of these songs when we jammed and not often enough to justify a waste of my lessons... i didnt have a good attitude about learning... the internet wasnt what it was when i started so online tabs werent there (if you need them theres: basstabarchive.com mxtabs.net etc)... learn the basics and more importantly find a good teacher... dont be afraid to take 1 lesson with several people to see what you like... a good teacher is great, a bad teacher can seriously mess you up... this was a mistake i made and my technique suffered for it... find someone who teaches bass and only bass and someone who is respectfull and patient... respectfull meaning they arent going to waste your time and interrupt your lessons... i had a few teachers that were constantly interrupting lessons... one guy had no excuse since he was there to teach me and no other reason... the 2nd guy i took lessons from owned a small 1 man music store so he was constantly interrupting our lessons when people came in or when the phone rang... find a comfortable environment where these things dont happen and find a teacher that you like and it will make you a lot more enthuziastic about learning

    i think thats about it