idiots guide to buying basses - beginners

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pierce, Aug 8, 2000.

  1. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    so, you are a beginner when it comes to buying a bass. well, let me tell you, it's a perilous road my friend, filled with potholes of ignorance, greed, false hopes, and pretense. don't worry though, because i'm a professional beginner, and i fell in all of them. but as luck would have it, i like to hear myself talk, so i'm going to impart some wisdom in your direction, that just may save your life (or more likely some of your ill spent cash).

    a lot of people come here asking "what is the best bass?", or "is this better than that?". read back to some of these topics to see how many "best basses" there are. you see, young basi (pronounced bass-eye), the right bass is the right bass for you, AND YOU ONLY!!!. what other people think are reserved for their own size, strength, flexibility , style, technique, color-blindness, religious persecution, and sexualy frustration. in other words, for you to like the same bass they do, for the same "exact" reasons they do, means that you would have to become them. and no, pulling a mr. ripley just won't do.

    so now your confused, because you came hear to get some answers, and whoala (spelling?), you run into me who is telling you that i don't have an answer, other than some existential mumbo-jumbo about "being one with the bass".
    patience young basi, for now you must use the groove. i will now give you the step by step process for selecting your own weapon of subsonic devestation.

    step 1:> leave this site. get up, get out of the house, and go to your local music shop, pawn shop, bass player friends house, or where ever else they sell or have basses. when you get there, play all of them. so what if you stink, run your fingers up and down the 'board touching everynote. play with you fingers, picks tin cans, whatever you can get away with. just dont be afraid to spend an hour or more (doesn't have to be one sitting) with each bass. plug into a good amp, and check the e-tron's in it (if they won't let you play to loud to long, bring earphones). if they won't let you check out the basses real good, then don't buy from them, go somewhere else.

    soon you will find a few models that your really torn about. if all things are equal, then its time to come back to this site...

    step 2:> start with a search of this topic for the basses you have selected (don't you dare post a topic yet!!!). when thats done check out the links page on this site. there are a few that point to gear reviews (harmony central, etc.), where you can read what others think about these models. you may be able to email some of these individuals and open dialogue about the particular models in question. at this point, if you still need some answers, then consider opening a thread (but first check out gmstudio99's thread "basses forum cleanup" 'bout some rules before doing so. also, check out the manufacturers web site (usually, or use, its biased info, but it may give you the warm fuzzy you need for your final selection.

    step 3:> buy the damn thing, and be done with it. but, don't go into it unarmed. have enough cash to do the deal. don't count on trade in's, credit applications, or haggling because none of these may pan out. and remember, the salesman is not your friend. don't be scared, though. you will be able to tell when he has reached his bottem dollar. when you get there, make him throw in a set of strings and you have a deal.

    good luck young basi's, and let the groove be with you.

    [Edited by pierce on 08-08-2000 at 09:01 PM]
  2. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Sage advice indeed. And I'll add that this process should work when buying an amp as well.
  4. Actually it's


  5. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Q: What's the difference between a viola and voila`?

    A: A viola burns longer.

    No, wait - maybe it's the other way around...


  6. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars

    Excellent advice! Great post.

    Use the groove, young basi.....

  7. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    the only addendum to this guide , with respect to buying amps, would be to bring your own bass with you when you are trying amps out. this allows you to have a "starting point of reference" that you are familiar with. (different basses sound different with different amps.)
  8. John M.
    I stand corrected!
  9. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    Great post, Pierce. Do you think they'll heed your advice?....:)
  10. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU

    For some reason, 'weapon of subsonic devastation' makes me think Ibanez BTB's. Odd. Perhaps one of em armed with
    a set of steel roundwounds, 45-105..

    Well anyways, I would perhaps add that you can look at
    the local magazines for used stuff, and perhaps get the
    axe of choice much cheaper. Bought my Soundgear this way,
    new SR800 would had cost around 700 bucks so I got a SR600, which is basicly passive predicessor of SR800, and a hard case for 400 bucks.

  11. bste9


    Jun 15, 2000
    St. Louis
    Ok i have some questions. I'm a beginner and im looking to buy my second bass in the next few months. Ive done alot of research and have composed a list of a few basses im interested in and played as many as possible. My price range is 500-900 and the basses ive put on my list are the dean edgeQ5, warwick corvette std., spector NS2000 Q5, carvin lb75, and the tobias toby pro5. However, some of these basses i cant play cause none of the stores in my area caries them(carvin, spector,tobias). So im unsure which to get because ive never played some of these,but have only heard good reviews. I guess my question is what is the best buy for the money, i guess. any help i'd greatly appreciate. thanks
  12. hell_awaits


    May 2, 2000
    Carvin makes damn good basses for the money, since they sell factory direct. They also have a money back guarantee if the bass doesn't meet your criteria within ten days of its arrival.

    [Edited by hell_awaits on 08-11-2000 at 11:32 PM]
  13. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    hell_awaits is totally correct about the carvin thing, they give you 10 days to return, but you have to pay the shipping both ways. It's not free, but it's a damn site better than getting saddled with a $500+ bass that you really don't like. If i were you, i would check around the different internet and mail order companies to see if they have the same sort of deal. Also, check with your local stores to see if they can order you one, without requiring you to disregard their return policy ( this is highly unlikely:(, but sometimes they will work with you :cool:.) check in your local paper, maybe someone is selling what your buying, but don't let them push you around - take your time and see if its right for you. Last but not least ...ROADTRIP!!! how far do you need to travel to get to a bigger, better, store (or to an individual who has an ad out),though i would call first to see if they have what you are looking for, MAKE NO ASSUMPTIONS.

    I know a para. break doesn't go here, but for reading ease i put it anyway so :p. at this point i'm sure your thinking "is it really worth it to drive that far" but let me point out a few things. i really dug tobias 5 strings, thought they were the coolest looking bass, and no one ever had any thing bad to say about them. i always told myself that if and when i ever got a good bass (i was a singer back then) it would be a tobias. well when i finally got a chance to play one for myself. i didn't like the way it felt, not even a little bit. now i would still recommend an older tobias, but i wouldn't buy one for myself. this last story is very important when you think of the following equations 1.) used equipment price(mint cond.) = 60% of the new price that you paid(actual) and 2.) trade in price(mint cond.) = 25% list price.

    so it is very import that you dont go solely on what you've heard or read. play it yourself, or you will be doomed to learn about these mistakes the hard way, by paying for them in cash.

    much luck to you.
  14. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    <<keep alive>>
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    You have 30 days with MusicYo on the Tobias.
  16. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    from the post i've seen lately, would say, probably not.
  17. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    let me add one more thing to this. the best bass in the world WILL NOT make you a better player. if this is your first bass, get something solid, reliable, and CHEAP. when you are able to make that "crappy" bass sound good, then, and only then, ar you ready to get another. if your looking for your second bass, ask yourself this; is this bass really the cause of my tone/playing problems/aggrevations, or am i just copping out on learning to play better.

    this also works for amps.

    btw, if you liked or found value in this thread, reply to it. that will keep it toward the top, and lend credibility to it.

    [Edited by pierce on 10-21-2000 at 06:17 PM]
  18. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I found some usefull info for shopping round & trying out gear. I try to play a bass threw @ least 2 amps. A big one like 1X15 & a few hundered watts & a 1X8 in other words something closer to mine. thats all
  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    pierce, I think anybody starting out on bass or buying their first bass would be well advised to read and heed your advice.

    This thread should be required reading for all young basi's.