Just Beginning and looking for bass recomendations

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by betabassman, May 3, 2004.

  1. betabassman


    May 3, 2004
    I would say that I'm a new bassist, but I don't even have a bass yet. I am interested in learning how to play the bass, and have a couple of questions to see if I can select a bass that will make it easier for me to pick things up.

    1) Dexterity necessary in both hands? I am both right and left handed, but have significantly better finger dexterity in my left hand, while my right hand has better control to the wrist. (it's a long story). I started playing guitar about a year ago, and played a standard right handed guitar - It worked ok, except that I had a hard time picking fast with my right hand. I'm expecting that I will buy a standard right handed bass, but I figured that if I was going to change it would be best to do it in the beginning.

    2) Acoustic vs electric? I am interested in an acoustic bass, so that I can practice and play with friends who all play acoustic guitars. I'm thinking that if I get one of the acoustic/electric basses, I will have the best of both worlds. Am I fooling myself?

    3) Any brands or types that I should stick too, or stay away from? One of my friends told me that he tried playing the guitar for a while, andwas continually frustrated until he picked up a friend's martin guitar. He said that it was so much easier to play, he actually enjoyed practicing. If I need to spent a few more bucks to get something that is going to be "easier" to play, I'd rather do it to give my self the best chance to succeed. I see acoustic basses by Epiphone "El capitan", Kona, Tacoma, Dean, and Ibanez among others.

    I appreciate any thoughts or comments to help me move forward with this idea of learning the bass.
  2. Well the way I see it is that you should start with electric. now why:

    -Its easier to play
    -It isnt that expensive to get a good one
    -the action and string spacing are a lot more comfy.

    now If you wanna go electric then I would suggest this brands to start.

    -Conklin a bit expensive but really good
    -Ibanez sr series
    -Brice good brand and cheap
    -and fender.

    well good luck!!! You are going to love this instrument!!!!
  3. I would recomend an electric over an acoustic. In my opinion electrics are easier to play and sound better.

    There is nothing wrong with playing an electric bass with an acoustic guitar, i do it all the time. It doesnt sound intrusive or too loud if you keep the volume right.
  4. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    well well well. Hello and welcome to bass world! I also played guitar before bass but i absolutely hated it! About the acoustic bass i would not suggest it. I did not like the one i played, and my cousin who is alos a bassist, except hes pro, had one and said that when you play you can barely hear it unless he plugged it in, which defeated the purpose of having an acoustic bass to play wiht acoustic guitar friends...

    As for the electric bass, i began on an ARIA somethign or other 4 string. it has a p-pickup and a bridge pickup, 24 frets (needed to be filed down a little) I find it sound pretty decent for the price but the better i get the more i feel like I am playing a piece of cardboard...

    You cannot really go wrong wiht a fender standard P or J bass
    Ibanez and Yamaha both make decent basses for not too expensive either. In Decembers Bass PLayer magazine there was 25 4 strings under 800 bux here are a few good ones:

    ESP make a few good ones
    Ibanez SRX700
    MTD Kingston
    Music Man S.U.B
    Peavey Fury 4
    Spector Performer 4
    G&L L-2000 Premium
    Yamaha RBX 774

    are amog some of the basses that got a decent- good rating. it also depends what kind of music you plan on playing.
  5. Buying Your First Bass

    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 also avoid store brands such as Rogue.

  6. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    Welcome to the bass Treena!! You're gonna love it!

    I'm not sure how big your hands are but if they are small, i would go for an Ibanez Soundgear bass. They have a really nice thin neck so you can get around on them easier than say a standard P-Bass neck and they are lighter too. They can be had for cheap too. Like this one here.


    Good luck and I hope to see you jamming away on stage someday! :bassist:
  7. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    I take exception to that statement. I had a Rogue 4 string and i loved the thing. It was light, sounded good with my loud band and totally easy to play. Not to mention the low price. I think it's a good beginner bass. :bassist:
  8. TheAmpNerd


    Apr 25, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Treena, seems to have her head on straight and from the posts I've read of hers, they are always cogent, well thought out,
    and she typically backs up her statements with reasons.

    For example, you may take exception, perhaps because you
    were the exception and happened to get a good instrument.
    For a newby though, I would have to agree with her. She is
    giving good sound advice. My brother in law got his son a
    cheap o guitar and the kid has the biggest problem keeping
    the thing in tune because of the cheap oh tuners.

    Also a good avenue of the new bassist, should be to go to any
    jams in his area and start talking with the bassplayers there.
    Ask them questions and see what they are playing. Perhaps
    someone has upgraded their intrument and will make him a
    good deal on a beginner - intermediat bass they are no longer


  9. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    When I started playing bass guitar eleven years ago, I bought a Yamaha RBX 250. That was the cheapest in the RBX line back then, and it was all I could afford. It is a good bass though - it is well constructed and durable and playable. The sound is not superb but quite decent. So I would reccomend a Yamaha for first-timers. :smug: