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Looking around at ~$350 basses, thoughts?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by phatcyclist, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. phatcyclist


    Jan 29, 2014
    Austin, TX
    So, I've got this older Ibanez Musician that I like. My father bought it in the 80's and isn't interested in the bass currently, so I've basically gotten ownership of it. My deal is, I'd like a less valuable bass to play a lot on, drag over to friends houses, etc. Also, something with a little "faster" neck (thinner) would be welcomed as I have smaller hands, and something a little lighter wouldn't be too bad either.

    So, I've found three models I'd like to go in and play to get a feel for:

    First choice would be:
    Ibanez SR300

    It's an Ibanez and I like that
    I prefer the aesthetics and the way the body is sculpted over the others

    Some reviewers complain about the output jack placement

    Yamaha TRBX304

    Reinforced jack plate like the Ibanez I currently have
    I have a Yamaha acoustic that's proven its build quality over the years

    It's solid mahogany so it's maybe the heaviest of the three?

    ESP B-154DX STR

    Flamed maple top is quite nice looking

    It's the only one of the bunch without a 5-piece neck

    So there are the three I'm aware of, of course the REAL test is going and playing all three but I figure if anyone knows something I don't about them it would be good to hear about it now. The Yamaha RBX170 seems like a handy enough bass for about half the cost, but it's a single piece neck and the body contouring isn't as nice.
  2. xlarge.

    In that price range i would totally go with one of these!
  3. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I would go with the SR300 out of those choices. Ibanez SR basses have some of the slimmest necks around. The SR300 is also a pretty light bass. A common thing about the input jack is usually the paint chips somewhere around the input hole due to the angle and the cord rubbing against the hole's edge- not a problem really but some people don't like it. I had two of the older SR300s. Very decent basses. The Yamaha TRBX304 is also a nice option- I don't own one but tried it briefly. It feels nice, sounds good and to be honest with you, it seemed like a fairly light bass to me, so I don't think weight is an issue.
    The ESP I did try, I didn't care much for the neck to be honest with you, I actually ended up instead with a SR300 as I too have small hands.

    I don't know if you're willing to look at used basses, but for your price range, you can probably up your choices considerably. Instead of an SR300, you can go for a SR400 or SR500 for example.
  4. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    If you're willing to consider a more fender-flavored option, the Squier Vintage modified Jazz or Precision are both killer instruments for the price (around 300).

    You mentioned weight as a concern - the LTD B series basses have very large bodies, and the heaviest bass I've played in recent memory was an LTD (B-206).

    The best thing to do is to visit a few music shops and get your hands on as many basses in your price range as you can.
  5. SolRatner


    Jan 19, 2014
    I'd suggest trying a SBMM sub ray4:


    If you're from the states you can find these for 250-300$.

    I played one yesterday at a local store. It has a thin, fast neck and has an awesome tone. I really suggest you try one of these. They're amazing for the price.
  6. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    No one's yet mentioned SX basses yet, so I'll toss that into the ring...very respectable utility instruments, well within your price range. Worth a look. www.rondomusic.com
  7. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    For weight and slim neck the SR 300 can't be beat. I regret getting rid of mine, but I have a 5 string SR 375 that fills the void. The Sub is another excellent choice, especially if you want a more aggressive tone.
  8. cv115505

    cv115505 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Oklahoma City
    for $350 I'd look for some used, late 80s Peavey basses... namely the Foundation or T40... The Foundation is essentially a Jazz Bass, and the T40 is just awesome... made in America, and beyond sturdy
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Here's a Foundation for ~$250:


    $350 is gonna buy you a whole lotta bass if you focus on the second-hand market. FWIW, I spotted more than a handful of deals well below $400 in the TB classifieds.

  10. pica


    Nov 26, 2009
    I have 5 words for you.......James Johnston Squier Jazz Bass.
  11. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Orange Park, Florida
  12. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    If you are looking for a beater bass, why not used?
  13. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    T40's are amazing basses, but they are heavy (I assumed it is an issue with the OP, since he mentioned the weight of the Yamaha).
  14. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    There's a RoadStar for sale in the classifieds. Everyone that has one likes them.

    It's going for 275 but tell him you're on TB and you might get a deal.
  15. alecduncan


    Aug 12, 2011
    Do yourself a favor and go used. $350 can get you a professional grade instrument:

    80's USA Peavey: T40, Foundation, Patriot (my favorite), Dyna
    MIJ Yamaha: BB400, any MIJ BB series
    Squier Vintage Modified Series
    I've honestly seen MIJ Fender basses drop to that area
  16. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Eastwood Guitars, CHC Guitars, GHS strings

    Yep, great basses for the money !

  17. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    Mahogany is not that heavy. It does likely weigh more than the agathis Ibanez and the basswood LTD, but that doesn't mean it'll be heavy.

    African (Khaya ivorensis) and Honduran (Swietenia macrophylla) mahogany are both about the same weight given equal volume, which is just a touch heavier than Alder.

    Honestly, I think all 3 of the options you posted, as well as the Sterling SUB basses, are great deals for the money.
  18. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    For just a little more, $399, I'd totally recommend this: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SURVEYOR4MBLK

    LTD Surveyor-4. EMG pickups (35P4 and MMTW) and EMG preamp, Truss wheel adjustment, swamp ash body, and neck is 1.49" at nut, slightly narrower than a Fender Jazz.

    In other colors, these are twice the price new.

    I've got one and love it. It will cover P, MM, P/J, and Jazz bass sounds.

    It's an amazing value and has a lifetime warranty.

    All the best,

  19. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    fender squier Vintage Modifieds jazz or precision are getting enough good reviews to justify at least checking them out -- and may be easier to get your hands on one to try
    and/or modify and eventually trade up
  20. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I couldn't agree more - the difference in quality that can be purchased at $350 is vast when comparing new and used instruments.

    The Peavey Foundation linked to above would be a great choice. They're great instruments, and far better than anything you could get new for twice the price. And for $250 you'd still have $100 to blow on something else.