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Looking for a back-up bass.. Opinions, please

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by clubdude, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    I'm about to sell my Stu Hamm Urge Std, and I'm looking for another bass. Don't laugh, but after 45 years of owning everything from pre-CBS Jazz, maple fretboard P's and J's, Rickenbacker 4001, original EB-3, etc (wish I still had them to sell!), my main bass in a little souped up Hamer short-scale. I play guitar and have a solo act, but only play bass in my band. So, I go back and forth between guitar and bass.

    I like change, and I don't play the Fender much now. For some reason, I have never been in love with Fender necks and overall feel and sound, even though I've owned five of them. Just my taste, I guess. The Stu Hamm is the best feeling one I've played. 32" scale, but it plays like a long neck, with a short body.

    I'm looking for something mainly for slap, but versatile enough to play other stuff. Like most, I'd love to have a Stingray, but I'm not going to put that much money into one instrument. I prefer passive pickups, especially humbuckers, but that is not a deal breaker for the right bass. I also prefer maple fretboards.

    One question first: I've always been a two-pickup guy. Do basses with that Stingray set up (one bridge humbucker) have the versatility to play cover stuff? Opinions?

    I've looked at and/or played these basses...
    OLP & Jay Turser Stingrays (I would mod), vintage Fender Prophecy, Traben Chaos Limited, Ibanez ATK's, Ibanez SR's, SX's, and several more. So you can tell the price range I'm looking at. <$500 new or used. Only the OLP, Jay Turser, and a couple of Ibanez's have maple fretboards.

    My modded Hamer has rich deep lows, and mellow highs, so I'm looking something a little "tighter" for slap, and just for a different sound. I'm wondering (aloud) if the two pickup models would have that Stingray-type sound if you used mostly bridge pickup. (That Traben is sweet, but I wish it had a maple fretboard).

    Forgive my rambling.. I'm just trying to give a "feel" for what sound I'm looking for, and why. Also, weight is a factor, so I don't want some behemoth slung over my old shoulder. I've never played an OLP/MM, so I have no idea how they feel, and only how they sound recorded.

    Thanks a million, and I look forward to your opinions.
  2. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Just my opinion, but in the lower price range, for a bass with a humbucker and the features you are looking for, it's gonna be tough to beat the Ibanez ATK basses.
  3. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    Thanks Dark Horse. I was kinda thinking like that, too. And the ATK has a Maple fretboard, too.

    The local shop has both the Traben and the ATK. They were raving about the Traben, so I didn't play the Ibanez. I really need to play one then the other. Don't really like the way they look at the bridge, but I'm not buying one to look at.

    Do you think the ATK has similar (not identical, I know) sound to the MM? And does it play similarly? That way I can knock out two birds with one stone.

    If I got an OLP, it would be a real cheap one I could tinker on. One of my many hobbies.

    Thanks again!
  4. Nobody

    Nobody Banned

    Jul 14, 2004
    OOD likes this.
  5. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    There's a TON of info on the ATK Basses in these threads - way more info than I could relate to you.






  6. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    You're not kidding, Dark Horse! I read through all the links, but it didn't take me long to find out that 11 lbs would probably knock it out of the running. Been there and done that with heavy basses. But sometimes balance offsets weight, so I'll still try one locally. I'm going to try out a good looking white w/maple SR, while I'm there. They also have that Traben Chaos, which I have played and liked the versatility and sustain.

    I'm still looking a cheap OLP to mod, and a very cool old Fender Prophecy II. Like the new Aerodyne's. SX's look good for the money, and get good reviews, too.

    It's tough because ideally you would want to play several at a time, through the same amp, and no place has all the brands I'm looking at, around here.

    Thanks again. You've been a big help.
  7. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    I've been looking at the Fernandez for a while now. They look super! Humbuckers + Maple fretboard are two of my main desires for this purchase. But I've never seen one in a store, and don't know anyone that owns one. Gets good reviews.

    If anyone owns a Fernandez like in the link by Nobody, please opine about it.

  8. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX

    Definitely try one out, as they're nice basses - but they do tend to be on the heavy side.

    I bought one of the $89 SX Jazz basses - for the money it's exceptional. I posted demo videos HERE and HERE if you want to listen to it. Great modding platform, and it would be easy to route one of the P models and add a MM style pickup.

    The OLPs are nice if you can find a few to test out. Check the fretwork and the fit in the neck pocket, but they're a nice modding platform as well.

    Best of luck.
  9. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    i love my tribute g&l L-2500 (L-2000 is the same but a 4 string) with a maple f-board. super versatile, great slap tones imo, huge humbuckers. you can probably pick one up used for around $500. check the classifieds.
  10. Why not a new MIM Jazz, maple f/b, and mod to taste? Nicer necks than you'd imagine.
  11. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    Dark Horse,
    I agree on the modding platforms. I even considered a short-scale SX, but since I already have a short scale, I'll probably go long. I'm actually looking at an OLP that I can pick up for less than $150. All natural, with maple neck. My guitarist and I are fairly decent at mods and setups, so even if it had a neck problem, I feel like we could fix it.

    G&L's are one brand I've never played. I'd love to, though.

    Played many MIA Fenders, MIM Fenders and Squires, and owned a sunburst '63 Jazz I got brand new. (telling my age, but I started playing bass in the 3rd grade) Plus, if I wanted to stay with Fender-style, I'd keep my Stu Hamm Urge. Good suggestion for most folks, though. They are great basses, and very reasonably price, but like I said earlier, I like change.

    That Fender Prophecy II has my eye, too. Not like most Fenders. I'm not a huge fan of active pickups, though. I prefer high quality passive ones.
  12. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    I had an OLP with an excellent neck. I only got rid of it because I didn't feel like changing out the pickup.
  13. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    How'd you like it Wayno? Have you played the ATK300, also? If so, can you compare them?

    I'll change out some pups in a heartbeat. :) Thanks.
  14. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    By the way, how much does a OLP Stingray weigh? I know the ATK weighs 11 lbs.
  15. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    Crap! I just missed out on an OLP in all natural for $93+37 s/h. He said the neck was not straight, but........... Crap.
  16. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Honestly if you want a StingRay without the hefty pricetag, pickup up one of those new "Sterling by MusicMan" Ray 34's. All the same components in a foregin made instrument. I think they're gonna go for around $600. Granted it wont be passive and have two pickups, but neither is a classic Ray.
  17. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    I've been looking at the Sterlings and the SUBs. I just need to play one Stingray "type" bass. I might hate it, or I might just have to have one. Who knows until I play one.

    I can't believe I've been playing all these years, and have never had one in my hands, but I did take a two-decade break from playing bass in a band (to play guitar), so some of the hottest basses slipped by me during that time. In the late 60's & 70's, I was G.A.S.'ing for every bass that came along. I just started back a couple of years ago.

    If I had only one bass, I KNOW I would go for a two-pickup model, for sure, like a G&L or a HH. But I want something to fool around with that has a totally different sound.

  18. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    It felt good but sounded not so good. Great neck and frets. Felt like a much more expensive instrument. It was lightweight.

    I've never played an Ibanez before.
  19. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008

    But only the 5 string Sterling by MM has a maple neck, which is something he wants.

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