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Looking for input on my first bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Murfdog2k, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. Murfdog2k


    Jan 30, 2018
    I have always loved the sound of a good bass. Lots of friends growing up played bass, and many still do. I am wanting to start learning to play. I have never played a bass or guitar. The guy at the local music shop suggested I get a 4 string acoustical\electric bass to learn on so I can develop good muscle memory for when I step up to electric and more strings. I am looking at the Ibanez AEB5E and a Fender CB-60SCE. Both have short scales at 32", which I am told will make learning a bit easier as well. Just looking for input from you musicians as to what your thoughts are? Budget is probably $500 or less for the bass.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Well, that is some good and solid advice they gave you...But, if you get to enjoy playing and then jamming you'll then want to go electric and get a bass rig, start spending $$$$ and it can get you into a financial jam before you know it. I am talking from my own experience. I would either borrow a friends bass or, rent one for a month or, two. If you fall in love with and find yourself constantly playing, then make a purchase. Get your feet wet first before diving in! Just my two cents worth for you.
    Ursa, BradH, Maxfenderbass and 3 others like this.
  3. Murfdog2k


    Jan 30, 2018
    Thank you sir! The only issue I forgot to mention is that I am left handed. I have exactly 0 friends who play left handed, so borrowing might be out of the question for me. I guess I could learn to play right handed since I never have, but not sure how it would work out? I am very left hand dominant in everything.
    wintremute likes this.
  4. Lefty? Shoot, that throws most of my advice out the window. I was going to suggest used - but finding a used lefty bass locally that you can check out before you buy will be tough. Also, some other basses I had in mind to suggest trying aren’t available in lefty.

    A 32” scale would be easier to learn on - but unless you are young or have small hands, you can learn on a 34” scale as well. Bass isn’t about chording and stretching your fingers to hold multiple strings at a time like guitar, so you can do fine on a 34” scale but might need to move around a bit more.

    (Background: I started on electric guitar at age 13, and bought my first electric bass at age 14. 34” scale, never had an issue.)

    Lefty is still throwing a curveball in my advice. I’d say that a Made in Mexico Fender fits the bill nicely at under $500. Used basses can be had for less and then if you dont stay with it, you can sell to get your money back. But lefty... just makes your selection a lot more limited.

    Is it possible you might take to a right handed bass? The left hand does a lot of work - the right hand “just” thumps on the string. Something to consider.

    Otherwise, I’d go with a fretted electric bass and a decent amp in the 80-100 watt range with a 12” speaker. A cheap tiny amp is nearly not even worth buying. Fine for guitar, but bass needs some wattage and some speaker size to get air moving cleanly.

    Edit: also, gotta get the joke out of the way: “The input should be on the lower side of the bass, near the controls. And its actually an output, not input.” Ok - back to the thread. ;)
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
    Murfdog2k and PWRL like this.
  5. Stay a lefty! That'll make you a little unique and in amazing company, too. Along side Sir Paul McCartney. You know, watching Macca play with the Fabs back in 1964 made me love everything Bass. Now, I am in my late 50's and I still love it! Hopefully, you will, too. It takes time and a lot of patience with yourself and all that you will learn will be what you will pick up from other fellow bass players. You must be patient....a must!
    Murfdog2k likes this.
  6. About your LH-ness and playing the bass. I still suggest you rent a LH bass guitar and a small amp. If later, you find it is not for you, you are just out maybe, $50+, not $500+! But, it is up to you,... Good Luck!!!
    Murfdog2k likes this.
  7. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I would recommend buying a used LH bass - you won't be out any money as you can usually sell it for the price you paid for it, sometimes you can even sell it for more. However that being said, your choices will be limited.
    I am a leftie myself but play right handed - have played over 30 years this way. You play the bass with both hands so I found that maybe because I'm a leftie in everything else, when I first started the bass, I had no problem fretting notes and being able to go pretty fast up and down the neck even while I was but a beginner. However, I couldn't use a pick all too well, it felt awkward (a little like learning to write with a pen with your right hand) so I play with my fingers. In time, bassists develop better motor skills in both hands so all this is pretty much mute. I think you can pretty much play either way, just a matter of preference- but stick with it whatever you choose.
  8. Eon Sky

    Eon Sky Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    Another extremely dominant lefty who plays right handed here. I learned right handed because those were the instruments available to me. Maybe as an experiment, since you're completely new to the whole thing, is go to a music store and plunk around on a right handed instrument. Then flip it around and try it again. Yes, it will be upside down, but does playing that way feel more comfortable or intuitive to you? If so, left handed would probably be the way to go.

    As far as gear, I'll also throw my advice in on either a MIM Fender or a Squier. I'd avoid the Squier Affinity line if you can, but if you could get something in the Vintage Modified line you'd be getting a lot of bass for the money. I gigged and recorded with a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar bass for years.

    Amps? Don't go with anything "practice" sized. You turn an amp down to play quietly, but you can only turn them up so far before they start to distort or cause damage. Used is your friend in this regard. Some good workhorse amps I've used would include a Peavey TNT (heavy, but indestructible), Acoustic combos, and Ampeg combos (you won't get that "classic" Ampeg sound but still decent). Try to look for something that's at least 100 watts and has at least one 15 inch speaker. Some other combinations would be 2X12 or 2X10. If it's got one small speaker (like a 10 or an 8 inch) it will definitely be too small for most live shows and practices, and remember what I said at the start of the paragraph.

    Let us know how it goes, and welcome to TalkBass!
    Hurricane Jimmie likes this.
  9. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I'm one of the biggest acoustic bass lovers here but I wouldn't suggest an EAB, not even the one I own…and it's a great bass.
    Ibanez Talman 100.
    Squier VM or CV Jazz bass.
    Both comfortable enough not to scare you away, both good enough for practicing, rehearsing, or gigging.
    2jb8hlh.png Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass Left Handed Natural
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  10. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    DON'T BUY AN ACOUSTIC UNLESS YOU WANT TO PLAY AN ACOUSTIC. "You have to start on acoustic" is bad advice, like telling guitarists to start on acoustic and move to electric. Get the guitar you want and play the hell out of that. No one needs training wheels before they get the instrument they want.

    You can play an electric without an amp-I do a fair amount when I practice. It makes it quiet and I don't have to lug around my amp. Contrary to what is said above, I practice through a small 30w amp that is loud enough to accompany my cell phone. If you want to play in a band, that will not be loud enough.

    The feel of an acoustic bass is totally different than an electric. Even if you can switch between them pretty easily. Don't buy something you don't want in order to get good enough to play what you want. You will just not play it, and be out the same amount of money, or you will play it and then have to upgrade...
  11. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    In your price range I think you will mostly have the choice of Squier, Ibanez, or a generic brand like Rogue unless you buy used. That will eat up half of your budget, and an amp will either be small what or a generic brand like Rogue...I played through a Rogue for a long time when I started...even gigged it.
    jamro217 likes this.
  12. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i'll have to agree with this POV even though i don't know the entire context in which the original advice was given. IMO: you'll have to 'grow into' any ax you get, so: might as well grow into the ax you see yourself playing down the road.

    good luck on your quest! :thumbsup:

    a link to some inexpensive lefties:
    Rondo Music Left Handed Bass Guitars

    edit: clarity

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
    Hurricane Jimmie and Helix like this.
  13. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon

    Dec 27, 2016
    Checking in as another left-handed person who plays right-handed basses. If you stick with the hobby you'll find that you have many many more options for instruments if you play righty. Also, it's been a while since I was a beginner but I don't think when you're starting out that it'll make much of a difference. The coordination is going to feel weird at the beginning regardless of orientation. In fact, I would argue that it makes more sense for your more agile hand (your left, presumably) to be your fretting hand.
  14. Try Rondo Music Home Page, decent basses for the money and they have many left handed models available.
    wintremute and rtslinger like this.
  15. Dale Griffith

    Dale Griffith

    Jun 6, 2016
    I agree with Hari Seldon.
    I'm a lefty who plays right-handed bass and guitar. A LOT of us do. I started righty because that's what was available when I started. I'd never seen a left-handed guitar at that point. Since my left hand does the fretting and I only use a couple of fingers of the right hand it just seemed natural to me.

    I've never regretted it. I have my choice of almost every guitar out there instead of having to deal with finding a lefty.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I don't get the acoustic bass guitar thing at all. Only decent one is the Ernie Ball Earthwood IMHO, and they're long out of production. I'd get a cheap Fender or Fender lookalike myself. You're very fortunate to live in a time where a truly decent bass can be found for $200 or less, as it wasn't so when I was starting out in the 70's.
  17. Brian VT

    Brian VT

    Mar 8, 2017
    You might think about skipping the amp. for a while. Get a Vox headphone amp. $50 +/-
    You can patch music in from your phone, etc., to play along to and it has drum beats that are much more fun to play along with than a metronome.
    The sound is surprisingly good with decent headphones.
    Any amp. you buy now will probably be inadequate if you end up playing with a band.
    Best of luck to you.
  18. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    my husband is left handed, but he plays guitar right handed. he made that decision at 15 because he said it made it easier to learn watching other players. and he's one of the fastest guitar players i've ever played with. of course, playing righty also means more than 10 times the basses will be available to play. and after all, you use both hands to play the bass, and which hand plays more intricately depends on how and what you play.

    if you feel you must learn on a lefty, here's some in reverse price order
    Left-handed Bass Guitars | Sweetwater
    the first one - the mikro - i don't recommend for beginners unless they are already guitar players. i really like the ibanez GSR200 - i've played several - and the price is nice.

    i find that acoustic and electric bass don't really play the same. if you want to play electric bass, learn on an electric bass, and if by chance you want to learn to play a 34" scale bass, why not learn on a 34" scale bass? if you find the strings a bit on the inflexible side, just get extra extra light strings to start off.
  19. kinopah


    Oct 19, 2014
    The input will either be on the bass's top next to the volume/tone controls or on its side under said controls. Less commonly it will be integrated into the strap button.

  20. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    This makes no sense. Sound like he's just setting you up to make another sale down the road. Your muscle memory will develop just fine on a solid body electric. As far as scale goes, all the talk about one being better or worse for a beginner is way overblown. After you play for a while you'll figure out what feels good to you.
    jamro217 likes this.
  21. Primary

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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