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My thoughts after a trip to GC yesterday

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Boostedrex, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Boostedrex


    Feb 24, 2009
    Lincoln, CA
    I had a little over an hour to kill yesterday, so I figured I should swing into my local GC and mess around a bit. What follows is all my personal, and somewhat uneducated, opinion. So take what you want from it. Here's the list of the axes I played:

    Schecter Stiletto Studio 4
    Fender American Standard P-bass
    Fender Geddy Lee J-bass
    Warwick Thumb Fretless
    Ibanez BTB575FM

    All basses were played through a Markbass CMD 102P. Here are my thoughts...

    The Schecter was BY FAR the best sounding of the bunch. It had the nicest tone without having to really fiddle with anything. I didn't care for the large'ish frets on it though. The Fenders had the same big frets which I didn't care for. But outside of the fret size, I didn't have a single complaint with the Schecter.

    The P-bass was next. This was a nice bass. Nowhere near $1400 nice, but it played smooth and had nice low action. The strings were DEAD on this one, so I'm sure the tone wasn't a good representation of what you could expect. I really did expect a lot more out of this bass though.

    The Geddy Lee copy was up 3rd. This was my least favorite of the bunch. Outside of the great neck, there was nothing else to brag about. Maybe it's my inexperience, but I couldn't dial in a tone that I liked with it no matter what I did. A major let down for me. :(

    I grabbed the fretless Warwick next. I had never messed with a fretless and just wanted to see what it was all about. This is a beautiful bass by the way. I liked the weight, balance, and feel of it. And it played really well to boot. Great tone!! I don't know if it was me or the bass, but I was having lots of trouble with muting the G string instead of hitting notes for some reason. Overall my first experience with a fretless was very positive though. I'm going to have to add one of these to my collection soon.

    Last up was the Ibby BTB. As the only 5'er I played yesterday I can't really compare it to anything. But I really like this bass. Great sustain, fairly low action (for an in store "beat on me" bass), and the fit/finish was great. The B string wasn't floppy at all and sounded great. The Bart MK2 pups and pre-amp were able to dial in a ton of different tones. If it weren't for the Dingwall Combustion making it's debut, this would be my first 5'er. I won't finalize my decision until I play a Dingwall (thankfully there is a local shop who will be carrying them), but my gut tells me the Dingwall will be the superior axe.

    Sorry for the long ramble, but I just wanted to share my findings and ask a few questions. Did I just happen to pick up 2 Fender's that didn't have "it" while the other axes did? Everyone always raves about the Fender's, but they just didn't have the feel I was expecting. Of course this could just be my preference.

    And it doesn't seem that Schecter gets much love around here. That bass was really nice and the $699 price tag for it doesn't seem bad at all.

    I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts. Did I just grab the wrong Fender models to audition, did I grab duds, or is my taste just that far off from the mainstream? By the way, the Markbass rig sounded great.

  2. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I've been trying out various 4's at GC and Sam Ash for awhile now...and I picked up a Stilleto Custom - 4 yesterday at GC while buying some strings for my Conklin GT-5, and I just loved it...I grabbed a fender first, tuned it played for a minute and put it down, grabbed the Schecter tuned it and played for 10 minutes before my boss dragged me out of the store.

    I've been wanting a mid range 4 string for slap/backup bass/looser string spacing/something lighter than my insanely heavy Conklin for awhile now and the Schecter played WAY better than anything else I've picked up in that price range (I'm sorry Fenders sound great but whenever I pick one up it just doesn't feel right)...I barely care about tone from the actual bass anyway, for me its all about feel...It's going to change so drastically with EQ, strings, playing style and Amp/Cab anyway...and the Schecter sounded fine to my ears.

    So yeah +1 man, I agree one of the best for the money...I'm restraining myself from running out and buying it tonight.
  3. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I'm a big fan of Schecters... not necessarily the EMGhz's they put in many of them, but the general 'bones' of the basses themselves.

    :: points to signature ::

  4. Boostedrex


    Feb 24, 2009
    Lincoln, CA
    I'm glad to know that I haven't totally gone nuts then. :) I was super impressed by that Schecter. Plus this one was gorgeous! It was the see through gray/black finish. I do agree about several factors changing the tone of the bass. That's why I played all of them through the same rig and I didn't change the amp's EQ. I tried to eliminate as many variables as possible to level the playing field.
  5. I'm also a big fan of Schecters.

    I did like you and when I was ready for a new bass I spent about 2 hours playing just about everything they had. I also had my wife with me to see what she would think sounded the best (didn't show her the price tags either). I was going there planning on buying a Fender Jazz, but left with a Schecter Elite 4. I would still like to get a Fender Jazz USA though, just to have.

    Its interesting to see what people like and don't like when they aren't looking at the name or the price.
  6. Mazatleco17


    Mar 27, 2008
    Schecter is underrated imho, but as I have said before, don't like the EMG's pickups.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm with you too. A friend has several Schecter basses, and while they don't work for me (feel wise), they seem to be really well-built. I also agree with you on the BTB. They don't get a lot of respect because of their first name (Ibanez) but I LOVE mine. It has been my main player for several years (HUNDREDS of gigs). I love my Fender as well, but they are made for two different gigs (IMHO). And I also think that although there are some really well-built Fenders out there, there's also a TON of Fender CRAP floating around (this coming from a guy who worked at a Fender dealer for several years). So, true, some Fenders just don't have "it".
  8. 60bass

    60bass Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Almost every Schecter bass I've played was a good solid player. I used to own a C4xxx model and it was a nice bass (wish I still had it sometimes). I used to think the Schecter's were a little overpriced but with Fender's recent increase not so much anymore.

    The Fender standard series MIM are decent basses but I've just never liked the way they feel. I think they are WAY overpriced right now but you can still find a good deal on used ones.

    Geddy's are in NO WAY worth what Fender is asking for them now. Again buy used. I love the necks but not for that price and I just can't get a tone I like with the stock PU's.

    I messed around with a Warwick Thumb Fretless same as you did and thought it was nice and it had good tone even through the little Acoustic practice amp it was plugged in to.

    Ibanez BTB575FM. No comment on that one as I don't do fiver's but any Ibanez is always a good player.

    At least you found 5 basses that were actually playable! At the GC here most are totally unplayable as displayed :confused: I often wonder how they sell them. I've bought from the local GC here but only basses that were great players. Every once in a while GC will let one slip through :)

    Keep Low :bassist:
  9. Have you ever spent much time with other jazz-style basses? Do you like them? That surprises me about the Geddy... It's nothing fancy, but it's just that... a good, solid j bass sound. And you liked the balance of the Thumb?!? To each his own, but that's probably the one thing I don't like about 'em...

  10. 60bass

    60bass Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    Regarding the tone on the Schecter's. They have a small set of switches inside the control cavity on the EMG preamp that changes the tone curve to 4 different settings. My C4 sounded good but I always wanted to swap out the HZ PU's for something else just to see if I could get some more out of it.

    I don't know how to describe it. The bass sounded good but I always felt like it was just missing something. I never could exactly put my finger on what it was I perceived was missing. I think that's why I ended up selling it. It was punchy and articulate but lacked warmth IMO. I felt that it would be a great bass for metal as it was very hot and clean sounding.
  11. I too have had very pleasant experiences playing the Schecter Studio 4 and Custom 4. Beautifully made instruments. Was aiming at an Ibanez SR500BM when I'm ready to move into Active-Land but I've seriously reconsidered. Now I would have to do a solid one-on-one to make a decision.
  12. Bogster


    Oct 13, 2002
    Orange Park, FL
    I played the exact same Schecter (Stiletto Studio 4) at my local GC when I test drove a few basses a few weeks back. I REALLY dug the feel, the construction, the finish, the hardware, etc. In fact, the only thing I am finding that I don't care for on most Schecters is the tone (and this one was no different for me). I just couldn't dial in a sound that really floored me. I mean, I want to like them-I truly do, but have been yet to be seriously impressed tonally by one that I've played.

    The winner hands down was the MTD Artist I played that day. Wow. Incredible tone and neck. And yes, I played through a Markbass that day as well. Great amps. :)
  13. Boostedrex


    Feb 24, 2009
    Lincoln, CA

    I don't have "a lot" of time with any style of bass to be honest. I'm still a new player. But I have played a couple of other J-basses and liked them. I do prefer the P-bass sound, but there's just something about a J-bass that makes me smile. However, that Geddy was a total let down and I was floored when I saw the crazy price tag. I really want to chalk this experience up to grabbing a dud off the wall though. I find it hard to believe that this was a good representation of a Geddy. But who knows?

    About the thumb, it seemed really balanced to me. I wasn't using a strap, just sitting on a bench and playing. The Warwick just sat in my lap happy as a clam.

    It's funny you mention the SR500. That's the bass I have at the house. :) Mine is an '08 SR500 sporting some DR Black Beauties and I LOVE my bass. My only gripe about it is the awful treble boost with the stock pup's and EQ.

    But I was comparing the Schecter with my Ibby. There were a few things that I preferred about the Schecter over the SR500. But seeing as I only paid $360 for my 8 month old used SR500, it's a no brainer for me. I think I've just come to the realization (between the Schecter and the BTB) that I really prefer a neck thru over a bolt on.
  14. 60bass

    60bass Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    I played a Geddy when they first came out and remember that I loved the feel of the neck and that bass sounded pretty good and the price was right. But the later ones I've played just seemed to missing something. Maybe the ultra high price they ask for the Geddy now is making me look closer and I'm expecting the bass to actually play and sound like a $1000 + bass. I have a Squier Classic vibe 60's that plays better than the last three Geddy's I played and it sounds good too.

    I also like the P sound so I put in a series / parallel switch in the Squier. Sounds very close to a P with the switch in.

    Keep Low :bassist:
  15. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I actually wound up buying the custom-4 this weekend and took it to jam with my drummer, after a good 2 hours of jamming with it I have this to say...

    It plays great.
    It's so light I feel like I could play all day.
    It is most certainly a "hot" bass, all my bluesy/groovy tones where all out of whack but my rock tones sounded way better than usual.

    For the money I'm very satisfied.
  16. chasplaybass


    Oct 26, 2006
    The Stiletto studio 4 is very nice it just does'nt have a following but who cares?
    Regarding Fenders my experience is like going thru the DVD bin at Target - you have to find the one.
  17. Boostedrex


    Feb 24, 2009
    Lincoln, CA
    And if that is indeed the case, it brings up a HUGE issue IMHO. If a Fender cost what an SX costs, then it wouldn't be a big deal about having to find "the one." But when they cost FAR more than an SX, they should be right every time. I'm going to hit up a few other local places to play various axes and see if maybe I just had a bad run with the Fenders. If not, then I'll have another reason not to like them besides the way they look. (Sorry all, just not a fan of, I like the Ibanez/Schecter/Warwick look better)

  18. Ziltoid

    Ziltoid I don't play bass

    Apr 10, 2009
    Reading this made me realize how bad im craving for my damn schecter to get home :rollno:
  19. I'd lay money that most of these basses probably had crappy setups. I've never been to a GC that didn't have the worst setups on their instruments. Guitars and basses both. I don't know if it's because of all the pre-teen fondling or the environment in the stores, but most of them seem to have ski-jump action, missing knobs and loose hardware. If the basses you tried had been set-up properly the way you feel about them might have been different.
  20. I know this will get me slammed...

    There are tons of guys on here in the Fender and Botique blind follower clubs.. I own both Fenders and some customs - I'm not overly imporessed.

    Part of this is the factor of perceived value for the price.

    One of my best ever playing basses was a $40 no name from craigslist.

    Schecter and other import brands have really stepped up the quality control.

    I still cant figure out why everyone goes gaga over my Fender an not my lower cost stuff (that plays and sounds better).

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