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n00b here... Just starting out.. need Bass suggestions...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by onethirtyeight, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. onethirtyeight


    Dec 12, 2003
    I’m sure you all get a thousand of these questions every day, so if you can bear with me....

    I’m just starting out; however I would like a Electric Bass with enough quality that I would not need to immediately replace it when I get better.

    I would most likely be using it to play mainly punk and rock style music.

    I’m looking to be in the $400.00 range for just the guitar... (New or used)

    4 string, also this may sounds stupid... but it has to be black (personal pref.)

    Thanks a lot in advance.
  2. Welcome to TB.


    I would suggest looking for a used MIM or MIJ, Fender Jazz Bass.

    MIM=made in Mexico
    MIJ=made in Japan.

    I feel the Jazz bass is very versatile and of descent quality too.



    Buying your first instrument can be a difficult task. You're not sure what to look for, how much to spend, and on and on. Here are a few tips to ease your pain.

    First, have a budget in mind before you go into the stores, so that you won't be dazzled by the flash and splendor of the "SPGX5000VR"!!!. With today's instruments you should be able to find a good, playable instrument for between $250 & $500.

    Second, look for simplicity. Basses with tons of controls and gold hardware add to the price and are a distraction from the goal...to learn to play bass guitar. Watch for easy to understand control layout and straight forward hardware (tuning keys and bridges).

    You will run across two different types of pickups, the single coil & the hum canceling

    Single coils are usually about 2 cm wide by 9 cm long and offer a brighter sound. Hum canceling pickups are made up two coils each 3 cm wide by 6 cm long. They are set up in a staggered side by side format and produce a darker, beefier sound.

    Third, ask the salesman about the materials the bass is made from i.e., the woods for the neck and body. Some $250 range instruments have bodies made from plywood that don't produce as nice a tone as many solid wood basses do. The neck of the bass is the shaft where a player presses the strings down against metal bars called frets to produce different notes and sometimes chords. Necks are typically made of maple wood and their fretboards may be either maple (known for a brighter sound) or rosewood (known for a mellower tone).

    Finally, avoid obscure brand names no one has heard of unless there are undeniable good qualities that show you that the instrument is an excellent deal. Recognized brand names will help you when either you decide to upgrade because you're getting so good! And you want to trade your bass in or you decide bass isn't for you and you want to sell the instrument.

    With all this in mind, make sure that the instrument is comfortable to play, hold, wear on a strap, etc. Don't be afraid to ask the salesman to correct things like strings that are too high off the fretboard or buzzing, rattling frets. If you've noted these points you should come away with a great first bass and potential for a lot of enjoyment.

    Hope you find this useful.

  3. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    You have alot of choices. It seems that around here the MIM (that is, Made In Mexico) Fender Jazz of Precision bass is the preferred choice.

    However, I strongly recommend taking lessons and renting a bass from the store you take lessons from. That way, in case for some reason you decide not to stick with it, you can return the bass at little cost, and if you decide to go on with it, you can still return the bass at little cost to you, and get something better. This is especially good because after a few months you'll be better able to decide which particular bass is right for you.

    Oh, and welcome to TB!
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i used to be one to sing the praises of a mim fender, and they are good, but for the money you can't beat the quality and playability of an essex jazz clone. check out the essex megathread - these are some really decent instruments for incredibly cheap prices.
  5. onethirtyeight


    Dec 12, 2003
    Thanks a lot.

    Do have any specific models I should be looking for? I'm rather confused since I see SO many different Fender basses. Im looking for a deep, rich darker sound.( I'm guessing the hum- canceling pickups and rosewood neck are what im looking for?)

    I have kinda of narrowed it down... looking at the

    - Fender Standard Precision Bass

    - Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass

    - Fender Standard Jazz Bass

    Which one is going to meet my needs the best?

    Thanks again.
  6. onethirtyeight, for me, that's a tough question to answer, I like the sound of both.

    MIA P bass has a distinct sound.

    MIA Jazz bass has it's sound too.

    I would suggest, playing as many as possible, before you purchase one. That way, you can feel and hear what each bass is capable of doing.

    There is a very comprehensive site called

    You can read more about the history of the Precision and Jazz bass at that site, there are photos and more info about each bass.

    (This page was made by Henrik Christensen and Patrick Engels Ryming.)

    Hope this helps.

  7. onethirtyeight


    Dec 12, 2003
    Im pretty sure i'm going to go with the Fender P-Bass... thanks a lot for your help!!!

  8. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I've played my brother's Squire J-Bass a lot, and its not that bad. And that's coming from a Lakland fanatic!

    I think you're okay with pretty much any bass with a pickup in the neck position that is not a slanted J. Don't make the silly mistakes I did when starting out. Going with the advice of the dude at the music store, I started out with a 5-string. This greatly hampered my learning, it made it hard for me to play even the most basic songs. Then, once I realized the problem, I bought a 4 String, but it had a really thin neck. Thus, I developed really bad fingering habits.

    That's my story, the moral: Stick with the standard until you know what you're doing. And there is nothing more standard than a Fender.

    P.S. Some of the terminology I used in this post may be confusing to a new bassist. If you have any questions, you can post it right here in this thread or ask your local music store employee.
  9. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan

    Yes, you can beat the quality. Its called buying a MIM or MIJ J that has to go through tougher inspections, has better woods, better electronics, and better construction.

    Essex's are good for the money, but the average Essex is not par with the average MIM or MIJ fender.
  10. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    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.

    Mar 9, 2021

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