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Need help selecting a bass, getting back into the game

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 1stOfficerRiker, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. Well life has turned a 360, and I find myself with a good opportunity to start playing again with a group of guys that have a family lifestyle, jobs and expectations similar to mine, and music I love to play. Years back I lost hope of finding people to play with that didn't have a 'shoot for the stars and quit our jobs' or 'practice is optional' attitudes.
    I lost interest and sold off my expensive stuff and kept my yammy rbx5, and swr/eden amp/cab.

    I'm in need of a good playing / sounding 4 string in the price range of $300 - $400. If this turns out something serious, I can upgrade later. Genre is 90's rock.

    Things I've played that are in that range that feel good to me are . . .
    squier 70's vintage modified jazz
    Ibanez SRxxx

    Let me know of your experiences with these and if you have other recommendations. I definately don't mind going used if I can get a better bang for the buck.

    interested in hearing your thoughts on basses in this price range.
  2. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    You are going to a lot of suggestions , so here's my 2 cents:
    Ibanez Soungear SR500. I mentioned in another thread that I recently played nearly every brand of bass at Guitar Center, and it was far and away the best deal overall for the money. They are very light and well balanced, thin fast neck, really versatile controls setup. They retail $599 new, but I see them used for $350 and up on ebay and elsewhere. The only negative I've read is that the finish is thin and chips easily. Check out the Squire modified vintage jazz bass too, bit of a crap shoot, some pretty well made, some a mess due to poor QC.
    anavar likes this.

    HELLonWHEELS Supporting Member

    Jun 13, 2005
    I ordered a Squier VM Jazz and it arrived with a busted pick up. :/ Ended up buying a used MIA jazz for $500 off craigslist. IMO used is the way to go.
  4. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Unless you want the Squier '70s for the esthetic appeal (Bob knows, I've been thinking about one for just that reason! :whistle:), I'd suggest trying out a Squier Classic Vibe Jazz. Only recently have I tried a Vintage Modified that sounded as good (a new, 2013 model in white…much bolder sound than I've seen in other VM's). I had one earlier this year that was absolutely killer, headstock-name/country-of-origin be damned. The only reason I don't have it still is I traded it towards a Fender Classic '70s Jazz (Mexican-made) which had some ergonomic and esthetic touches that suited me better, personally. Said Fender, by the way, is also killer, sonically and visually.

    Both basses were found via Guitar Center's used database. I paid an extra $25 for shipping on the CV, while the '70s was very close to my stompin' grounds. Either way, I knew I was covered by their 30-day return policy.

    On a side-note, I'm also a big fan of Precision/Jazz pickup configurations, but I don't know if that's what you're looking for, sonically-speaking. If that catches your ear though, a used Fender Aerodyne is a great, solid, lightweight and sexy bass.

    So, to summarize; the Classic Vibe Jazz is worth the extra money, but can be found on GC's used list for about $250+shipping. If you want to go a little pricier or find a screamin' deal like I did, the Fender '70s is another possibility. Plus, I've seen Aerodynes going for $400 to $500 there.
  5. Thanks for all the input . . .I guess I'm just going to have to go and play a few and see which one fits me just right. I guess I'll know it when I play the one that I just can't leave without.
  6. A lot of decent stuff around that price range, going around and trying as many as you can will probably be the best for you

    Also, consider used, you might get seriously more bass for buck
  7. maves75


    Dec 13, 2013
    Freeport Illinois
    I began playing again after a long pause. I would give ESP a long hard look. I still may buy one myself. Dont forget the for sale section here.There's some good stuff listed!
  8. FerK

    FerK Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2011
    I can second Gilmour's suggestion for an Ibby. I'm a happy owner of a SR1200, and I absolutely love it. I also own a MM Stingray and a Fender P American Std, but the Ibby is still my go-to bass: very comfortable neck (if you can live with the slightly closer string spacing), extreme sound versatility, light-weight, and gorgeous looking. I can only suggest you go to a store and try a few of them out.
  9. davy4575


    Nov 4, 2009
    Denver, CO
    do you still have your old yammy pretty solid basses with decent tone spread
  10. For maximum flexibility, I'd recommend a P/J pickup configuration, a J/J configuration, or at least one bridge pup and one neck pup.

    The Spector Legend series is great -- better than the Ibby's and you can find them used in your price range.
    Schector has a wide selection of good instruments in your price range.
    I've played ESP LTD's and was amazed at how great they sounded for the price. Check out the LTD B-204SM.

    Also keep in mind that a bass in that price range, especially if it's used, is going to need a good setup and possibly some fret work. It won't set you back that much and will make a huge difference in playability and tone. The basses off the rack in GC usually have action that's way too high and the intonation is terrible, not to mention dead strings.
    RandalPinkFloyd likes this.
  11. RandalPinkFloyd


    Jun 3, 2012
    Another vote for a Spector Legend, Schector, or ESP.
  12. Ironbar

    Ironbar Banned

    Aug 24, 2013
    Tigard, Oregon
    The thing I cannot figure out is why you'd ask a bunch of strangers what to get? You can easily see what basses are available in your price range. I assume you have a local GC or other music store at your disposal. So try a bunch out and buy which ever one feels and plays the best for you. As has been mentioned previously, you ask a hundred different people this question and you're going to get a hundred different answers.
  13. I know right . . .Guess I was looking for 200 people to say 'a' or 'b' is the unanimous best for what I'm able to spend, but I guess I knew better from my op. I know I can play several different basses, same make and model and they won't be exactly the same. One might have my name on it, one might not, just looking for more ideas and prospectives, possibly what to stay away from because it's not put together well or whatever the case is. I haven't played anything other than my old reliable yammy 5, so I was just hoping maybe someone could name a few cool things that have come out in the last several years.
  14. Ironbar

    Ironbar Banned

    Aug 24, 2013
    Tigard, Oregon
    OK, so for what it's worth I play a Squier Vintage Modified Jazz bass. I love this thing, and although I've said it before I'll say it again: I love it even more than the $1,800.00 Fender American Deluxe.

    That said, I do NOT like the current crop of VM basses being produced now. The pickups are different, and they started producing them with a lacquered finish neck instead of the satin finish neck like mine. The satin finish plays so much more beautifully. It's faster and it doesn't feel sticky. YMMV.
  15. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    They started making them like that in 2013.

    jsh008; If you decide to go the with a VM, the 2012 and earlier models will most likely have satin-finished necks and "Duncan Designed" pickups. The 2013-2014 models have a gloss finish and "Fender Designed" pickups, but unlike the DD's, they bear no markings on the pup covers. The pros and cons of either are debatable (e.g.: the 2013 VM Jazz that was probably the best individual VM I've ever tried), so if you have a choice between two of them, go with what works best for your ears and hands.
  16. anavar


    Oct 10, 2013
    my bass tone can beat up your dad's bass tone.
    Spector legend series
    big +1 For an Ibanez sr500.

    one thing is maybe a Rockbass Streamer, cheap, graet sound. killer value bass.

  17. Ibycan


    May 24, 2014
    I love the vintage tint on the new squier VMs. So much I got 4 of them as I believe I have found thr perfect bass for me. Your 2 choices are quite different. Either one is good. But it all comes down to which one feels better to your hands and ears. I vote Squirrel
  18. Fender MIM Jazzzzzzz bass. Likely used unless you find one of the random sales for $400 at GC.
  19. So I stopped by GC and SA today and here's a few impressions I had . . .I even played a few up in a little higher price range. Everything I say here is my opinion only, so don't take offense if I say something you don't agree with.
    Squier 70's VM - great feeling neck, and a great tone, just not much tone variety, and I prefer a bass with single volume.
    Ibanez SR300 - great neck, good tone variety, just didn't get a tone that I love
    Ibanez SR500 - similar feelings to SR300, and a lot closer to a tone that I could love
    SUB Sterling - love the neck and playability, lacking on a tone that I love

    The next 3 are a little more expensive, so I'd have to save a little while longer and eat lots of hot dogs for a couple of weeks . . .
    Spector Legend - favorite neck and playability out of all, love the tone. My only downside on this is the two volume knobs, but I guess I could learn to deal with it.
    MTD Kingston Z - excellent neck and feel, love the tone.
    Warmoth P - LOVE the all wenge neck and tone. Crazy paint job but very professionally done, but I love the way it feels and sounds.

    I think what I've learned today is that just a little more money will get me into something that I could love for a long time. I'm leaning towards the Warmoth P at this point.
  20. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Absolutely... many times I've gone to a music store with a certain bass in mind but have walked out with another. It's akin to trying out shoes at a shoe store, you'll know when you find one that "fits" you.
    Don't forget though, equally important as the bass is the amplifier. You can plug in a fantastic bass to a cheapo amp and it'll sound like crap so don't forget to give equal attention to that. Go used and you'll maximize value for the dollar for both the bass and amp- 90% of my basses are used.

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