Need some insight on buying a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Titanium, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. Titanium


    Mar 20, 2021
    Hello, I’ve played guitar for over 20 years, and I’m considering buying a bass. I have a good handle on what money will buy you when it comes to guitars, but strangely I feel that experience doesn’t quite carry over to the bass world. I’m considering two models, and I’m hoping that maybe I can get some insight or information from a perspective that I hadn’t considered. I realize that tone is subjective, but let’s leave that out for a moment. One thing that I think is constant with any instrument is the quality of the tone it’s trying to achieve, even if the tone is unique. That being said, the two models I’m considering are.... Yamaha TRBX605 ($650) and the Fender Deluxe Active Jazz V (a local dealer will sell me a new one for $900). Any thoughts or opinions on those two, leaving tone out?
    Sid s likes this.
  2. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Have you had either of those in your hands yet? If so, which “felt” better?

    Jazz basses are known for their relatively skinny necks...that might be desireable for a transitioning guitar player.

    What types of music are you playing?
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I'd go for the Yamaha out of those two, but I'd also replace that Fender with a Sire V7 5 string, way more value per dollar. My two cents.
  4. Titanium


    Mar 20, 2021
    May I ask, what’s pushing you towards the Yamaha?
    Sid s likes this.
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Better value per dollar than the Fender (just my opinion).
    Sean150 likes this.
  6. I really like the Deluxe Active Jazz V. I’ve been tempted by that one.
    One Way likes this.
  7. PWRL


    Sep 15, 2006
    I know if I were going to buy a five-string, I'd be looking at the new Charvel San Dimas 5 that recently came out.
    MattZilla, Kubicki Fan and ruju like this.
  8. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Aren't we supposed to say something about going to the store and trying out as many basses as possible, especially to beginners?
    gg22, MattZilla, Felix Lopez and 2 others like this.
  9. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    Leaving tone out doesn't leave a lot. Both could be quality instruments. Both have the same resale potential. Like others said, you need to put your hands on them or otherwise it is all about cosmetics. Which looks prettier to you.
    MattZilla likes this.
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Yep +1, try them if you can. Just like guitars, the one that feels best is the right one in my dumb opinion.
    MattZilla likes this.
  11. Sean150


    Jul 18, 2018
    I would have to say get the Yamaha. I have the 604 FM as well as a BBP34 (my #1) and, in my opinion they are some of the best basses on the market and their price is disproportionately low compared to the quality. The tone is unique to Yamaha from what other people say (I like it so I am biased) but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Another thing about the Yamaha is that it is built small and light (even thought it is a 34 inch scale) so it might be more comfortable to you as a guitarist.
  12. NoSlapForYou


    Jan 9, 2019
    Durham, NC
    If you're coming from a guitar I would definitely look at nut width. I don't know anything about the Yamaha, but Jazz basses have narrow necks. That's going to be especially important if you're playing a 5-string.

    As others have said, try them if you can. Two basses of the exact same model can feel different, and when you find an instrument that suits you'll know. If you can't try them then at least attempt to try out similar models.
  13. Sean150


    Jul 18, 2018
    The tbrx series has Jazz style slim neck. Very comfortable and I actually generally prefer fatter necks.
    NoSlapForYou likes this.
  14. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    A year and a half ago I’d have said that. 2022 I’ll probably say it. I wouldn’t now.

    FWIW I’d buy the Yamaha. Far better build quality.
  15. NoSlapForYou


    Jan 9, 2019
    Durham, NC
    Depending on what town you're in and the reasonableness of the people there, going to a store can be all right. My local Guitar Center usually has 4-5 total people, in a massive warehouse-sized space, and everybody follows protocol.

    I would say use your best judgment on that, but it's understandable to avoid it.
  16. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    These are two very different instruments.
    That said, I think the Yamaha is superior in almost every way. It's a much more modern design, with more flexibility in tone. Yamaha has arguably the best quality control (per dollar spent) in the business
    gg22 and MattZilla like this.
  17. Huw Phillips

    Huw Phillips Life is like TV if the channel sucks change it Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2019
    I would say that in basses you have a few configurations the P th J or a mix or JJ etc, the Music man shape of pickups in single or double configuration and more with active and passive electronics I would advise trying a P or J or similar from lots of makers with minimal electrical wizardry to waste time on, I got a P and love it
  18. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    Are you absolutely set on a 5 string? I play guitar and bass and 4 strings are more intuitive (cuz low e string), and they’re a lot easier physically on the left hand since the wider neck of a 5 impedes some thumb and hand movement (this is a particular issue for me, since I have cubital tunnel syndrome I’m really sensitive to awkward ergonomics). Not to mention 4s are easier to play cleanly, since there are less strings to worry about muting- and proper clean technique feels a bit different on bass than guitar, it can take considerable effort to not sound like a guitar player just bought a bass.

    Not trying to unduly discourage you, if a 5 string makes you want to pick it up and play it more than a 4, go for it. I played only 5 strings for over 20 years, they’re cool, but 4’s are a more intuitive, less physically demanding leap from guitar.

    I’d go with the Yamaha, fender 5’s tend to be very neck heavy, and I’ve seen several serious fender 5 string neck problems over the years (mainly bottomed out truss rods, I don’t think they use strong enough rods, a few backbows and bad humps too, likely just crap wood prep) as a former owner of one, and a repair tech for 15 years. Yamaha seems to spend a little more time on r&d, making instruments that you don’t have to fight to play and all. The fender does look cooler, so there’s that, and there have been worse reasons to pick one over another.
  19. Valvehead


    Jun 21, 2020
    Jazz Bass is the answer to all questions concerning bass guitars. :roflmao:
    That said, I just bought an active five string PJ Precision so I should probably keep my big mouth shut.


    BUT SERIOUSLY, out of those two I would go with the Fender. Much better resale value so worth more per dollar.
    The Yamaha camp will disagree but hey... Those are Yamaha players.
  20. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Sure, I own nine basses, only two were in-store purchases.
    However, I used to try out between 50 and 60 basses a year and still go to quite a few stores to see what might catch my eye, so I have an idea of what feels and sounds good.
    I can recommend many basses based on what I know...but I don't know if other people will like what I like, and the hands-on experience is still the best bet.

Share This Page