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Need some opinions on a new bass.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by j0z3r, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. j0z3r


    Apr 8, 2005
    Hey everybody, welcome to my first thread, enjoy your stay.

    Well I am looking into purchasing a new bass, and have been browsing all over the internet reading reviews and such trying to get an idea of what I want to look into.

    So far I am liking what I have read about Yamahas, they seem to be quality instruments for their price range, and that is a major factor for me, since I am a beginner and don't want to break the bank just yet on a bass.

    I have also been looking into a couple of ESP models,namely the
    LTD Viper 104, and the F-104. Both entry level models, and both have pretty good reviews from what I have read.

    Here is where all of you come in. I would like some opinions on which direction I should head in my quest to obtain a new bass. Not strictly according to my small list either, I am open to any suggestions you may have, because chances are about 99.9% of you know more about bass guitars than I do. I am also relying on that .1% to add comic relief to this post, so don't be shy.

    Thanks all.
  2. Hey j0z3r

    Do you have any previous experience with the bass at this point? Is it you first bass or a first "upgrade"? Also, what's your budget? You said you were a beginner so I would like to find out where you stand before offering any advice.
  3. j0z3r


    Apr 8, 2005
    I have a piece of garbage that is mainly useless to me,so this would be my first upgrade.

    I am most definately a beginner, though I have kinda messed around with getting my fingers used to the movements trying to play simple things from tabs and such, that is about all I have really picked up, so maybe I am half a step above someone who only just now has picked up a bass.

    As for budget, I am looking for something as high as maybe $350-$400, but would prefer to stay as low as I can. For the time being I really just need a good entry level bass that I can learn well on and use throughout the learning process, and maybe even playing actual music with it later on.
  4. Cool. Well, you can't go wrong with yamaha and ibanez. Peavey makes a pretty decent bass on the cheaper side as well. If you have any friends that play you may want to take them with you. It bass-icaly (sorry) comes down to what feels and sounds good to you. That's a hard thing to do with little experience. From about $300 to $700 or so, you can get a decent bass that sounds good. After you get a little more expensive, you are in another bracket of quality. I honestly think that you should go play all of the basses you can and see what tickles your fancy and then look for a used bass similar or identical to what you found that you liked. That way you can spend what you want but get a bass that is a little further up in price range than you can afford brand new.
  5. Look for ibanez, peavey, yamaha, warwick, fender etc... Some of these will still be affordable used.
  6. j0z3r


    Apr 8, 2005
    Cool thanks. I am planning a little trip to guitar center tomorrow to see what feels good to me at least insofar as weight, balance, and overall feel are concerned.
  7. Sweet! Just make sure you take your time with it. I have screwed myself several times by going to look, buying almost on the spot and then wishing I had waited a little bit because of something else I found. Good luck in your search!
  8. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    Also look at SX basses, they're cheap but have an excellent reputation around here.

  9. j0z3r


    Apr 8, 2005
    Thanks guys for you posts, they are really helpful since I have very little idea what to look for, and I really just don't want to end up with a total junker.

    Anybody else who reads this please let me know what you think, I really appreciate it.

  10. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Firstly, I loved that line. You seem to have a great attitude, my man.

    Anyway, hunting for one's first or relatively first bass. First off I'd like to say that cheap gear is of a much better quality nowadays than when I was buying my first bass over a decade ago.

    You have the usual players like Ibanez, Yamaha, and Peavey. ESP/LTD are said to have very consistent quality control across the board. Ibanez basses are very much try-before-you-buy basses because not everyone likes the pencil thin necks. My first two basses were Ibanez and I didn't find the necks comfortable at all. My old Ibanez TRB105 5-string's neck and I have been fighting since day 1. I prefer the Yamaha neck profiles myself. MTD Kingstons may be in your price range and those are said to be excellent basses.

    And if you're not averse to buying used, you can snag a good higher end used bass.

    Things to look for:
    -Does the neck appear tight in its neck joint?

    -Does the finish of the bass have ripples or "orange peel" texture anywhere? This will not affect playbility, but if the finish was sloppily applied then chances are other aspects of the bass were sloppily done too.

    -Are the tuners too loose or too stiff? Do the knobs turn nicely?

    -sight the neck down from the headstock to see if it's straight.

    -strap it on. Does the bass feel balanced to you? Does the neck dive towards the floor? Is the weight something you feel you can handle for a 1 hour gig? Do you primarily stand still or go nuts on stage running around and jumping?

    -when examining the neck while the bass is strapped on, hold the E (or B if it's a 5-string) string down on top of the first and last frets. Check the neck under the string. Does the neck curve downward like a boat or upward like a dune? Does it have hills and valleys? Hills and valleys are obviously bad, as that means the neck is warped. A little bit of boaty is fine, some space between the strings and the remaining frets is good. But not so much that the bass is uncomfortable to play. A dune means that the truss rod may need to be adjusted and that's why the bass may be buzzing out so much.

    -remember, if a bass sounds good to you unplugged, chances are it will sound good to you plugged in.

    -when you plug in, be sure to plug into an amp that's like what you have or that you plan to purchase in the future. Different amps can color your bass sound differently. My bass through my Ashdown sounds different than when it's run through my GK because of the way the amps are voiced. If your amp is a small Crate, do not run your potential bass through a Mesa-Boogie stack. It won't sound the same.

    -when plugged in turn all the knobs on the bass. Do you hear any crackling? Any hissing? Admittedly, single-coil pickups (i.e. those in a Jazz bass) can hiss, but if the hiss coming through the amp is unbearable...

    -be sure to fret every note and try doing some scales and such that have you stretching. Is the neck comfortable to you? Too thick? Too thin? Too wide? Too narrow? A little stretch is a good thing, but out and out pain while you're playing is not good.

    -For a template, try out a Fender P-bass and a Fender Jazz bass, as those basses' neck profiles are pretty much the standards.

    Best of luck in your search. If anyone else wants to add anything or correct me, go for it.
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I agree with everything said here except for the Ibanez stuff. This is of course only my opinion, but I'd steer clear of Ibanez basses. There's something about those basses that's made every one I've ever heard live sound like a toy - and I'm not referring to any famous guys playing ones they endorse because that ain't what your buying in the store. I think beginners also often get hooked on the feel of Ibanez basses and spend the rest of their bass playing lives shying away from other much better basses simply because they're really comfortable with what they learned on. Sorry to any Ibanez people out there - this is entirely my opinion, but in my experience I've yet to hear differently when someone straps one of those on. Interestily enough someone here one time argued that his Ibanez cuts better than anything, and sent me a clip of a recording. The bass was almost non-existent. I was kind and wrote back something polite. I really dislike those basses. Their guitars are a whole nuther story - I'd buy one. I think my next musical purchase is actually going to be an Ibanez acoustic electric.

    I think it's important to take whatever you get from the people here and then go out and fiddle with as many basses as you can. Also, be careful not to immediately write off a bass that sounds and looks good to you but doesn't feel right. Often times in a store the setups on basses are HORRIBLE and an otherwise great bass can feel like the worst peice of crap in the world. I know someone who recently went to buy and SX (I don't live to far from rondo music) and he said all that basses sucked. They buzzed, or the action was horrible. Very true for what they've got on their wall, they just need setups. I think they move them so fast they just don't have time - or maybe they're just nuts. I don't know. It's a good idea to go shop with money in your pocket (salespeople can smell it) and tell someone if a bass doesn't feel entierly right that you're interested, but you want to see if they can lower the action a bit (or adjust it accordingly). If they're unwilling to do it, then they don't deserve the comission of your sale. Best to go when the store is empty though so they have time to really help.

    Blah, blah, blah... I'm ramblin. Make sure whatever you pick it feels good and makes you smile. In the end that's probably what's most important. If it don't yer not going to want to play it.
  12. Bassliner


    Mar 15, 2005
    I love entry level basses. That's it. As long as it fits with your character and style (of playing :D ) it's fine.
    My first bass was an Ibanez SR 4 string. I still have it, and will always keep it.
    My second was a TCS Jazzbass copy that had been defretted. Still have it and always will. With some upgrading this bass turned out great. And this all with a plywood body..!
    Now, my 3rd is actually expensive. As described in the most versatile bass thread; its the most versatile bass there is for me. It's like 6 to 10 basses in one.
    My love for the Fender copies will never die I think. They're already decent when you buy them, and if you upgrade.. well, the sky is the limit ;-) I'm thinking of buying the TCS some new pickups and maybe someday a real body :eyebrow:
    Anyway, just be patient and shop around before you buy. Second hand market is the way to go if you want something a bit more than plywood.
  13. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    IOW- NOT on a Saturday afternoon. Assuming your parents are the ones taking you, get up early on Saturday and go to the store on Saturday morning (preferably opening time but definitely before lunch.) After lunch is when all the shoppers come out.

    And since it's the megastores like Sam Ash and Guitar Center that attract the bigger flocks, see if there's a smaller mom-&-pop type music store near you. Their stock may be less than Guitar Center's, but likely better taken care of. In the town I used to live in, there was a really great mom, pop, grandma, and grandpa music store I took bass lessons at. When I was there last year, I checked out an inexpensive JB Player acoustic-electric 5-string and the neck, action, & B-string were to die for. The same bass in a megastore probably would've played like a cheapie. The mom-&-pop stores usually get less crowded too.

    Of course I'm the type who'll go to Guitar Center to try out a bunch of things off the shelves, but later actually purchase at a mom-&-pop store.

    When it comes to instruments, I'm very much a try-before-you-buy kind of guy. The feel has to be there. The one time I got a bass sight unseen (the aforementioned Ibanez 5-string; hey, it was the only entry level 5 available to me at the time) I've fought with the neck from day 1. The TalkBass classifieds have great deals, but I'd only go with that after you've played a bass similar before and know you like the feel.
  14. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    For $350-400, a new MIM Fender jazz or precision is very doable. Try a bunch of them out, some are hit-or-miss.
  15. Musicfreak1988


    Feb 2, 2005
    Yamaha's have a great value. You should give the new BB-series a try, they seem to be pretty good. BB-414 and BB-415 are the passive 4 and 5 stringers, BB-614 and BB-615 are the active ones. Then there's the RBX-series, but I'd not recommend those. I started with a RBX-270L and now I have a Stringray. The 'Ray weighs about 2 times the RBX... Something you got to get used to after a few years with a featherlight bass...
  16. flange


    Feb 22, 2005
    Cochrane Alberta
  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
  18. j0z3r


    Apr 8, 2005
    Thanks a lot for all the replies everyone, they are more helpful than you could know.
  19. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    More than happy to help, dude. I wish there was affordable internet and a community like TalkBass when I was starting out a decade or so back.

    Let us know how the bass search process goes with updates. And once you find a keeper and get it set up, there is that unwritten rule about posting pics of it.
  20. flange


    Feb 22, 2005
    Cochrane Alberta
    Hey - it's a $450 bass, it's mint condition and I'm letting it go for $250. My conscience is clear![/QUOTE]

    Just thought I'd try to get your ad out there lol