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New bass for new bass player. Help me choose!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by edulmes, Aug 21, 2004.

  1. edulmes


    Aug 21, 2004
    Oostburg WI
    This is the ultimate newbie question:

    I play trumpet and have so for a few years, and would like to buy a bass to putz around on.

    I have heard pretty good reviews on Essex here on TB, and those look pretty appealing for the price and what sounds to be good quality and sound.

    Also, my local music store has a sale on a Cort Action Bass. Haven't played it, but the lifetime warranty, price (270 with bag, cord, and strap), and the owner of the store tells me they (Cort) make some Fender and Ibanez guitars.

    I've played an old Peavey Millenium? bass, and it is pretty much junk (buzzes, sounds weak, and looks ugly).

    Ive seen Rogues, Fenders, Squires, and most others in the Musician's Friend and Rockwind catalogues, but they hype them up so much.

    I am definitely looking for quality and durability, and I don't want to have it worked on before i play it.
    I am not looking for any speciality sound, just want something to hold me thorugh until i can decide if i want to keep playing or rip off some other newbie on ebay! ;)

    I would like to spend no more than 250, and i also need a cheap, good amp (under $100), if someone can help me out with that also.

    I never though that bass guitars alone could merit 25879 posts in one forum. It is just too overwheling. PLEASE HELP!

  2. Blademaster Dez

    Blademaster Dez

    May 12, 2004
    The great thing about being a new bass player these days is that budget basses are much better quality than when I was starting out 10 years ago. And there's such a good selection too. Even 'boutique' brand names like Spector and Schecter have their Performer and C-series lines that the everyman can afford.

    I started out with an Ibanez and even now, basses like the Ibanez GSR and SRX lines get consistently good reviews.

    ESP is said to have some good beginner axes as well, such as the F104 with a 35" scale and active humbuckers. Those carry a lifetime warranty too.

    I think Washburns also have a lifetime warranty. Samicks have a lifetime warranty too, and the Samick factory used to make guitars for Ibanez and other large manufacturers. However, some people love Samicks and some people hate them. I have a Samick Fairlane 6-string myself and I absolutely love it.

    I wouldn't discredit Peavey's basses as a whole, though. Perhaps the Mil you played had been sitting on the store shelf for a long time and hadn't been properly set up in a while. Weather and climate over time has an effect on wood. I've played Peaveys off store shelves before that have played and felt great. I think with a good set-up (a truss-rod tweak and an action adjustment) that Mil you spoke of may sound better.

    I'd also check out some Fender P and Jazz basses, as those tend to be the templates of many other basses. If you feel the P-bass's string spacing is too wide for you, then the Jazz bass may be more up your alley.

    I'd say the best thing to do is to play a bunch and see which ones feel comfortable for you. Even try out ones beyond your budget so you can feel what a more expensive (and likely higher quality) bass feels like.

    When you strap it on, does the neck dive? Does the neck feel comfortable or like a log? When you plug it into an amp and fiddle with the knobs, do you get a scratchy sound? (scratchy sound= electrical niggles.) Are there ripples and/or orange peel texture in the finish? While that won't affect your tone, if the finish is shoddily applied it may mean other parts of the construction were half-a$$ed too.

    Even if you have little to no experience playing a bass, you'll still know what's a comfortable instrument and what's not.

    And as for good amps at reasonable prices...Ashdown. I would avoid Crate amps. They're cheap, certainly, but tend to sound 'boxy' and aren't as well-made as other amps. Still, Crate amps are golden when compared with turdpiles like Gorilla amps. I use an Ashdown combo myself, and it sounds very good.
  3. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Play as wide variety as possible and let your hands and ears tell you what you like. Even play basses that are more expensive so you get to know what feels right. Follow Blademaster Dez's advice when looking at each bass. It will save you a lot of money.

  4. edulmes


    Aug 21, 2004
    Oostburg WI
    Ok, I am visiting my brother at college 5 hours away, and there is a used Washburn XB200 for sale at the local music store. It is going for 250, and has had a complete setup and adjustment, and plays wonderful. I am wondering if this is a good bass to buy.

    Also, they have a used Peavey Minx amp, not sure of model for $150. They sounded good playing together, but I am just a beginner.

    The guitar buzzed with the tone knob all the way up, but it sounded fine with it down.

    Both looked to be in very good condition, and sounded fine. The Washburn felt good in my hands, and seemed to be very good.

    The store at home had a Cort Action Bass for 250 new, and that had a lifetime warranty.

    I haven't gotten the chance to play that one, but a friend of mine who plays guitar said the store had all good quality basses.

    Just looking for your recommendations on this!


  5. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    You should go to a music store with lots of basses to play with. Get a feel for what feels/plays/looks the best to you, and that fits in your budget. Guitar Centers are good for that.
    They should have plenty of Ibanez, Yamaha, and Squire entry level basses you can try.

    If I was to recomend something for $250.00 or less I would say check out the Ibanez GSR 200. They go for around $200.00. It's very good for the money. In my opinion it's probably the best starter bass out there.
  6. edulmes


    Aug 21, 2004
    Oostburg WI
    I guess I should have posted this earlier, but I bought a Cort Action 4 bass on Tuesday from a local small music store. It was $250, and it is really nice. Nothing has broken yet! :)

    All i need is an amp, now. Still deciding on that, probably a Behringer BX300 or BX600, or Ashdown Perfect 10.

  7. Blademaster Dez

    Blademaster Dez

    May 12, 2004
    Glad you like your new bass. May it inspire you and be a worthy companion on your musical adventures.

    I recommend Ashdown amps. I have a MAGC210 combo myself (300 watts, 2 10" speakers) and I love it. It looks great, sounds great, and was definitely priced right.
  8. edulmes


    Aug 21, 2004
    Oostburg WI
    Again, I should post this. I bought a Behringer BX600 amp about 3 weeks ago at the local Guitar Center. I know, CHEAPIE!!! But it serves my purpose well (bedroom practice). It was only $160, so it was a pretty good deal. It looks cool in my bedroom, also. Along with the $16 18ft cord they threw in for 8, it was a good day. They even brought it out to the car! What great service.

    I guess I got to show off my gear. (haha. show off)
    Cort Action IV Bass
    Behringer BX600 Combo
  9. Rhythmalism


    Sep 25, 2004
    Whatever rocks the livingroom ^_^. Congrats on finding gear, the cort will treat you fine.