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New Guy with Questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DerekMcC, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. I'm new to the forum here and have spent a couple of days wandering around and reading but I figure I should introduce myself now and get some questions out.

    I am a novice player in southeast Alabama. I played bass for a couple of years in a small church setting but that was over ten years ago. I have got the itch now to start learning the bass properly. What I mean is that I want to learn how to play with feeling beyond the quarter and half notes I played before.

    I have been playing the guitar during this time:bag:, but when I listen to music I am drawn to what is going on in the background. This probably has to do wth the fact that I have been playing the trombone off and on for nearly 30 years.

    So where do I need to start? I have been looking at basses locally and have found a 4-string Warwick I like but have been drawn mostly to a used 5-string G&L L-5000. I have also had some very interesting bass offers for a PRS SAS of mine I offered for trade over at the Birds and Moons forum (Carvin, Rickenbacker, and PRS).

    I do not plan on getting a bass (or basses) that I will feel the need to upgrade in a year, so do you have suggestions on which of these basses would be a good place to start for a fingerstyle guitar player trying to learn the bass well.:help:


  2. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Don't let anyone tell you one specific make and model is best for you - like a Fender Jazz, for example. Many of us own several (or several dozen!) different basses because they sound and play different than each other. You just need to pick the one YOU like the best. Tone is important, but if you eventually plan to play out then you will also want to select the one that you think plays the best, feels the best, gives you the best flow from brain and heart through fingers, strings, amplifier and speaker(s) to the brains and hearts of your intended audience. Both the Warwick and the G&L are fine basses - which one sounds better to you? Which one feels better to you? Are there any others you want to consider? If so, go to a music store and play them, if possible.

    Welcome to TB and good luck with your first decision. Even after most of us decide on our "perfect" bass and then buy it, we keep playing other basses as the opportunities occur so that we can narrow in on the NEXT bass we want to own. It's not life and death, just rock 'n roll!
  3. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    Well put, good sir - couldn't have said it better myself! :)
  4. Welcome. Impossible to say what is the 'best' bass for you. You won't know that for several years, if ever. Just find one that feels good and sounds good to you, and buy it. Warwick and G&L are both good brands, but you should notice that they sound quite different. Either will do, or a Jazz(couldn't help it), or a Precision(again), whatever works for you. Don't sweat it, just go with what 'seems' right to you. Then, worry about learning to play!
  5. It's the usual, don't listen to anyone else and shop around, but also don't hesitiate to long. You need to take the risk of getting rid of what you buy in a year. It's part of the game. You need to own an instrument for a while to make a ral choice on it IMO, there are jsut too many things you won't be able to know from trying them out in a store. And for God's sake don't trade a PRS for a warwick :)
  6. Jamie Bishop

    Jamie Bishop Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: Laney Amplication
    Those are both great basses. I've felt regret many times for not picking up a warwick Streamer Jazzman 5 string string I played one time randomly in a shop. Warwicks aren't usually my thing but this one was magical. I haven't since played a 5 that I liked. Which brings me to my most important point. DON'T BUY ANYTHING YOU HAVEN'T PHYSICALLY PLAYED. I know plenty of people do it, but to my tastes different basses of identical make and model can sound and play completely different. High end hand-made boutique basses are generally more consistent, though. Just a slightly biased plug, I've had many high-end basses and I always end up reaching for my Fenders.
  7. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Ocoee, TN
    IMO you would not need to upgrade from any of the basses that you mentioned, but you may find that you want to, or simply want to try something new.

    The best advice I can give is:
    1) Try as many basses as you can and figure out what you like. There are a ton of options and what's an important feature to one person may be a non-factor to another.

    Examples: weight, string spacing, fretboard radius, number of strings, active vs. passive, woods, number/type/placement of pickups, scale length, ballance, etc.

    2) Buy used. Your money will go much farther and if you take care of your instruments you should be able to sell them for about what you put in if you decide you want to try something new.

    3) The TB classifieds are a wonderful and dangerous (to your bank account) place.

    Happy Hunting :bassist

    P.S. some of my personal favorites (production basses) have been Reverend, G&L, and Yamaha. IMO the small shop basses (like those listed in my current setup) are even better.
  8. olistorck


    Sep 16, 2007
    I say 15 instruments in about 2 years..... it´s my normal way of finding out what I like, so I shop around...
  9. Welcome to the world of bass, where everyone has an opinion of what you should do. Figure out what sound ya want and what sort of feel you like and tell everyone else to shove it.
  10. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    Try out as many basses as you can. You will always want something different. I spent $1300 used on one of my basses which would put it probably in the $2600 range new. I still feel the need to upgrade sometimes. But its just an itch.
  11. I've always looked at what instruments the players I enjoy listening to most are playing as a good starting point. I've quickly learned that as a starting point, that's OK, but usually what it was I was enjoying out of those players wasn't necessarily due to the instrument they were playing!

    BUT - it provided me a starting point and I'd try those instruments out and see how they felt. Usually I was surprised at how different they sounded than what I was expecting. Especially when you take players like Geddy Lee and Chris Squire into account. Their technique, amp(s), album producers, and other things factored so much into the sound I ultimately heard that simply playing the same bass was rarely enough.

    BUT - It was a starting point for doing what everyone else is recommending - going out and playing lots of basses and finding the one that "speaks" to you. It's out there and you'll know it when you find it.

    The only advice I can give you is to bring along a friend who knows a thing or two about the actual construction of an instrument to help you avoid the mechanically flawed ones that sound great at the moment, but prove to be doomed down the road.
  12. Thanks for the input. I am going to put my PRS on ebay this weekend (or next week) and play as many basses around here as I can. I'll get back and report my progress.



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