Newbie, 4+ string bass, questions about amps/strings

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by temporal7, May 25, 2003.

  1. temporal7


    May 25, 2003
    I'm sure you all seen these questions a million times, so I'm sorry.

    I play guitar for a small local band. I've decided that I'd like to buy a bass, but since I'm still in love with guitar, I'm looking to buy a 5 string bass.

    I'd be willing to buy 5+ string basses if they weren't so expensive.

    Anyhow, since I've never played bass before (*shame*) I need some help. I need to know the following things:

    1) Will a Peavey Rage 158 Transtube amp suffice as a practice amp for a bass guitar (all the way down to low B)?

    2) How much does a set of decent strings for a 5string bass usually cost at local guitar shops?

    3) I'm looking for basses under the 300 mark. I'm not a serious player, just a beginner, so I only need a bass that is... decent. What basses would you recommend? (If you know of a really stunning 4 string, I'd be willing to hear your suggestions on that, too)

    4) What websites would you recommend searching on for good deals? (This includes music vendor websites as well as value search engines, etc)

    Originally, I was thinking about getting a six string bass, but the prices really, really turned me off.

    If there's anything I need to clear up before you can help me, please just ask and I'll specify.

    Thankssss in advance :bassist:
  2. furiously funky

    furiously funky Guest

    Dec 28, 2002
    hi there, and welcome.
    what currency are you dealing in? 300 whats?
  3. that doesn't make sense. if you think a 5 string will be more like a guitar just because it has more strings, you're incorrect. in fact it will be less like a guitar since the low string won't be an E.

    playing bass is very different from playing guitar, so even if you got a 6 tuned EADGBE it wouldn't be much help. i recommend a 4 string. you can buy a better quality 4 string for less money.
  4. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Save yourself alot of trouble.

    Just get a Squier Bass Pak.

    those are the coolest little screw around packages ever.
  5. BTBbassist

    BTBbassist join us for mankala hour!

    Apr 20, 2002
    Westlake Village, CA
    That...or go to and check out their selection. There's lots of them, they're cheap, and they're good. They've gotten many positive reviews by the people around here.

    That Peavey 158 really won't work for bass. Guitar speakers aren't able to handle bass freqencies. It might blow the speaker out, but it won't sound good at any rate.

    You can find 5 strings sets for around 20-30, sometimes cheaper, of course.

    There is always a fairly large selection of inexpensive used basses at these sites"

    Also, check the classified section here at Talkbass.

    Hope this answers a few of your questions. Have fun with bass! :)
  6. temporal7


    May 25, 2003
    furiously funky: american dollars (sorry)

    dancehallclasher: heh, you're right. i'm not sure what i was thinking when i wrote that sentence..

    Mike Money: duly noted.

    BTBbassist: sincere thanks :)


    So.. :bawl: looks like I'll have to spring for a "new" amp, too. I hope I can afford all this crap :\

    Let's say I get a really good pitch shifter and a decent bass amp.. If I coupled these with a guitar, would the sound be "convincingly bassy"? (Yes, I'm pretty sure this is a stupid question to ask, especially to bassists, :D )
  7. the pitch shifter is what the guy from The white stripes uses i think, (apparantly theres no bassist who would play with that drummer...)

    it might sound a bit thinner and face it thats just half-assed
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    you might want to try a danelectro/jerry jones 6 string bass - same range as bass, 6 strings, tuned like a guitar, shorter scale length and tighther spacing like a guitar.

    like this...


    or this...

    also, you probably won't have problems with that amp, but you're not going to be able to do much with it - bass through that thing is going to be pretty crappy.
  9. fourfinger


    Apr 17, 2003
    Central Ohio
    If you love guitar, listen to the guy who said a 4-string is a lot more like a guitar than a 5-string is. Tuning and neck size will both be more familiar.

    A 4-string is also easier to find used, and for the same money you can find a better quality 4 than a 5.

    Your guitar amp will work OK for practicing alone while you're learning, but not for practicing with a band.

    If you're not sure you're going to be a bass player yet, you probably want to practice alone for a while before spending any money on an amp. If your band practices with a PA, and is not playing too loud, maybe you could use a direct box that will allow you to use your guitar amp AND the PA together for band practice purposes before you invest in a bass amp. (This will work less well if you are committed to going 5-string; then you might need a bass amp.)

    String prices from Carvin ( are the lowest I've seen; about $10 for a 4-string set and $13 for a 5. They don't last very long for me, but at that price they are still a bargain.

    If you're handy-dandy, Carvin also makes 4-string bass kits for not too much above your $300 limit.

    Ebay-wise or otherwise, you can find used Washburn, Carvin and Peavey basses that sometimes fall within your price range, and there surely are other under-rated brands of basses that folks on this board can recommend. I am a huge fan of Carvin basses; there's some high-end stuff that's better but not much in their price range that's as good, in my opinion.
  10. temporal7


    May 25, 2003

    I appreciate everyone's help, but let's keep a few things in mind:
    1) I'm aiming for under 300 (200, even.. preferably).
    2) I'm only an entry-level bassist.

    Right now I've got my eye on the following:
    1) squier mb5 5-string bass 032-8005
    2) johnson 800 pro series 5-string
    3) any random decent bass amp

    Does anyone have a seriously problem with either of these basses? Could you recommend a far better 4/5/6 string for the money? What's a good, cheap (really cheap) bass amp?

    And allllways remember: entry level ^_^

    Thanks again

    EDIT: How's about the 2003 series johnson stage 15bpro bass guitar amp? How bad is the Johnson brand? Far too bad? Can you suggest a better amp for the money, please?

  11. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    For the money the two basses listed are about what you're going to expect to find in 5 strings... IMO, one danger of going with the lowest cost solution is that you may decide that bass sucks based on bad experiences with the equipment... Of these two, I've never played a Johnson but have heard and read terrible things about them. The Squier is a more known quantity, and I know for a fact that they can play decently when setup properly... You say that you play guitar, so none of this is probably news to you!

    If you're not too firmly set on a five-string then the level of basses in your price range climbs dramatically... more models and better quality... Of course, if you're set on a five-string... I know how that goes and won't attempt to talk you out of it! :)

    Good luck!

  12. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    two letters - SX

    click me and check 'em out

    i played a fellow talkbasser's and it was an awesome bass for under $200, iirc. i think they make 5's too, but i'm not sure.
  13. You've gotten some good suggestions here. Stay away from the Johnson stuff. Can't vouch for the

    I'll contribute my gear mantra-- buy used and play for free (meaning someone else has already taken the depreciation-- you can likely re-sell an instrument you bought used for close to what you paid). Go on ebay and search for "Yamaha" in their bass section. They make very consistent, decent-quality instruments, and used, they're remarkably cheap. I got an RBX 755 fiver w/case for around $200, and it's one of my two main gigging basses. For a practice amp, look for a Crate, Peavey, or some-such used bass combo with at least a 12" speaker. I have a little Crate 50-watt combo that I picked up in a pawn shop for $75 that's just fine for playing along with the stereo.

    Good luck...
  14. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Dude, listen to my geniusness.

    With that squier bass pak, you will get a 4 string p-bass, a instructional video, a strap, picks, chord, and i think even a tuner.

    That is all you will need until you are playing with other people.

    And it is only about $300!
  15. temporal7


    May 25, 2003
    First off, I want to thank all of you again -- this has been incredibly helpful. I figure I'll go ahead and give some more details in case that could help provide even better advice.

    I currently own two used fender knockoffs (a Lotus and a Yamaha). Both were purchased for just over 100 dollars each.

    I currently own two amps. The used one is by a company called Stone. It's not very good and I don't have specifics since it's currently on loan to a friend. The brand new amp is the Peavey Rage 158 Transtube. They were both around 80-100 dollars each.

    I am currently in a casual local band. We have two acoustic-electric guitarists, an electric violinist, an electric pianist (keyboard), a ... harmonica-playing guy, and me. Up to now I've been on pure electric guitar, but I'd like to become the bassist. (Oh, and on a side note -- yes, we have no drummer :\) We don't play gigs or anything.

    We have a Eurorack MX802a mixer. When we record, we usually run all instruments through the mixer, out to my Peavey amp, and then out of the amp to a computer.

    Regarding genres, I tend to listen to bands "like" A Perfect Circle, Bush, Deftones, Foo Fighters, Incubus, Metallica, Nirvana, Opeth, Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, and Tool, as well as a few random classical artists and some techno.

    Further on genres: my band tends to write and play along the lines of Dave Matthews Band and Phish (jam etc).

    I'm not sure if the genre info would conceivably help anyhow, but I figured I might as well say it ^_^

    I play intermediate guitar and entry level piano.

    So here's the deal: I want to play bass in the band, but also do some guitar in my free time. Ideally.. and I know this sounds weird.. I'd like to get a 5 or 6 string bass, an amp that could cover bass and guitar frequencies (a keyboard amp maybe?), a pitch shifter, and sell all my other equipment. I know this is absolutely bat**** insane -- but keep in mind that I mainly just tool around and play in the band for fun.

    >>Is this a bad idea -- regardless of my style of musicianship, period?<<

    >>Is it economically feasible? Could I use 200-300 dollars plus what I get from selling two amps and two guitars and buy the bass, the pitch shifter, and the amp?<<

    Let me apologize for my idiocy.

    rllefebv: Thank you.

    john turner & Dean_CustomJazz: I'll definitely look into Essex and Squier.

    Hackster: I'll steer clear of Johnson equipment and I'm certainly going to attempt to buy lightly used. Yamaha, Peavey, and Crate will all go on my list.

    Mike Money: Thanks for the advice, but I don't think that I'd be interested in $300 for a package with a 4 string and no amp. I've got plenty of straps, cords, and a tuner.

    So, what do you say guys? How crazy is all this stuff :-\

    Should I sell both guitars/amps and go with my above hypothetical dream plan? Should I sell one guitar/amp? Let's hear your thoughts :)
  16. temporal7


    May 25, 2003
    Perhaps I should also have mentioned that I prefer fretted, but I could.. possibly.. be persuaded to buy fretless. I understand they aren't very good for entry level players, though.

    And again I'll mention that I _could_ be sold on a 4 string, but for some reason I'm really driven for that low B and possibly beyond, if price allows ^_^

    (Before I considered bass, I always dreamed of buying a 7 string guitar. I like the appeal of bonus lower notes.. heh. Sorry that.. I'm weird)
  17. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    It comes with a fender front man amp

  18. temporal7


    May 25, 2003
    Bump... :(

    Maybe I'll have to start a new thread for the pitch shifter question...?
  19. Saetia


    Mar 27, 2003
    I play a bit of guitar myself, like 4 years worth, and I play my guitar through a Peavey TNT 115 combo, and the guitar sounds good. I would say sell both amps and keep your favorite guitar and sell the other, take the money add it too the 300 and buy like a squire or starter style bass or sometimes you can get a good price on a used fender, and take the rest and buy the pitch shifter and amp, which you can run across combos for reasonable prices used. But from my own expiereince, a guitar will sound good through a bass amp, but a bass will not sound good through a guitar amp.

    Hope I helped