Novice wants to know where to start

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tianle, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. tianle

    tianle Guest

    Jun 23, 2003
    Hi musicians,

    I want to learn bass guitar, but don't know where to start with. I've had some keyboar experience, but have no experience with strings.

    When I wanted to start with buying a bass guitar, I found the information overwhelming. I don't even know whether I should buy a 4-string or a 5-string.

    Please help! I need to know some basic start points, such as what kind of bass guitar is good to beginners, how to look for it, and where I can find good instructions, etc.

    Thanks a lot!

  2. Well, being kinda new I'd say start with a 4 String and work your way up to more strings if you want. Right now I own an Ibanez GSR-200, it's a 4 String and a great bass to begin on. has it on there for $219 and here is the link That is my personal opinion, there are much more experienced bass players on this site that would be able to give you more info or suggest other basses. Welcome to TB :D ~ Tyler
  3. geezer316

    geezer316 Guest

    Jan 26, 2003
    well i give you credit for asking questions BEFORE buying a bass,alot of people BUY first ASK advice is simple,go play some basses in your price range,get a feel for what you mite like to own,then come here and do a search on the basses that peeked your interest and go from there.and do yourself a favor and get a 4 string bass WITH fretts,its hard enuff with those two features, nevermind a frett-less or a five stringer. GOOD LUCK :bassist:
  4. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    You need to know what kind of music you want to play. If you are going to want to play heavy metal alternative or jazz, I'd go with a 5 string right from the beginning. It's not more difficult if you're starting from the beginning. If you're going to play classic rock, country or disco, then a 4 string is the way to go.

    Get the best bass you can afford, without using student loan money (I don't know how old you are), so you don't hate your instrument 6 months later. Get a cheap practice amp just to get started.

    Take some good lessons from the start. Make sure your teacher is going to teach you good technique and music skills and drills. You need to learn how to hold your instrument and how to play scales and arpegios and patterns. You don't want a teacher that's just going to teach you how to play your favorite songs. That kind of teacher is just milking you for the weekly cash.

    Good luck and have fun.
  5. tianle

    tianle Guest

    Jun 23, 2003
    Thanks, everybody. I got a lot of information from the newbies link and other related topics.

    I have found this item in Can anybody tell me if it's good for beginners?

    It's a Rogue LX200B 4-String Bass:

    "You won't believe the great sound and consummate playability of this sonic destroyer. Features an extended maple neck, fast and friendly rosewood fretboard, covered P- and J-style pickups, 2 volume and 2 tone controls, die-cast machine heads, and black hardware.


    Extended maple neck
    Fast and friendly rosewood fretboard
    Covered P- and J-style pickups
    2 volume and 2 tone controls
    Die-cast machine heads
    Black hardware

    Here are the things I don't quite understand:
    1. "Covered P- and J-Style pickups" -- does this mean it's a hybrid, with J-style neck and P-style body?
    2. "Die-cast machine heads" -- are these suppose to be good?

  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    1) that only refers to the shape of the pickups.
    P-style = like on a Fender Precision
    J-style = like on a Fender Jazz

    so the neck pickup looks like a Precision pickup and the bridge pickup looks like a Jazz pickup.

    Die-cast only means that they were made with that technique (which probably holds true for all other machineheads too) - so it's just a nice way of saying they're knock-offs of brand machineheads, most likely Gotoh.

    Rogue has a bit of a bad rep, for that price you won't get top quality - but it might be ok for a starter bass.

    Check out Yamaha, they always offer good instruments.

    In this price range, a little more $ can give you a lot more quality.
  7. Its not a "hybrid" witht he pickups, just two different types of pickups in it. Some might have all J or some all P and in this case its a mix of J and P...thats what i think from wat ive gathered from being here on TB (i still dont understand half this bass stuff...ugh, will I ever?) as for Rouge basses, I really haven't heard anything about them...but then again I've been playing for less than a year ;) so that MIGHT explain it! Rock on! :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:
  8. Masamax

    Masamax Guest

    Jun 11, 2003
    Edmonton AB, Canada
    Buying a bass can be tricky. Sometimes it's safest to go with a PJ configed bass rather then a J or P bass. Of course there are other pickup variations as well, and it might be prudent to head to a music store to check them out.

    Here are some of the *Main* cheaper line of basses that people tend to start with:

    Musicman's low-price line. Uses the standard Double coil Humbucker.

    Fender's low-price line. Lots of variations, but stick tot he Standard series basses, not Affinity. The type of bass it is is above the 'Squire' Logo on the round part of the heddstock.

    Their RBX line is a good starter bass line. I got one of these in the PJ config. Overall they are well made instruments of about the same quality as Squire Standard.

    These are fairly cheap basses. I would say the quality on a Rogue is about the same as a Squire Affinity, however for like $50 more you can get a Standard or Yamaha.

    Some people also buy cheaper Ibanez that are $150-$200 more then any of these ones, but I was never a fan of them. They are definitely better made basses then any of the ones listed here, but not by much, esspecially their lower end stuff.
  9. tianle

    tianle Guest

    Jun 23, 2003
    I talked to a friend last night about learning bass guitar. My friend plays piano and guitar very well, but not bass guitar. Her advice to me is that it would be really boring to learn bass guitar because it's not a lead instrument and it doesn't play any melody alone. It would be very difficult and boring when practice it alone. Is this true?

  10. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Yes. Everyone on this site is bored by their instrument. That's why they post all the time instead of play/practice.:D :bag:


    What drew you to bass in the first place? That's what will keep you interested. For me, it's the feeling of the low notes in my gut. The "lead" instruments cannot reproduce this frequency range. I have discovered many other rewards, but I still love deep bass tones. even when they're played on an organ or tuba!

    For inexpensive starter basses, try
  11. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Very funny. It's true what jondog said about what drew you to the bass. Do you find yourself humming the bass parts to songs you listen to? I do. I played trumpet for 7 years before picking up the bass. I specifically didn't want to be a lead guy like I was in my trumpet playing gigs. As far as playing by yourself (notice I didn't say with yourself), you always have your CDs to play along with. You can also get a Korg Pandora's Box that has a drum machine and other effects built into it. It has made practicing more fun.

    With any instument at first practicing is not going to be instantly gratifying. You have to learn scales, arpeggios, patterns and theory. These are things to continue to practice even when you are accomplished. Learning how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb is an important thing to learn correctly even if you want to eventually play Pantera. Once again, taking lessons is going to help you eventually be a better player but it's going to take some patience. The anticipation that you know you're going about this right as well as your progress can be immensely enjoyable.

    I think what you friend meant is that a bass is a single note instrument (for the most part). A guitar and a piano are both multinote instruments. You can play cords and sing along as a solo act. That is very difficult to do with a bass guitar. I have friends that ask me to take out my bass when they visit, and I have to explain that it's not really a solo instrument. If I take it out and show them what it does, they're usually disapointed that we can't have a sing-a-long jam right then and there.

    Pick an instrument who's tone you like. If you like the sound of your instrument, you'll want to play it, and you'll have a lot of fun doing it.

    Good luck!
  12. tianle

    tianle Guest

    Jun 23, 2003
    Thanks for your advice.

    I love music and have been the leader of a small praise team for a while. Our praise team has a piano, a guitar, a flute, and a couple vocals. Now, it's time for us to have a drum and/or a bass. Since I love the deep tones of bass and I cannot play drums, I decided to learn bass.

    It's a good idea to practice bass with my CDs. That wouldn't be boring or difficult.

    Alright, I'm going to get a bass guitar first and look for a good instructor or book. Wish me luck.

    Best wishes to you all!

  13. Your musician friend is discouraging you from choosing an instrument? :rolleyes: That is absolutely ridiculous. Your friend should be supportive of your interest, regardless if you chose to learn bass or banjo or oboe or triangle or piano or timpani or harmonica.
    This (above) is excellent advice worthy of publishing and framing.:cool:
    To be a good bass player, you must develop a unique combination of discipline, restraint, taste, tone, and feel. Believe me, learning and developing these skills is anything but boring.
    Start by ignoring anyone who tells you to choose a different instrument. Best of luck to you, and remember that “What you get out of it what you put into it.” I seriously doubt that anyone who has ever been a bassist, or simply gave it a try, will tell you that they regret doing so.

    Welcome to TB and welcome to becoming a bass player.:)
  14. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Please consider a teacher. A book is better than just playing with your CDs only, but a book isn't going to show you your hand possition when you're doing it wrong and don't realize it. You will also be more motivated to practice correctly if you have to perform ever week or every two weeks if you can't afford every week.

    Take it from me. I'm still trying to break bad habits.
  15. tianle

    tianle Guest

    Jun 23, 2003
    I'd like to thank you all for your encouragement and good advice!

    Where should I go to find a good teacher who doesn't want to just milk my money every week? I don't know anybody who plays bass or teaches bass. I don't know if the teachers who are listed in local instrument stores' directory are reliable. Where is a good start in searching a good teacher? Newspaper?

    I have a friend who plays Cello. She told me that she would be willing to teach if I wanted to learn guitar, but she didn't mention bass guitar. I don't know if she will be able to teach me bass guitar. The guitarist we have in our team learnt guitar all by himself. I'm afraid that he may not be able teach either. In addition, the one who plays well may not teach well.

    Any advice?

    (btw, I live in Herdon, Fairfax County, VA, USA)
  16. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    I would ask the school music teacher to recommend a bass guitar teacher. Even if you're not in his or her class, he or she would probably be enthusialtic enough to stear you in the right direction. If that doesn't work, then go to a local music store and ask, but make sure you say that you don't just want someone to teach you songs. You want to learn theory, scales, drills, etc...

    You're going about this better than 75% of the people who start with a bass guitar (including myself).