Percussionist needs bass for Afro-Cuban, reggae, world fusion. Which one?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tuco, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Tuco


    Feb 14, 2006
    I'm a percussionist playing mostly Afro-Cuban, reggae, world fusion, with a little classic rock thrown in.

    Decided to take the leap and learn bass.

    I'm looking for an instrument that is versatile, will work with those styles, and of course, has the potential to sound amazing. Something that will hold its value and that I won't feel limited by in a year or two.

    Max. price: about $1,200, although I'd like to spend less.

    These two that are on my current shortlist, although I don't know if these are good choices for what I'm doing:

    Ric 4003 ($1,100)
    Washburn Force 4 ($500)

    Really need your help on this. Buying something this week. Open to your ideas. Thanks!
  2. Tuco


    Feb 14, 2006
    Thanks Smash, excellent points.

    You're right, it doesn't make a lot of sense to throw too much money at this now . . . just trying to avoid something crappy that I've basically have to give away later. It doesn't have to look flashy, just play well without technical problems.

    I'll check out the Ibanez.

    One more question . . . is a 4 or 5 string more commonly used in these styles, or does it really make any difference?
  3. Tuco


    Feb 14, 2006
    Hi Joshua,

    I'll stick with four strings unless there's a compelling reason to go to five . . . and it doesn't seem like there is.

    Will check out the Yamahas. Thanks!
  4. consider a used Fender Jazz. it will cover any style. they are simple, easy to play, sound great, and, you will get all of you're money back, if you decide to upgrade, later. they range from $300 to $700(usd). play everything in you're price range. good luck, have fun!:cool:
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    I'm a reggae player, and I hit on some of that other stuff too from time to time.

    First off, it's the player, not the bass...within reason. The Ric is NOT the bass you're looking for. It's got a distinct tonal flavor that's miles away from what you're trying for.

    I'd suggest a 5 for the flexability, but I think you'd do good with any of the options people have listed. If you're looking for a 'standard' then a Fender Jazz will do it for you. If you're looking for something a bit more modern, an Ibanez would work too. I'd also look at some Yamahas. You'd also do well with an Ernie Ball Bongo.

    What you want is a bass that has a wide tonal range, but can still give you a big low end. I personally prefer a bass that can still do tight and punchy for stuff that's more dancehall or soca in feel.
  6. I second the Lakland, or maybe just a good ol' P-bass. I've seen both used to great effect by John Brown's Body, among a large number of other reggae and world fusion acts that come through Ithaca during the summertime.
  7. Also keep in mind for your price range if you will need to buy an amp to go with the bass, since you are just starting out. Sometimes people don't realize that they can cost a pretty penny too.
  8. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    as usual, i would recommend Carvin. but like SMASH said, that's only what i would want.

    and the moment i read "6-string Ibanez" i immediately thought the sr506 by Ibanez. i've picked up the 500 and it was pretty nice.
  9. gwx014


    Dec 22, 2005
    I'd recommend a used Fender P-Bass. It would probably work good for your style of music.
  10. lowrez

    lowrez no.

    Nov 27, 2004
    New Englandish
    I think I'd push towards a used stingray. As long as you don't beat on er too bad you should get what you paid for it back. And should nail the sounds I am assuming you are going for.
  11. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Fender Jazz +1
  12. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I also recommend the Fender Jazz. You are best to put good money into an amp and the lessons and skimp more on the bass. You can get a Standard Fender Jazz or, as Joshua recommended, an entry level Yamaha for just a couple of hundred dollars that will be more than acceptable for what you want to do. (Always listen to SMASH ;))
  13. I personally think a G&L 1500 would fit the bill nicely.
  14. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    another vote for Fender Jazz, can't go wrong IMHO

  15. Tuco


    Feb 14, 2006
    BurningSkies nailed it. That's exactly what I'm looking for. I understand that alternate tunings (like drop D and BEAD) will drop the low end on a four-string, so that might be option too. A matter of experimentation.

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the fast feedback. Great forum.

    Checking out the Fender, Lakland, and Ibanez now.
  16. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Don't be afraid to check out used basses. YOu can get really great basses very cheap if you look at certain brands like Yamaha and Peavey.
  17. gravaged


    Dec 9, 2005
    The Fender Jazz and P bass have been used for everything imaginable for 50+ years, you can't go wrong with either. I bet a Music Man Stingray or a Bongo (I've seen some "world music" types using Bongos, most accounts agree they are amazing and versatile but they look so.. well just find a pic) would work out well too. Those would be what I recommend, if I recommended things.

    As for 4 vs 5 strings, that's always a dilemma. A lot of people play 5's and decide they don't use the extra string enough so they go back to 4. I think it's better to have it and not need it, than want it and not have it, though. I use the C, C#, D on my Bb string (half step down) a lot. I never really liked having to go down to the A string to get to those notes; sometimes I want to keep the low low end kicking instead of playing that high, and the low B gives me that option. Of course in your case, you probably won't be able to decide how many strings you want/need until you've messed around with it for awhile.. whichever you decide to start off with, you can always buy a second bass later.
  18. Try out an Ampeg Baby Bass too, if you can find one, and a good Fender P-Bass with flats if you can't. Be mindful some of those lines are played on keyboards and sampled, so don't get sad if your hands cramp and your strings go floppy.
    BurningSkies is a wise philosopher, and his singer's hot, too.:D