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Playing Bass. What do you need?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by artbass, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. artbass


    Nov 30, 2008
    So, I want to start playing the bass.
    But! I am clueless as to what I need to actually play.
    Here's what I know:
    -You need a bass
    -You need an amp
    -You need some cable thingy to connect the two
    -You can have pedals? Do guitar effect pedals work? (Not that even know how they actually work) And how do they connect to the bass.

  2. sean.1986


    Feb 24, 2009
    Essex, England
    You connect the bass to the pedal and the pedal to the amp. There's a button which turns the pedal on and off and dials which change the settings.

    Some guitar effect pedals have enough range to accomodate the full spectrum of bass frequencies, others do not. You can get pedals specially made for bass, though.
  3. Those three are the bare minimum. Those three are also what many people here use exclusively. Anything else is icing on the cake.

    Oh, and you'll want a strap also.
  4. chroma601


    Feb 16, 2007
    Sylva, NC
    Some of those gee-tar pedals strip your bottom end, or what we call "bassiness". Gotta be careful there.
  5. You definitely need fingers.
  6. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Four strings.
    A piece of wood.
    A speaker.

    And yes, it would probably be good to get one of those cable thingies that connect the two.
  7. sean.1986


    Feb 24, 2009
    Essex, England
    You'll also need another cable for every pedal you use simultaneously.
  8. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    here's a few more things that will help

    working fingers, up to 10 but less will work too!
    ears, better if both function, but again one will do just fine.
    you don't really need feet or legs because you can sit, that is if you have a rear end.
    some other things that will come in handy...
    friends to play with
    a girlfriend with a car and a job

    the above things aren't necessary but helpful

  9. Holy War

    Holy War

    Sep 18, 2008
    VA Beach
    you nailed it in your first post. a bass, an amp, a strap if you want to stand and play.

    I recommend all beginners get a tuner as well and have someone show them how to work it, whether it be a store employee or friend.

    Pedals you definitely dont need at the very beginning so I wouldnt worry about that at all, but yes, some guitar pedals work just fine with bass.

    Also, try to stay clear of beginner "packages." A lot of the components can be very cheap and difficult to work with. I recommend a used MIM Fender or higher end Squire and a small combo amp.

    As far as instrument cables are conserned (the cable that hooks the bass to the amp), try to get something in the middle ground price wise. 10-18 feet ought to be enough length as well
  10. Jordanthebass


    Feb 22, 2009
    To be honest al you need is

    A bass
    An amp
    and a cable

    Get your technique down hard, then when you start adding effects youll be amazed at the result.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    You need a car or some kind of personal transport to get all that stuff to the gig!! :p
  12. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    decent cable
    Good Wide Padded STRAP (for use when standing) trust me your back, neck, & shoulder will thank you later. ;)
  13. kenlacam


    Nov 8, 2005
    akron, ohio
    and the most important thing of all: PATIENCE. You'll need lots of it. Don't get discouraged too easily.
  14. I don't recommend pedals if you're just starting out. That's really only after you know your instrument enough and want to experiment with your sound further.

    I don't know where you stand in regards to dedication but if you're unsure on how far you see yourself playing bass then I recommend you buy one of those cheap starter packs with the bass and 10watt amp. Yeah, it won't sound great but its a good introduction to the instrument and it won't hurt your (or your parents') wallet greatly.

    Now if you're seriously dedicated and really want to learn the instrument inside-out, I suggest spending a little more money. A low-level entry bass (I recommend looking at around $500AUD) will be nice along with an amp with at least a 10" speaker (you can find 20watt variants but I opted for a 35watt just cause I like loud stuff :) ). Reason I suggest a 10" speaker is because I found that anything less won't give you enough of a good sound/tone to do your bass justice. Even if its for practicing in your room, a little beefier amp will make your bass sounds better than a 10 or 15watt amp will and it will give you more options to play with your sound.
    However, don't expect these amps to come cheap. I picked up my Ibanez SWX35 amp for $400AUD but bargained the two items (bass and amp) for around $800 saving me just a bit over $200. The salesman was hungry for a sale.

    So there's my two cents. That's the way I approached this hobby and I don't look back at all. I have a good prac amp and a great entry level bass that sounds amazing for the price range.
  15. Proof positive: I have only nine working fingers.

    Already mentioned, but before you even consider buying any effects pedals, get a tuner and allow yourself a lot of time. At first it might seem like you're dragging a boulder uphill but once you start to get the hang of things it becomes a lot easier.
  16. And this is why you gotta love TB!
    Oh why not, I'll suggest some stuff (why not, eh?)
    The essentials (I also added some brands you could check out if you wanted to get ideas on not just what to buy, but a little more specific):
    Good Bass ($200)- maybe Ibanez, Squier, Traben, used Fender? Try and go used...
    Decent Amp ($200)- maybe Peavey, Yorkville, Fender, Ibanez
    Decent cable ($20)- maybe Yorkville, Planet Waves,
    Decent Strap ($30)- maybe Levys, or just a store brand label
    Good Tuner ($20)- maybe Korg
    approx TOTAL: $500 at most if you buy good entry/ intermediate stuff rather than the cheapo wal-mart brand. (It pains me to think wal-mart makes instruments that some people buy)
    Also, latter on if you want CHEAP decent BASS effects, check out Behringer.
    When I was experimenting I got a few to try out- about $30 for a pedal.
    Good luck and welcome to the low end!
  17. money!
  18. buzzguy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Welcome to the world of bass, my friend!
    Might I also suggest you pick up some literature, or a decent instructional dvd to really get you started. Maybe you don't need that, but it never hurts to learn as much as you can about the instrument.
    For a first bass, check-out something used, as they typically give you the most bass for the money. Even if you pick-up something "crappy", keep at it! My first bass was a hard to play, short-scale Sears special...complete with 3/4 inch action! Good times! It sucked on the hands, but I really believe it made me a better player since it was harder to learn on.
    Remember to keep at it, and don't get discouraged. Some days you're in the zone, and your playing is great. Other days...well, they happen now and again.
  19. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    skill (unless you're Pete Wentz)
  20. T-Forty

    T-Forty Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    Technically you don't need any of that stuff![​IMG]

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