question from a novice about to buy a bass guitar

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rawville, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. rawville


    Mar 30, 2004
    hello everybody,

    i've never played a bass guitar before, but i'm going to be buying one soon so that i can record real bass lines for my tracks (hip-hop/RnB)

    i'm lookin to buy a guitar with a really funky sound that sounds great when played slap style with a smooth deep low end that would bump on a good system and be audible and a crappy system.

    i'm lookin to spend up to 500-600 on the guitar. (i can get 25% discount at my local music store so maybe even a little bit higher for the price range)

    also, since it use will be only for studio recording and not preformance i'm not really sure if i need an amp. i believe that guitars are unblance when they are sent straight to mixing boards and i'm not sure if an amp corrects this problem. i would like to send the guitar striaght to the board if possible, but if an amp is absoulutley needed, what would be a good small amp to compliment a funky bass guitar?

    thanks in advance for the info

    y'all take it easy
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    My experience tends to make me believe that the "funkiness" of the sound is almost entirely down to the player and very, very little to do with which bass is used!! ;)

    So - funk is about rhythmic placement in the bar - don't do this right and it won't matter what bass you have - you won't be funky!!
  3. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Hey! Welcome.

    Zero, Fender P Bass or Fender J bass.

    First, when we talk about our bass guitars, we say "bass" for short, not "guitar" for short. Some here even say "electric bass" because they have a mental block with the word "guitar". :)

    Second, I do not know, but I do not think the bass parts that I hear on hip hop songs came from a "bass guitar player". They sound to me like a combination of a bass drum and a bass guitar, juiced up with some effects, and played from a keyboard as a kind of sample.

    Third, you don't need an amp. Some people record the bass straight, some record through a preamp, some through a DI box. Read this thread:

    You might be interested in some type of multi effect pedal that has preset sounds. You can record through one of those, and their different preset sounds could inspire you to write something that a dry bass sound/signal would not.

    Fourth, and I gotta ask, are you not really interested in bass, but just wanting to get one to pick up when you need a bass line recorded for your music projects? Are you thinking...well that it is not really that tough...that you can sort of...wing it...and it will be fine? I gotta ask, cause R and B bass playing is not on the easy side of the street. Playing that type of stuff is going to take some investment into that instrument...maybe more than you want to put forth. Using a keyboard to emulate a bass guitar sound might be a better dollar/time investment for you. Then when you got the creative stuff down on tape, if you need to hire somebody, you can say, play something like this...and then you reduce how much money you pay a bass player, but with the keyboard sounds you still have the creative ability to come up with your project in your own bedroom.

    I am not giving you a hard time. I am asking what your focus is. I went to a water color seminar years ago, and the painter told us that he had quit photography, and took only the most simple camera to take "pictures" of the places he paints, because he found that the time/energy/cost of "real" photography was blocking some of his painting energy. If your focus is writing hip hop/rnb songs, and you only/just/simply need a bass "scratch pad", learning bass may get in the way of your real gift/focus/ability.

    And if you wanna make millions, write don't play. Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be musicians, let them be producers and writers and such.

  4. For what it sounds like you want to do with it, I think you'd be better off with a cheap keyboard, that has some usable bass patches. But if you just want to have a bass to keep around the studio, in case you want some "real bass" on some of your tracks, you're best off to go with a cheap Fender. A Squire Precision or Jazz would probably do ya just fine.

    As for a way to get the signal into your recording deck, I would suggest one of those little stomp box preamp/direct box units. Examples are the MXR M80 and the SansAmp Bass Driver DI. Come to think of it, one of these would probably be something that you ought to have available in a studio, even a small project studio, anyway.
  5. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Good advice in many less words that me.

    When I said Fender P bass or J bass, the P means Precision and the J means Jazz.

  6. rawville


    Mar 30, 2004
    i got plenty of bass patches, but they don't give you very much control or feeling...

    several people seem to think you need to be able to play an instrument to make it sound good... this is very true if you are playing it live... but if your just recording samples to use in the hip-hop genre, little to no skill is needed to achieve great results...

    i'm the perfect example... i got this great 40 year old spanish aucoustic guitar from my pops... i never had music lesson on any instruction books whatsoever and if you came over and asked me to play a song you would laugh...

    BUT, i can think up quick melodies with the best of 'em and it's really not that hard to figure out how to play them on any instrument... and the beauty of recording is that you can go into the booth, record a couple different riffs 30 times a piece, slaughter 29 of them, and walk out with 1 great sounding sample without anyone knowing.

    if you wanna see what i mean go here and listen to the track (don't even try to use the lo-fi either :D )
    i played all the guitar in it, composed the beat, spit all the lyrics except the 2nd verse and bridge, and mixed ti all down (be it the ****ty mix it is :D )

    now there may not be a whole lot of actual guitar material, but someone please tell me that what is there doesn't sound damn good... especially for someone who can't play one single chord

    i can play ANY instument good enough to record a hot sample off it... i'm not braggin cuz i give much props to musicians who can preform live, that **** takes hella years of practice and deserves mad respect, but i'm more of a composer/producer and having the ability to record myself allows me to get the job done without having to rely on others

    so now that that issue is taken care of, let me inquire about sound FX for the bass... what kind of sound effect pedals/units are good for a funky sound... what did the parliment use for their gritty funk (besides a lot of dope analouge keyboards)

    thanks for the info i've gotten so far... it's good to know i only need a DI box and not an amp
  7. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Any Instrument? Yeah right. A little humility goes a long way buddy.
  8. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    I am one of those people.

    My name is Tim.
  9. rawville


    Mar 30, 2004
    man, i'm not raggin on you talented people who can actually play instuments well, or braggin about myself...

    i just believe that i can pick up any instument, think up a couple quick melodies and harmony lines, and spend 15 minutes to figure out how to play them on the given instrument....

    i can't play even ONE singal instrument myself (well maybe a kazoo :D ) and i give mad respect to you guys who can...

    LISTEN TO THIS: (on hi-fi or downlaod it)

    i played every bit of guitar you here on that piece (even though it isn't alot) someone please tell me it doesn't sound at LEAST fairly good. and i don't know how to play guitar for my life. i just made a quick beat and bass line using a coumputer program, imagined up some professional guitars players playin in my head, sat down with a guitar and figured out what frets to press and how to press them to get sound i imagined, recorded 20+ crappy ass takes, got one good one, EQ'ed it, and wahla! it's sounds like i got some type of skill don't it :D

    i'm sorry if i offended anybody, i was just trying to get the point across about how i use instruments with out actually having the skill to play them...

    i believe 100% that i can learn how to play some dope funk riffs on a bass that would sound professional for the given aplication.

    and what's the difference in sound and application between a precision bass and a jazz bass? which would be better for funk?

    someone i know on another site just offered me a "2001 hamerUSA explorer bodied bass with dual pickups and active pickups ect." for 300 bucks... what do you guys think about that offer? is it a good bass? is 300 a fair price?

    thanks for all the info you've given me so far
    and sorry again if i offended anybody
  10. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Any Instrument?

    I want to see you whip up a cello or violin solo for your beats.

    Playing a instrument takes dedication to it, plus most producers actually play and are talented with some form of instrument or many instruments.

    I knew a "rapper" last year. He said almost the exact same statement that you made. He thought he could play anything because he "had a great sense of melody", and bottom line is, statements like that are untrue.

    On a good note, good luck putting the bass down after buying one, they become very addicting. :D

    Welcome to the low end.
  11. rawville


    Mar 30, 2004
    yeah, i know if i ever did pick up any instrument it'd be the bass. it's always the first thing i do when i make track, it's the first melody that comes to mind and it's usually the strongest and most catchy

    i guess you right about violins... i was messin with this one chick back in the day who had one and i though i'd be slick n' try to play it.... man.... it sounded like i was shovin that bow up a cats ass.... it was pretty bad :D
  12. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    A good-n-funky bass guitar for your purposes would be a Fender Jazz. If you want a Marcus Miller modern sound, it's the instrument to have. Run it through an active preamp and boost the highs and lows. Because of its single-coil pickups, though, a Jazz can be noisy for recording.

    Yamaha also makes great cheapo J bass clones - check out the BB series.

    The Hamer Explorer might be a good rock bass - maybe to muddy for funk. Haven't tried that particular model though.
  13. I think people need to lighten up on this guy a bit. I mean, I get what he's saying about the samplet's sorta true. I couldn't play the drums well enough to scare away a small cat but I could hit a tom, take it into the computer, and make it land on the beats. Just saying, is all....

    Anyway, I'd definitely recommend a Fender. Either a Jazz or Precision will do ya just fine. Both instruments (I think) have been widely used in rap and funk. They're both pretty easy to play, although the neck's can be a little thick. I'd maybe stay away from the's a good bass but probably isn't quite what you're looking for.

    Also - you could probably get a better used bass for $500-600 than a new one for that cost. Especially if it's going to be used sparingly, you might want to check out the used market.

    Hope this helps!
  14. Definately focus on a used instrument and a Hamer explorer bass is a decent bass, but might be punchy and mnore rock-like sounding than what "we" would consider a RnB type sound.
    Again if you can find an inexpensive Precision or Jazz bass you might get the sound your looking for. Actually what you need to ask yourself is what is the sound your looking for. If your looking for the RnB from the old motown days then consider Precision style basses, if you looking for RnB as today sound then consider the Jazz style or a bass w/ humbucking pickups. Active electronics on inexpensive basses can be noisey or harsh, so i would try and play a few basses to find that sound similar to whats in your head.

    I listened to your money makes the man track. Sounds alot like whats on the radio today. For a person who can't play a lick of guitar those samples work well, and sound fine.
    good luck
  15. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    This is what a Fender Jazz looks like, below on the left.

    They come in several flavors. If you get a used american made Fender Jazz for around $500 to $700 you sould be able to sell it for what you got it for...

    And below on the right, just for fun, A Sadowsky. Many people here think that a Sadowsky is the top of the line for studio recording. Just thought you might be interested to know. I think they are upwards of $3000.

    And, I think you may like the cd "Marcus Miller, The Sun Don't Lie". Good Stuff.

  16. Don't be over-impressed or concerned with what brand a bass is. Play as many basses as possible and keep an objective mind about how they sound and play. I bought my bass and amp for $150 and couldn't be happier with it! Don't go out and buy the top of the line Jacko Pastoramus bass based on reputation or what any of these talk bass clowns say. Get a cheap bass to start, after you practice enough then decide if you need something better. There are plenty of good basses out there, you don't need a major name brand to get a good sound. My bass is a "Karera". I've never seen another one, but it plays and sounds great. I've played Washburns, Fenders, Dean, Music man and many others, but for the price for me the upgrade is not really worth it. Another cheaper brand I recommend trying is Alvarez. The key with cheaper instruments is to try them out and inspect them carefully. One Alvarez might sound great while another might sound awful. The consistancy of quality is not that great, so the key is finding one that you like.
  17. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    I think he's right in that you can write music for an instrument you can't play. My friend plays drums and comes up with a lot of cool guitar melodies. He's certainly not what I would consider to be a good guitarist, but he can get by. I've played a bunch of band instruments, and most of them aren't very difficult. I wouldn't be able to play anything very difficult on anything, but if you wanted me to just play a melody on marimba, sax, guitar, bass, etc. I could do that. Of course, those are all relatively easy instruments... I wouldn't know what to do if I had to play an oboe or a french horn. As for writing... it really helps to know the instruments, but it's not necessary if you understand music theory.
  18. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Mozart seems to do a pretty good job of it. Heck, Beethoven was deaf wasn't he? :eek:
  19. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    What are you saying Mozart couldn't play?

    Seriously wondering here.
  20. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    We are getting off topic. There was never any statement that the original poster was writing music for someone else. The point was that he could take any instrument that he in fact could not play into the studio and lay down a good enough part to work for his purposes. We did not understand his ability, his music style, and his goals, so we doubted him. I am sorry for my part of the doubt and confusion.

    You called me a clown. :cool: