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Recommendation wanted: Comfortable 34 in. 4 string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by joegrant413, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    Happy New Year,

    So I'm at the beginning stages of considering a different bass. Currently I have an MTD Kingston 5 string Heir. IMO, it has always seemed big, and I kind of liked that for a change when I got it few years ago. I had been playing SR Ibanezes. Dunno, might want to go back to an SR.

    The primary reason I might go for a change is I'm having some right hand pain, which I've brought up in another thread. I'm also not getting younger, so comfort is generally an appealing quality.

    But don't worry about aches and pain for this thread. Instead, I'd like to hear your ideas on basses I should check out.

    Factors to consider about me and a possible next bass
    - 4 string
    - Play modern worship music
    - Looking for lighter, comfortable bass
    - 34 inch scale
    - Not a slap guy
    - Have played since 2009
    - Gotten used to the quality of the MTD Kingston, and don't want a step down
    - Expect to pay between $500 and $900
    - OK with used, but usually get new

    - Joe
  2. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I would play everything you can in your price range. You may be surprised by what works for you. I have played SR's and while they are great basses I find I can deal better with their 5-strings than their 4-strings. Ergonomically, I found that 4-string Fenders work for me and it took a while to find light weight Fenders that worked for me (I have nerve issues so a light weight bass is a must). So a definite search is in order and all brands should be on the table.

    Brands that would be worth investigating are:

    • Peavey (used Cirrus or Millennium, top of your range)
    • MTD (seeing as you already like them)
    • ESP
    • Gibson (new EB series, SG short scale)
    • Ibanez
    • Lakland (used)
    • Godin
    • Yamaha
    Good luck with the quest. I'm sure you will get more recommendations.
  3. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    there's a g&l tribute M2000 in the classifieds right now that might pique your interest
  4. ScarfFace

    ScarfFace Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2014
    La Crosse WI
    Modern worship musoc seems to be going two different directions right now. Theres the more hi-fi stuff coming from the likes of Hillsong United and theres the more folksy, rootsy stuff from Rend Collective and All Sons and Daughters. With this in mind, Id recommed something that would do well in both styles. Here are some suggestions in that price range.
    G&L SB-2
    G&L M2000
    Ibanez Talman
    Any dual humbucker bass that you find comfortable. Lots of good options from Peavey.
    Or, you could just do what I do and play a Fender P with flats for everything .
  5. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    Thanks, folks!

    FWIW, I just came back from GC. Played a used Ibanez RD900FM, a Jazz Bass, an SR500, a Schecter Stilleto or two, and a Yamaha TRXB. Didn't plug anything in, playing them all fingerstyle and with pick. And just now played the MTD Kingston Heir 5 upon returning home. My MTD Heir compares favorably, and still looks and feels like a high quality instrument, IMHO. (I bought it sight unseen, BTW, based on reviews I read here and elsewhere.)

    I'm not convinced yet that a bass change is what I need. I do have to say I've always thought the SR500 Mahogany always feels good to me.

    It's funny, but it also occurs to me that my right thumb could actually be better off with my 5 string. What I had been doing wrong was to leave it anchored on top of the pickup. Well, if I correctly train myself to keep the thumb lightly on the 5th string or 4th string, it almost always has a spongy place to rest. With a 4 string, it will usually rest on an unmovable surface... the bass or pickup.

    Who knows? Maybe I'll pop for a less expensive 4 stringer and keep the MTD. BTW, I've checked how G&L guitars in the past and was impressed. Don't believe I've tried their basses.

    Anyway... I'll keep reading the thread for more suggestions!

    - Joe
  6. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    Quick note... the G&L 1500 was very nice! Not ready to pull the trigger, but it felt like a very solid instrument.
    Tbone76 likes this.
  7. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    Back... two months later. The used G&L L1500 is still there. I'm thinking about picking it up tomorrow.

    Today I shopped around. Played a MM Caprice, a Sterling, Schechter, and more. The G&L felt better. And cost several hundred less than the Caprice. My son, who plays bass, came along, and agreed.

    The G&L L1500 I'm looking at has a chip on the front and the metal on the tuners are a bit faded or scratched. My son and I agree this black G&L L1500 doesn't look flashy or impressive. It definitely doesn't look as cool as my current MTD Kingston Heir 5. But really everything looks solid. IMO, sounded just fine. Internet forums say the 1500 can be too aggressive sounded. I didn't really hear it.

    Again, I'm probably going to do it. IME, a guitar or bass that feels better with hands, and that feels most solid and comfortable overall, is usually the right one.

    - Joe
    Tbone76 and TinIndian like this.
  8. justbass57

    justbass57 Supporting Member

    Joe, check the G&L pickup heights. You can reduce the agressive tone by lowering the pups. I have an L2500 and a LB-100 and I have the pups about 3/16ths above the face of both basses.

    The resale can suck a bit if buying new but I don't think I'll be getting rid of mine any time soon, so pick up a used one and flip it if you don't get along with it.
    Tbone76 and joegrant413 like this.
  9. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    Thanks, justbass57!
  10. TinIndian


    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    I haven't played the L1500 but I own an early L2000 and a 2014 L2500. I love both basses. I am seriously considering an SB2 at this point and would recommend you check one out but I dont think they make it in a 5 string.
    Tbone76 likes this.
  11. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    Hi TinIndian,

    Actually, I'm looking for a 4 stringer this go-around.
  12. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Sorry I'm late to the party! :oops:

    A lightweight four-banger for $900 or less? That usually gets me squawking "Aerodyne…Aerodyne!". However, depending on how much you rest your right forearm on the top contour, it might not work for you. The top is radiused and has binding all around it. Some people don't like that they can't lean their forearm into that edge.

    If you haven't had a chance to try one out, see if there are any in your immediate region. You just might dig it a wee bit. As far as the "weight factor" goes, mine is 8lbs-6oz, even with the additional weight of a Hipshot Drop-D tuner installed. Rarely have I ever encountered one over 9.5lbs, and that was a non-export model that comes with a lot more hardware installed. ;)
    Tbone76 likes this.
  13. Tbone76


    Aug 24, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    I, too, just recently picked up a used L1500 (fretless), and I've been impressed with both the overall quality of it and the range of tones that it has. Don't be afraid of the aggressive nature of the pickup/preamp. A lot of the crazy high-end that it's capable of can be tamed with the on-board tone controls, amp eq, pickup height, individual pole-piece height, bass volume, and string choice. And when switched to passive-mode, it's tone stack (treble cut, bass cut) can dial in most anything you'll need. Good luck with the decision. If you can hold out for a used one, they usually run a lot cheaper than other used US G&L basses, but I totally understand the appeal of buying a brand new bass.

    And as @Malak the Mad said, the Aerodyne is another solid choice. Classy look, great sounds, and usually fairly light weight. The thinner sculpted body, matching headstock, and lack of a pickguard really set the look apart from a standard-run Jazz. It's like the race-car model. It does have a different fretboard radius (7.25"), but they may not be an issue for you. What else can or needs to be said? It's a Jazz Bass, and it can cover most anything!

    As far as your plucking technique, you may want to try the "floating anchor" method. When playing the E, anchor on your pup, when playing the A, move the thumb to the E, and so on. It makes muting easier, and I find it more comfortable. There's also the "floating thumb" technique, which many players use and love, but I'm personally more comfortable with my thumb anchored to something. You can find examples of both styles on Youtube. Good luck, and if you do pick up the L1500 (or any other bass), we all expect pictures!
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  14. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    Just brought home the G&L L-1500!

    Thanks again for the advice and being a sounding board, folks.
  15. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    FYI, I've moved to the floating thumb technique since my first post. Wasn't too bad of an adjustment. Thx
    TinIndian and Tbone76 like this.
  16. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    You know the rules? Right?
  17. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    I'll bite. The rules?
  18. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
  19. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    Most 34" scales are heavy and awkward so it doesn't matter. Not sure why you want other people to tell YOU what's comfortable anyways. Too bad you don't want a short scale. You'll realize soon enough that a smaller and lighter bass greatly reduces pain in hands, wrists, shoulders and necks and you sacrifice nothing in tone.
  20. joegrant413


    Dec 6, 2009
    To be honest, I've never tried a short-scale. Other than a U-bass.

    It really wasn't on my radar. Maybe next time!

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