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Some advice needed...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IHazon303, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. IHazon303


    Jan 31, 2005
    I'm looking to buy myself a bass guitar. It'll be the first I've owned so I'm not sure about some of the spec on offer. I want to get one of mid-range quality, suitable to gig and record. So fairly versatile.

    If you can help me with any of the following queries, I'd be really grateful.

    First up, what difference does a through-neck make? Does it affect the sound, or is it for ease of access to higher frets?

    Also, active pickups vs passive. As far as I'm aware I've only played guitars with passive pickups, so I don't know what difference active circuitry makes. What is it for? Does it make more noise on clean-tone sounds? And can the active-ness be switched off and the pickups used as passives?

    Any other advice would be gratefully received too, but these are the two points bugging me the most.

    Thanks, Ian
  2. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    (IMO) Neck-through basses are supposed to have a heavier feel with better sustain due to the "one" neck and body construction. I do not completely agree with this, but there are those who will totally agree with the sustain issue. As you will find with everything, it is so much a matter of personal preference and style. I prefer active pickups. I like the power and the flexability, but there are a billion passive players out there that would disagree. Bass pick ups are completely different than guitar p-ups. A hotter p-up does not always translate into more noise. As a matter of fact, if when you plug into an amp and the bass makes noise, there is either a bad cord or bad p-ups. They should be quiet. I prefer that there not be an minute sound comming from my amp when the bass is plugged in. Total quiet. There are plenty of Active basses on the market that have a Active/Passive bypass switch. It offers more options to the player as well as giving the player an option when they are on stage and the battery goes dead. The best advice I can give is to play every bass you can get your hands on and make the decision from there. If you like the feel and the playability of the bass you are playing, it will not matter if you spend $125 or $5000 on it. It is all about personal preference. :bassist:
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Just what he said.

    As for active electronics, it's just that you have more tone-shaping options, which increases the versatility of the instrument; however, a good passive bass can be versatile enough, too, and you have some more tone controls on the amp, too. And they don't go dead when the batteries are out.
    Some basses have active/passive switches, some not. But many have.

    As for which basses, I think go out and try as many as you can, as Iriegnome said.
    Some basses that are worth checking out:
    Warwick Rockbasses - if you can handle the thickness of the neck, they are good basses for the price.
    Used Fenders - but be sure to try them! Some have bad construction, or bad necks
    + there are lots of others, some more people will give more ideas what to check out
  4. Not sure where you live, but, if you live where you have access to some good stores then just go play as many basses as you can to see what you like and what feels "right". I happened to buy a Carvin bass when I went from entry level to a higher grade bass. The pros are I ordered it with all the options I wanted (that I was willing to pay for) and it was head and shoulders above what was available from the local stores. It is active but can be played passive as well, and over-all I have been very please with it and doubt I would ever sell it. CONS- you deal with the whole "mail-order" headache for getting it and any warranty work. Also resale values are proportionately lower then similar quality brands that are better known. (Good argument for finding one used though).