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Stupid Newbie question(s) (I have read the FAQ)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AttackDonut, Jun 29, 2003.

  1. AttackDonut


    Jun 29, 2003

    1st time posting here, found your site through google.

    I have decided to purchase an electric bass. Initially I have assigned an upper limit on the bass itself of 200$ US. Amp, wires, etc. I realize are extra.

    Unfortunately I am a little (okay, a lot) fuzzy on what I want. I am an 80s metalhead, but at the same time I am looking for a very clean sound, i.e. less Cliff Burton's "Pulling Teeth", and more of Primus or perhaps Rush (these are the only two examples I can come up with at the time that may give you a better picture of what I want, I listen to some *really obscure* metal)

    I initially wanted a BC Rich Warlock (Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. fame uses one) but the price range is more than I want to pursure, in case I happen to suck royally at this I'd hate to drop a grand (or more) on a bass.

    I have been to three (so far) local music stores and their attitudes ranged from cool to downright indifferent.

    Asking what I want yielded whatever they seemed to have in stock (one place was strictly an Ibanez dealer, so that's what was recommended...you get the picture I'm sure) as opposed to what I was looking for. Who knows, perhaps they were correct in the first place, but the attitudes sure didn't make the sale.

    In any case, I'm not in a massive rush (heck, I've been thinking about a bass for decades) to buy and get started, so the more knowledge I can collect, the better off I am going to be.

    I was surprised to find many of the basses (and guitars) I have looked into were made in 3rd world countries, some even from hostile nations. Is it too much to ask for an american made bass or is this just the Way Of The World?

    Last question, decades ago I was into a band that used a fretless bass. The sounds they made were quite unreal. I again presume a fretless would be for experienced only? Prices I have seen for them range from 150$ US to 3000$+ US. So it is hard to determine.

    A little about me, this may prove of value, or it may only prove I'm an idiot:

    I want a cool looking bass (ala the BC Rich Warlock) because, let's face the truth here, if I get something cool looking, I'll be more inclined to stick with learning. My time is precious to me and frumpy looking bass won't hold my desire much.

    Right, enough with the stupid questions, if I haven't totally bored you yet, and you wish to offer guiding words, I am much appreciated.

  2. Squier Jazz bass, or P bass special. Best bang for the buck. Plus the P will bring a good rumble to the tone, but the jazz will be dripping with tone(I think, I dunno about squier J's...). I dunno, try those two and see what happens.

    Oh, and welcome to TB:bassist:
  3. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Essex Jazz. I have one, and I LOVE IT. It nails the jazz tone, which is what Geddy Lee (Rush) is famous for.


    The jazz bass is well under $200, but I honestly think it can compete with any MIM Jazz I've played.
  4. I would probably also go with a squier or essex. Squier is Fender's "cheap" brand, and I can personally say that they are a pretty good way to start. essex makes fender copies, and while I haven't personally played any, I have heard nothing but good things and would seriously consider one if a wanted a bass on the cheap. cheap Ibani can be pretty good, but they have extremely thin necks that most don't like. You may not find these basses to be exactly what your looking for looks-wise, but at $200, sound and playability have to be put first.

    You asked about American-made basses. Yes, they do exist. They also start at about $1000. If you want American, you have to pay. That, my friend, is unfortanetely the way of the world:(
  5. Well, i know you probally dont want to hear this..but if you save up a little extra cash...you can get a BC Rich Platnium Warlock..
    It looks as though you can get them for 399$ at

    If you dont feel like saving the money...both suggestions above are pretty good.

    Good luck.
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I wouldn't describe either Primus nor Rush as having a clean bass sound in the least, but okay. I'd agree with what the others have said as far as going with an Essex or Squier Jazz, as a $200 limit really won't give you many basses to choose from. Essex basses are available at www.rondomusic.com if you're interested, and the fretless models are the same price as the fretteds.

    Don't be discouraged by sucking though; everyone sucks when they start out. It'll take a long time to get any real musicality on an instrument, no matter what it looks like.

    Also, fretless can be for a beginner as well-it's probably easier in fact to start out that way than to play fretted then sweitch to fretless afterwards. If you think about it, anyone playing an orchestral stringed instrument has to start out on fretless, and if six-year olds can do it, so can everyone!
  7. AttackDonut


    Jun 29, 2003
    For the words and advice.

    In regards to the bands I choose, they were the only two I could think of that other people may have heard of.

    If perhaps you could mention a band (or two) that uses a very clean bass sound, I'll check them out and report back if that's the sound I am looking for.

    I had noticed the ibanez's had thick necks. I have extremely long and thin fingers, so it may not be an issue, but I'll do a re-comparision shop and double check, now that I know what to look for.

    I know about the prices on the Warlocks, I just am not sure if I can devote that much spare cash to one right now, all my hobbies are hideously expensive (reef tanks, monitor lizards, restoring italian sports cars) or time consuming (model kit building, novel writing), though every time I see a warlock my resolve gets a little weaker.

    A Note for Mr. Tyler:

    Can you expound on fretless vs. fretted for a begginer? I am encouraged by your words.

  8. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    To be honest, it will probably be easier to start on fretless and move to fretted than the other way around.

    A fretless forces you to use proper technique much more than fretted does. It takes much more precision and accuracy than a fretted. Moving to a fretted after learning the skills of precision and accuracy on a fretless will make you much more proficiant and efficiant on fretted.

    Playing fretless bass isn't hard so to speak. It just takes practice, as does anything else you wish to become good at.

    Again, I will recommend an Essex Jazz because it sounds like what you need. Jazz basses are very versitile, and can work well in many situations.

    I have an Essex fretless jazz, and it is amazing. For their price, for any price, Essex basses are very nice, high quality instruments.
  9. Ibanez SRX400 is a pretty good metal bass for a low amount of money.
  10. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Wow, looks like Josh and Nick covered it perfectly before I got here. Also remember that it's much, MUCH harder to intonate on a smaller scale (like a violin), so a standard 34" scale fretless bass will be much easier to play than many other fretless instruments.

    As far as neck thickness goes, Jazz bass-style necks are fairly thin with narrow fretboards. In my experience, Ibanez basses have had very thin necks when compared to other basses. If you want to feel a thick neck, try a Warwick.
  11. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Didn't mean to step on your toes ;)