Suggestions for First Bass Guitar

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 6stringzjazz, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. 6stringzjazz


    Jan 29, 2009
    Hi All,
    I want to learn to play electric bass. I visited the Guitar Center in Queens and was overwhelmed. The salesperson showed me various bass value packages, Squier Affinity Series P, Epiphone EB-0 Bass, Ibanez IJXB190, 4, 5 and 6 (I thought only guitars had 6 strings) string basses. Sam Ash on 48th wasn't much help since the saleperson was trying to sell me a bass guitar for $1,800.
    Can anyone suggest suggest a first electric bass for a newbie?
    I would like to keep my purchase under $500 if possible. I have no equipment.
    I would appreciate all suggestions.
  2. serein2j


    May 25, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Squire Vintage Modified Jazz or Squire Class Vibe P
    or Go used
  3. IvanBassist


    Jun 8, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Affiliation with: G&L, Dingwall, Aguilar
    Try them, don't just buy because someone says it's good.
    Play without checking the price mark, sometimes you get more for less :)
  4. Shortbigtoe


    Feb 25, 2008
    +1 for "buying used"

    You can get a lot of good stuff used for around $500. Don't forget that you also have to buy an amp, caples, probably batteries since most are active nowadays.

    Depends what kind of music you are going to play but they say that you can get a lot of different tones from Ibanez ATKs and they are dirt cheap for the most part... around $299 for this one

    But dont take my word for it, go around the music stores around town and just play the basses and see what you like.
  5. mattsbass


    Aug 12, 2008
    P BASS!

    You will love it and will keep it FOREVER!

    Seriously pick one up for $250 on ebay, spend $100 on a small Bass amp and enoy!
  6. ysand


    Mar 26, 2005
    I suggest buying NEW!
    Cos u'll love it more if u got a new shiny thing ot play with. I know I did.
    Used instruments can be great deals, but for a new player it doesn't make a difference at first.

    Now for suggestions: Squier vintage modified or classic vibe are GREAT deals for the money.
    Also, many people tend to start with an Ibanez bass (at least in my country :) )
    Doesn't matter what number of strings it has since u're not used to smth else before.
  7. Try them first! Go to a GC or a local music store, and try-some-out! Everybody here is gonna tell you what they like including me so be sure to try Ibanez SR series (they have new ones for 2009 coming out) or Peavey Millennium AC BXP. A lot of people here like Squier, but they are considerably different in feel/sound.
  8. Henell


    Jan 25, 2009
    Depending on the music you'd like to play, I think esp/ltd makes very nice cheap basses. Works fine with heavier music.
  9. boabski2k


    Dec 24, 2008
    I personally would avoid the so called value packages.

    They tend to be filled with the cheapest options. Squier do do some real good basses, but IMO the affinity model is not one of them (I have one).

    Play as many as possible, if you can't play anything, still pick it up and have a go, the sales people don't care if you are jeff berlin or just a pleb. you will find one that feels right and that you prefer.

    You can pick up a decent practice amp, cables, tuner and whatever else you need for very little outlay.

    Personally i would look at either P or J as they are the classic sound and look.
  10. +1......:bassist:

    As good as MIM Fenders I've played for alot less'll still have enough left to buy a small practice amp and gig bag. :D
  11. oldrookie


    May 15, 2007
    Avon, IN
    It is good that you are asking the question prior to your first purchase. I bought my first one based on looks. It was a good bass, but very limited in what it really fit (musically.)

    I'd go for a jazz bass (two pickups, neck and bridge) because it really will work for most every style of music. Used is a good option...if you know what you are looking at when you inspect it. Neck issues do crop up and can be impossible to fix--or really expensive to fix.

    I had really good luck with an SX jazz from and would happily be playing it still if I hadn't jumped to five-string basses. Do a search on Talkbass for Essex basses. Be prepared from some naysayers, but most who own them, like them.
    Doesn't seem possible that a bass that cheap can be that good, but most are. Good return policy.

    That will leave you more money for a good amp. DO NOT buy one of those fifteen watt practice amp. I did and regretted it. Sounds like a duck farting on its best day--and it is working as it is supposed to work. Spend the extra money on a decent amp. Pay attention to the weight if you think there is any chance you'll need to move it often. Mine weighs 80 lbs and I am dreaming of something a LOT lighter (used Markbass, or Genz Benz Shuttle.)

    If you afford it, get a Tascam BassTrainer to plug in to your amp. Lets you slow down CD's and speed up as you learn the parts. Can also plug your bass directly in and use headphones for quiet practice.

    Good luck.
  12. gregoire1


    Oct 19, 2008
    Dont ever listen to sales people at music stores! Just smile and nod your head.
  13. It might be a HUGE help if you can get someone who you trust who also knows something about basses to go with you when you pick out your bass. they would be able to spot defects that you might not notice as a total novice.

    + a bunch on getting a good amp, even if it means you spend less on the bass. That way, you'll have something that you can do more than just practice on.

    All the best to you.
  14. ESPECIALLY at GC! They'll sell you everything in sight! Even on an instrument with a lifetime warranty they'll try to sell you an extended warranty that sometimes exceeds the cost of the original piece of gear.

    You MUST be an educated consumer. Don't expect salesmen who make most of their money on commision to be looking out for your best interests........:meh:

    BTW.....agreed....don't waste your money on a 15w practice amp. At a minimum, you'll need 30w and a 10" speaker........12" is even better!
  15. WRXbase


    Jan 14, 2009
    Clayton, NC

    My 1st axe was a Washburn 4-stringer and a Marshall Bass State 30w amp w/ a 12" speaker. I still use both, 10 years later.
  16. guizzy


    Nov 17, 2008
    A little suggestion: this might seem counterintuitive, but if this is your first bass, looks are VERY important.

    If you want to keep practicing, to WANT to practice, you must fall in love with your bass.

    In the same train of thought, an often overlooked accessory that I think is crucial is a stand.

    If each time you want to practice, you have to take out your gigbag, take out the bass, put the strap back on, take the cables out, plug them in the amp and bass, before you can do anything... You won't practice as you should. A stand will make your bass easier to access, and it will make it look more attractive (thus helping you fall in love with it).

    A stand is cheap, but it'll make a HUGE difference!

    About amps... There's really two ways to see it. If you think you'll be playing in a band before long, do invest in a 30w or more amp. However, practice amps do have their uses; they're much smaller and as such you can keep one in your bedroom, in the living room... Me? I know I'm unlikely to play in a band before very long, so I splurged and paid for one of the best practice amp that's completely inadequate for band playing (Roland Micro Bass Cube). I can sound great on my own, in a tiny, tiny package.
  17. 6stringzjazz


    Jan 29, 2009
    Hi Everyone,
    Thanks much for the great feedback and fantastic suggestions.
    I appreciate you lowering my anxiety level :)
  18. Depending on the budget, a good place to consider is the off shore made versions of high end custom stuff. Cort Elricks, Lakland Skyline series, and others are kind of like the squier of those brands. I have a skyline 55-01 and let me tell ya, they are 800 bucks on musicians friend and I haven't played a nicer bass at the price. Not two many better at twice that!

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