The magic of cheap basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bootyquake, Apr 28, 2001.

  1. bootyquake


    Mar 29, 2001
    Washington, DC
    The recent thread about Epiphone basses got me thinking. I own some pretty high end basses, and I'm generally happy with the sound I get. It doesn't make sense for me to try out any more "hi-fi" basses, since they're just different flavors of my active Tobias, essentially.

    Now cheap basses, on the other hand, have a really distinctive sound. I've been playing the Casady bass, the new Epiphone SG basses, some Deans, and I keep noticing how $300 could get you a completely different tone, whereas $3000 will get you more of the same: endangered hardwood resonating steel strings over Bartolini pickups.

    Does any one else have cheap-o secret weapons they are fond of?

    I'd have to suggest the Danelectro Baritone Guitar, and the new Epiphone EB-0 fretlesses. Really interesting sound for under $300.
  2. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    I have a Squier PBass that has its own distinctive sound, not that i like it or anything. :D
  3. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I have an Ibanez's pretty distinctive...I think...
  4. pike66


    Apr 28, 2001
    Long Island NY
    o.k., I bought an epiphone accu bass.
    It looks like a precision bass.
    it's cheap, but it doesn't really sound that bad.
    Actually, I think it sounds just as good as my squier p-bass.
    and I also got, as a gift, a Rogue beatle bass.
    I dig the way it looks. but it sounds like crap.
    So, the point is, when it comes to cheap basses, just find the
    one that SOUNDS good to you. if it sounds good, who cares how much it costs?
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I share your feeligs completely. I own 3 fairly high end basses - a Warwick, a Music Man, and a P bass Deluxe. Just bought 2 Dan Electro Hodads. I love these basses and use tham as much as or more than my others now. They feel sorta cheezy (I'm starting to like that), but they sound phenomenal. I swear the sound destroys the sound on the P-bass Deluxe. It's deeper, more defined, and I can get more sounds out of it. Unfortunately they don't make them any more - a bunch of us got the last of em for $100 at Musicians Friend. I payed $350 for my first one. It was a total steal.

    I'm probably gonna buy a Dan Electro Rumor for $150. They look really cool (if you like sparkly things) and have a built in chorus.

    Oh yeah - and I popped a set of nylon strings (metalcore) on one of the Dano's. It sounds incredibly distinctive now. Can't wait to record with it. :)
  6. pike66


    Apr 28, 2001
    Long Island NY
    The Dano "Rumor" bass looks pretty neat.
    I like the retro vibe they have, and they probably sound decent.
    They are a bit heavy, and they should be officially classified as a "cheap bass"
    :) but, they look cool with the sparkle paint job, and the built in effect.
  7. dblbassted


    Mar 21, 2001
    Memphis, Tn.
    I love my cheap basses.....

    If we're talking about sub $500 instruments, here are my absolute favs.

    1) DeArmond Ashbory
    2) Dano 6str Bass Guitar
    3) Fender MIM P
    4) Dean Rhapsody HB4
    5) MTD K4
    6) Epiphone Ripper Reissue
    7) Yamaha RBX 460 and BBN5

    I've had all of these (well, I still have all but the 460) and they are all, IMO, great instruments, even for more than their list price.
  8. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    If you're not restricting it to new, here's what I've got at home:

    1980 G&L L-1000 - paid $275
    1998 Hamer Cruise 2T - paid ~$425

    Hardly what I'd call a "cheap" bass, but the price is right. On the other hand, I'd have to agree on some, but not all of the Epiphone reissues. I like the EB-1 and the Viola bass, but haven't been too thrilled with the others. Another really nice little bass is the Cort by Curbow bass - mighty big sounds for about $375. Since I'm one of those old school geezer types, I'm going to venture that a decent cheap bass is still going to sound good to those who realize that your technique accounts for the majority of your tone. Having been through a number of basses, and having learned on a bad one, you cut to the chase and realize that you need to learn how to play, and when you only have a piece of junk to learn on, you learn to play regardless. If you tailor your learning and your technique to a certain bass guitar, you're going to be frustrated for quite a while if and when you play other basses.
  9. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania

    They still make Danelectro Hodad's ;)
    Don't believe me? Goto
    I have one also, it's currently my main bass... Until I get the MM sterling, but they have a REALLY good sound. They're clear and distinctive, with a good amount of bottom end. For $300 they're well worth it. Or, I heard was selling them for $99... don't know if that's still happening? But if it is, I'd be sure to take advantage of it. If you want a good cheap bass, buy from the good cheap bass god (danelectro).

    Hope that helps.
  10. I'm thinking of getting a bass for around $200 and stringing it BEAD. What's a nice bass for that cheap of price? are Rogue basses these days?:D;)
  11. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    How 'bout getting that $200 bass, yanking frets out, throwing on a set of 80-30's and tuning it to ADGC, now how cool would that be? Or what about fretless dano 6-string tuned to EADGCF?

    Oh man, I have serious fretless tenor bass bug bite :D

    Where do you get those high-Fs anyways, from geetar strings?
  12. You wanna talk about distinctive. How about my hondo p-bass copy and my old 2x15 cabinet(ross inc) and head(acoustic) from the seventies. clean and crunchy at the same time. Paid absolutley nothing for it.
  13. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Hey guys, I bought a MIM Fender Jazz bass back in September, and I absolutely love it. A lot of people say the hardware and pickups are crappy, but I have had no problems with it at all(got it with a strap and gig bag for $350.00)
    I had a MIA p-bass before that. The construction wasn't nearly as good as it should have been, and that graphite reinforced neck went out of whack more than the un-reinforced necks on my other older Fender basses.
    I have that Jazz strung with Fender 9050ML strings, and what a fat tone it has. GAS will undoubtly force me to get another one.
    Just my two cents. Thanks for letting me rave on (just a little.)
  14. Well I've got a Squier PJ as my main bass, and it has stickers on it, and it looks excactly like a Fender, and I like steak. :D
  15. My current cheapy is a Westone fretless 4. Very ugly, but it has ann 18v preamp that gets some funky (see: good) sounds. And it has one of the smoothest necks I've ever played. $175 used.
    It also included a fretted neck and HSC.
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I got the same bass as fretless5, and I'll agree, it is ugly, but the 18v preamp gives an amazing range of tones.

    I currently have mine strung up with black nylons for the upright sounding tunes.
  17. The most I've ever paid for ANY piece of gear, Was $400.00 for my SVT-CL & 8-10 cab. I'm CHEAP!!!
    I bought a '69 P-bass for $350.00 with the original case!!! And My '75 Gibson (not epiphone) Ripper only cost $200.00. The bargains ARE out there, You just have to do a little digging to get them!
    Oh, I also paid $90.00 for my Peavey T-40. ( $10.00 for the Peavey hardcase)
  18. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    I'd like to chime in here. I just picked up a mid 60's Harmony H-22. It's a single cut-away hollowbody with F-holes and a D'armond pickup. It's even got the original flatwound strings on it. It has virtually no sustain and all fundamentals. It sounds like heaven for old school blues. It sounds like a muted P-bass and very close to a standup bass the way the notes decay.

    Hash Brown is one of the top local blues guys, here in Dallas. His bass player uses one of these and turned me on to there tone. It just seems right along with a guitarist playing screaming blues through a Super Reverb or a tweed Bassman or behind a harp player.
  19. One bass I scored at a garage sale for $80aus was a Ibanez Roadster Bass and for $80 bucks it beats anything I've seen except for my soon to be acquired G&L :D
  20. sams


    Mar 20, 2001
    East Orange, NJ
    On this topic...has anyone ever heard of a Lark bass? I just bought one for $200. I dont know how it sounds yet cause I have not played it..Just curious