Tried out some basses today

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hugh Jazz, Nov 28, 2001.

  1. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    Well, I'm the market for a new bass, so I went to the local GC to check out what they have.

    I've been looking at the BTB series because of the price and the positive reviews. At first I only saw soundgears, but then I spotted a BTB 406 (which is what I was looking for) sitting in the middle of them. I picked it up and took it into the bass room (Boom Room?).

    As far as I recall, there were only SWR amps and cabs in there, so I promptly plugged into a Mo' Bass, which was hooked up to a Megoliath on its side. The amp had good tone, but nothing great, especially when it came to effects. Maybe I should post a review in the Amps section....

    So anyway, I really like the play ability of the BTB. I was initially skeptical of the neck, but it proved to be very comfortable and playable for me. I have always been interested in six stringers but wasn't sure whether I would like it or not. Today I confirmed that they are for me. The bass had a nice tone and a pretty tight B. The onboard EQ was pretty good/versatile. The bass boost wasn't too much (amp EQ set flat/switched off), but the treble definitely cut through (which I liked). However, as soon as I dialed in some low mids, the thing shook the whole place. And when you max out the mids and adjust the mid frequency, you get a really cool synthy wah like sound, which I thought really kicked ass. Overall I was very impressed by the bass and thought it was a great deal, especially for the price. I think this will be my new purchase.

    I also tried out some higher end basses like Warwick, Ken Smith, Pedulla, and Zon.

    The Warwick was a Thumb 5 bolt on. The thing was heavy, and I know exactly why people say it has a baseball bat neck. It was comfortable for me though...then again, I haven't really found anything I didn't really like too much (except for the 7 string Conklin ;) ). It played pretty well and had a nice cut through kind of tone. It's definitely not something I'd use for mellower stuff, but it would be great for rock/metal. The B string on this though was KILLER. It blew away every other B I've played, including the other basses I tried out today. It felt and sounded just like the rest of the strings, only lower. :p It had amazing clarity and punch. The only problem I had with it was that there was not much room between the outer strings and the end of the fretboard. For example, when I tried to play fast and used a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs, sometimes the string would get pulled off the fretboard, which was quite annoying. This could be bad technique on my part, but it didn't happen with any other bass.

    Moving on the Zon, I played a 6 string fretless and a 5 string fretted. Both had great necks and amazing B's. Not quite as articulate and definite as the Warwick, but great feel and tension. The fretted Sonus 5 had a B that looked unusually thick compared to the rest of the strings. But man did that thing have treble! All the high end gave it a very cutting, ballsy tone that would be great for metal/hard rock (at least I like that kind of a tone). They're very nice basses, but dang...that price tag. If I had the money, I would get one, but I'm poor. :(

    The Pedulla was a lined fretless Pentabuzz in emerald green. Damn it looked nice. Played well too. I believe the fretboard was ebony, but it was shiny and smooth, which I guess is a polyester coating. Nice bass though.

    The Ken Smith was probably the best looking bass I played. That quilted maple looks really nice and elegant...a complete opposite of the raw looking Warwick. But yeah, it had a great feel, great look/finish, great sound. I don't really know if I found any flaw in it, but I wasn't playing for very long.

    All in all, it was a great experience playing basses that ranged in quality and price so much. I now understand how all the freaks with a zillion expensive basses say that each has a unique sound because THEY DO (duh). The differences in the expensive ones were marginal. Tone wise, I really liked them all, but especially the Warwick's B and low register, and the great cutting ability of the fretted Zon Sonus 5. In terms of feel, the Ken Smith was probably the best, but not by much at all. The Pedulla felt really nice too, but mainly because of the smooth polyester finish. They were all's hard to choose a winner!

    But as weird as it sounds, the Ibanez, in my opinion was not too far behind the rest of them. I guess the area in which the difference really showed was the feel. The expensive basses had a very "expensive" or "high end" feel to them. The tone was pretty good too. The the highs were very articulate and clear, and the lows were good, although the B was not as defined as it was on the expensive stuff. But I definitely think it's a great deal and worth every penny. I think I'll be making that purchase sometime in the near future. Hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on a Zon later on. :D:):cool:
  2. Hugh, those BTBs are one of the best bass values out there. As most of the guys & gals here will tell you, buy what sounds/feels right to you. IMHO forget the name on the headstock. There are so many underrated basses out there it's unbelievable.

    Good luck, whatever you buy.

    Mike J.
  3. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Hugh, I'm not too crazy about Ibanezes, but you can't deny the fact that the BTB series are great basses, especially for the money. I love that Zon 6 they have. BTW, you should've asked them to pull down one of the Foderas!:D
  4. Don't do it Hugh! The bass room at that GC should be know as the temptation room. There are some basses there that will put their hooks in you and won't let go. That little 4 string Smith.... arrrrrrrrgh! :( (must be strong, repeat mantra, I don't need another 4 string, I don't need another 4 string....)
  5. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    Since when does need enter into it? You know you want it.... :D
  6. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Whoooo! That Smith 4 has mucho spank!!! That is one smoking piece!!!
  7. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    They have Foderas? Damn...I should ask next time I go. :D

    On a slightly off topic note, we have quite a few people from Atlanta here, don't we?
  8. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Yeah, quite a few. The next time you go into the "high end" room, you're going to see 3 basses hanging from close to the ceiling. Look on the other side of that display, and you'll see 2 Foderas, a 4 and a 5.
  9. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    since this is the atlanta thread, i had to chime in! :D
    but i'm curious, about the original post, if you're trying out a bass, amp, and cabinet for the first time (i may be assuming too much but it seemed like that was the case) then how does one know which piece of the chain has great tone and which has not so great tone?
    maybe the cabinet was contributing something that you liked or maybe the mo-bass was revealing some deficiencies in the ibanez tone? i'm not making any judgement calls here, i'm just curious - how can one tell for sure what they're hearing?
  10. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    You're absolutely right. I should been more clear though: I liked the tone of the setup, but the effects on the amp, except for chorus, were, IMO, horrible. Now the amp could be faulty or something, but whatever the case was, I was not impressed.

    It may sound like I didn't like the BTB's tone, but that's not hte case. I found it comparable to the high end basses, because it provided what I was looking for. The other basses mainly had a very warm sound, except for the fretted Zon. I am going to try to go there again and try out the bass and play through different amps, if possible.

    Hopefully that makes more sense. :D
  11. The Silverado in the bass room sounds pretty good to me. BTW, although we got sidetracked by bass lust, I thought your original post was very good. Most of the time the differences between the $1k and $2k basses seem minor, until you pick one up that really "speaks" to you.
    And yes, there are a bunch of Atlanta/metro Atlanta folks here. :D
    Compared to my road scarred battle axes the Smith 4 is like a sweet, smooth, lithe ......!!!!!!
    I glimpsed the Foderas when I was last in. I had gone over to take a close look at the the big Zon display, then glanced up when I turned around. Mmmmmmm, buttery goodness!

    The Truthful Understanding of my Musical Situation purchase plan has already taken a beating. I had sat down, figured it all out and set my sights on a lightweight cab for small gigs and a lighter power amp for big gigs. No new guitars for me, yeah right. :rolleyes:
  12. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    My friend played through that one. It sounded pretty good but lacked the low end (compared to the Megoliath :p). But we both noticed that it would randomly make this really weird sound, like a soft, delayed tapping a few seconds after he would stop playing. It was as if someone was tapping on a string or the grill of the amp, and it only happened some of the time. Wierd. :confused:

    Thanks. :)


    Yesterday I went to a small store close to home and tried out the few basses that were there.

    Bass 1: Peavey Cirrus 5
    I have heard so much about these, that I just HAD to try it. It was a natural finish 5 string that had a 3 piece neck, which I believe was Wenge/Maple/Wenge, and it had a wenge fingerboard. (Somebody correct if I'm wrong.) I don't know if I was in the wrong mood or what, but that bass did not appeal to me at all. I just didn't like the feel of the neck or fretboard at all. Maybe it's the wenge...although the Warwick was better than this (but not as good as the others). But whatever the case was/is, it just didn't feel comfortable at all. It had a nice B, but the whole feel was too big of a turn off for me to pay attention to the good points. :( So it put the bass back and tried out the next one.

    Bass 2: Peavey Fury 6
    Now I've never really heard of this bass, so I decided to give it a go. I could immediately tell that this was probably not of as high quality as the Cirrus, but it sure did have a better feel. Maybe I'm addicted to the wide feel of a 6 string neck. I highly doubt it though, since I've only played 6 string basses for roughly 1.5 - 2 hours of my preciously short life. But whatever the reason, the bass felt better...although the B wasn't too good.
    Moving on to the last bass of the day...

    Bass 3: Ibanez Soundgear SR405
    Well since I had tried out the BTB, I wanted to compare it to the SR series. One word: yeech! (I don't think that's really word though.) Granted that the bass is better than my current POS 5 string, I still wasn't impressed. It feels totally different than the BTB, and had I not known that the same company manufactures the two, I would never have guessed that they were two different lines from the same producer. The thin neck, the floppy B, the whole's all just too different from the BTB...and what I look for in a bass. I think it's a good bass to start off on, as it is significantly better than the el cheapo basses out there (not counting amazing deals), but if I had the choice, I'd spend a little more and go for the BTB.

    Actually that last sentence applies to all of the basses I tried. Yes, the Cirrus is more expensive at around $950 (if I remember correctly) compared to ~$680 for the BTB, but in my opinion, there is no question as to which will be my next bass (that is unless I win or find a lot of money in the near future!). All in all, it was fun trying out the instruments, but at the same time, it was disappointing because I didn't happen to fall upon something exciting as I did in GC (that whole experience was unreal...nothing like playing $3000 basses (aka Zon) when your normal weapon of choice is a sub $200 bass.

    Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to play a bunch of more instruments, be it basses, pedals, amps, or whatever. This stuff is fun. I recommend it to everyone.

    BTW: Just had a thought here. Maybe we could just turn use this thread as the designated place to post our daily experiences of trying out different instruments. However, it is more fun posting new threads. ;)