Trying Out New Basses For Dummies

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mrjim123, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. mrjim123

    mrjim123 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2008
    Somewhere in this rant is an honest question - honestly. Well, okay, several.

    I'm in the market for a new bass. I've only owned one bass, a Gibson Ripper, in the last 30+ years. I have no problem with it, but I can't help but think there is a bass out there that is better.

    I live in a small town. The music stores nearby have limited selections. I can go to GC or Sam Ash in Indianapolis - selection galore - but half the basses are hanging up so high you have to ask a salesman (if you can find one) to get them down. Then you get to try it out while the store's radio is nearly full blast and some 13 year old kid in the next aisle has his volume on 10 while he tries to play Smoke On The Water.

    Are there alternatives to this scenario in Indianapolis or Chicago, or, say, South Bend or Fort Wayne Indiana? Any tips on how I can optimize my shopping experience - maybe break in after store hours for some solitude?

    Rant #2: it's so hard to evaluate a bass in a store - different amp, surroundings, etc. I'd like to at least establish some kind of baseline w/r to necks to find out what string spacing, radius, etc. feels best to me. Are there stores that will let you maybe take a used bass home overnight to play? Maybe the best approach is to buy used - if you don't like it turn around and sell it.

    Thanks for reading this far. Lots of questions, I know.
  2. hey another indianian!( i prefer it to "hoosier") I'm in fishers and at the GC here ( at the Castleton Mall shopping center)at least I can say that the people trying out instruments usually do it at reasonable volumes... they seems to have a good selection but, I'm a newb and everything looks more or less awesome to me... that probably wasn't much help but it'll bump you at least...
  3. FingeringAm

    FingeringAm Inactive

    Jun 28, 2008
    So Cal
    when i went shopping for my first bass my teacher took me to GC at 5 o clock on a wednesday...we were the only people in there aside from the townies that think their hendrix and stay till closing....
    it was very peaceful, especially in the bass room...just sitting in there looking up at all the basses...i didnt like that he hooked it up to a 1500 watt marshall double stack cause that can make anything sound like a rick

    they have good return policies so aslong as u keep all the wrappings/tags im sure if u find a problem they will gladly take it back
    but yea best advice is go during times u know it wont be crowed i.e EARLY IN THE MORNING(us younguns r still sleeping;))
    and near dinner time ive found the most success

    most of the older salesman r very friendly so look for them and avoid the younger ones(less knowledgable more wanting to sell u something u dont need)

    as for an alternative to GC, i dont know very many in small towns...u could look at ur local craigslist and see if theres a type of bass u like and act like u wanna buy it but jsut go and try it out at the guys house :D (i like this one)

    anyways hope i helped
  4. steve21

    steve21 Inactive

    You can ask for a private room (they usually have one) at GC.

    And they have a 30 day no questions asked return policy.

    There are a some bass-only stores in Chicago that I've seen TB'ers local to that area mention, I believe.
  5. I have no experience with your area; however, I think if you are able to find a bass only shop somewhere nearby (even if it's a bit of a drive) you'll never look at the large chains the same way again. Usually very knowledgeable and helpful (usually the salesperson is the owner which works in your favor when it comes to customer service) and even if there are people playing around you, they usually actually bearable to listen to. This can actually work to your advantage as there might actually be someone around that you could step back and listen to some different gear critically without playing at the same time. However, the advice offered earlier with regards to going at off peak hours is a good pointer if you want peace and quiet no matter where you go.

    I used to think specialty shop meant more expensive, but I haven't had that experience and honestly I would pay a little more for the service, help, and everything I get from the shop near me. The other beef I have with the chains is that there are just too many people in and out of those stores that don't know what they're doing that usually half of the instruments are poorly set-up and it's difficult to really get a feel for how things play, which has not been my experience with a specialty shop. Sorry for the ramble, good luck.
  6. oldrookie


    May 15, 2007
    Avon, IN
    Guitarworks in Greenwood (on 135 South of County Line Rd) has a decent selection. Haven't noticed the same collection of kids jamming on guitars. Can reach most basses and are welcome to play. Prices?...hmmm. No Fenders (that I can remember.)

    R&R in Brownsburg only carries Fender, but welcome to play there too.
  7. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass, the final frontier... Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    GC at after 7pm is usually a good time for relatively "smoke on water-free" time.

    Also at that time I find that the salesguys and gals are all hanging around looking for stuff to do before they head home. A good time to get their help! My two local GCs have a 'quiet' room. Ironically that let's you crank up loud, but certainly helps with the distraction of the store audio or the guitarists on 10!

    Good luck!
  8. HT Paul

    HT Paul

    Mar 3, 2008
    Woodwind and Brasswind is located up in South Bend It's been years (and a couple owners) since I've been in the show room, but it used to be they a great place to go. Fender, Gibson, G&L. Might still be worth the trip. There is a a small GC up in Mishawaka you could hit too, Hoosier Daddys music is astgoer I've seen online only, but looks like it might be cool, if you're making the trip anyway.

    I noticed the mention of Guitarworks in Greenwood. I know some folks who have had good expericnes there, but I'm not a fan. Moslty bassed on price, never seen a good deal in the place. List price for Boss Pedals? umm, no thanks.
  9. Flintc


    Aug 15, 2006
    Several times I've taken advantage of the GC 30-day return policy to try something out at home, and then returned it because it wasn't quite right. About the only drawback is, the nearest GC is about 100 miles away from me.
  10. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I find headphones and a decent PreAmp with headphone out are great for hearing the Nuances of a bass.
  11. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I would say, use

    They have a 45-day money back guarantee. Order a few basses to try and keep what you like best. You would only have to pay for shipping back, which is only around $30 per bass using Fedex/Kinkos.

    Say you try 3 basses and keep one - it would be only a $60 investment to return those two that you don't like.

    Pretty convenient and you get to try the instruments in your enviroment.
  12. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    I like this idea. It cuts out the middleman. And buying used is usually better than buying new.

    Meeting and talking to another bassist can be very educational. She will know more about her instrument than any store employee will know about the dozens of instruments on the wall.