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Used vs. New for a Beginner

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by reakin, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. reakin


    Apr 26, 2010
    First a little about me. I'm a middle aged professional (electrical engineer), and I've decided to learn to play bass as a way to relax, unwind and relieve a little stress at the end of the day. No desire to gig or join a band or anything like that. Personal enjoyment only.

    I picked up a First Act combo off a guy just to thump on to get my feet wet in the world of bass, so to speak. I know, I know, junk with a capitol J, but I got it cheap and figured it would hold me while I learned a little until I decided on what I really wanted. The look and feel of the bass just doesn't thrill me, so I find I don't pick it up as often as I should. I'm thinking a new (to me) bass that is something that "blows my skirt up" a bit and I enjoy the look and feel of might encourage me to give it more effort. I really like the look of a Jazz or Jaguar body style (especially the Jaguar).

    I'd like to buy something in the $150 range, just because I can't justify spending a lot on a hobby right now (other life commitments take priority). I stopped by a music store over the weekend and they had a new Samick Corsair on a half-off sale for $129. Nice looking bass, but the P body doesn't attract my eyes like the Jazz or Jaguar body style does. I see some used Squier Jaguars on Guitar Center's website that I could get into for about the same price.

    Besides what I read on here, I don't know enough about the difference quality wise between brands. For the same money, is it better to buy a new Samick (or similar price point brand) or a used Squier (or similar)? Or keep thumping on the First Act until someone has a sale on new Squire Jaguars? Thanks for your patience. Sorry for the rambling.

  2. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Used is always the best way to recoup most of your investment when you decide to part with the instrument. Squiers are particularly good if you are a tinkerer, because there are lots of interchangeable Fender-style parts in circulation. It's a good vehicle for learning on many levels. Good luck.
  3. Used is a great way to get more for your money, I often buy used and save$
  4. Used squier all the way, and a used acoustic b20 for your first decent amp
  5. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Used Squier to play on and use the First Act to practice repair & setup whenever you want to get into that.
  6. Used Squire, Ibanez, Schecter, Yamaha. All of these brands have decent basses at a really good price point.

    Good little combo amp too. Craigs List is a great way to try before you buy with used stuff.
  7. Used Squier, Ibanez or Yamaha. Craigslist is your friend!

    (Lustersilk is reading my mind)
  8. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Be sure to check out Guitar Center's online used gear section. You can find a lot of really good deals on used gear that is reasonably priced. Buying used off craigslist can be a crapshoot, the guy/girl is not liable at all if the product doesn't live up to your expectations. You have 30-day return period for the guitar center bass, plus if any parts are jacked up on it they will typically replace them and install them free of charge for you. Just some food for thought.
  9. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
  10. AngusHasMoxie

    AngusHasMoxie Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Easthampton, MA
    Formerly endorsed by Carvin, Basson and Dimarzio
    I know this might be a little elitist, but when playing just to relax, I always reach for my most expensive bass (which isn't my gig bass). I would highly recommend an unfinished neck made of good wood. There's something about it, at least for me, that adds to the experience. Same thing goes with the amp, but not as much as the bass, especially for a beginner. Sometimes the starter basses aren't set up right or are intonated wrong, and they end up becoming hateful little instruments, and you eventually put them down, never to pick up again.

    Start with a beater, but keep in mind that there's nothing wrong with having a nice bass just for yourself.

    I recommend going to a guitar store, go into the bass section, pick an amp, and go through all the basses they have on the wall. You'll know when you find the one you want.
  11. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    I'm gonna give another vote for SX. Based on your experience with your other current $150price range base your knocking to be happy with most $150 price range basses. SX can be set up to play like an $800.00 bass, they are solid ash, alder, maple and rosewood- budget $80.00 for new strings and a pro setup.
    It may just be a hobby but your engineering experience should show you the logic that wasting time and effort with poor quality instruments is also a waste of time.
  12. Soonerbldr


    Jul 31, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    This /\

    I bought a P Bass and took it home and I had a hard time fretting it and the bass was not intoned (frets from 12 up were not the notes they should have been when tuned) and so I was not enjoying playing it. I took it in and the guy recommended lighter gauge strings, he adjusted the truss rod, lowered the action of the bridge, and got it playing like it should have been. As a result it is a lot easier to fret and play. Granted I am still learning but before I could only noodle around for a little bit before my fingertips became numb or my hand cramped because of the action and string gauge. Now I will sit down for an hour or more and have hardly any fatigue in my fretting hand and it is a lot more enjoyable experience.
  13. CraigTB


    Feb 16, 2012
    Look at the used deals at Guitar Centers near you. Find something you like in your range. Right when you get it take it to a local guitar shop for what's called a "set up" - they'll change the strings, adjust the action and intonation. Tell them you just bought it, and you'd like to know if there are any problems. If there are any problems, bring it back to Guitar Center for a refund (within 30 days).
  14. I started playing the bass in 1985 (with a seven year hiatus) and only bought my first brand new bass in 2008. Still is the only one (of seven basses I have).
  15. reakin


    Apr 26, 2010
    Thanks for the advice guys. I didn't realize the Squier Jag only came with active electronics. Do (or did) Squier make a passive jagaur? Looks like the SX Ursa 4 might be a viable option. They seem to have a strong following on here. Will have to investigate them further.

  16. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    Welcome! +1 for buying used unless a screaming deal finds you.

    One more data point. When I bought a nice electric piano for the kids, I thought it was a big investment. Turns out the initial cost is a pittance compared with weekly lessons from a real teacher over several years. This is relevant to bass as well. While your aspirations are modest now, just wait!

    I started with the Hal Leonard Bass Method and made some initial progress. But when I found the right instructor, he fixed a lot of technical issues and things just took off from there. Ten months in as of now, getting better by the week.

    MHO: Do consider budgeting for a teacher. And watch out for GAS!! :D
  17. Used is definitely the way to go. Check at your local pawn shops, but don't pay the asking price. They will haggle, so do your homework and find out what the bass is really worth. Also check Craigslist, may have what you are looking for locally. Make sure you have it set up properly or it will be difficult to play, and no fun equals no play! There are alot of places online that show you how to properly set up your own bass, because in the end you are the one who will know what feels right to you, not to mention saving all that $green$.
  18. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    The black/tort Squier PJ model w/ the block inlays is passive.

    I highly recommend Squier basses for the best bass for little money category.

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