Want to start playing bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by MagentaPork, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. MagentaPork


    Jun 15, 2003
    I already play the tuba and want to start a second instrument so I have a few questions about how to start playing the bass:

    1. What kind of a bass should I get? I want a bass thats afordable but effective enough that it will allow me to play in a band situation. Also i am thinking of getting a 5 or 6-string rather than a four.

    2. What kind of an amp should I get? The qualities that im looking for fall along the same lines as the bass.

    3. Would it be helpful to pick up a beginner's book or video? If so, what book or video should i pick up?

    Any answers or comments to these questions would be greatly appreciated
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    1. Fender Jazz Bass or P-bass is a good place to start.

    2. I would suggest a small 15 watt practice amp, but maybe somehting alittle biggger. Fender Frontman 15b is a nice little practice amp.

    3. ANy book is fine, they all are pretty goood.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    For everything, I would recommend either the Squier (shudder) or the Ibanez Jam Pack. Has everything you need, upgrade the amp later, and the basses are fine for a band situation, at least until you hit the studio, but that'll be years and you'll be good enough to know exactly what you want in a bass.
  4. Picking up a Squire Precision Special (P/J Pickups) bass would work pretty well because it is versitle and cheap, and a small fender 15 watt amp is fine for practice. For band situations you need at least 60-100W (AT LEAST) to be heard effectively over drums.
  5. Check out the Yamaha
    RBX series.Good build and sound. The lower models need bridge upgrade, but are far better than Squire or
    lower Ibanez models.
    Godan Freeway is nice too but a bit more money.The fender Frontman 60 is a nice
    beginner Amp .
  6. MagentaPork


    Jun 15, 2003
    I've been reading about the brice 6-string quite a bit. How good are they?
  7. I think you would better off starting with a 4 before jumping in too fast.
  8. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Ah as usual... The 4 vs 6 to begin with debate... I say: try them and decide which you like better: fours are more traditional, easier to get used to and cheaper - 6s are more modern (well thats what they say, even though it isnt quite true, as in the baroque many experimental instruments were made), easier for chording and have an extended range.

    Im afraid I cant help you with the Brice, never seen one myself, but there is an Essex megathread somewhere here, try searching that - or wait till somebody answers
  9. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Oh and almost forgot, WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF BASS AND TALKBASS!!! :D ;) :cool:
  10. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Whee, another tubist turned bassist. We have quite a few on here. Welcome aboard.

    If I could go back, I'd pick up a Mexican Jazz and an Ampeg B-100 combo. Cheap, but sounds very good for the cash. Personally, I prefer Jazz-style basses for the "growl"--I need to hear the individual vibrations, just like you do when playing in the lower range on a horn. I like a bass you can "blat" on. :) We might be able to help you a little more though if you gave us a price range.

    As for instruction, there are TONS of resources on the internet. Again, if you'd give us a little more background, I'm sure the folks here could steer you right.

    Good luck!
  11. PhilMan99


    Jul 18, 2003
    US, Maryland
    I agree with the P-bass suggestion, but I'm concerned about the amp. I've got the Frontman 15B, and I think it is absolutely horrible at any volume setting above about 1. The Frontman makes a terrible "farting" ("raspberries?") sound on the low notes with any volume at all if the low-EQ is flat or higher. Some combination of the preamp, poweramp or speaker clips horribly. Thinking mine might have been defective, I tried another in the store - same problem.

    A tuba player will be used to MASSIVE lows. The Frontman 15B can't deliver.

    Personally, I like the Fender Bassman (not FrontMan!) series for small combos, but they're not the cheapest or most popular. In either case, both watts and "quality" will be important. Most "low-end" combos "clip" (farting sound) almost as bad as the Frontman 15B (some worse!).

    For reference in the store, try a Fender Bassman, with low-EQ on amp & (active) bass at about 75%. Then try this with other amps you may care to buy...

    Note: The above addresses only tone (sound-quality). Obviously wattage will matter as regards overall volume.
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    First question, what is your budget?

    Regarding Brice basses, they have gotten decent reviews from those on Talkbass who have bought them.

    Regarding how many strings to 'start off with' as others have put it, if you want to play a six string bass, buy a six string. Or a five, if that's what you prefer.

    There is absolutely no need to start off on a 4 and work your way up. That is like a violin player starting on a two string violin and working their way up.:rolleyes:

    I wish that I had started off on a fretted six string, or a fretless five string 23 years ago. Can't imagine how good I would be if I hadn't played a fretted 4 for the first 15 years.
  13. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Many good suggestion on the bass and the amp. I disagree about any book being good though. I find that the ones published by Carol Kaye to be excellent. They are relatively inexpensive and are purchased direct from her web site. I assume that playing Tuba you read well enough that you would get a lot out of her material. I also like some of the books by Ed Friedland to useful as well. Always ask around about books, there are a lot of junk ones out there. People here can easily recommend a lot of good ones for you purchase.

    Welcome to TB and stay low. :bassist:
  14. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Reallly... well,., that clears up something. I did the same thing as you, thinking mine was defective, but when i played it at the store it was ok, but i didnt really play too many low notes so thats probaably why.... no matter, i dont use it for my bass anymore, i let my bro use it with his acoustic/electric guitar.
  15. japhy4529

    japhy4529 this is only a test... Supporting Member

    1. Check out OLP Basses. They are licensed copies of the EB Music Man Stingray. 4-string goes for around $190, 5-string around $200. If you go 5-string, buy the natural finish. The body is made of Elm, vs. Basswood for the color finishes.

    With that said, I would recommend picking up a 4-string Bass FIRST. This will get your feet wet and not overwhelm you. If you REALLY want to play 5 or 6 string then go ahead, but be prepared for some major woodshedding!

    2. Vox T-25 or T-60. Also check out the Ampeg entry level combos. Both brands offer a lot of "bang for the buck".

    3. Definitely pick up a beginners book. At the very least, you will need to know how to tune the Bass (on a 4-string the open strings from lowest to highest are tuned in fourths - E A D G, on a 5-string B E A D G OR E A D G C, on a 6-string B E A D G C). Also, you will need to find a fingerboard diagram listing note placement. Since you play Tuba and can likely read Bass Clef, you will be reading/playing Bass in no time. Just learn your notes, then apply your knowledge of scales, chords, etc.. to the Bass.

    Good luck!

    - Tom
  16. Give us a price range so we can make some better suggestions for amps and basses. As for the number of strings on your first bass, I'd recommend learning a couple of scales or something from the internet or a friend and going to try a few basses out at the store. See what you like more. I haven't played many fives or sixes seriously, but the two problems you'd likely have to overcome at first are generally narrower string spacing and you have to mute more strings. Obviously those can be overcome, but by testing basses yourself you can decide if that bothers you and if you want to deal with it at first. Any number of strings is fine.

    As for books, there's plenty out there and other people know more than I do about that. I would, however, recommend getting a bass teacher. Since you play tuba, you more than likely have some etude books sitting around. These can be good practice.
  17. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i would get a jazz
  18. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    and buy it from ME :)
  19. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    thats wat i did. i feel special.
  20. I hope your budget is nice and able to accommodate the reccommended combination. But if you're gonna go w\ a five string or six string(which I think is an awesome idea) go for it! That'd be a cool way to start, and when you\ if you wanna play 4 stringed, you'll more than likely flow on it!

    If your budget should be a little tighter, go look at the Behringer Amps and Essex basses....I keep hearing really good things about these essex basses, especially their prices.