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Wanting to play bass...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by boothegreat, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. boothegreat


    Aug 15, 2012
    Hello everyone,

    I have been wanting to play bass for a couple years now. I'm 16 and the bass guitar has always struck me as a awesome instrument. The sound and play style to me is interesting and fascinating. I thought i would come to the experts for advice on the adventures that may lay ahead in the future...

    Musical backgrounds that i like vary a lot. I am very much into all types of rock, ranging from classic rock, to modern hard rock. Some bands that i really like are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, RHCP, Tool, Rage Against The Machine and more.

    Some of my favorite bassists are Justin Chancellor and John Paul Jones for sure. Especially Justin Chancellor. I really like his play style and he is a huge inspiration to me.

    Basically i wanted to ask you guys how i should start. What is a good starter bass that would have a good sound for the type of music i like. Although Justin's bass playing is very complex, i understand that he uses a lot of gadgets and what not in his songs. I don't really have a ton of money to spend, but anything that sounds good would be worth it.

  2. crazyfaux


    May 24, 2012
    How much are you looking to spend?
  3. boothegreat


    Aug 15, 2012
    Well it looks like I need a amp too. I'm not too sure about price range but right now maybe 300 bucks.
  4. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    The current standard Squier basses are very good starter instruments. Also any Yamaha will be a far better bass than its price tag suggests.

    Cheap amps are a more difficult prospect. All cheap amps sound bad, so get something tiny for practising at home, expect it to sound fairly poor, and start saving up for something big enough to gig with - you'll want $500+. Luckily you probably have a year or so before you'll need one.
  5. Mackluth


    Jun 9, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    You can usually find a Yamaha RBX170 bass for around $80 used or $179 new. That was my first bass, and I used it in cover bands and for recording. They have great quality for the price, sound good, and are really comfortable to play. That would be something to look for. Hopefully you'll get some more suggestions so you have a pretty big pool of choices, and I'll let somebody else tell you about amps.
  6. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Oh yeah and ^^ buy used. If you know anyone who plays guitar (or better, bass) take them along with you to make sure you're not getting a lemon. I've only ever bought one new bass in 22 years of playing - saved loads of money. :)
  7. CORBS


    Dec 28, 2010
    Used basses are way more bang for the buck. The important thing is that you are comfortable playing it. Once you get decent you can upgrade to something that sounds good.
  8. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    In terms of new prices, the cheapest basses you can get that are worth getting are the SX basses from rondo music. Search "essex" here on TB and you'll find a lot of discussion of them (the search engine ignores 2-letter words). You can get an SX p-bass for $109 + shipping. They are cheap Chinese basses, but made from real wood with real electronics, and as long as you don't get a lemon they'll keep up with anything you want to do to start.

    Next up the food chain would be a Vintage Modified Squier, a Peavey Millenium, or a Yamaha RBX170. Those would run you in the $200-300 range new.

    Buying used is a good idea, you can usually get a decent instrument for 30-40% less than you would have paid for it new. Also, if you buy a new instrument and decide to sell it later, you'll lose that 30-40%, but if you resell a used instrument, you can usually sell it for what you bought it for as long as you kept it in good condition. Watch your local craigslist and browse the classifieds here on TB. Not a lot of cheapies on TB classifieds, though - this is where people trade their $5000 Foderas...

    Definitely get a used amp, a small home practice amp you could probably get on CL for $50-100. I sold one for $20 one time. Rondo does sell practice amps to go with their basses for something like $80. Learn on that and save your money till you're ready to play with a band. At that point, you'll want 75-100 watts into a 12-inch speaker to jam in the garage, 200+ watts into a 1x15 or 4x10 cabinet to gig. You could probably get a workable used combo amp for $300+, plan on spending more like $500+ for a half stack or to get it new.

    And don't forget - have fun!
  9. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    That little Yamaha really is great. I have no need for it whatsover but I find myself wanting one.
  10. willbassyeah


    Oct 9, 2011
    I would go with Yamaha or squier they are really good low entry instruments, than get a decent hartle a35 and you are ready
  11. VicKevlar


    Apr 15, 2012
    Three bits of advice:
    First an amp, I would recommend the Ampeg BA combo series. I've got a BA108 for practicing, I like it. I think it has good sound for a practice amp and for $100 new it's hard to beat.

    Think about buying used. You can get more value for your dollar if you don't mind cleaning and restringing/setup. I check your local guitar barn's used inventory.

    Go touch some guitars. Great sound will come later, find an instrument that fits you - your hands, your body, your budget. I would love to be able to play a nice light bodied Ibanez but my bear paw hands make the necks super uncomfortable. If you've got a friend who knows a thing of two about guitars see if they'll go with you, it can make that experience a lot easier.

    If getting to a music store isn't possible I'd say order up a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special. (demo) Pretty good all around bass, should fit most people. $175 til the end of September.

    Point three...teen, read the stickies over in the repair section of TalkBass. With a little confidence and by turning a few screws you can take an instrument that was never loved and strung up like a bow and arrow and turn it into something special.

    Don't forget an instrument cable, and don't forget to have fun. :bassist:
  12. +1 on the RBX170. My first bass and I still use it regularly. good allround bass thanks to the p and j pickups.
  13. Well, im 15, started about a year and a half ago, and when i first got a bass for christmas, i got a silvertone bass package (came with bass, tuner, picks, amp, useless DVD, instructions) and my parents paid 180 for it. Just upgrade later, i guess no one takes you seriously with a silvertone or first act bass :scowl: They just dont understand :rollno: Pickups and stuff can be upgraded. I now play an Epiphone thunderbird, which is great. i got it for 280.
  14. Great to hear of a future bass aficionado.

    Looking at your bands list and genre, here are my suggestions to get you in your price range.

    For Basses, at this stage of the game it's important to find a bass your immediately attracted to, if there is anything about the body shape, style or color you don't like. Keep looking:

    http://www.samash.com/p/Ibanez_GSR100 Bass Guitar_444004

    http://www.samash.com/p/Squier_Affinity Jazz Bass_883086

    http://www.samash.com/p/Dean_EVO XM Bass Guitar_-49996908

    http://www.samash.com/p/Squier_Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special HB Silver_-49945412

    For in bedroom practice amps:

    http://www.samash.com/p/Fender_Rumble 15 V2 Bass Combo Amplifier_-49952730

    (I have one of these, great little amp) http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/behringer-thunderbird-bx108-1x8-bass-combo-amp

    Or even a starter pack:


    Cheers ~Mykk
  15. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    Getting off the "gear, gear, gear" topic so far, I'd like to encourage you to just jump in and start. I'm a LOT older and waited to start bass because I was playing a lot as a drummer and the bass was my brother's instrument. I did not start playing bass until I was 45 and that was about 10 years after the urge to play bass started.

    I've always regretted wasting those years - don't do the same.

    Dan K.
  16. Welcome to the Bass world. Having played bass for nearly 50 years and teaching bass for about 10 years I would suggest spending $200 of you budget on a used MIM Fender Precision and then use $ 300 for a used amp, at least 100 watts with a 12" speaker.
    Then, find a teacher to stat you off on the right path. The type of music you play while learning is not important. You need to learn some Music Theory so you can build bass lines to any song. Good luck and practice, practice, practice.
  17. rashbeep


    Jul 15, 2005
    Toronto, ON
    that's a great option, my first bass was an ibanez gsr200 which was also very good. not sure if the op stated if the $300 was his total budget or what he'd be willing to spend on just the bass, but you could get a really great used bass for that price (thinking something like a mim fender, ibanez sr500, yamaha rbx774)
  18. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    My first bass was a Yamaha RBX 370A, IMO, PJ pickup configuration are a good place to start for any player. The electronics are decent, and the neck is very playable, and transitioning to Fender basses was very smooth. I still have it around as a travel bass.

    Squier Classic Vibes are also great basses.
  19. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Bass is an easy instrument to learn at first in comparison to some other instruments and very hard to master later on. There are many excellent starter basses out there these days. Go out and play some of them and find the one that feels best to you. It may also be helpful to take an experienced player with you when you do. Check out Squire, Yamaha, Ibanez etc. Amps are another issue as a really cheap amp will only frustrate you. IMO for the money the Ampeg Portoflex series offers a good balance between cash outlay and value. They have a PF350 head or a PF500 head that are very affordable and also offer a PF line of bass cabs that are value priced. Hartke amps are affordable as well as Carvin. Again I would find an experienced player to tag along with you. You can also find decent value/sound cabs with Avatar, Ashdown, Eden EX series, Epihany Epifunky line, GK has some decent starter cabs as well. Play before you buy and don't rush to any decision. Genz Benz which has an excellent rep even makes a bass cab in the $500 range. Also please do find a reputable bass instructor to get you through your first year or so.

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