What Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by flacko, Dec 6, 2001.

  1. flacko


    Dec 6, 2001
    Surrey , UK
    Hi. You've probably had this question many times before but .. here I go.

    I'm looking to buy a bass. What and how should I be choosing.

    I come from a guitar background, mostly classical, nylon strung. I fancy a climb over the fence to bass ( 4 strings to start with I think) . I intend to use a store to buy my bass so that I can try as many as possible : I do not have the knowledge to scour the used columns and spot a good instrument. Anyway ;

    What are the ad/disadvantages of a short scale (32 inch?) as opposed to a standard scale (34 inch ?), I do not have shovels for hands and wonder whether I should choose a shorter scale to start with.

    The advantages/disadvantages of active circuitry in the bass - advice on active circuitry that does not take you a month of Sundays to get a particular sound from would be well received,

    Is it essential to have a neck/bridge pick-up configuration to get the full range of tones from a bass.

    My intention is to choose a bass from a large manufacturer (Fender/Warwick/Status/Musicman) on the basis that they will be tried and trusted. Good idea ?

    My favorite sound is an electric bass that sounds like an amplified energetic string bass : full round tones, equality of sounds across the strings and up the neck with a nice jump and spring in its step. I haven't explained that particularly well : the sort of sound Richard McCracken gets on the first two Taste albums for example.

    Graphite material in construction - not come across this in classical guitars, although some makers I believe are starting to use it to get volume out of the instrument. Is a graphite neck adjustable like a wood neck, are there any issues with repairs ( I think of wood as the ultimate repairable material).

    What fingerboard material is considered best on a bass. On a classical guitar it would probably be ebony : the same with a bass?

    Best basses for holding their value - I may get fed up of running out of strings on 3 octave scales. There again I may just learn to play them properly on the bass!

    My budget is up to 600 UK Sterling. I am open to new or used bass , but as mentiuoned earlier will purchase through a tore.

    Thanks in advance for your help . I shall of course post up my final purchase for you to groan/applaud.

  2. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    Short scale is actually 30". I would stick with 34" as shorter scale lengths tend to be a little muddy (there are some exceptions).
    Active electronics in a bass. On a less expensive instrument, I would stay away from them. That is one place that corners are cut. Most Fenders are passive, and you've heard them on countless recordings. The Fender Precision has only one pickup and while not as versatile as a two pick-up configuration, I don't think you lose anything, except versatility.
    As far as fretboard material, That is subjective.
    Best basses for holding their value. Fender is a good start. As with guitars, your best deal would be a used instrument. In my 30+ years of playing, I have never been in a situation that a Fender couldn't cover.
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    with your background in guitar, i would suggest that you try an extended range instrument. there are no advantages to playing a 4 string over a 6 string bass, and the few disadvantages most bassists encounter (string control, more difficult to maneuver) would not be as big a deal for you since you also play guitar.

    i'm not british, so i'm not sure what is available, but i would say that, with 600 pounds, you could get a step or two above the average "beginner bass".

    my advice to you, given the nature of all the questions that you have asked, is to go to a shop, or a few, with a bunch of basses and a lot of free time and try them all out. the answers to many of your questions (pickup config, fretboard material, active/passive, etc.) are really subjective in nature, and there are no absolutes, really. you're going to have to figure for yourself what you like. try out the instruments that the bass players that you like play, if you can find them, and see if they are for you.

    good luck
  4. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    All of this stuff is very subjective. Half of knowing whats good or what you like is knowing what you dont like. Just starting out is hard place to be with so many choices. Rarely will a person start out on the "perfect" bass for them, finding what is good or great (to you) is a journey but its what you learn on the way that leads you to "your bass". I would go and play all the basses in your price range and pick the one that feels most comfortable to you to play and sounds ok and let the journey begin. In a few years you will add another bass to the stable but you will be more educated as to "whats good" for you. good luck. :cool:
  5. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Carlsbad, NM
    My opinion.... just go down to a shop and start playing some. Listen carefully to the sounds and see what you like. At least that will help you narrow it down.