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What do you look for in a bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Reg, Oct 15, 2000.

  1. Reg


    Aug 19, 2000
    When you buy a bass, or even look at buying a bass what do you look for? and in what order?

    I want to know if you consider brand and important factor. (personally i dont as all my basses (and guitars) are non-generic names, but sound beatiful)

    The real reason I ask is beacuse I have build bysef a few basses recently and they both in sound good (and know i am not being bias cause I have been told this many times after gigs.) and I am considering selling them.

    So if you could rate these things in order of preference:

    Brand (Reputation)
    Body Shape

    and add a few comments!!!
  2. I judge basses by #1: playability, #2: tone, #3: body shape, #4: finish, #5: brand.. but.. I really won't touch yamaha basses.. those necks are HUGE for my lil' hands..

  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    There has to be a balance between tone playability and cost. Once a bass fits that it has to be the right colour etc. The best instruments are ones that suit the playing requirements as well as looking stunning to the viewers subjective tastes.

  4. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    First thing I look for overall is how it sounds, then how well it's built: things such as fret-dressing, a straight neck, the overall quality of the athestic things such as the paint job and such. Next I go for playability. Finally, I look at brand-name and price. Now here's my big conflict: basically the only shapes that I like are either P or J bass so that limits stuff down considerably, but that still gives me at least a few good companies to look at (Fender, Mike Lull, Pedulla).
  5. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    The first thing I do is play the bass unplugged listen to the tone and listen to the sustain and ring. Usually if a bass sounds nice acousticly it's gonna sound great plugged in. I look from the top of the neck headstock down to the bottom of the bass to see if the neck is straight. Then I plud it in to see what it's got Electronicly. Give it a inspection and then Make my decision.
  6. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I look for #1tone/sound, 2.playability,3.how well built, 4. looks. The bass has to look the part in order to work in a certain setting. thats all
  7. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    What I look for in a bass guitar is:

    1) tone, afterall music is all about that right
    2) playablity
    3) construction, I want something solid and well built that wont fall apart on me in a year and that can take a bit of a beating if an accident should happen
    4) Brand Name, there are a few brands that even though I'll try them out I know I wont buy them, such as Yamaha, Peavey, Cort, Dean
    5) Looks/Body Shape.

    I totally agree with Funkster, I play it unplugged 1st and if it has good tone, sustain and thump then I'll hook it up. You can just tell how it will sound when ya do it that way ya know.
  8. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I always say that I buy necks and pickups - after that, it's all icing on the cake. I look for a comfortable feel (and I have this quirky preference for old basses with the neck finish naturally worn off), and a great sound. It's probably why my basses tend to look a bit road-weary.
  9. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    A lot of basses can play and feel and sound great in the showroom, but DURABILITY is what I look for. How? I go on talkbass here and ask a question. If I were gonna get a bass that I played and thought about buying, I'd ask people here who have them to give me the rundown. It's true that a lot of people have personal biases and everybody treats their bass differently, but if something's wrong, you'll hear about it.
    However, when I shop for a bass, they have to catch my eye in some way, so LOOKS are important. There are tons of really ugly basses that sound good, but if something is disturbingly wrong with the look (IMO, that new yamaha), why would you want it? In turn, a lot of flashy looking, tweaked out basses can sound like crap, but at least I played it to find out (Like Alembics that I've played).

    I look for basses that sound great to my ear. But the look has to be there. My bass taste went from Fender P to Warwick and now to Conklin. The more interesting the look, the better... interseting, not ugly (to my taste). Price is no option for me because I can't afford :eek: but it never stops me from dreaming, obsessing, saving, etc. Although I notice that I barely give a bass a chance if it isn't marked over $750. I'm an elitist, I guess :)
  10. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    1 - Playability
    2 - Tone
    3 - Body Shape
    4 - Finish
    5 - Brand (Reputation)

    Thats what I think the order should be :) I mean Playability is KEY.. Your buying this bass because u know you are oging to keep it for AWHILE. So you would like a bass that you can wake up each morning and play it and not be uncomfortable with it.. After that it has to be Tone, you gotta love your sound! I dont' really think Brand doesn't matter.. Hey, I have a Salas Custom 4, no one really heard about that (its getting popular on this board now since I got it :D). Anyways, Salas is really not a popular brand cuz Tim Salas doesn't advertise. So they won't be selling their name. It doesn't matter what brand you have, if it sounds, and plays good, WHO CARES WHAT BRAND IT IS! :)

    Good luck
  11. Right off the bat, the neck has to feel great, and it has to have good acoustic tone. Once those two needs are met, then I look at the frets and the construction and everything else. Then, see how it sounds plugged in to a small combo amp. Then, actually strap it on and see how it balances and plays while I'm standing up (I didn't do this when I bought my Warwick Thumb years ago.. oops!) But I would say overall, playability is #1.
  12. TonyS


    Dec 13, 1999
    1. Sound/Tone
    2. Playability
    3. Intonation over the entire Neck.
    4. Construction (I look for decent construction in any price range.)
    5. Looks

    Have a good one.

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