What is the most important factor when buying a bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mcblahflooper94, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. Feel- I need to be able to play it well.

    32 vote(s)
  2. Tone- that's all people are hearing anyways.

    16 vote(s)
  3. Cost- sure I have $1,000.00 but why would I want to spend it all!

    0 vote(s)
  4. Reliability- do I know this will stay in tune, the electronics are good to go, etc.

    2 vote(s)
  5. Nationality- If it's not American made, I don't know if it's worth it.

    2 vote(s)
  6. Asthetics- I have to want to play it, right?

    5 vote(s)
  7. Brand- We all know Fenders are ALWAYS reliable :)

    1 vote(s)
  8. Weight- It needs to be light: I can't do 2 hour bar sets with a Gibson

    2 vote(s)
  9. It sounds good for METAL

    2 vote(s)
  10. carrots- none of these, clarify in post.

    6 vote(s)
  1. mcblahflooper94


    Aug 31, 2011
    Now we all know the things to look out for when buying a new instrument: feel, tone, cost, reliability, all parts are working, etc.. But for you, what is THE most important factor?

    Given this situation: you are at Guitar Center with $1,000 to burn. What is the thing that you are looking for in an instrument?
  2. Obviously they're all important, but the major one for me is feel; if the neck isn't comfortable, I'm not going to buy it, because I know I'll always neglect it in favour of a bass that feels 'right' to me.
  3. marmadaddy


    Oct 17, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    Does it have "it"? The moment I pick it up and start to play, does it just feel right? When I plug it in, do I think "oh yeah!" Does the thought of putting it down make me sad?

    That's my criteria.
  4. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Each of my basses hits a different sweet spot of tone, playability, cost, appearance, comfort and other factors.

    My Fender '51 P RI is not particularly comfortable, and its bright yellow finish is ugly (but shows up under stage lights really well) but it's the Thump King and has a perfect neck for me.

    My Stingray 5 is heavy, but otherwise comfortable, has a beautiful honeyburst finish and that signature 'Ray tone, but I had to find one for less than a grand before I'd commit.

    And et cetera. I think that most of us look a bass that is the best combination of attributes for a price we can handle. I don't believe I've ever said to myself, "tone is all I care about," or "appearance is the only important thing," or whatever.

    As a result, I have five instruments that speak to me in different ways, and they all have something of substance to say.
  5. rockamimjazz


    Sep 10, 2011
    A great feeling neck is always a good place to start for me. If the radius, finish, fret work, etc. are not to my liking, nothing else is going to matter regardless of how much it costs or sounds.

    I like my Fender Jazz because it is versatile, sounds great, and just fits like an old pair of jeans.

    My Squier CV 60s Precision spoke to me with that bad ass light blue finish, beautiful tinted gloss neck, and those thumpy powerful pickups. I really wasn't looking for a P bass, but for $200 on a Best Buy closeout, it was too good to pass up.

    My inexpensive Yamaha RBX170 never fails to impress me, for a sub-$200 guitar. Great fit/finish on the Old Violin Sunburst finish that looks more expensive that it is, reliable, good sounding pickups, comfortable to play. It's not fancy, but it just nails all the basics. The main reason I love it is because it weighs next to nothing.
  6. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Same here. I vote carrots. I've got all kinds of basses that do all kinds of things. I'm not looking for that one bass I play for the rest of my life. Each bass I buy carves out an area of bassdom. And usually they do it quite well if I'm to buy. What that area could be varies all over the place. Maybe a Modulus graphite, maybe an 8 string, maybe a semi-hollow body acoustic, maybe a G&L 5 string, maybe that G&L in fretless and on and on.

    A typical example, though not a bass, but the idea is the same. I'm in Sam Ash to get some some crap with buying an instrument the farthest thing from my mind. And what do i spot but a Kingston (late Teisco) guitar just like Hound Dog Taylor played! Mojo like you wouldn't believe! So I check it out and it's decent looking and playable, and in working order with original case. So the "carrots' feature for this one was mojo pure and simple. It clearly carves out it's own musical area.

    Same thing happened at Sam Ash when I bought my ESP LTD 6er. Everything about it was great, but I have lots of great 6ers. For that one it was that it looked and played almost identical to my Bass Mods 7 string so I would have a nice 6 and 7 string pair. (even though oddly they were different brands). so you just never know what will grab you.
  7. rapturebass


    Dec 6, 2008
    At this point it's become more aesthetics/feel-based than anything else. With a decent amp (and a good pedal like a VT Bass) you can get a generally good sound from most basses so what it comes down to personally is how it feels (i played a friend's Spector recently and while it sounded GREAT it felt so weird and I couldn't do it because of that because
    I could easily get another great sound out of a more comfortable bass) and aesthetics (simply put, a Schecter is gonna look really strange in some bands, and a hollowbody in others).
  8. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise.

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    Feel, sound, upper mid to high end and American made.
  9. wednesdayagain


    Sep 28, 2012
    Feel. It's the hardest thing to change.
  10. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    The music comes from the fingers. If they're happy then there's quality signal for the electronics to work with. All the electronics can be adjusted or changed out if necessary.

    After that it's nice if it looks good.
  11. A bass that sets up quickly and accurately, intonates to near-perfection, stays in tune, and feels good in your hands, is worth its weight in gold.

    With that, most other criteria you can think of can be modified to your liking. Without that, you can modify all you like and still end up with a fancy modified wall hanging.
  12. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy

    Because my main band plays downtuned Bay Area thrash?


    Because the approach stay the same if I play blues standards or praise and worship in my chappell

    I don't have proper "metal basses" in my roster, at least not as many as it used to be in the past

    But I own loud basses that can cut thru each and every mix

    So my vote was more a "firestarter", but point is... with 23 basses now (and 46 behind me) what did I "learn by doin'"?

    It's not only comfort and looks: ok it's too... it's sheer power

  13. Tommygunn


    Nov 8, 2008
    Houston, Tx
    Feel > looks > sound

    Sound can almost always be changed.
  14. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    For me, it's feel, sound and looks at the same time :p It's hard, I know, but that's how it is xD
  15. Octaves


    Jun 22, 2012
    You forgot ergonomics! The way a bass feels when it is on a strap or in playing position. I'd describe ergonomics as a combination of weight, balance and playability ;)
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    #1: Feel plus ergonomics: that includes string spacing, which is especially important to me (I hate narrow spaced basses). If the bass isn't comfortable, then it's no fun.

    #2: Appearance. I happen to prefer traditional looking basses... P-basses, in fact.

    #3: Tone. Yes, this matters to me, but I put it third because 99% of the audience and 95% of bandmates don't give a rat's patootie about nuances of bass tone: the difference between P, J, Modulus, whatever. As long as there's good thump and note definition, it simply doesn't matter, even if you play an Alembic in a blues band.

    Sub-note: audience/bandmates notice appearance more than they do tone! A Ric or Alembic is more likely to be complained about because of the visual, not the aural.

    +1! I wrapped it in with feel above, but I think it's a separate factor: e.g. a bass that plays well but has terrible neck dive.
  17. If I'm recording, sound is most important. I've played ugly basses with hellishly bad feel but recorded great. I got paid and called back. This is the only time I've seriously sacrificed playability for paid work... Otherwise I have no reason to compromise. And if I own the bass, I do my best to fix playability if tone is worth it.

    For my own enjoyment, playability and sound and how the two relate, dynamics and ability to change tone just with my right fingers, and to a small degree. Then if possible after finding the best of that stuff, Looks.

    On stage, weight, neck dive, looks, playability, tone.

    The good news is that I have several basses that excel at all of those things in their own way. So I don't have good looks but awful tone etc etc
  18. If it doesn't sound good, everything else is useless.
  19. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Here's my good test. It has to look good, feel good,sound good, and play good (well). It has to have all of them for me to buy it. Weight is not much of a consideration nor is where it's made. I have traveled and lived in different parts of the world. To think that something made in the USA is superior just because it was made here is just silly and I say that from experience. The instrument world is much bigger than just some inferior import from Asia. There are some awesome high end luthiers around the world who make excellent products. Now having said that I'm really into Brubaker Basses right now. I have two Brubaker Brutes that pass my good test and they are imports from China. I also have a USA Brubaker in build. Still the bass no matter where it's from has to pass my good test. I also happen to have a Fender Geddy Lee Jazz, made in Japan that passed my good test.
  20. mcblahflooper94


    Aug 31, 2011
    Cool answers, definitely forgot ergonomics. Surprised no one has chosen cost yet.