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Which bass to buy!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RockinBass85, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. RockinBass85

    RockinBass85 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Hey everyone, I'm in the market for a new bass. Got tired of the one I got, and looking forward to change. My current bass is an '85 Ibanez Roadstar ii RB850. I'm going to sell it soon, but today I was taken by my wife to the local music store to try out some basses before I settle on anything. After about an hour there, I couldn't settle on anything.

    I tried the new SUB sterling by MM and I hated it, it looked, felt, and sounded just like my old OLP MM copy. Only difference was the 2band eq which wasn't that amazing to begin with.

    I tried a Fender 1970s Reissue Jazz Bass. I didn't like the tone on it though I loved the neck. Funny thing, I used to own one in 3-tone sunburst and used to swear by it's tone. I just don't find it appealing anymore, ha!

    I'm looking for a funk/jazz/rock tone. And after swapping through basses, I settled on 3..... an ESP LTD B4 with Zebrawood top. Amazing, amazing, amazing playability on it. The neck was set up JUST right for slap and tapping with a low string height minimal fret buzz. It just blew me away, slapping and finger-tapping techniques were so effortlessly executed on this neck. The tone was ok, nothing crazy and the EQ took me a min to figure out. I played it through a TC Electronics combo amp.

    Then there's the Yamaha BB425X 5 string. The B string on that bass is very tight, no flop whatsoever, it was a dream to slap on. The tone versatility offered by the passive electronics really surprised me. I could equate the tone to vary between a P-Bass and a Stringray. It was a lot of fun to play, I played it through a GK combo amp.

    Lastly, the Ibanez ATK804. It was a better composed bass all around. Offered great tonal variety. I loved the styling of it, the dark woods, pickguard, and matching headstock. Played this through the same GK combo amp.

    What I want to ask y'all is the following: Do y'all think that ESP had a good set up done to it? Or are their necks built that way? Could the Yamaha or the Ibanez necks achieve similar results with a good set up (something I'd pay a professional to do)?

    I prefer the tone of the Yamaha and the Ibanez over that of the ESP. I plan on going back to play these 3 basses some more and get more familiar with them. Sorry for the essay but I've had a lot on my mind concerning what I played today.
  2. Session1969

    Session1969 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    If you found a 5'r on the cheap with a good B, I'd swipe it up and go for the Yamaha.
  3. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Do you have the possibility to go somewhere else and play a few more?
    If so, do it and find one where you love the tone AND feel.
  4. RockinBass85

    RockinBass85 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    El Murdoque, I loved the feel of the ESP. That's why I asked if that neck was a set up thing, or an ESP thing. And around my home, not really. At least not within reasonable driving distance. Anywhere else would be an hour's drive and not really feasible for me.

    Session1969, that yamaha's B was good to slap with. No awkward sounds, no fuzz, or rattle. Thing is, that ESP was just $100 more than the Yamaha. It's a difficult choice. I've never had any of my basses professional set up by someone else before either so this is an area I have little experience with outside of how I know to set up instruments.
  5. taikatsu


    Oct 3, 2012
    I have a Yamaha 424x and the neck sets up really nice, in my experience. Of course, that's a four-string. I've heard good things about the ATK's as well.
  6. songwriter21

    songwriter21 Involved with two girls. Cirrus and Milly. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Go for the ATK. I haven't tried one, but every review I've seen on the 4 and 5 have gotten great opinions/reviews. Plus, those things are built like tanks (I had an earlier Chinese one from 2007?, I think. I sold it because of only one pickup, unlike the new ones.

    I had a top import ESP, the B1005 to be exact, and while it totally blew me away at home, it SUCKED live. The EMG's produced such a scooped and tinny sound, that I only used it for like two gigs, and sent it back. Gorgeous and solid, but crap sound. My Ibanez 776PB BLOWS IT OUT OF THE WATER.

    As for the Yamaha, I haven't tried the model you're talking about. I did have a few old TRB's, and they were okay. Similar in construction to the ESP (very good), but bland sound.
  7. Reddog01


    Nov 3, 2013
    Georgetown, TX
    I just bought an Ibby SR700 (yes I know it is not an ATK805), and I really loved the bass. I did, however, get a set-up done on it today, and I must say that it is a different bass. It has faster action, and the intonation is consistent all the way up the fretboard. My point is that it is REALLY hard to make a really good comparison when one bass is apparently set up well and the other(s) may not have a comparable set up. I don't know how you solve that problem, but the potential may be that you will pass over a really great bass because it needed a $50.00 set up.
  8. RockinBass85

    RockinBass85 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Reddog01, there's wisdom in your post imo. Music stores should make a greater effort to properly set up their instruments. If they play better, I'm sure they'll sell better. You answered my underlying concern. My next concern is how receptive are these basses to low action. I'm not looking for chapman stick low, but low like that ESP would be great. My next question, which I'm going to post in a new thread is whether the ESP LTD B205/B206 and the D-5/D-6 basses have the same receptiveness to low action as the B4E did. B4E is a better bass than those, and thus pricier. But if I can save a good buck while making a small compromise somewhere on the bass, it'd be worth it.