Your best cheap gig bass...and why.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jfh2424, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. Hi! I’m curious to hear about your cheapest gig bass...and why you love it. Mine is my G&L JB2 Trib. Cost me $300 new. I love it because it really gives me that cool G&L single coil sound, for cheap. I’ve used it on rock gigs and jazz gigs too. And out of the box, all I had to do was a simple set up to tweak it, everything else was great. Just love this bass. Sometimes I think I was extremely foolish to spend so much on my other basses.


    Crusher47, One Way, exidor and 18 others like this.
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I keep my instruments for decades (45, 36, 16, and 3 years respectively). I don't skimp. I get exact what I want. I didn't care for the cheap instruments I've tried.
    BassBuzzRS, wboyd68, LBS-bass and 4 others like this.
  3. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    All of these were built for ~$200-$300 apiece. The Explorer was even less than that. I like basses that can be SEEN.
  4. Marc61

    Marc61 Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2007
    Greater NY Area
    Not for my gigs, but I just bought this for the bass player in my son’s band. Cost me $200. Sounds like a monster. The band sounds way better with it
    Artman, Jefenator, aus_bass and 21 others like this.
  5. Marc61

    Marc61 Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2007
    Greater NY Area
    Here’s my cheap gig bass. 98 MIM Squier. The vintage radius and killer tone pickups make it my main player at the moment

    Artman, Woofer, zbigniew and 20 others like this.
  6. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    Cheapest bass I've ever gigged was my first one, my 1992 Fender Jazz Bass Plus V Ash—Fender's most expensive bass of 1992, their top of the line. I paid $811 new for her at Zapf's Music, I think in 1994. My memory of those years is a bit fuzzy, but I bought my 1990 Rickenbacker new there in 1991, and took 3 years to pay it off, then used my credit account to buy my bass.

    Of course, that's not "cheap" for 1994, and it's equivalent to a 2021 American Ultra model, street price of $2099.99 today.

    My next cheapest bass is my 2000 Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay fretless 3EQ+piezo, my current main bass. A modern equivalent doesn't exist, because Ernie Ball discontinued the piezo option in 2015, but the street price of a StingRay today starts at $2299. Mine has a matching headstock finish and piezo, so equivalent street price today would be several hundred dollars more, let's call it $2699. I paid $1000 used off eBay in excellent to like new condition in 2004-ish.

    Before that, I had a 2002 StingRay, nearly identical save for the lack of piezo, which I also bought used off eBay in absolutely mint unplayed condition for $1000, also in 2004-ish. That one was sold via eBay to a guy in NYC several years later, virtually unplayed. Before that a 1995 StingRay for which I paid $1295 new in 2002 at NJ Guitar & Bass Center, later sold via eBay in like new condition to a guy in France. Shipping was over $100 via USPS Priority International, but still cheaper than buying a Music Man in Europe.

    Also in late 2002, I ordered my Warwick Custom Shop Corvette Proline, which cost me about $1700, if I remember correctly. It was delivered from Germany in early 2003.

    And that is every bass I've ever owned.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Dano BA112v2.jpg

    2009 Danelectro Longhorn. Paid $190 for it at Sam Ash a year after it arrived and didn't sell at $400. Bone stock except for the hole in the horn for the Straplok. A much more versatile bass than the twang they're known for. You can get the twang, but you can get a handful of good sounds with it that aren't twangy.
  8. 20201109_192515.jpg Peavey Patriot. Paid $90 at a pawn shop and gave it some love and it's been my main for at least 10 years now.
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  9. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    If I'd spent a grand each on these I could not have done better. But I didn't even spend a grand for all 4. Cort B4FLs. Repainted, stripped of active tone controls, bone nuts. I should probably sell a couple, I really don't need four.

  10. I pieced this one about 8-9 years ago, bought the body loaded (originally had a red tort guard, with some cheap pickups & bent plate bridge) from a friend for 20$, found the neck (which had a small shaped headstock) for 60$. Then overtime after getting tuning keys (Fender CBS style 100$), had cut & reshaped the headstock with a piece of pine, been modifying/upgrading throughout: swapped the bridge twice, pickups about 3 times, upgraded the electronics from mini pots & cheap output to full sized pots & switchcraft output jack, big 0.1uf capacitor on the tone. Overall i say 180$ for the bass initially, gigged as such a few times; upgraded to Quarter pounder pickups, swapped the guard from red tort to black, swapped the bridge. Gigged, swapped the pups once more to the current Hot for Pbass, swapped the bridge again (the 2nd bridge had bent out of shape & cracked). Changed the pup covers after a year from black to cream, changed the knobs from chrome domes to black speed knobs. It's always been my number one ever since, & even with the countless other basses i currently own, have built or bought/found for a steal price, this one never lets me down & always sounds sweet. Forever be strung with D'addario 100-50 (which i cannibalise a 45-100 & 50-105 pack).

    ^^^This is Sheena, the punk rocker - Big nod to The Ramones & The Clash as they're big influences on my bass playing. The fast downstrokes of the Ramones, & the bouncing reggae groove of Paul Simonon's playing.

    Overall, i probably spent around 300$ CAD on this bass total, worth every penny.
  11. Which one sounds the best: Blue, red, silver, or transparent finish?
  12. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    Barrackville WV
    I have a G&L LB-100 I'm rather fond of. It does everything I need a p-bass to do.
  13. Are these passive now, or just with a passive tone pot? I loved playing my Cort, but I never loved the sound; does this help?
  14. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    A Marcus Miller Sire 5-er that I got for $300, lefty. I don't always take it to every gig, but when I do it is quite nice.
  15. Ibanez Mikro. $199 from SW. My main consideration for this bass was the ultra short 28.6" scale due to problems with my ring and pinky fretting fingers. I've played fretless exclusively for 30+ years and 23" scale uke basses for the last 3-4 years. But after recently rediscovering certain music I decided I needed a fretted bass. The Mikro is astoundingly well made, set up and sounds great right out of the box for its price point. My main fretless uke bass is in the shop at the moment so if a gig or rehearsal pops up anytime soon I will use the Mikro.
    Roger W, Starthief, lowplaces and 8 others like this.
  16. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    Hohner headless - I have a couple I paid less than US$300 for, sound great, unusual but cool form factor when you get used to 'em, look silly/unique and no one wants to borrow 'em.

    I think my new TMB30 is gonna join the list if ever I gig again - been jamming on it for weeks, alone and with a cuppla guitarists (and S2 pedal).
  17. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I bought this one nearly two months ago, $400 used...true mint. New, they go for $899, and this one's a rare color...never saw another.
    I have two G&L L2000s, one from the custom shop, a Japanese Bacchus Woodline and a Reverend Thundergun, all premium basses, but I haven't touched any of them since the first day of June.
    Well, this thing's just so damned good.
    Sounded good even with the factory strings, but as you can see, I put on a set of GHS black tapewounds, and now it sounds even better.
    I've liked Italia basses for nearly as long as I've been playing, eight years, but $900 has always seemed like a lot of money for an unknown quantity...and you simply don't see these things hanging up at Guitar Center, Sam Ash or your local mom-and-pop music store where you'd be able try one out.
    So, I took a gamble, I've been gambling a lot the past few years, and this one really paid off.
    Very comfortable, not too heavy, nice neck, incredible tone, too.
    The only problem?
    No 60-cycle matter how I set the volume controls, it's dead quite!
    This will be my gig bass for the foreseeable future, even if it's only for open-mic nights, street-corner jams, and backyard barbecues.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  18. Thundar

    Thundar Supporting Member

    I have a lil "thing" for the first gen Squier Vintage Modified Jaguars...the passive ones with the inlays. They are great P/J basses and I have been able to pick up several of them for $150-$200. I also have a couple of the active 5 string VM jags too
  19. Lowendchamp


    Jun 27, 2021
    Shelton WA
    This is as cheap as I go for a gig. $850 and worth every penny in case anyone was wondering these anniversary Ps are excellent! 20210721_154516.jpg
    Artman, Dbassmon, EagleMoon and 5 others like this.
  20. REV

    REV Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    A Yamaha BB300 bass. For a couple of years I was playing with a band that played some really sketchy places. I felt like I needed a bass that I wouldn't worry about. I found the Yamaha for $200.00 and I played that bass for a long time. It sounded great and I never worried about it. yamaha BB300 Bass.jpg