Interested in purchasing a bass, need help?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by vkw619, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. vkw619

    vkw619 Inspired Beginner

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    Hey guys,

    I have recently really wanted to get into bass. But I literally have NO idea where to start. I know absolutely nothing about basses, bass amps, strings, scales, anything hardwear wise at all. So I was hoping some of the wonderful people here could help out.

    Basically, good starting/mid level bass suggestions?
    Amps suggestions (something small, bedroom level, something I could hook my HD500x into)
    Benefits of starting off on a 5 string as opposed to 4?

    My favorite guitar brand is Ibanez due to necks mainly because I have quite small hands so if anyone could provide a good suggestion based on that, that'd be wonderful.

    I know a ton about guitar hardware but again, not a single thing in the bass area. So treat me like a total noob if you will xD.

    Thanks all:wavey:
     
  2. FretSpider

    FretSpider Well-Known Member

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    Well, with your affinity to Ibanez in mind, I'd look at either an SR 400 or 500 series bass, though you MAY want to take a good look at ESP, as well. In my experience, their necks are pretty close, dimension-wise, and I think that ESP's are ounce for once better than most Ibanez's beginner to intermediate lines of instruments. That's not to say I dislike Ibanez, because I don't. They're one of my brands of choice, and I'm dying to get my hands on an Ibanez BTB 1406E. ESP just seems to offer a "better bang for the buck". Some ESP's to check out would be (keeping a 5-string in mind) a B/F-5E, B-206SM, D-5NS. I wouldn't hesitate to play on any of those instruments.

    I started on a 5-string, and I have no regrets. More often than not, the string spacing is closer together than on a 4, so really, that's going to be a matter of preference. To me, it doesn't really matter. Your hands will adjust, and since you're just starting anyways, it really doesn't matter as you have no muscle memory for bass. As I got older, I decided to switch to 6-string basses. To me, there just wasn't a point in going half way between a 4 and a 6, but again, this is a preference. I do use the high C a lot, regardless of weather or not I'm playing metal or soloist kind of stuff. You may not have any use for that C. Personally though, even on a 5'er, I'll string it EADGC. I don't use that B all that much, though it's still nice to have, hence why I love 6-strings.

    That's all my preference, but moving onto all reality, regardless of preference, I like extended range basses because of flexibility, especially on higher register where it's annoying to have to change positions. On the bottom end of things, it's nice to ride that B, or to fret a low D. The ability to fret a D is about 70% of a B-string's use, I'd think.

    Given the choice between a 4 and a 5-string, I'll take the 5, but the same can be said between a 5 and a 6. All of them have their pros and cons, and all have their place in the world. There's actually one 24-string bass, which I think was a bit overkill, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to try it at least once. (It was a custom build for the owner of Circle K/ Kalium Strings). Some people think that all a bass needs is 4-strings. That's an opinion I'll respectfully disagree with. I think it's a matter of what's needed or wanted. My opinion is that 6 is all anyone should really need, but I've also been wanting to get a Conklin GTBD7 7-string, which has everything a 6-string has, plus a high F.

    Sorry...rambling a bit.

    Truth is, I think that you may as well just start on a 5. They're slowly becoming the new standard. It doesn't matter what type of music you play, from country to metal, a lot of guys are playing on 5-strings now.

    I hope that helps. I know it kind of reads that you should just dive into a 6, and I do appologise about that. I kind of have a mentality of "Why settle for half way if I don't have to?".
     
  3. punisher911

    punisher911 blah blah blah

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    If you never tune below drop D, you could live on a 4 your whole life. Even saying that, playing the 5th fret E on a 5 string has a bit more "oomph" than the open E on a 4 due to the thicker string. Plus you can go all the way down to B/drop A on the 5 in its normal set up and can play along with 7 string guitars. So i vote for starting on the 5.
     
  4. Grand Moff Tim

    Grand Moff Tim Some call me... Tim

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    I'd seriously just go grab a Squier Jazz bass and small practice amp. Perhaps a starter pack. It won't be the nicest thing in the world, but it'll be suitable for someone who doesn't know any better, and ideal for learning the ins and outs of playing the bass. Assuming you actually want to learn how to play the bass, that is, rather than just using a pick and treating it like a longer, lower-tuned guitar. That way if you don't jive with bass you won't be out that much cash, and if you do jive with it you can step up to something nicer.

    My first bass setup was a Squier Affinity Jazz bass and a small Crate bass practice. It doesn't really get too much cheaper than that. I loved it, though, and enjoyed it immensely. I've moved on to bigger and better things since then, but I actually still have that old Squier.
     
  5. punisher911

    punisher911 blah blah blah

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    I'm actually grabbing a Squier Jazz V today for recording. I have my Squier P Bass with flats for E standard stuff, but after I bought my Clint Lowery in C# standard I realized that I had no bass to record against it.

    And yes, please play bass like a bass player. Not a guitar player playing bass. Think, less busy and more impactful. Something you can hum along to. Guitar players can "noodle", let the bass just groove...
     
  6. vkw619

    vkw619 Inspired Beginner

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    I appreciate all of the feedback guys.

    If I do happen to lean towards a 5, does anyone have some suggestions? I went to my local music shop and they had no 5s in stock so I played a few Fenders and I really liked the feel of them but something just felt off. I tried 1 of the low end Ibby SR guitars (not sure of the model) and it felt nice, I just didn't jive with the body shape.

    What woods do basses particularly come in? I've always been a fan of really light guitars so I gravitate towards basswood, but it seems every bass I've tried is a super heavy mahogany. I'm assuming thats just the nature of transitioning to a lower register instrument? Or am I wildly mistaken?


    And just to throw this out here, I've always been a rhythm guy. I played drums for a while but do to personal struggles I had to sell my kit (that and I had no where for it to be in my tiny dorm room), and moved to guitar and always find myself playing chords and simple riffs never even touching the higher strings. So I've always had an interest in bass and always as a backbone piece to a band setting, never as something that should be crazy intense. So based on that, I feel as if bass might be a good instrument for me (heck most people assume that when I say I play guitar that I play bass and when people see me play guitar they ask if I've ever tried bass before cause of the way I play) so I guess the TL;DR version of this is no worries, I plan on playing like a bass, not a guitar, so no worries there guys. lol
     
  7. punisher911

    punisher911 blah blah blah

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    I actually changed my mind on Squier purchase and instead ordered a Yamaha TRBX 305 in mist green.

    I am the same way, I play guitar and bass very similar and consider myself a "rhythm" player as well.
     
  8. vkw619

    vkw619 Inspired Beginner

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    Any particular reason why?

    Does anyone have any more recommendations for a 4 or 5 string?
     
  9. punisher911

    punisher911 blah blah blah

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    Humbucker pickups for recording. The 5 way selector for eq settings to get quick and easy different tones. Yamaha is generally good quality they just don't get much love.
     
  10. Orgalmer

    Orgalmer Chuggasaurus Rex

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    Hey man, there's a few options available if you're looking to get into bass. I forget what tuning you usually have your 6/7 in, but a 5 string bass will handle everything you need for drop tuning and still give you access to the normal range of a bass.

    IMO, an Ibanez SR305 is a good choice to start off with. My housemate recently picked up an '07 model and it's great. Nice and light, sounds decent and is easy to play.

    Yamaha have always been a really good brand, even at the cheaper end. I'd give one of these a shot if you come across them.

    If you're tuning below Ab, keep in mind that some bridges don't handle thicker strings. String-thru basses are out of the question and older Fender style bridges are also not compatible. Have a look at the SR305 bridge and then a Fender Jazz bridge, and you'll see what I mean.

    As for amps, you've already got a kickass HD500X so you won't need a new preamp any time soon. Your computer speakers or headphones will do for now with that setup. I've only owned a Behringer KFX3000 which was alright, not great. I'd rather have a 2x10 combo or something similar instead of that, I'm sure someone on here can make a better recommendation for a practice rig though.

    Good luck and make sure to let us know what you end up getting!
     
  11. vkw619

    vkw619 Inspired Beginner

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    Thanks man! I'm going to look into the SR305. I just love the look of Fender basses.. thats where the love stops though :lol:
     
  12. Orgalmer

    Orgalmer Chuggasaurus Rex

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    Haha I hear that. Fender basses are actually pretty good, but obviously they only have 21 frets and generally aren't suited for super low tunings. If you do get one though they can handle pretty much everything else.

    You could also look at a Cort C4/C5 but I'm not confident that they're as competitively priced compared to Yamaha and Ibanez. That being said, I've owned a C4 and an A5 (the A5 is a neck-thru, higher end version of the C series) and they were both amazing. The C4 in particular just looked fantastic with a sparkling vintage silver finish and was a dream to play.
     
  13. octatoan

    octatoan Acoustic tech-death!

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    Hijacking the thread here: Would it be stupid for someone to start on a six-string?
     
  14. House74

    House74 Perfect Djentleman

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    I hate sounding like a broken record on here sometimes, but I have to throw my hat in the ring again for the Schecter Stiletto Studio series. I have the Studio 6 (and 8) and even though the neck is wide, it's really thin and comfortable. The thing I like about the 6 is it gives you both the brutality of the low B on the low end, but also lets you do high melodic stuff and chording having the high B, which is nice to have that versatility.
     
  15. Orgalmer

    Orgalmer Chuggasaurus Rex

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    I can't see any reason why you couldn't start on a 6 string bass, but my recommendation is to try a 4 or 5 string and see how you go. I say this because learning on a 4 string bass gets you familiar with that EADG range and you will find yourself being more comeptent overall, having spent time in a smaller range. You'll be able to play a lot of styles of music with just 4 strings in standard and there's not as much to think about.

    If you play in drop tunings especially drop A or Ab, then a 5 string is probably best to start on because you still have your normal range (or close to it) and also have access to the lower end that you need for those tunings. Playing in drop tunings on a 4 string bass really pigeon-holes your understanding of the instrument to drop tuned metal and it'll make learning the instrument as it was intended tougher. Likewise, a 6 string bass as your first instrument means you have a lot more range, and a lot more information to commit to memory. Also having the high C means you run the risk of becoming dependent on it.

    Ultimately, do what you think is going to work best for you. I'm going to get my 6 string set up for EBEADG so I can still use it for standard tuning applications while still having access to drop D, B, drop A, F# and drop E tunings if I need them. I also have a 4 string bass in standard which I would use if I were to play in a cover band, simply because they're so easy to play, they're lighter, and you have fewer strings to deal with.

    Good luck!
     
  16. 7stg

    7stg SS.org Regular

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    Starting with a 6 would be smart, especially if it gives you the range you need/want. I started with a 7 string bass and that was fine. I recommend a 5 string minimum to at least be able to cover a 7 string guitar.

    If you want to tune lower a Dingwall or if Rondo ever makes a 6 string version of this Brice Defiant 53437 Nat Mahog - RondoMusic.com would be great.
     
  17. vkw619

    vkw619 Inspired Beginner

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    So quick update, I went to my local Guitar Center and they had a few basses in stock, I tried both the SR500 and SR505 and really enjoyed playing the 505. Just felt more right to me and and easier transition. However, I couldn't really find an amp I liked. I also had no idea what any of the knobs/switches do. They really change the tone much more drastically than what I'm used to on a guitar. Anyone mind explaining a basic in an out of bass hardware so I'm not completely blind here?
     
  18. Orgalmer

    Orgalmer Chuggasaurus Rex

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    The SR505 is a good choice man, I really like how they look and they've got pretty decent electronics in them.

    Are you able to tell us what brand or model amp you're looking at so we can tell you what they do? As a general rule all bass amps have something along the lines of Volume, Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble and Presence to work with. Some will have a 5-band EQ or similar. Some will have a Bright or Sub switch which will emphasize the high and low end respectively. A few have a limiter switch like my Hartke LH1000 - handy for protecting your cabinet from spikes in your signal.

    I prefer the ones that have fewer pots to mess with but other people no doubt will prefer having more fine control over their sound.
     
  19. vkw619

    vkw619 Inspired Beginner

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    Orange Crush PiX CR50BXT Bass Combo Amplifier (50 Watts, 1x12")

    That was the main amp I was playing out of while doing my testing. It sounded okay. Just hard to dial anything as I know nothing about bass tones..

    Is there like a "bass knob for dummys". I looked on the ibby site for the diagram of the 505 and just got really confused. :lol:
     
  20. Orgalmer

    Orgalmer Chuggasaurus Rex

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    Oh yeah? That one seems alright actually. Orange amps are usually pretty good. It'll be a good first amp.

    I don't know if anyone else does this, but I just set all my bass/mid/treble pots to halfway on my bass and my rig. The pots on your bass will have notches so the midpoint is easy to find. I have the volume on my bass up on full and the mid contour pot down as low as it'll go (when I have my mid pot centered, the mid focus pot becomes useless).

    With bass tones I take the approach of letting the instrument and your playing style generate the tone, and the amp and cabinet are subtle colours over the top. I don't know if anyone else will agree with that, but that's how I've played for years and it works pretty well for me.
     

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