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jimmie ray

Bass beginner thoughts

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Wanted some advice on my attempt to learn bass guitar. I have an old, inexpensive Memphis that sounds very buzzy on alot of notes. I don't get the feeling that it's worth getting restrung and evaluated, even though it looks nice. The Stage amp is old, but decent sized, so that should be salvageble. I picked up a beginner bass book, and had to peek at the new basses on display. My eyes caught a couple different Ibanez models, around $200. I was suprised to see a Fender Jazz for about $250 - this seems very good. Then I see the Fender Precision, for around $400 - more than I should dunk out at this time, but this is THE bass. Any thoughts, anyone? Thanks, in advance!

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Wanted some advice on my attempt to learn bass guitar. I have an old, inexpensive Memphis that sounds very buzzy on alot of notes. I don't get the feeling that it's worth getting restrung and evaluated, even though it looks nice. The Stage amp is old, but decent sized, so that should be salvageble. I picked up a beginner bass book, and had to peek at the new basses on display. My eyes caught a couple different Ibanez models, around $200. I was suprised to see a Fender Jazz for about $250 - this seems very good. Then I see the Fender Precision, for around $400 - more than I should dunk out at this time, but this is THE bass. Any thoughts, anyone? Thanks, in advance!

Quick thing to think about - don't be fooled by labels. Sure, it may have the Fender Precision name and looks. But it's the same deal with guitars. Some Les Pauls are of exceptional quality, and some are complete shit. A bass isn't automatically awesome just because it's a Precision. Often times, you get what you pay for...meaning a $700 Precision is going to be of higher quality than a $400 Precision bass. Take your time and decide well. Try several different kinds of basses, and don't let yourself fall into the trap of deciding on looks rather than performance.

Bass is pretty easy to learn...that's where I started out. Increased my finger strength and coordination, allowing me to later move on to the guitar. I started with a $220 Silvertone starter package, then sold it and saved up for a $600 5-string Ibanez. It doesn't matter much what you get now, as long as it makes you happy. Once you learn to play, you'll have a better idea of what you want in a bass, which will make your next bass a more personalized choice.

Good luck!

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Some Les Pauls are of exceptional quality, and some are complete shit.

I all my years of playing I've never come across a Les Paul that conforms to the latter part of this statement. I have, however, come across a Fender Stratocaster that was complete shit (details on request).

RB

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I all my years of playing I've never come across a Les Paul that conforms to the latter part of this statement.

They're out there, trust me.

Doesn't really matter anyways. My two points with that are: shop smart, and you get what you pay for.

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Good advice Matthew, I thought it was too good to be true. Frankly, the look on my wife's face when I rushed home to tell her about my window shopping spree kinda clued me in that anything much over $ 200 isn't going to fly at this time. But I also don't want to dump $ 60 into this old Memphis, and get frustrated getting started with an instrument that the notes cannot be played properly on.

Someone else told me that the Ibanez is the best sounding for the price range I'm currently working with - any thoughts? Or let's say I do fall into some suprise money, and start looking at the Fenders again - is there some model or manufacturing specification that would indicate the higher quality Precision (or any other model)? I can't believe price alone, with no other solid indicator, tells me if it's decent. Getting the feel of the instrument, at the store before buying it, is a given - but also given my lack of skill, might be somewhat uncomfortable in front of the people there.

One thing I notice, when I diddle around with the Memphis that I have, is a tendency to lay my thumb on the top ledge of one of the pickups. I don't know if this is a good or bad habit - but it may be something I have to look for (pickup location) when shopping for a new bass?

Music style-wise, I'm mainly interested in playing blues based and funk. No need for speed, for me.

Thanks again, anything anyone can add - I'm listening!

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Well, if it makes me sound even 1/1000 like Chris Squire... Is it made by Fender, or a knockoff of the Fender Precision by another company? Thanks, Clem!

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Well, if it makes me sound even 1/1000 like Chris Squire...

If you want to sound like Chris Squire, you'll need a Rickenbacker...

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That must be some custom big buckaroo Rickenbacker, but I'll note that. Actually, I always associated that brand name as the choice for lame rhythm guitarists. Don't ask where that logic came from, though...

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Actually, I always associated that brand name as the choice for lame rhythm guitarists. Don't ask where that logic came from, though...

lol, John Lennon perhaps? :P

No, I mean I'm not Yes expert, but I believe Chris Squire played the Rickebacker 4001, which was the same bass model that Paul McCartney was using on Sgt Pepper and for a good chunk of Wings stuff.

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Alright class, let's settle down - school's in session. Now, where were we?

well that was out of left field...

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That must be some custom big buckaroo Rickenbacker, but I'll note that. Actually, I always associated that brand name as the choice for lame rhythm guitarists. Don't ask where that logic came from, though...

Geddy Lee from Rush plays Rickenbacker basses regularly.

Anyway. You just need to play these instuments and see how they feel to you. Just as there may be lesser quality in the high dollar models, there can be a gem in the lower priced crop.

The squire is Fenders entry level guitar, and seem decent enough, but I would look at Ibanez for bass. The Ibanez Soundgear line is almost unbeatable for ease of playing, and affordability.

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Rickenbacker certainly has some user names in bass that I can now admire, but I didn't see that brand at the music store, and would still assume these models are way out of my price consideration.

I'm still confused about the discrepencies within instruments made by the same manufacturer, with the same general name. Going back to Fender, someone else I just conversed with bought a used Fender Jazz bass for $ 400. I saw a new one for $ 250 at the store. Isn't there some further specification that tells you why one could cost up to 4x the amount, on a new instrument? How would you commit to paying so much for a used one, if not?

I would lean toward buying the higher end model of a "lesser" brand, than the lowest end model of a big name brand, as advised here. There are several Ibanez models at the store I went to, all around $ 200. Any Ibanez fans here have any particular features or models that are of particular interest?

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a squier is not that bad for the price. i own a p-bass, but the only reason i hate it is becasue all the emo/punk/pop bands use the P-bass. but if you shop a little bit and get it set up by a true guitar tech, it will last you for a long time. I always told it sounded good, even though i dropped it a dozen times and i never had a bag for it. I fucked with the pickups a shit load of times and pretty much fucked the neck up. I had to get it re set up because I got diffent strings for it, the guy said it took a while to do it, but he says it plays pretty good for being 10 years old.

They built a shit load of these basses for a long time. I figured they could build a cheaper bass better than any other cheap bass. The one of the many reasons i haven't upgraded is becasue i really don;t see any diffennce is quality from the 200 squier j-bass and the 1,500 Fender jazz. the fender looks better, but it dosen't really play better and thier still things that i don't like.

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Rickenbacker certainly has some user names in bass that I can now admire, but I didn't see that brand at the music store, and would still assume these models are way out of my price consideration.

I'm still confused about the discrepencies within instruments made by the same manufacturer, with the same general name. Going back to Fender, someone else I just conversed with bought a used Fender Jazz bass for $ 400. I saw a new one for $ 250 at the store. Isn't there some further specification that tells you why one could cost up to 4x the amount, on a new instrument? How would you commit to paying so much for a used one, if not?

I would lean toward buying the higher end model of a "lesser" brand, than the lowest end model of a big name brand, as advised here. There are several Ibanez models at the store I went to, all around $ 200. Any Ibanez fans here have any particular features or models that are of particular interest?

Welcome to the world of instrument collection! :D

That's why i advised you to spend alot of time playing different basses. You might feel like paying 400.00 for the "right" J-bass...unlike men...all instrument lines are NOT created equal. You can have the same guitar priced 300.00 dollars apart based on where the instrument was manufactured! Also, A fair amount of players will remove the stock pickups and replace them with the more popular brands (such as EMG), which will have a definite effect on the asking price of a used instrument.

Edited by Hickory Man

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This all very informative, guys. Probably on most instrument forums people would talking about advanced levels where this would not be given attention to. My hesitation with feeling out the instruments at the store has to do with not being at the stage of even playing some basic scales, and feeling self conscious about that. Obviously, the salesman isn't going to spend much time with a clown like me, and will tell me I look great holding the first one I pick up (between snickers). I've got to hit that beginner book, struggle along with what I've got, and then go down there with some confidence. Or I could wear a disguise...

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I'm still confused about the discrepencies within instruments made by the same manufacturer, with the same general name. Going back to Fender, someone else I just conversed with bought a used Fender Jazz bass for $ 400. I saw a new one for $ 250 at the store. Isn't there some further specification that tells you why one could cost up to 4x the amount, on a new instrument? How would you commit to paying so much for a used one, if not?

Every guitar is different. Even ones of the same exact model - they're made of different cuts of wood, and there may be tiny, though unintentional, variations between them. Guitars of different models may be priced differently, and prices may be influenced by a vast array of things. Species of wood (mahogany, maple, basswood), pickups, electronics, bridge, overall quality of construction, manufacturer, etc. There are different components that go into different guitars. Some pickups are expensive, some are cheap; some woods are more expensive than others. It might be a good idea to go to musiciansfriend.com, zzounds.com, etc. to compare a few different basses of the same name, but different models. They usually tell you what each instrument has to offer, what it's made of, you know. And that can greatly influence the price. This will show you that every Fender Precision, for example, is not the same. There are many different models of Fender Precisions. One thing to look for with Fenders is the American name. American Fenders are held to higher standards than those not made in America (made in Mexico), which can also have a large effect on price. I have a Mexi-Strat and it satisfies me, so it's not a huge deal unless you're going for something top-of-the-line. Again, you get what you pay for.

I would lean toward buying the higher end model of a "lesser" brand, than the lowest end model of a big name brand, as advised here. There are several Ibanez models at the store I went to, all around $ 200. Any Ibanez fans here have any particular features or models that are of particular interest?

Ibanez makes decent low-end basses, I've heard that too. I don't have any experience with Ibanez's around $200. Mine is a BTB. BTB405, to be exact. I believe they have been discontinued. It did what I wanted it to do. My band's bassist uses an Ibanez Soundgear, which sounds a lot better than mine, and I believe it is because his uses Bartolini pickups, whereas mine is equipped with the stock Ibanez pickups. Though you're not going to get anything with Bartolinis for $200, the Ibanez Soundgear is a good line to keep your eye on.

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Great information and site recommendation. I'm sure I'm not the only one being helped, here!

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A Fender bass is not always what it promises, hence the wide price differences on new models. Entry level P-basses are made in Mexico, and can be utter crap, with terrible tolerances in build quality. I've seen Mexican P and Jazz basses where the string spacing was off, and in one case, you could actually see into the control cavity through the pickguard. When you step up to the $700+ range, you're talking American made basses. These are by far superior, hence the price. My recommendation to a novice would be to find a bass player, let them play all the basses you can find on the wall at your local store in your price range, and let him advise you which are the better built ones. That goes across the board for any instrument purchase.

As for Les Pauls, as was mentioned above, I've had some dogs. Hell, while 90% of Epiphone LP's are crap in my book, after much searching, I actually found one for $300 right out of the box that smokes my $1600 DesertBurst LP Standard.

And Geddy pretty much retired his Ricky in the 80s. He's almost exclusively used his 73 Jazz bass that he found in a pawn shop since Moving Pictures in 1981. The exceptions would be the Steinberger and the Wal he used in the mid-80s.

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And Geddy pretty much retired his Ricky in the 80s. He's almost exclusively used his 73 Jazz bass that he found in a pawn shop since Moving Pictures in 1981. The exceptions would be the Steinberger and the Wal he used in the mid-80s.

Can you tell I'm just an educated drummer who doesn't always take note of these things? :P

You're right though come to think of it.... I saw them in 1982 and Geddy took the Rick off and switched to the Steinberger. which in turn refused to make any noise! After handing it back to the tech, he stood there for a moment then shrugged his shoulders and motioned the tech to bring back "Trusty". :lol:

Edited by Hickory Man

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Can you tell I'm just an ecucated drummer who doesn't always take note of these things? :P

Guess we should be talking when Neil went from the "Trusty" ol' Slingerlands to the Tamas! :lol:

Cheers! :beer:

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Guess we should be talking when Neil went from the "Trusty" ol' Slingerlands to the Tamas! :lol:

Cheers! :beer:

Tama who?

Given over to DW nowadays.

I recommend this one> :beer:

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Tama who?

Given over to DW nowadays.

My drummer's custom ordered, honey laquered birdseye maple DW kit:

(pics cannot tell how gorgeous these drums are!)

drums.jpg

Edited by Evster2012

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My drummer's custom ordered, honey laquered birdseye maple DW kit:

(pics cannot tell how gorgeous these drums are!)

drums.jpg

Nice!

Those belong to the friend that disagrees with your other friend about hickory vs oak?

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