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Thread: Buying first bass, where do I start?

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    Super Toneologist jmcorey's Avatar
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    Default Buying first bass, where do I start?

    OK, I've been listening to a lot of progressive rock lately. Also listen to a lot of contemporary jazz.

    Been through a recent YES phase and currently in a RUSH phase. I know, only two of the best bass players in human history (Chris Squire and Geddy Lee).

    I want to start exploring playing bass, so I am looking at making a purchase.

    I'm an intermediate-to-advanced level guitar player. I have an Axe FX II etc, so I have access to some bass amplification.

    I tend to like bass tones that have a good deal of treble in them, not into the rumble the house sort of stuff. Loved a lot of the bass tones of 80s new wave artists. e.g. New Order and The Cure. Loved the tones of Ben Orr playing in The Cars, e.g., Moving in Stereo.

    For electric guitar playing, I like guitar necks with fingerboard radii between 9.5 to 12; I can deal with Yamaha's 13.75 radius, but nothing flatter than that. I have no idea if that would also apply to bass playing also.

    Any suggestions for a first bass guitar would be appreciated.

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying first bass, where do I start?

    Ha, I am listening to Chris Squire's solo album 'Fish Out of Water' as I type this. This record is massive.

    As far as which bass...you are gonna need to get your hands on some. Go to several stores, and ask many bass playing friends to try their instruments. You can't tell what you like from specs. Basses you might like the sound of might not work ergonomically for you.
    Realize that Chris & Geddy's tone is from a ton of components, so there is that, too.
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    Just A Minion ErikH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying first bass, where do I start?

    I recently went down this path. It had been a long time since I owned a bass. I knew what feel I wanted so I went to several stores and played everything within the price range I was willing to spend. After it was all said and done, I landed a Sterling by MM SUB Ray4. For 3 bills with tax (I got an additional 10% off), I couldn't ask for better. I love the jazz nut width but the precision width further up the neck. Nice profile that's not too chunky and not too thin, although I do love the profile on the Steve Harris P-Bass. Almost everything I like on a guitar I don't like on a bass, with the exception of the chunky necks. So, yeah, play as many as you can. I'm actually playing bass in a band now. Wasn't hard for me to get back on that horse.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Falloffthebonetone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying first bass, where do I start?

    What's your budget look like?

    Something like a Jazz Bass is right up that alley. In addition to the traditional Fenders, give G&L a look since they offer 12 radius standard while Fender offers 9.5. You can also look into getting one of those Sire Marcus Miller basses if you fancy active EQ, and those aren't very expensive, but sometimes hard to get since they get backordered, at least since I checked last time. Cool thing is about the Jazz Bass style is that you can find them at basically any price point. Geddy loves them, and he got a good representation of Chris Squire's tone with one when he played with YES recently. They are also thinner at the nut than say a P bass, which is pretty comfortable for people making the transition or like to play both. You can also look at PJ models with precision and jazz pickups in them, which are my personal favorite. That jazz bridge pickup helps a lot with the treble and harmonic flexibility of the bass.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying first bass, where do I start?

    I was going I suggest a jazz bass too. I bought a MIM Jazz for $275 used. It plays and sound great.

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