Advice on getting a "first bass" guitar?

randomasrandomas Opening Act
edited October 2012 in Less Rokk More Talk
With rocksmith hitting Europe at the end of the month, I'm jumping on the occasion and using it as an excuse to buy a bass guitar, since I've wanted one for years.

I've never played bass (doodled with friends at band rehearsals a few times), so I know very little about the technicalities.

I'm not getting and amp, I've got 3 guitar ones lying around, so that can wait.
I've understood that I want a bass with 2 pickups (precision at the neck and jazz at the bridge), and I've given myself a 200 Euro budget.

I've trimmed it down to the yamaha rbx170ew, the ibanez GSR200 and the washburn t14 (slightly more expensive).

They're all made in indonesia (probably the same factory), and seem to be fairly sturdy. Any opinions advice?

Comments

  • Mega-TallicaMega-Tallica Washed Up
    edited September 2012
    First off, plugging a bass in a guitar amp is a no-no. People do it all the time, but it'll sound like crap #1, and #2, you can easily blow out the speaker on the amp if you go just a little too high with the volume. So, you're going to have to play at very low volumes. The frequency of the bass pickups are too high for a low frequency guitar amp to handle. Not a good combination. Wouldn't recommend it at all. You can get a cheap little combo Behringer or Peavey or something for about $150 US and those are also good amps to learn with so you might as well invest in one now rather than ruining your guitar amps and having to get a bass amp anyway.

    As for your choices, I'd take out Yamaha right off the bat, their acoustic guitars are okay, but their electrics and basses are not that good at all. With that said, I'd definitely go with the Ibanez who are known for their quality per price and they are also known to make pretty solid basses and good to learn on as well. I'd go with the Ibanez easily over the Washburn and Yamaha.
  • killer_roachkiller_roach Washed Up
    edited September 2012
    I'd recommend the Ibanez myself, and second Mega-Tallica's point on the bass amp. I picked up a Behringer practice amp for about $100 a while back, and has worked well for my needs.
  • randomasrandomas Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    Yamaha I know tend to be "cheap", but I thought the washburn would be better, I picked up both an ibanez and a washburn (more expensive model) and the washburn felt way better (the ibanez was probably badly setup with a bad case of first string frying pan).

    As for the amps, I'm going to stick with a virtual amp and headphones for the moment. I have to get rid of at least 1 of the 2 practice amps (laney linebacker l30r and fender frontman 25), they're both bad el-cheapos, but I've had them for 20 odd years and separation is painful. When those leave I'll be allowed a bass amp in the house ... :p

    Ps. surely you mean the frequency on the bass pickups are too LOW for a HIGH frequency guitar amp cone, or is there something counter-intuitive I need to know?
  • EhfahqEhfahq Headliner
    edited September 2012
    I totally disagree with Mega-Tallica that Yamaha makes crappy bass guitars. My Yamaha sounds amazing. I prefer it over my Ibanez any day of the week.
  • Mega-TallicaMega-Tallica Washed Up
    edited September 2012
    randomas;4881308 said:

    Ps. surely you mean the frequency on the bass pickups are too LOW for a HIGH frequency guitar amp cone, or is there something counter-intuitive I need to know?
    Yeah, that's what you'd think, but it's actually the opposite. Bass pickups are meant to pick up the boom of the strings so they must operate on high frequency pickups compared to a guitar so it can pick up those very low notes without sounding muddy. Like on a 7-string or 8-string guitar with those really thick strings, sounds really muddy with standard frequency guitar pickups, so a lot of guys that play those get special higher frequency pickups so those thick strings sound crisp and clear on a guitar like a bass does.
  • Mega-TallicaMega-Tallica Washed Up
    edited September 2012
    Ehfahq;4881523 said:
    I totally disagree with Mega-Tallica that Yamaha makes crappy bass guitars. My Yamaha sounds amazing. I prefer it over my Ibanez any day of the week.
    To each his own, I just never had any good experiences with low-end Yamahas. The higher end Yamahas, specifically their basses, are actually pretty good, but their low-ends... not to fond of them.
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited September 2012
    I'm thinking of picking up something like this. Pro's/Con's? Meh's?
  • edited September 2012
    I'm disappointed Lawdog didn't give advice on how to get to first base.
  • randomasrandomas Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    Mega-Tallica;4881572 said:
    Yeah, that's what you'd think, but it's actually the opposite. Bass pickups are meant to pick up the boom of the strings so they must operate on high frequency pickups compared to a guitar so it can pick up those very low notes without sounding muddy. Like on a 7-string or 8-string guitar with those really thick strings, sounds really muddy with standard frequency guitar pickups, so a lot of guys that play those get special higher frequency pickups so those thick strings sound crisp and clear on a guitar like a bass does.

    Ohhh ok so you have a wider response range, that would make sense considering that a thump or boom (basically any form of sound spike) is a sum over "all" frequencies ... I just didn't consider the "all" to be higher than the higher guitar stuff ... I guess you get bigger higher harmonics ...


    Back on to the instrument subject, I also looked at the epiphone eb3, since it's in a similar price range, any opinions on that?

    I just discovered that the gsr200 newer models are now active, is that a good or bad thing?

    So far what I've learned is:
    yamaha and washburn = passive
    ibanez = active.

    Active nice because it gives the bass extra punch, but if preamp is bad the result is actually worse.

    Price wise yamaha is cheaper 180 €, while the others are in the 200~230 € range.

    I'm curious about the epiphone because it's a completely different animal.

    The only thing I can say about squiers is that their quality is so variable you need to go out and test the one you buy (this is true for all instruments, just with fenders, squiers in particular more so).

    I didn't even consider fenders because it would have had to be a squier and I already have 2 in the house which is way more than I can stand.
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited September 2012
    MagicMurderBag7;4881650 said:
    I'm disappointed Lawdog didn't give advice on how to get to first base.

    1. Get your other to drink malt liquor.

    2. Play on your 8 track Take it to the Limit by the Eagles.

    3. Say something suave like, "Let's play house. You can be the screen door and I'll bang you all night long."

    By this point you should be rounding first, headed toward second.
  • edited September 2012
    Lawdog1521;4881674 said:
    1. Get your other to drink malt liquor.

    2. Play on your 8 track Take it to the Limit by the Eagles.

    3. Say something suave like, "Let's play house. You can be the screen door and I'll bang you all night long."

    By this point you should be rounding first, headed toward second.
    That sounds more like the list of "how to get barfed on..."

    :P
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited September 2012
    Doc_SoCal;4882019 said:
    That sounds more like the list of "how to get barfed on..."

    :P

    No problem. It washes right off my Valour Jump Suit.
  • jibjqrkljibjqrkl Eventually Perceptive
    edited September 2012
    i suddenly feel strangely attracted to Lawdog
  • Lawdog1521Lawdog1521 Squirrel Chasing Expert
    edited September 2012
    It's the sunglasses.
  • bleachedbleached Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    randomas;4881660 said:
    Ohhh ok so you have a wider response range, that would make sense considering that a thump or boom (basically any form of sound spike) is a sum over "all" frequencies ... I just didn't consider the "all" to be higher than the higher guitar stuff ... I guess you get bigger higher harmonics ...


    Back on to the instrument subject, I also looked at the epiphone eb3, since it's in a similar price range, any opinions on that?

    I just discovered that the gsr200 newer models are now active, is that a good or bad thing?

    So far what I've learned is:
    yamaha and washburn = passive
    ibanez = active.

    Active nice because it gives the bass extra punch, but if preamp is bad the result is actually worse.

    Price wise yamaha is cheaper 180 €, while the others are in the 200~230 € range.

    I'm curious about the epiphone because it's a completely different animal.

    The only thing I can say about squiers is that their quality is so variable you need to go out and test the one you buy (this is true for all instruments, just with fenders, squiers in particular more so).

    I didn't even consider fenders because it would have had to be a squier and I already have 2 in the house which is way more than I can stand.

    my first bass was an ibanez gsr200. i hated it. the pickups did not pick up all the strings well. if in standard tuning, the A string was more quiet than the E. although i had bass several years before they made the pickups active, they're still the same pickups. i recommend the ibanez sr300. comes in you're choice of p/j pickups or humbuckers. and it's also active.

    i also recommend active pickups. sure you'll a nine volt battery in your bass, but you'll have a wider range of sound. downside is the electronics would be harder to fix if the pickups go out. go passive if you want a bass that you just want to play, or if you want something that has potential of changing the pickups out for a different sound.

    now that eb3 is rather unique. sg body with a sidewinder humbucker and a mini-humbucker. rather interesting.

    if Dean guitars are available, then i would suggest taking a look at Dean edge 10 pj. i don't know the price of it over there, but in US it's around the same price as the ibanez gsr200. it also has active electronics. i've never owned one, but from what i've heard about low line Deans is that some do have a chance of developing electronic problems.

    my last bit of advice is to play the bass that you're thinking about getting through an amp that you that you might get in the future. sure playing it through a 500 watt amp does sound nice, but if the amp that you'll most likely get is going to be a 30 watt or something, then you'll want to pay more attention to how it sounds through that.
  • M_Robbins5M_Robbins5 Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    My first and only bass is an Ibanez and I love it.
  • randomasrandomas Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    Ok so the eb3 is a no go, because the neck humbucker gets in the way of slapping and popping. Since I want to be able to practice all techniques that's one less candidate.

    I listened to both the yamaha and the ibanez on youtube (yeah I know not ideal but hey ...), and my impression is that the yamaha sounds like crap and the ibanez is okayish.

    I may be able to get an sr300 second hand for 150 so I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

    This rocksmith thing is getting expensive, 80 for the ps3 game, 150~200 for a bass, 60 for the pc version (need a second cable so might as well), and possibly a bass amp further up the road (70 if I'm ticking boxes, 150~200 if I'm allowed to).
    So we're talking 300 € or more for starters ... Thank goodness I've already got 4 guitars in the house ...
  • TheDescentTheDescent Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    Ehfahq;4881523 said:
    I totally disagree with Mega-Tallica that Yamaha makes crappy bass guitars. My Yamaha sounds amazing. I prefer it over my Ibanez any day of the week.

    Depends on the year. I noticed that Post-2004 Yamaha basses are worse than post 2004 Ibanez.

    I have a 1998 Yamaha BBN-5 myself, still kicking ass.

    Right now, Ibanez basses are pretty good to begin with. The GSR 190 is probably the best you can find for your budget, a friend of mine got it for 90 bucks and it sounds more than just OK.

    Personally I reccomend a really good amp over a really good bass, for playing at home I use a 20W Stagg combo. Sure it isn't that powerful, but IMO being cheap on purchasing amps doesn't work. Any amp with less than 20W power just doesn't give justice to the various kind of sounds you can produce, or you're trying to find.
  • randomasrandomas Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    TheDescent;4883063 said:

    Personally I reccomend a really good amp over a really good bass, for playing at home I use a 20W Stagg combo. Sure it isn't that powerful, but IMO being cheap on purchasing amps doesn't work. Any amp with less than 20W power just doesn't give justice to the various kind of sounds you can produce, or you're trying to find.
    Absolutely, which is why I ain't getting one yet. I'm planning on using a software amp and headphones for starters, and then getting something in the 20~30 watt range, I have a 70 watt for guitar but it's overkill for home use. But before that I have to loose a couple of old guitar amps ...
  • TheDescentTheDescent Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    Don't use Bass with a guitar amp. You can use guitar on a bass amp (see Fender Bassman) but not vice-versa.

    The speaker cone will just break with heavy low-tone notes. A friend of mine busted a mesa-boogie 40W amp cause he was goofin' around with a bass.
  • randomasrandomas Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    AAaaaargh not a mesa-boogie, you just made me cry ... But no wasn't planning to, just into the pc and out the headphones ...
  • randomasrandomas Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    Ok so I stopped by a pro bass store (gosh that sounded like fishing equipment) and got some advice.

    For that price range get what you like, they all suck anyway. All guitars made in Indonesia come from the same 3 factories, one works exclusively for ibanez, while the other 2 work for everyone else and are under the same ownership. So build quality is the same all round.

    So choice has to revolve around price, components and personal taste. I don't like the aesthetics of the yamahas, but they are cheaper. In the end I'm about settled for the ibanez now I have to choose which one.

    I heard the gsr200 through a fender rumble 50 and it didn't sound half bad. The only thing is that the active electronics are more of a gimmick than anything usefull, it sounds like a general flat amp and it sends the signal through the roof and out of headroom, just ugly really. So if I go new I'm probably going after a passive setup like the gsr190 save the cash to splash out on an amp later.

    As far as amps go, I don't give a toss about power for home use, just generally feel that more powerful amps, being more expensive, work and sound better. The guys in the store told me that basically the fender rumble 15 sounds way better than other (even more powerful) more expensive budget practice amps, by the likes of laney, orange and hartke (he actually eally disliked the orange, sound is overcompressed).

    Ok now to see if I still ahve any money in the bank to go and get the gear. :p
  • TheDescentTheDescent Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    I don't like active pickups, but that's just me. My bass' sound is powerful despite being passive. I guess it's just a matter of personal taste rather than a technical aspect.

    I know for sure that active pickups on cheap basses aren't good at all. The batteries keep losing power too fast, and you can find yourself with a mute bass too many times.
  • randomasrandomas Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    I've just been doing some more digging. It turns out Cort is building for everyone from fender to ibanez and everyone in between...
    I've just eyed the cort action a 4 bass that comes in a j-p passive config with a walnut natural look. I really like the looks, it's the right config, build quality is the same as everyone else's and it's dirt cheap.

    Any opinions?
  • TheDescentTheDescent Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    In terms of wood and electronics the value is the same, but the fretboard isn't awesome, and the mechanics have a really low quality.

    I admit I've never tried a Cort myself, but I have some friends that keep tuning the strings 'cause their mechanics aren't tight enough (yes, even after using a torque wrench)
  • TheDescentTheDescent Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    Another little thing: Like with cars and girls, you have to be lucky when you buy an instrument (any kind of instrument, not only basses). I got a Yamaha EP112 for 100 bucks and it worked very good (I sold it a year ago even if I didn't really want to) and a Fender stratocaster studio that kept de-tuning itself without a reason (and I was really happy when I sold it). With my Ibanez SZ 520 QM I never had any problem, and I've been playing it since 2003. Sure, some maintenance is necessary, but I believe that's really a matter of luck after all.
  • killer_roachkiller_roach Washed Up
    edited September 2012
    TheDescent;4883779 said:
    I don't like active pickups, but that's just me. My bass' sound is powerful despite being passive. I guess it's just a matter of personal taste rather than a technical aspect.

    I know for sure that active pickups on cheap basses aren't good at all. The batteries keep losing power too fast, and you can find yourself with a mute bass too many times.

    Still have to be careful with active pickups even on more expensive basses... I've just gotten into the habit of removing the battery from my Schecter after playing, because otherwise it might kill the battery in 3-4 weeks just by idling.
  • randomasrandomas Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    Right ... Now I've gone and overdone it ... Too much info ... Went to a music shop close to work and the really nice guy there really though I should go yamaha because they have better quality control which results in better fingerboards.

    AAAAAaaaaaargh.

    With cheap instruments it's pot luck indeed ... At this point the difference is so small I'm seriously thinking of taking a gamble with the cort anyway cause I like it more.

    Decisions decisions ... :D
  • jawillroyjawillroy Rising Star
    edited September 2012
    You might be able to get something better quality in a used bass at that price range, rather than something brand new. When I got my first bass as a kid, it made sense to get a new one, because back then I needed a short-scale, and I couldn't really get a good one used where I was living.

    Really, for something that cheap, anything new is going to be a beater.
  • randomasrandomas Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    jawillroy;4886864 said:
    You might be able to get something better quality in a used bass at that price range, rather than something brand new. When I got my first bass as a kid, it made sense to get a new one, because back then I needed a short-scale, and I couldn't really get a good one used where I was living.

    Really, for something that cheap, anything new is going to be a beater.

    In the end that's what I'm going to do.

    I should be going to get one of these on Wednesday.

    The vintage v1004dx looks good on paper and I'm getting it for 220 €.
Sign In or Register to comment.