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Strings Bass guitars

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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My youngest plays double bass and is using a cheap, short scale electric bass at the moment.

Looks like he'll be packing in the double bass and concentrating on electric soon, and is growing so will need to get a decent full sized one. Anyone care to tell me what to look out for/avoid?
 

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easiest on a budget (sub £200 used) are decent make 3rd party Fender Jazz or Precision clones - makes such as Squier (fender themselves outsourced to China) .. I`d suggest sticking with either a copy of a Fender or Warwick (Personal taste, I never liked Gibson basses or the copies of them and I`ve not seen a Rickenbacker copy in decades) - this also avoids the whole "Epiphone thing" (very varying quality for too much money)

Vintage (fantastic quality more exotic designs such as the 5 String Active type like the one I`m selling) , they do the standard Fender copies too and they`re excellent also

and if you can pay a bit more Warwick`s Rockbass range are superb (and should be easy to find used at a good price in Germany, the home of Warwick) , they`re not made in Germany like the hi end ones but at least use German hardware and are setup and QC'd better than Squiers (I have one of these to replace the Vintage, the Vintage gives it a good run and is more flexible but a Warwick is a Warwick, even if its part Asian)

To be honest, like the multitudes of Strat clones, there are a lot of no-name Chinese Fender copies which are decent too - here G4M doesn`t fare well but the likes of Stagg, Cort etc are definitely worth a look if you really want to do it on the cheap for a used Jazz copy .. if Stagg made Saxes as good as some of the Les-Paul and SG Copies they do (also some of the acoustics), Jericho wouldn`t get a look in !
 
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Greg Strange

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Check out the Squier Classic Vibe series basses - 50s Precisions and 60s Jazz Basses - Squier's top of the line range at the moment - some people prefer the Classic Vibe basses to the Mexican made Fenders...

Good luck and get funky...

Greg S.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Thanks, lots to mull over.

Vintage (fantastic quality more exotic designs such as the 5 String Active type like the one I`m selling)

Not quite sure what you mean here - is this a vintage Epiphone or Fender? Guess it's going to be expensive, but if not and it hits the yard sale, I'm probably interested. Mught have to wait for funds, though.
 

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Thanks, lots to mull over.
Not quite sure what you mean here - is this a vintage Epiphone or Fender? Guess it's going to be expensive, but if not and it hits the yard sale, I'm probably interested. Mught have to wait for funds, though.

Neither - "Vintage" is a company which makes decent low cost guitars .. it`s not in the yardsale because they`re not the easiest of items to pack for shipping and certainly not abroad (they ideally need guitar shaped boxes with packing in the right places)

http://www.jhs.co.uk/vintagebass.html

and Mine

Used Electric Guitars For Sale in the UK | Preloved
 
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zelda

On the border
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Check out the Squier Classic Vibe series basses - 50s Precisions and 60s Jazz Basses - Squier's top of the line range at the moment - some people prefer the Classic Vibe basses to the Mexican made Fenders...

Good luck and get funky...

Greg S.

This.
I sold my 1983 Fender '62 Reissue Precision bass last year. I was no longer playing in a blues band and had no plans to do so in the future. I bought a used Squier (by Fender) Made in China 20th Anniversary P-Bass and a Made in Indonesia Jazz bass. I've read that the MII basses are made in the Cort factory in Indonesia.

The MIC P-Bass had enclosed tuners but stayed in tune okay though. I had a set of Schaller tuners which I picked up for half price ($55 CAN/US) ten years ago and installed them. I had to enlarge the holes to 5/8" (16mm?). When I went to install them, I realized that the Schallers were for a two-per-side bass - not a four-on-the-same-side bass like a P-Bass or Jazz bass. I have them on but they're not evenly spaced. Looks a little odd but oh well....too late now, lol.

The Squier Jazz bass has open tuners and, like the P-Bass, is excellent value for the money.

The body and neck on these basses are as good as the Made in USA '62 Reissue that I sold. The pickups are of a lower quality but it's a simple matter to upgrade pickups and pots (tone and volume controls).

When buying a bass, make sure the grain of the wood runs from the neck right up through the headstock. I had a Yamaha BB300 P-Bass clone (a fine bass, by the way, if you can find one). I leaned it against the wall momentarily and it fell over. The wood grain did not run up into the headstock and it snapped off. I had to make a new headstock and scarf it to the neck. So, check out the wood grain.

My nephew has a Warwick Thumb Bass. Now that's a bass but I can't justify buying one just for home use.

Yamahas are great value for the money. I'd go for something a little better than an entry-level model though.
 

zelda

On the border
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Made in Mexico Fender basses are excellent value, imo. I have a MIM Standard Stratocaster and the Jimmie Vaughan signature Strat. Excellent guitars. I've been keeping my eye out for a used MIM P-Bass or Jazz bass.
 

Ads

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Agreed about the quality of Chinese Squiers, they`re excellent value, though the pre-Affinity ones are better as they have a proper thickness body - I have a Squier SE Strat from the Amp package (cost next to nothing used, the thing weighs more than the Mex I had !!) , still Chinese but it`s NOT an affinity so has a better neck, better machine heads and the body will take a decent tremolo unit - this latter affects basses less as they don`t have a trem , even an Affinity Jazz bass could be superb value but I`d recommend the full thickness ones over them .

the Squier 6 strings really need new trem units and at least a Mex loaded pickguard to get them up to scratch (even the fantastic 80s Japanese ones need the electrics replacing) , the basses fare better for some reason . bargains are to be had .. but if you can find a Warwick Rock bass at the right price, that`s what I`d get .
 

Vlad

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My tuppence worth....get a 4 string Sterling SUB ray , ( musicman stingray cheapo version ) Stingrays were & are great basses, I had a couple of 'em in the 80s when I was a bass player ( 1st time round ! )
The current far east made entry level versions are still very very good for the money, active elecs, and sound so much better than any Faux Fender , in my very humble opinion !
 

Vlad

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^ I does depend too on the context, what sort of thing will he want to play?.... the acoustic types above are great for some applications no doubt, tho I don't think it would have fared well tuned down to drop C in a certain Industrial Goth Metal band I used to be in, ...just for example ! :)
 

Greg Strange

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A lot of stuff for Kev and his son to think about...

it looks like we're slowing going full circle back to the acoustic double bass... :rofl:

Greg S.
 

Greg Strange

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^ I does depend too on the context, what sort of thing will he want to play?.... the acoustic types above are great for some applications no doubt, tho I don't think it would have fared well tuned down to drop C in a certain Industrial Goth Metal band I used to be in, ...just for example ! :)

The Leningard Cowboys?:rofl:

Greg S.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
I've been wondering about fretless, and acoustic/semi acoustic. He seems to be gravitating towards blues/pop and metal. And, dare I say it, colour will play a big part. So I want to learn enough to spot duff instruments that he likes cos they look cool... Am going to talk to his teacher as well, good guy.

What about 4/5 string choice? One of the links above suggested sticking to 4, saying 5 made things too easy... For me it'd be an improvement, but maybe the wider neck would be an issue. Although he's just hit the early teen growth spurt, he's still small for his age and may struggle.

Was a comment in one of the links about thinner bodies on some cheapos. What effect do thinner bodies have?

And... What about active/passive? Seems like the jury is out, with the open minded saying active, but the trads focusing on potential issues, especially on cheaper ones.
 

altissimo

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I'd keep away from fretless or semi acoustic unless he has a strong inclination that way.. fretless hasn't been in fashion since the 80's and semi acoustic basses are prone to feedback and don't sound very good played unplugged.
If he's heading towards metal then choice of colour will be ok - black is the most popular colour available
check for rattles and buzzing in the action - there's going to be a little bit of rattle on a bass, but not so much that you can hear it through the amp.
play every note on every fret and check that they all resonate properly, it's less common these days but you can get 'wolf notes' and dead spots
if he can deal with a double bass, any electric bass will be easier. a 5 string may be useful if your son gravitates towards the kind of metal where they use drop tunings and 7 or 8 string guitars
Active electronics aren't really necessary, a lot of modern amps have all the tone shaping requirements you could want. The ultra low frequencies of a 5 string may benefit from a bit of help though. EMG and Bartolini are the market leaders in active pickups for basses. They can be added afterwards, but finding space for the battery in the control cavity can be a bit of a squeeze.
Take him to a shop and get him to try out anything in your price range until he finds one that he likes the look and feel of, then go home and google all the reviews you can find and make an informed decision. For me the feel of the neck is most important and that's a matter of personal taste
In the lower priced end of the market, Ibanez, Epiphone, Squier, ESP, Yamaha and Peavey all make reasonable stuff, but the odd duff one does get through quality control. Make sure the action and intonation are well set up by the shop - fiddling around with allen keys adjusting the bridge and truss rod isn't something the customer should have to do on a new purchase
 

jeremyjuicewah

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I was going to chip in with this one till I realised that the astonishing knowledge of members re bass guitars makes anything I have to say redundant. But, using your skill and knowledge, what do you think of this?

In my local music store, which does not really do bargains, is a 1960s Hoffner violin bass, a McCartney job, in quite reasonable nick, not sure if there is a case or not. It is around 1400 euros. Seems like a deal. I want a bass, but for playing, a Squier will do me fine. This violin bass seemed a real cheapy, its genuine too, I had a good butchers. What do you reckon?
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
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Berkshire, UK
If you want it and can afford it then...............................go for it.
 

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