Good First Bass?

inlimbo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 29, 2005
411
0
Sydney, Australia
Hi all,

Im looking at buying a bass - my first! I first started playing/learning drums and percussion and then went on and got a guitar and then a tabla. So I have a good knowledge of music theory and instruments etc... Now I want to learn bass!

I dont know where to start. I know about electric guitars but know nothing about electric basses. Can you help me out? I just want something simple and flexible. Just a 4 string.

I was just reading some great information (well I thought it was great) on bass playing from Dr Das from the mighty Asian Dub Foundation. I completely agree with his views. There are too many bass players who have no idea about how to play their instrument and just play the root notes of the guitar chords. Anyway he uses a Hohner B2A. Its one of those weird looking basses without a headstock.

When I bought my guitar I just bought a cheap piece of crap. But it has served me well. Im actually quite attached to it.

So maybe I should just go and buy I cheap piece of crap bass to start off with. But I do have some money coming through from work and could afford to buy something a little more expensive and better.

I found a second hand Hohner B2A on ebay here

But I should not just buy a bass because Dr Das uses it! Maybe I will find it difficult to play? What do you recommend?

I want to learn bass properly. When playing drums and guitar I learned some bad habits from playing crap songs by crap bands (when I was in my teens I listened to a lot of crap 'alternative' music). i.e. I have become pre-programmed to rock-licks and chops. So Im going to buy some books on jazz and funk bass etc... Any suggestions on books you have would be great! In a lot of respects rock bass is evil and boring - I dont wont to become like that.

Some of my favourite bass players: Colin Greenwood (Radiohead), Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age), Paul McCartney (Beatles), Kim Deal (The Pixies), Mani (Primal Scream), Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), Andy Rouke (The Smiths), Kim Gorden (Sonic Youth), Justin Chancellor (Tool) and now Dr Das (Asian Dub Foundation).

Thanks in advance for your input!
 

inlimbo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 29, 2005
411
0
Sydney, Australia
Any tips on practicing would be much appreciated as well! Im thinking of getting a Sunadamala too practice along with. Not everyone's cup of tea but I like Indian music and I do play the Tabla. So a Sunadamala will serve two purposes.
 

stridey

macrumors 65816
Jan 21, 2005
1,136
0
Massachusetts, Connecticut
I don't have ANY help for you whatsoever in regard to either of your questions, but I do have to say that if that's your list of favourite bass players, you NEED to check out John Entwistle of the Who. Listen to the album Who's Next for some of the most amazing bass playing the world ever saw.
 

inlimbo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 29, 2005
411
0
Sydney, Australia
stridey said:
I don't have ANY help for you whatsoever in regard to either of your questions, but I do have to say that if that's your list of favourite bass players, you NEED to check out John Entwistle of the Who. Listen to the album Who's Next for some of the most amazing bass playing the world ever saw.
Ha Ha. I agree! Who albums are on my cds-to-get list. I did say 'some' of my favourite bass players. :)
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
i've been very happy with my squier starfire guitar. it's a semi-hollowbody electric, cherry red. maybe check out one of sqiers bass's, they're known for making quality, cheaper instruments. :D
 

.:*Robot Boy*:.

macrumors 6502
Jan 21, 2005
373
0
New Zealand
Sorry, it's been a long time since I've ventured in to one of New Zealand's awful guitar shops, or picked up any kind of guitar magazine, so I too am of little help. But when stridey recommended John Entwhistle, I had to offer my two cents.

In my opinion, James Jamerson is the greatest bass player ever. He was part of a group of session musicians known as The Funk Brothers who played on all the Motown stuff. He just has an incredible sense of groove! I can't describe it, you've really got to listen. I think he's probably the greatest example of a bass player who knew what their role within a band was.

Of course, that was back before the bass guitar was bastardised and turned into a quasi-lead instrument :rolleyes:
 

Loge

macrumors 68030
Jun 24, 2004
2,679
1,147
England
I'm really enjoying my first bass, a Fender Jazz in a deep purplish finish. Jazz or Precision, you can't go wrong with those.

My favourite bass players btw, are Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Chuck Rainey (plays on Steely Dan, Aja for example).
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,652
123
Yes... Stanley Clarke but also not forgetting Jaco Pastorius and seconding Marcus Miller.

Edit: and also Bernard Edwards from Chic.
 

dxm113

macrumors member
Jan 22, 2005
99
0
Check out the entry-mid level guitars / basses from ibanez and ESP . great quality instruments for the money.

Also, check our musiciansfriend to get a good sense of what poular instruments and prices are out there.

Maybe do a little research on guitar / bass forums . . .

Also, i recommend looking into buying a used instrument, may be able to get a better bass for the money.

I also recomend going to a guitar / music shop where they sell basses, talk to the salesman and other customers. try playing a few different models and see what you like. generally the peeps that work there are also musicians, and can give some good recommendations.
 

andy89

macrumors 6502
May 22, 2005
293
74
Kent, England
You dont want any of those for your first bass, you want a Fender Squire P-bass. Their Cheap, and easy to play. Thats what my first bass was :)
 

Langly

macrumors newbie
Apr 4, 2005
20
0
Cumbria, England
Yamaha make some nice instruments, and have a range of beginners' basses.

Billy Sheehan (who endorses Yamaha products) is also a rather fine bassist. You might find some of his tuition videos interesting :)

I find one of the best ways to practise is to find a friendly drummer, and jam along with him.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
dxm113 said:
Check out the entry-mid level guitars / basses from ibanez and ESP . great quality instruments for the money.

Also, check our musiciansfriend to get a good sense of what poular instruments and prices are out there.

Maybe do a little research on guitar / bass forums . . .

Also, i recommend looking into buying a used instrument, may be able to get a better bass for the money.

I also recomend going to a guitar / music shop where they sell basses, talk to the salesman and other customers. try playing a few different models and see what you like. generally the peeps that work there are also musicians, and can give some good recommendations.
I agree wholeheartedly: I auditioned a dozen or so basses before I bought a lightly used mid-level Ibanez. The Yamaha I was looking at was really, really nice, with a natural finish and active electronics, but it was a bit more than I wanted to pay. My choice was driven by price, and the flexibility to create a wider range of sounds with splittable pickups and active EQ.
 

mike3k

macrumors regular
Nov 28, 2002
131
0
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
stridey said:
I don't have ANY help for you whatsoever in regard to either of your questions, but I do have to say that if that's your list of favourite bass players, you NEED to check out John Entwistle of the Who. Listen to the album Who's Next for some of the most amazing bass playing the world ever saw.
He was great, but Jaco Pastorius was the greatest bass player ever. Stanley Clarke is a close second.
 

quigleybc

macrumors 68030
mike3k said:
He was great, but Jaco Pastorius was the greatest bass player ever. Stanley Clarke is a close second.


I agree that Jaco was the best ever, however, I would like to serve up Victor Wooten from the Flecktones as a close second.

Check some of his stuff out, and you may be inspired, or intimidated.

And of course Mike Gordon, gotta give it up for the Cactus. :)
 

aquajet

macrumors 68020
Feb 12, 2005
2,384
0
VA
Jaco was definitely a revolutionary in the bass world, but quite frankly most of his stuff sounds all the same. There are lots of players that I believe are better than Jaco ever was, Victor Wooten comes to mind. Marcus Miller, while not technically not as virtuosic, is a superb player that can groove many styles. John Patitucci is another. If I had to name a "best" bass player, my vote would be for Stu Hamm.

inlimbo, whatever you do, I would never purchase a used instrument sight unseen (ebay for example). I always recommend going to a guitar shop and spending some time playing and getting a feel for several instruments. I think many of the "upper-low-end" yamahas and ibanez are excellent instruments. The Mexican-made Fenders are hit-or-miss, some are very good quality for what they are, and some are mediocre, suffering from poor fret work, large neck pocket gaps and frequent electrical problems.

Having said that, if you are willing to pay a bit more money for absolutely superb values in bass guitar, just about any Fender that comes from Japan meets or exceeds the quality of its American-made counterparts. I have the Marcus Miller 4-string Jazz Bass, made in Japan, and it's a seriously rockin bass. The Warwick RockBasses, imported from the far east, are also superior quality instruments that are just as good as the German-made Warwicks, except they use more mainstream materials such as Alder bodies instead of exotics such as bubinga.

Just remember to take your time, get to know the basses you try out. There's nothing worse than receiving a bass you purchased off ebay, only to find that it's about good enough to cozy up to in a fireplace and nothing else. :(
 

vollspacken

macrumors 65816
Oct 17, 2002
1,130
0
Boogie-Down Berlintown
I suggest you get yourself a Squier Standard Jazzbass...

I have a Squier bass as a backup instrument (I normally play a custom build Jazzbass and a Fender Japan Precision) and a Squier Standard Strat... the Squier Standard series are quality built and you can upgrade them later with a new set of pickups if you like...

vSpacken
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
19,794
4
Has no-one mentioned Les Claypool, or have I just missed it?

I've had about 8 basses so far:
Arias
Fenders
Squires
Warwicks

I have 3 at the moment:
an old and much abused Aria Pro II SB Elite (I fitted a Dimarzio Model One pickup in the neck position with it's own output, so the bass is stereo, a Hipshot D-Tuner, the upper part of the fretboard is scalloped, can anyone guess who my favourite bassist was at the time of me doing this?)

A Squier Prescision

and a Dean Edge 4

The Dean is the nicest bass I've ever owned despite it being one of the cheapest, around £250 !! I plan on swapping the pickups for Bartolini's at some point.
 

WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
16,723
1,028
I've got an early '90s Fender Precision Plus Deluxe in Blue Pearl Burst...great bass.

My faves would have to be Jaco, Stanley Clarke, and Billy Sheehan. I certainly have a lot of respect for Les Claypool as well...
 

Silencio

macrumors 68020
Jul 18, 2002
2,356
226
NYC
I still have to give it up for Geddy Lee.

Or two others who couldn't be any more different: the burbling fretless of Mick Karn (ex-Japan) or the upper-register melody of New Order's Peter Hook (pretty much an anti-virtuoso as a musician, but love his sound anyway).
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,652
123
Mick Karn, Peter Hook, Jah Wobble... all good picks.

I'd also like to add whassiname from early Simple Minds...

<quick google>

Derek Forbes.