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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

First time buyer


I have always loved the sound of the bass guitar and I am wanting to buy a bass, but I'm not sure which one to buy. I would like to know the differences between 4/5/6 string basses, what brand is best, and what extra equipment would be needed.
November 10, 2010 @02:45am

Go to a music store and play lots of basses. There is no best brand. Pick the bass that you like and is in your budget. However, I wouldn't recommend a cheap one, because it probably won't stay in tune. Nothing is more frustrating than spending more time tuning than practicing. Maybe buy used. You will also need a cord and an amp.
November 10, 2010 @09:34pm

Well, my the most I can spend on bass and equipment is about $300 so I would assume that would make it pretty limited. Are there any cheap basses that are still good quality? I don't usually trust salespeople at stores because they often want to sell you more stuff than you need, so I wanted to ask here first.
November 11, 2010 @04:00am

If you're just starting, get a 4-string. You can get a better instrument for your budget, and it's a bunch easier to learn on 4 than on 5 or more strings.
If it were me buying a first bass, I'd want to stretch and get a Mexi Fender P Bass or Jazz Bass, but it's outside of your budget, unless you can score a good deal on one used, which you shouldn't rule out.
Ibanez makes some very adequate 4-string entry-level basses in your budget, like the SR300:
Nothing too flashy, but you'll get a straight neck and decent sound right out of the box, and they're very easy to play and get accustomed to.
November 14, 2010 @02:47am

There's always used, too. If you happen to have a friend who plays bass they can tag along to see if the instrument is a good one.
I saw an Ibanez EDB600 on the local Craigslist for $100. That is, by no means, an entry level bass and I was tempted to go out and plunk some cash down for it. Too bad I need a new monitor :-) Point is, you can find a lot of good used basses for less than the cost of a new entry-level model.
November 17, 2010 @10:45pm

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who plays bass. I have been looking in local ads and places to see if I could find one used but no luck. I have tried to find a pawn shop nearby, but for some reason, they are apparently not in Harrisburg, PA.
November 19, 2010 @04:10am

I would recommend Yamaha or Ibanez as a good starting point I own both those brands and they have been great basses for me, definitely try used though it will save you a ton, but remember to try the bass out first (if possible the actual one your looking at, but if it is out of the state then at least play a similar one at your local music store) That's my two cents hope it helped.
November 28, 2010 @04:09pm

I think too that the Ibanez SR300 is a good entry level new choice or it's even better to find something decent used. Be aware that many basses can use some set-up (action too high, etc), so there is some value in dealing with a music store that will include those services. If you are a do-it-yourself type, you can find some set-up information on the 'net or (with luck) an owners manual.
March 2, 2011 @01:40pm

cvc makes a good point about a music store that will help with a set-up..
I just bought a used Gretsch Electromatic bass at a local store that I like. They check things out so you won't get stuck with a lemon. They know me, give me good advice. If you can find a place like this, go there, pick their brains. You'll get more for your money buying used. I got this bass with a nice hard shell case, new strings and a strap. If you find a good store, they'll work with you and help you make a good choice. You could have bought this bass and gotten a little amp and still have stayed in your price range. Buying used also makes sense in that if you decide you aren't a bass player you should be able to get most if not all of your $$ back. There's no best brand, you need to find one you like and fits what you want to play.
March 4, 2011 @07:02am
Big Johnson

Anybody know about Fender Blacktop Basses? They Have The P bass with humbuckler pick ups and the J bass with single coil pick ups? Just need to know if the are decent instrument for the money.($500) Anything better available for the same money ? Played bass for short time around ten years ago now wanting to get back to it and don't know how far I will go with it this time around.
February 9, 2012 @06:42am