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idiot's guide to music (bass guitar)

vladjp

**edit** i might have posted this in the wrong forums, mods feel free to place this in the right place. thanks
first time poster, few times browser. ---
im shopping for a bass guitar for my nephew, its a surprise / Christmas / birthday present.
im in the military and work as a mechanical engineer, music making / development / tools are all alien to me.
my nephew is about 14 , and big into music , he plays for the school he goes to and church he attends, he recently played for the mayor of the town,
but he doesnt actually "own" his own bass guitar or accessories
im looking to buy something he can "grow " with and get better.
what i think he needs are :
** bass guitar - whats a good brand, good sound, or good whatever base guitars do - hes only 14, i dont know if all guitars are the same length or size
** he talks a bout amphs - whats a good one
** whats MIDI ? does he need it?
** whats pro tools ( he mentions mac books, i know those )
** whats pedals or the likes..
** what sort of wiring is required , cords that i need to buy to plug stuff in or hacks musicians do to get the right sound etc
---- ill stop my rant here. i budgeted about 1000-1500USD for this (he s not a pro, he just plays for school and church bare in mind ) , if there are bundles , like an all in one stop deal, that would be great too.
i would be buying and shipping all this online ( as im a few hundred miles away at the moment ) , so if anything was to happen ( something breaks ) i would need a good warranty program also.
any help would be greatly appreciated. im trying to get this set up before
Christmas .
thanks again to anyone who take time to point me in the right direction.
November 6, 2011 @04:01pm
Big Bottom Willie

Speaking as a bass player who cringes at the thought of getting an instrument as a gift - especially an expensive gift that I might not like or want - I would HIGHLY recommend getting your nephew a Sweetwater gift certificate. That way he gets to experience the fun of researching and choosing his own gear, with no chance of getting something he doesn't like. Choosing a musical instrument is highly personal and subjective, and if I were you I wouldn't want to put him in the position of needing to appear grateful for something he really doesn't like. Plus I can highly recommend Sweetwater for their commitment to excellent customer service.
Hope this helps.
November 7, 2011 @06:54pm
vladjp

thats not a bad idea. that takes a lot of stress and research off my shoulders.
thats really 2 gifts in one from my view. im giving you money + you get to buy and choose whatever you like.
thats an excellent idea.
i hope the online shopping is easy and simple enough for him ( hes 13-14) and again im away, and people at home arent too computer savvy so to speak.
i think it will be a good experience for him though,
as for me, the gift certificate page seem simple enough to complete.
i think ill do the electronic certificate via email.
thanks again.
November 7, 2011 @10:45pm
vladjp

one thing, tho...
the kid's in school, does after school stuff,,
he plays for the school and church, but i dont think he knows whats the latest and best, or browse the sweetwater forums discussion boards or checks out "deals" online ,
so i would still take "recommendations" as to what he should stay away from or lean toward getting , he should get stuff he can "grow with" per se, knowing him, he'll choose the shiniest or "coolest" looking thing he clicks on.
November 7, 2011 @10:55pm
Big Bottom Willie

That's a tougher question since everyone has their own personal preferences and tastes. My advice would be for him to try out as many basses and amps as he can at a local music store, and then discuss his findings with a Sweetwater sales associate over the phone. They're great at what they do and have much more knowledge and experience than I do - they can probably make some solid recommendations based on what he tells them he likes.
Generally speaking, if I HAD to make a blind recommendation, I would say that a Fender Precision bass and an Ampeg amp (don't skimp on wattage) would serve him well for a long time, based solely on their popularity.
November 9, 2011 @06:47pm