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Bongo or Fender?


MoverDave

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I am a "decent" bass play who has been fortuate enough to be in a group that is about to be touring and playing before thousands of people and will soon have a major label release. Call me lucky. I do. Unfortunately, none of this makes me any smarter when it comes to bass knowledge. The question:

 

I need a bass for the road and for studio work. We mostly play simple three-chord guitar rock with a smattering of funk. No crazy slapping and such. I am currently using a Yamaha BB414 but need to upgrade. Do I buy the common, tried and true American Fender P-Bass or go edgy and get the Music Man Bongo? I plan to go fiddle with both at Guitar Center and may come the the conclusion myself after that. But again, any input would be greatly appreciated.

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I have not played either, well I know I haven't played a MM Bongo before, I've played some Fenders, but not sure what model it was.

 

I know both basses though, are talked about often here and I'm sure both will be highly recommended. Probably comes down to price, tone, playability, and looks (if that matters). Good luck with the visit to GC... you are a brave man! If that was me, I'd probably hand em the credit card and walk out with both...

 

I have no will power :(

[Carvin] XB76WF - All Walnut 6-string fretless

[schecter] Stiletto Studio 5 Fretless | Stiletto Elite 5

[Ampeg] SVT3-Pro | SVT-410HLF

 

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The Bongo will definitely give you a "look".

 

I'd check with the other guys and with management to see what they think. Even if you like the bass a little better, you could end up showing up with the Bongo and everyone going, "what the %$#!&! is that?"

 

That will not happen with a Fender in any band, any studio, any style.

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The looks of the Bongo could put you in an odd position. I'd stay away from it for just that reason alone. The Stingray, however, is probably worth considering.

 

The Music Man Stingray and the Fender P bass have both earned their place in history. Both basses will pass the test int he studio and on stage.

 

The first major difference between the two that comes to mind is in the preamp.

 

The Fender P is a passive bass. Just plug and play. 1 volume knob, 1 tone knob and it is easy to figure out the different tones the bass has to offer.

 

The MM Stingray has an active preamp (either 2 or 3 band depending on the model). The Bongo has a 3 band active preamp as well. You'll have to spend some time getting to know how everything works. You'll also have to change a battery out every so often.

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No Bongo! Yuuuuuk! Ugly!

 

P bass or Stringray, much harder choice, but I'd say P Bass if you are going four string, Stingray for five string. Much easier to get a good, strong sound out of the low B on a five string with active electronics rather than passive.

 

No Bongo! Yuuuuuuk! Ugly!

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

 

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I need a bass for the road and for studio work. We mostly play simple three-chord guitar rock with a smattering of funk.

 

Traditionally:

Three Chord Rock - P-bass - (american $950, mex $400)

Funk - Stingray (or Bongo) - ($1300-1500)

 

Having played the bongo at GC on many occasions, I still haven't figured them out. There is just too much tweaking to find that sweet spot; and when you do find it, don't bump into anything to lose your knob configuration, because it will take you hours to get it back. 18 volts of juice is a little over the top IMO.

 

If you want to stand out though, grab a bright orange bongo (ala Dave LaRue) and go to town.

 

If you go the passive route and want that extra oomph that you get from Musicman's preamp, get yourself a sansamp bass driver, hook your p-bass up, and look out!

 

-Anthony

 

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The Bongo sounds great, but is one of the weirdest looking production instruments I've ever seen. I'd go with a P-Bass or a custom builder that makes a P-Bass style instrument.

 

Tnb's suggesting of a Sadowsky P4 would be a great choice. So would P-style basses made by Lakland, Mike Lull or Pensa guitars. Any of those will sound great both in the studio and onstage.

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Mover

Road and studio work.....hmmm, tough combo. You got it right with the Bongo =edgy both in sound and looks. P-Bass definitely tried and true as you say.

 

I can only give you my opinion on similiar basses from Fender and Musicman.. I have a 5 String Fender USA JazzBass Deluxe and a 5 String Stingray. I need 5-string cause we are always playing in horn keys...Eb,Bb, F etc.. so its nice to be able to have a low Eb and Db in your bag of tricks. Construction on Fender vs Musicman is a toss up, if you are touring, you want something roadworthy. The Stingray's fit/finsh, (I feel) is slightly better then the USA Fender...really only slightly. Bridge on the Musicman is made better, tuners are better on Stingray, neck radius is equal but I prefer the Fender neck, it just feels better. I prefer the string spacing on Fender 19mm as opposed to 17mm on the Stingray (I have large hands and like to slap and pop from time to time.) Paint and craftmanship is about equal. As far as tone, the Stingray has much more focused low end and midrange than the Fender. The Fender has more variety of tones.

 

Live, I prefer the Stingray over the Fender cause its high midrange and focused lows sit better in the mix. Recording, the Jazz Bass serves up everything from nice rounded tone to growly. Not saying you can't cant growl out of a Stingray on a record, you definitely can...(Listen to StreetLife by Joe Sample/Randy Crawford). In general, the tonal characteristics of a bass are much more prevalent on a recording than live.

 

In the higher price range , Sadowsky or Mike Lull, Lakland, will give you all you need as far as tone, feel and roadworthiness.

 

I would go with what feels better to you when you go to GC.

"Yeah, I've got a special effect - it's this cable. You plug it into the amp and it makes things loud" -SS
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Wow, never looked at a Bongo before. Erm ... ugly springs to mind in a washtub sort of way. Sure is different though. 10 out of 10 for differentness.

 

Is it cool? I think that's the killer question.

 

I'm too nice to give my answer.

 

Davo

 

"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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That said, if you get a chance, play whichever bass within your price range (and lower). You might end up with something completely different, but it's the best way to decide.

 

Yup, and the lower priced basses might surprise you. My MIM P-Bass sounds just as good to my ears as the $1,000 ones I've heard.

 

Stingray (or Bongo) - ($1300-1500)

 

It's highly doubtful I'll ever make enough money to not cringe when seeing prices like that for an electric bass, yikes!

 

 

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Stingray (or Bongo) - ($1300-1500)

It's highly doubtful I'll ever make enough money to not cringe when seeing prices like that for an electric bass, yikes!

Try buying a professional-quality flute and you'll be glad you play electric bass.

 

Meanwhile, everytime I hear the name "Bongo Bass", I think of the song, "Bingo Bango Bongo, I don't want to leave the Congo" by Louis Prima.

 

Ernie Ball named the Musicman Sterling Bass after his son, Sterling Ball. Did he have another child named Bongo?

What were they thinking?

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Given the choice between the two in your circumstance I'd take the P.

 

I've played the Bongo a few times and I abolutely fell in love with the sound and feel, but I just can't see myself before thousands of people playing one. Especially when trying to make a name for myself.

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Actually at the moment a Euro is worth about $1.35.

 

Those flutes that slowfinger showed us are Irish flutes. They are beautiful but I was talking about the kind of flutes that are played in orchestras. and Jethro Tull tribute bands. ;)

 

Look up a Powell Silver or Platinum flute if you really want to go into shock.

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Decision made. I am giving up the bass and buying a flute. Ha. I think the Fender is the next step in my evolution. The Bongo is fun to look at but I need a good, safe date. Active pickups sound scary, it looks kind of scary and I don't want scary. Maybe next year is the "Year of the Bongo." Tomorrow I will go to GC and pick one up. I plan to get the color "whatever is in stock." It is my favorite.
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