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Newby Checking in...looking for opinions


eldoryder

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Hi all-

57-year-old geezer here. Fulfilling a teenage dream, I just won a bass guitar in an online sweepstakes. I had a choice of several in a price range, but chose the Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Special in Flame Maple. I am starting from scratch, having flirted with a bass for maybe a month when I was 17 years old. Does anyone have any opinions on this particular bass for a beginner? Any advice on strings for starting out? I am open to any and all suggestions, and grateful for any wisdom thrown my way.

 

Mike in Texas

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Anyplace is a place to start. If you have a bass that stays in tune and plays true up the neck to work with, you've got the bass you need. Because you have a two pickup instrument, you can experiment with different settings between the two pickups to get different tones, and maybe find some you really like. As you develop your technique, you may find the tones in it suits you and what you are trying to do, or you may find that you like the sound of a different style instrument and want to get one of those. That's all very subjective and pretty much up to you. Have fun figuring it out, that's half the pleasure of playing.

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

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to the lowdown :)

 

As far as a beginner bass, I think a few folks here have that particular bass. I haven't owned one, I did play one at Guitar Center a few years back and it seemed pretty decent.

 

It should be ok for a beginner- especially since it was basically free :thu:. There are certainly worse ones. It's not a widely popular bass, but should suffice.

 

As far as strings, D'Addario is a good overall brand. They are good price and a good string. There are a lot of different flavors of string, but a medium gauge round wound is the most common. Good strings will help you play and sound better.

 

The next thing to do is make sure your bass is set up properly- meaning the string height, pickups and neck are adjusted properly. A common mistake in the beginning stages is people try to play and learn on "out of the box" instruments that are way out of adjustment, and they are so hard to play that people give up. Proper adjustments make a world of difference when it comes to learning.

 

The next thing to look at is an amp. There are a lot of choices out there for amps. Some of the best advice I heard was "buy your third amp first". One main issue you can run into is getting something underpowered and/or sounds awful, and it's often the 'third amp' that you finally get good power and tone. Of course this can get expensive, but there are some good budget-friendly amps out there that are a good place to start. Personally, I'd go with a 100W combo with a headphone jack. They are usually small enough to maneuver without too much hassle and loud enough for when you start playing with (a few) other people. A good place to find an amp is a used one on Craigslist, if you have an idea of what to look for and a little patience. Often your local shops and even Guitar Center has used gear you can pick up at a fair price.

 

Next, looking into lessons would be a good idea. For what you want to play, like blues, Motown, etc., I would think you could find a good teacher without much hassle. If you do much Youtube, you can often find quite a few good blues instructional videos that people have uploaded. I've used those a few times and they have been helpful. But, there are also a lot of hacks and wanna-be's who post videos too.

 

Welcome to the world of bass- have fun and rock out :rawk:

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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Especially at the beginning - a good bass instructor. Such a person can show you how to play with the correct physical things - posture, hand position, how to fret the strings.

 

Even if you don't continue lessons after the beginning period - a little correct learning there means not having the extra fight of breaking bad habits when you advance a bit. Also, some of the bad habits can cause physical problems.

 

Mike's comments on setup are spot on - bass and guitar both sometimes come out of the factory box really good, sometimes not so good, especially in the lower price models.

 

My bass is a 2001 Epiphone LP 5-string (the only year they made it in 5-string AFAIK). It gets the job done better than my ability to play it. I'm 69 - and my hands cramp after playing a while (one reason that I started on keys), so you are definitely not too old to start.

 

 

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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GREAT info, guys! Please keep it up. My wife has a Hammond console with Leslie speakers, and I've noodled around a little bit on that, but when I found out I won a guitar (six string, actually, I had to negotiate to get a bass guitar!), it was like an old dream come true. With a daughter out of college and getting married in less than two weeks, the timing couldn't be more right to start something new that I always wanted to try.

 

Mike in Texas

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Welcome to the Forum from a Geezer (73) bass instructor. There are many good lesson books, CD's, DVD's but it's difficult to keep up your enthusiam without a good instructor. Avoiding initial bad habits from the start is important. Learning basic theory along with learning to play by ear is, IMHO, very important. Not all instructors are good instructors, so if you are not excited about the learning, seek another instructor.

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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A free bass is always perfect for a beginner, and the one you got is better than what most people start on.

 

Suggestions:

 

-- On strings, plenty of great options out there, but I prefer D'Addarios (rounds on my five-string, flats on my Jazz bass)- sound great, last a long time, and very consistent from set to set. But experiment a bit -- rounds, half-rounds, flats, brands, etc. -- find what works for you.

 

-- Great amp advice from Five-String Mike above, but I'd suggest you go for more power to start -- first time you try to play with a band with a 100-watt amp you're gonna get crushed, and that opportunity may (hopefully) come sooner than you think. I'd go at least 300 watts with two or more drivers. Plenty of bargains to be found in used gear. Peavey stuff is pretty much bulletproof and very affordable as used gear.

 

-- Buy a tuner and use it -- plenty to be had for under 50 bucks.

 

-- And I'll echo Moody and Five-String on lessons too -- take a few to at least the learn the fundamentals of technique and music theory. It's much easier to learn the right way now than to break bad habits later.

 

Good luck and have fun.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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Hey, eldo. I'm a 57-year-old geezer and a newby as well. Yeah, take lessons. It's well worth the money. Most of all, have fun!

Queen of the Quarter Note

"Think like a drummer, not like a singer, and play much less." -- Michele C.

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Practice ain't pretty. So: headphones to keep the peace at home.

 

And Band-in-a-box or other type of play along gizmo. Just type in the chord changes, pick a tempo, and you're playing with a real virtual band, which is the best metronome in the world.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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Especially what Paul K said. I recommend a

if you are into MP3's. I have both that and the older model which works with CD's. Both take a bit of time and effort to adjust to, but work wonders for your practice and ear routine.

 

As for the lessons, I am only partially in agreement. I only ever took a handful of lessons, but the major part of those were with someone who, with all due respect, did not teach me the proper things I would have needed or had use for. It can be a mismatch, and when it is, it will be discouraging.

 

Oh and find someone to jam with as soon as you know a few basic patterns over chord changes. Be it a drummer, guitarist, singer, violin player or whatever. Making music is so much more rewarding if you can do it with others :)

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Again, GREAT advice, folks! I guess the guy at Guitar Center knew what he was talking about. He echos many of the same things y'all have given me today. Along with the bass, a second set of strings (D'Addarios) are coming, along with an electronic tuner, small practice amp, gig bag, guitar stand, and HEADPHONES. I've already started looking at the Craig's list ads, and jcadmus, you're right...already found 100w tube amp and speaker cab for cheap in Houston. I'll be checking into lessons, but don't know how many are being offered in small town East Texas.

 

Thanks again to all, and please...keep 'em coming!

 

Mike in Texas

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If it hasn't been mentioned already, I would just add that you should find other people to play with as quickly as possible. You might feel you don't know enough to actually play with others, but even a beginner can hit roots and fifths. Playing with other people is tremendous fun and will help you learn things very quickly. It took me five years before I got up the nerve to play with others and I wish I'd done it sooner.
"Everyone wants to change the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves." Leo Tolstoy
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Well, I was all excited to see a large box at my doorstep tonight. It had a return address of Guitar Center on it, and I was well on my way to being VERY happy, when the final reveal after all the wrapping showed me a BLACK Epiphone Les Paul Special Limited Flame Top Maple Bass Guitar, instead of the RED one I had specified.

 

A quick phone call to their 877 number got me surprisingly good customer service. Since it was their mistake, and I told them I wanted it in time for my daughter's wedding, they offered to ship my new RED bass overnight air as soon as they saw a tracking number for the one I was returning. It should show up on Tuesday, after the holiday.

 

So, at least I got an idea of the size and fit and feel. MAN, that's a narrow neck! I love the buttons, which have the numbers deep inset at the bottom of clear knobs. The two black humbuckers look good, too. What I didn't realize was that the black was a semi-gloss. In the pictures, it seems to look flat black. That gives me hope that while the red bass will have transparent properties, it may still have a little gloss to it as well. I like being able to see the wood grain.

 

So, I'll probably be posting by the middle of next week about the arrival of my first bass guitar. I'll be taking it down to the local guitar and music shop and have it set up properly and re-stringed with the D'Addarios I bought.

 

And THEN the fun begins! Thanks again to all who replied!

 

Mike in Texas

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a good guitar stand -

 

I am partial to the wall mount hangers. Nobody will trip over it, and it'll look cool. And life is all about looking cool.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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Well, the last thing in the world I need is yet another bass player to compete with. Surrender, Dorothy!

 

Seriously, welcome, congrats on the new bass. Rock out. Have fun. And remember, "Age is a question of mind over matter - if you don't mind, it don't matter."

 

- Chad (just turned 58)

 

 

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try the round wound Daddario strings but at some time try a set of Flatwounds- they'd no doubt sound really good on that bass & last forever basically.

D'addario Chromes are a good place to start there too.

Ahhhhhhh Warm Tubes
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If you have a bass, strings, an amp and a tuner the only thing that might be missing is a cord. Do not buy anything else, but I second getting your third amp right away instead of losing money trying to swap bargain amps for something better.

I am a fan of D'Addario too. There are more sophisticated strings maybe, but these EXL last long, sound good and are priced reasonably.

Since you have a computer for writing this, consider what to do with it. Computers are a part of most people practice schedule and might be good for trying out effects and settings without actual stuff. Keep preamps and effects virtual as much as you can before deciding you need real hardware.

A computer will also allow you to practice with a drummer, there is a lot of different ways to have drums in software.

-- Michele Costabile (http://proxybar.net)
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but I second getting your third amp right away

 

I don't. Unless you can predict the future, you don't yet really know what role that amp will play. And things in the amp world, they are a'changin'. Like, really fast. So don't worry; like microwave ovens, they'll make more. And if this bass thing doesn't work out and you end up becoming a world-class didgeridoo player instead, you're not stuck losing more money on that third amp that you really didn't even need in the first place.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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Congrats and welcome! :wave: I'm also in my 50's although I've been playing for a long time (except I'm still somewhat mediocre :) )That's a pretty decent bass to start out on and I'm glad you are going to get it professionally set up. I agree with the D'Adarios but also I'd recommend Ernie Ball bass slinkys as they are decent strings and pretty inexpensive. Unless you already play an instrument like a guitar I too strongly recommend getting a few lessons. A tuner is also a good idea.

 

As far as amps this is where I differ with some. a practice amp doesn't need to be big (after all it's just practice) and I would go with a small amp with a headphone out jack to start with. If you decide bass really isn't for you you won't be out a lot of cash as amp resale value typically isn't that high. However saying that should you decide to stay with it and eventually jam with some folks be it weekend get togethers or a working band, then get the biggest wattage amp you can afford or wish to tote around.

I'd say 200 watts or more would do the trick. I keep my working amp either in the band van or at the practice room and use a small amp at home. Less wear and tear on my back.

 

Also I recommend hanging around this forum a while as there are some folks here that really know their stuff and I have personally learned quite a bit just hanging around here.

 

Good luck and I hope you have a long lasting love affair with the bass.

 

P.S. I hope we see some pics of the new bass 'cause around here no pics = no bass! ;)

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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I love the sage wisdom and advice. Coming from the world of online motorcycle enthusiasts, it's somewhat surprising how many of you agree on most things rather than disagree. You should see the heated arguments about silly things like MOTOR OIL on those forums! Anyway, as soon as Guitar Center sees a tracking number for the WRONG color bass they sent me, they have promised to send out my RED Les Paul via overnight air, and I'll be shooting a picture of it and me to replace my three-wheeler avatar I'm currently using. Thanks again for all the replies! Are there any sections in this forum that y'all think I should check out in particular, since I'm just starting out?

 

Mike in Texas

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I love the sage wisdom and advice. Coming from the world of online motorcycle enthusiasts, it's somewhat surprising how many of you agree on most things rather than disagree. You should see the heated arguments about silly things like MOTOR OIL on those forums!

 

You want disagreement and heated arguments? Start a thread about tabs. Or Dream Theater. Or Dream Theater tabs. Go ahead, I dare you :grin:

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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