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Recommend a bass....


bubbaraygracie

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for me. I'm looking to start playing bass after playing guitar for a long time, and don't really know much about basses and their characteristics, so I'm looking for some direction.

 

I like all kinds of music...blues, reggae, alt-country, jazz, classic and alt-rock, even glam metal.

 

I love the sound of an upright, but don't want something that big. I can't get enough of that sound though, and I'd like to get something that sounds somewhat similar, while still having the flexibility to rock out with my cock out if I so desire.

 

I love the look of the Rogue Paul McCartney bass and the Epiphone Allen Woody bass too. I like the idea of being able to play it unplugged.

 

I also like the looks of Fender P-Basses, though on my budget I'd be looking at the low end (Squier or MIM).

 

I like inexpensive, quirky stuff (my guitars are an old Kay hollowbody and a Danelectro, and Squire strat).

 

I have little to no interest in slapping.

 

I want to go to some guitar shops and play a whole bunch of basses, so give me some suggestions.

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One aspect - neck-size and string-spacing. If you don't want to slap, you may prefer something with a thinner neck and more narrow string-spacing. Ibanez (and Carvin, to a degree) are notable for this.

 

With Ibanez, don't go too "low-end", though. Low-end Ibanez is not know for "stellar" sound-quality.

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Nothing will ever sound quite like an upright except for an upright.

 

Just try out a whole lot of Fenders and eventually you probably will find one that doesn't suck. You said you liked the look of the Precision, so shop around. There are Fenders and clones all over the place.

 

With the tone rolled off, the P bass is the ultimate reggae/dub machine, especially with flatwounds. With the tone turned up some it will do everything else.

 

What do you think about the Fender Jazz? You can find them similarly priced, and they can also be used for just about anything. They're generally more midrangey than the P and cut through a bit more. The sound usually associated with a P is "thump" whereas the J is usually described as a "growl". That never really helped me but it might help you.

 

There are also tons of clones of either model, and some of them are pretty good. There are also tons and tons of replacement parts that fit Fenders and clones without adjustment. You can pick up a cheapie MIM Fender and later drop in a new bridge (you should do this ASAP because the stock bridges are all really crappy) and a new pickup set, maybe Quarter Pounders, and a new neck from Warmoth with an ebony fingerboard and a Hipshot detuner on the E string and some chrome knobs to match the silver hardware and probably a black pickguard because that would look really cool with the sunburst, but I need a job to afford all that so if you could spare me a couple hundred bucks in the meantime I would really appreciate it.

 

Sorry. Go try out some Fenders.

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Originally posted by A herd of angry penguins:

Nothing will ever sound quite like an upright except for an upright.

I must respectfully disagree with this statement. I own and play 4 acoustic-electric basses (AEBs) and the consensus is from myself and other bass players in my immediate area is that the response of this instrument through an amplifier is the closest approximation to an upright you'll find out there. That is because it uses a piezo rather than a magnetic pickup, as do most amplified upright setups. It's not an exact match, but it does that hollow "thump" a lot better than standard electric basses do.

 

You don't have to believe me, but before you respond I seriously recommend you go to a local music store and plug one in and check it out for yourself. Prices range from approx. $300 (import models) to upwards of $1,700 (US models). Mind you I'm not dissing uprights (I own a 3/4 upright) but I can fit an AEB player in my Hyundai Excel a lot easier than I can fit my upright, which is why I recommend them.

:wave:

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For an electric bass, you might want to check out the Dean Edge basses. My fretless is a Dean (which upgraded pickups), it's passive and it sounds and plays great. I'm quite surprised by Dean's quality/sound/price ratio...you can snag one for around $300 or so. Yamaha's are generally quite good too...my first bass was a Yamaha BB300, and I just donated it to my church since I don't play it anymore (it's a 4-string and pretty much play 5-'s now).

 

If you're looking for an upright-like sound, two thoughts comes to mind. You might want to try a fretless electric...not exactly the upright sound, but it's closer than a fretted electric. Or, you might want to consider getting a fretted electric and an electric upright (usually pretty expensive, but sometimes deals can be had). I've got a BSX ST-4 electric upright, and it sounds really close to an acoustic upright, although nothing is going to sound exactly like an AUB except an AUB. Here's a short MP3 of the EUB: EUB sample

 

I recorded this short clip a couple days after I got this EUB, posted a poll on here, and about 1/3 of folks said it sounded like a fretless electric, about 1/3 said it sounded like an acoustic upright with a piezo pickup, and about 1/3 said it sounded like an electric upright. ;)

 

HTH,

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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When I'm not using my upright, I play my Fender Precision fretless which is equipped with flat wound strings specifically so that I can get more of that upright type sound. The precision bass has a tone that works surprisingly well for me, particularly played through a PA, curiously enough. Pa's will generally add less colour to your sound which I find particularly useful in trying to emulate the upright sound. (Be warned that this setup won't work for achieving a classic Jaco-type sound if you ever have thoughts in this direction in future).

 

Athough you're a beginner, don't necessarily be put off trying fretless options. You could get one with a fingerboard with lines marking the fret positions if you feel a bit intimidated by the lack of frets. Without wishing to state the obvious, having no frets will contribute enormously to achieving your upright-type sound. They're also not as difficult to learn to play as you might think.

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Thanks for the tips thus far guys.

 

What are the characteristics of flat-wound bass strings? I've also heard of "tape wound" but can only imagine what that means (I'm imagining that wrapping strings in tape helps resist the oils from your hands).

 

And how about this "Jaco sound?" I checked out some samples of his on iTunes and he sounds great. Where does that sound come from?

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The "Jaco" sound comes from a fretless Fender jazz bass w/ an epoxied fingerboard. I believe Jaco used to favor the bridge pickup and roll off the tone a bit. He also tended to pluck with the outside/rightside edge of the tips of the fingers on his right hand.

 

Not an uprightish sound, in my opinion, but a pretty cool sound for sure.

 

Peace.

--SW

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Hmmm. If you're into Fender and you're on a budget I might recommend the Sting signature P-Bass. I think that can be had for under $600. It's basically a '51 P-bass reissue that's been upgraded.

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Flat wound strings will give you a smoother, more mellow sound, whereas round wound strings will give you a brighter sound. Flat wounds are quieter when sliding one's fingers up and down the strings. However, because they lack the 'springiness' of round wound's, they're not good for slapping (well not for me, anyway).
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Originally posted by bubbaraygracie:

I love the sound of an upright, but don't want something that big. I can't get enough of that sound though, and I'd like to get something that sounds somewhat similar, while still having the flexibility to rock out with my cock out if I so desire.

 

Wendler electroCoustic mp3

with a touch of reverb and my ham handed playing.... :rolleyes:

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