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Equiptment Question

Dave Gallagher

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I have been away from playing bass for quite a long time. Many things have changed over the years and I am not really in touch modern equiptment.

Some instruments seem very cheap in price, such as Ibanez and a few others. In my day the only real choice was between Gibson and Fender.

Are there any makes to stay away from?

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Hi, welcome to the forum.


Yes. Anything that doesn't feel right when you play it. That *can* include Fenders & Gibsons.


My current fav is a Hohner JJ Pro with dark maple oil-finish, EMG pickups and a replacement 1970's Japanese Jazz replica neck. It is *absolutely* right for me, but cost me less than $150.00.


Just play everything you can, and see what comes out of it.



"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix


The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Geoff speaks the truth.


There are so many brands, it is hard to narrow it down. Consistency and quality has improved dramatically in the past 10 years. A $300 instrument today is usually very well built with some options that were only available on custom instruments 10 years ago (piezos, gaudy tops, etc).

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Well - as a guy that has been burned twice with cheap active electronics I urge you to use caution if you're spending less than $1000. I've owned a Korean-made Spector bass with scratchy pots due to cheap parts and also had a $1000+ Japan-made Ibanez electronics crap out on me not long after the warranty expired.


Try as many basses as you can, see what sounds and feels best to you but if there's a chance to get something built in the US that's not too expensive, all other things being equal, they often have higher quality electronics.


However, if you're looking for something decent, cheap and you might only use it occasionally and never for recording you should have no worries with most anything these days. I'm not saying don't buy imports - just make sure you really love it and are prepared to upgrade the electronics down the road should it come to that.


Please note that I'm Canadian and not being patriotic when I say this...it's just what I've experienced personally - your mileage may vary.



Ibanez BTB 505 equiped w/F-Bass preamp(<-for sale)

Trace Elliot AH400SMX & 4x10

Sans Amp Bass Driver DI

Digitech BP8

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I thought they had a cure for Canadian by now.


OK, sorry. Anyway, go to your local SuperSamGuitarAshCenterMart and just pick up a bunch and play them. Play the cheap Squires, Brownsvilles and Rogues. The mid range Ibanezesseses (sorry again), Fenders, Epiphones and Peaveys. And if they let you, play some of the really expensive Fenders and Gibsons. How does it play, how does it feel? How does it sit in your lap when you sit and hang from a strap?


At first, I'd stay away from active electronics. A beginner doesn't need the headache. Four strings, passive and inexpensive as tolerable, so if you find you really aren't into it, you're not out too much.


Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn


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Originally posted by Dave Gallagher:

I have been away from playing bass for quite a long time. Many things have changed over the years and I am not really in touch modern equiptment.

In my day the only real choice was between Gibson and Fender.

All those then off-the-rack basses are now the holy grails and are copied by many.


The new versions of the classics are every bit as good.


Just be careful of imports.

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I am very impressed by Yamaha. I play one - an inexpensive BB605 - and like it a lot. I paid $350. I did replace the electronics with Bartolini, but that's just me. The original was fine.


The new BB414 is a great bass. Passive 4 string with a really nice neck and P/J pickup configuration. Volume, Tone and pickup toggle.


Play 'em all. Listen with your ears, not your eyes. Name brands are just that - names. Sometimes it means something, sometimes it doesn't.


Welcome to the forum. It's a fun place.

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You may find that there is a lot of better stuff now than in the old days. Kind of nice not havin' to listen to the whistle and hum I grew up with.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.


Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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I also notice that today's amps are very different. Am I right in thinking that you no longer need a Marshall stack to get the same results? Todays speakers seem much more able to handle the volume and output than stuff from the late 60's and into the 70's.

Louder, better bass and mid range from much smaller cabinets. Is that correct?

Man-- I have been out of it for too long.

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Briefly, things not mentioned in this thread yet: Even among a given make/model not all are the same. Play several Fender Jazz, for example, until you find the best one. Also, Fender is not the same as it was; a lot of low-priced items are made overseas. Not a problem, but don't be surprised if the cheap stuff doesn't seem up to the quality you remember.


There's gobs of threads on rigs here. (There's a little link near the top of the page that says 'search', and it does.) Depending on your needs, yes, you probably don't need a full stack rig. (Are you planning on playing large outdoor concerts? Bars? Basement? Studio apartment?) More speakers move more air.


As far as the size of the speakers, yes, the trend has been to move from larger 15- and 18-inch speakers to 10- and 12-inch.


So you'll see some here still have an 8x10, or maybe a 4x10 and 1x15. But others are able to use a 2x10, or maybe just a 1x12, and their backs thank them. :)


I won't go into detail on heads, but don't sell yourself short on power (watts). 200W sounds like a lot if you're used to only 100W, but there are guys here with heads rated over 1,000W. It's a matter of headspace and such.


Tube or transistor? There are still all-tube amp manufacturers (Mesa Boogie, for one), but some have gone to tube pre-amp and transistor power amp. Others still are 100% transistor. Try them all, but I think you'll be more used to a tube sound. Even with a 100% transistor amp, you can buy a stand-alone tube pre-amp. But at this point in the re-entry game, you'll probably want to keep things simple.

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