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what bass guitar

reggie webber

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Buy this one.


Or use the search function. This question has been asked many times around here and has received many, many answers.


Send your son to me for lessons if you live the Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito/North Oakland area. I've got a whole bunch of kids from local high schools and middle schools who are playing up a storm!

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Expect $200-$400 for a good starter bass, at least $100-$200 for a good first amp.


Musiciansfriend.com is a great place to start-- good prices, etc.


We have a few sellers here on the forum. 'Donut', a regular poster here, comes to mind. He works at a brick & mortar store that does mail order. Nice guy and will work with you on price.


Some decent starter basses come from companies such as OLP, Ibanez, and Yamaha.


About the only bassline I've actually heard consistantly poor things about is B.C. Rich. Watch out for the Wal Mart and Target lines!


Fenders, though a classic, can vary wildly in quality from bass to bass, even in the same model and price range.


They, however, make a darn decent practice amp -- I bought my daughter a Fender Rumble 15 for under $100 that has a great sound for the price.




--For about $600-$800, you can try a MusicMan SUB bass. It's about as cheap as you will find an American-made bass; comes from the same factory as the legendary Music Man StingRays, except with second-choice woods (painted over so you can't tell the diff) and passive (in layman's terms, a few less electronics, but nothing to worry about).


--If your son is one to dedicate himself to his hobbies, may want to think about spending more on a larger amp. The practice combos are great for the bedroom, but if he's got buddies and wants to play in a band setting, he'll need more firepower to be heard. Some forumites might be able to help with choosing a good large amp that won't break the bank.


--Also, is your son left-handed? Not as big a stigma as it used to be, but still will limit your selections a bit.


Hope it helps. The forum's friendly. Feel free to ask away anytime or private message for assistance!


(P.S. -- Jeremy C is one of the godfathers here. You can take his recommendations to the bank.)

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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Your local music store probably has bass starter packs that include a cheap entry level bass, a practice amp, all the cables, a strap, picks and some wildly overhyped video/CD on how to play like Victor in a week and a half.


Buy the starter pack, pitch the video/CD and get the kid lessons. Squire, Ibanez, Silvertone, Hartke and BC Rich all make a starter package. And if the kid decides he'd rather be a drummer, you are out only about $200.


Just make sure you tell him; The front man and the guitar get you humming the melody, the drummer gets you to tapping your foot, but the bass get the butts on the floor.


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


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Jeremy C is right. For a starter package you can't beat it with a stick. The amp is for practice only, not good for jamming with others because it doesn't have much power, but good for practicing alone. Would work for guitar too.

But your kid is just starting right? I'd buy the package and then if he's serious you can get him a little bigger amp later on. It will take more time for him to grow out of the bass. As stated in the ratings in the ad, the guitar is the reason to buy this package.

If you live near Jeremy, send your son to him for lessons. Anyone here can attest to his credentials. If not, there are other teachers on this forum as well.

Good luck and break a string.

Visit my band's new web site.









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Then find a good teacher. You can ask the band teacher at your kid's school to recommend someone. If there's a college or university in your town, you can ask there, & you can probably even find a student who'll give lessons. You don't need to send him to some celebrity, but you do need to find someone who will really teach the fundamentals. A lot of teachers out there don't offer much more than the "lick of the week" club, & it's a waste of time (& money). You need someone who will teach him how to read music (real music, not "tab"), music theory (especially chord theory), clean technique, good timing, how to read chord charts, how to find all the notes everywhere on the fretboard, etc.


I suppose a lot of people think that since they just want to play music like [insert name of some 18th-wave punk band here], they may as well skip that stuff & just find a teacher who can show them all those cool licks by [18th-wave punk band]. FALSE. Anyone who wants to make music with an instrument, no matter what the band, needs to understand music & needs to understand the instrument. And I don't know many musicians now who are still interested in just playing the songs they liked when they were 14. You need skills that will move along with you. (If that's not what he wants, then just get him any old crap & leave him to it. But hopefully he'll want more!)


That's my advice, find a good teacher & the gear will sort itself out.


As long as you don't start him out on crap gear. A good rule: never buy a musical instrument in a place that also sells shoes.


And for what it's worth, I tend to be partial to Yamaha. Entry-level gear that will be useful well past entry-level.

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When I broached this subject to my mom about 36 years ago (I already knew what my dad thought about rock and roll) she suggested I:


(a) save a little of my work money to help pay for it so I could take it as an investment for myself rather than just another toy to put in the closet after the honeymoon;

(b) go shopping first without the money and with a friend to see what I liked out there;

© don't look at the expensive stuff because you ain't getting it and

(d) be ready to spend a lot of time at home learning how to play.


That seemed to be "real world" support to me - treat it like part of a long-term objective. (d) I'd replace with a few music lessons. The right teacher can help your young one avoid common mistakes and get playing out that much sooner. Teachers are everywhere, good teachers get around by word-of-mouth, so start asking around.


From being on this Forum a few years I can say this without hesitation: if I were you, I'd give my right pinky to have jeremy c available as a bass teacher for my son or daughter. A year with him would put your son in the limelight that much sooner.


Lots of good starter packages out there, but I think it's best for your son's ego to like the instrument you're buying for him. Again, he needs to invest serious time and interest in learning the instrument (almost an eternity to a young one in a generation of instant gratification and short attention spans) so he should like what he's playing. So get him a good one, dad, then you won't have to worry about him hanging out at the mall after school.

And thanks for asking us! :wave:

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I agree with it all....starter instrument, take lessons, avoid crap.


I'll also add, become conversant with the bass world. Listen to your son's music and find the bass lines.


Get some great bass playing and listen together. You could start with Jaco Pastorius and Weather Report: "Heavy Weather." Get some Bela Fleck with Vic Wooten on bass. Get "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" and watch it; Jamerson is an angel. Listen to the bass lines of Paul McCartney with the Beatles and John Entwhistle of the Who and Chris Squire with Yes.


Books to read: start with The Bass Player Book and Bass Guitar for Dummies. Move on to the Jazz Bass Book.


Subscribe to Bass Player Magazine.


More than any instrument (IMHO) bass is a philosophy and a peculiar club. We are the ones who generally don't play tunes you'll recognize.


Strike while the iron is hot.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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Go with Jeremy C's starter pack ideas. Whatever you do though DO NOT BUY A "FIRST ACT". It would be more of a punishment than a nice gesture.


Epiphones are pretty nice although I must say I am an Ibanez man myself




and if and when he gets more serious:


a really good value-for-dollar:




and as for low-mid range basses:







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I think you'll find the amp that comes with the "bass kit" packages will only be marginal even for practice, let alone playing with somebody else. Guitar can get away with a cheezy little amp (to get started), but bass requires such massive power and air-moving in its frequency range that a *kit* amp has very limited usefulness.


I agree that the kit is a *great* way to start, but expect to need to buy a "real" amp (perhaps $300?) soon thereafter.


Above much of a whisper, the little "kit" amps make a horrible rattling/farting/rasperry sound. I believe the technical term for this is "clipping", in any of a) speaker, b) preamp or c) power-amp.


The bass itself should suffice for a couple of years, as long as the "action" on the bass (absence of warpage on the neck, and correct adjustment of the neck/strings) is adequate.

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Originally posted by PhilMan99:

I think you'll find the amp that comes with the "bass kit" packages will only be marginal even for practice, let alone playing with somebody else.

I agree that the kit is a *great* way to start, but expect to need to buy a "real" amp (perhaps $300?) soon thereafter.

You may just want to avoid the kit altoghether and buy a nice beginner setup now so you wont have to later. I realize that I keep plugging this little combo amp, but get a behringer bx1200, it puts out 120w of power for a price lower than you'll find from almost any other company, and also has a number of nice features. there is a link to some info about in on my earlier post. it seems kind of silly to me to pay good money for a seemingly useless 30w practice amp and pretty much of a throw away bass. As for basses I gave a couple link in the earlier post as well (i would reccomend the warwick or the ibanez personally), as opposed to spending $275 now and $500-$600 later (between $800-$900 grand total) as opposed to just spending the $550 right now and letting your son start out with nice equipment, that way when he's ready to be more serious or possibly in a band situation, you wont have to buy new equipment and he'll be ready with a good knowledge of his gear.


just a thought

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IMHO I think you are better off buying a lower priced, used, quality instrument that you son will be proud of and encouraged to take good care of. The quality bass will be easier to play and give good tone. Also he will not become ashamed of it. I bought my granddaughter a new Squier Bronco and she was never happy with it, because it was a beginners bass. I ended up getting her a Standard P Bass, now she is happy and working hard with a good teacher. Get an amp with at least 75 watts and a decnet 12 or 15 inch speaker. Any less may discourage him. Just my thoughts. Good luck.

"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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If you happen to have any music-savvy friends, a used quality instrument may be the way to go. You really need to know what to look for (thus the friends; if you see anything on ebay.com, send the link to the forum and a few members can give you their input -- the buying process may be a bit tricky, but many forumites have gone the ebay route before and would be more than glad to help out with seperating the super deals from the shady ones).


With basses, as the guitar ages the woods mellow and actually give a better tone than a new one. Many musicians prefer the used route.





On a personal note, I started out at 19 with an entry-level bass and practice amp. Two years later, I was begging for a new upgraded bass and amp. I finally got a real job and spent $2400 of my own money.


Expect your son, if he is truly interested and starts making friends with other musicians to develop what we call G.A.S., or Gear Acquisition Syndrome.


Just forewarning you that if your son takes his intrument seriously what could happen in a year or two!


(Note: If your son does show dedication and gets GAS later on, think of it as an investment. Most of the gear I bought way back when I was 21, I'm still using 15 years later!)

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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There's a few of us round from the UK. Put your county in the location description. Someone might be close to you.

All the basses mentioned above are available here. Steer clear of Argos and ToysRus. Shop around on the net, visit local music shop.


A good music shop specialising in guitars will not let you leave untill your son has tried a few and then will 'set up' the instrument correctly for you.

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin


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Originally posted by Fred the bass player:

if I were you, I'd give my right pinky to have jeremy c available as a bass teacher for my son or daughter. A year with him would put your son in the limelight that much sooner.


I agree he worked with matt freeman. And your right pinky is the only one you could play bass without!

I knew a girl that was into biamping,I sure do miss



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I say forget about the "starter basses" and go for a REAL bass. Playing on a REAL bass makes all the difference in the world. Everyone here knows that a starter bass/amp will only take you so far and if your kid is into bass, he's going to be wanting an upgrade anyway so why pay for 2 basses when you can just get it out of the way in the first place?


My first bass was some off the wall brand called Key. The bass was a piece of crap. I still learned on it because I had no choice, but the entire time I learned on it I couldn't help but think "This bass is lame. This bass is falling apart. This bass will not stay in tune. I wish I had one like (insert personal hero's name here)."


It is proven fact that people play better on instruments that they are attracted to. So my suggestion is find out what your son's personal hero plays and get that bass; or a bass really similar to it. Just not the bottom of the bucket version. Those starter basses are not inspiring in the least.


I say spend $500-$1000 on a bass that sounds and plays really decent and let your kid go to town on it. Same with an amp. Get something really that really rocks. Get something worth the money and time other wise it's just a waste. The idea is to encourage your son to be the best bass player he can, right? Well then there you go. Giving someone a rock will not encourage them to building a castle. It will merely encourage them to throw that rock.


I guess in this long ass post, I'm just saying give your kid some encouragement and some REAL tools to work with. Just make sure he takes care of the gear so if he's not into playing bass, you can turn around and sell it. A REAL bass that's taken care of will keep it's value now matter how many years old it is.

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