Playing bass for a local band now, I got myself a pretty standard amp set up, but I'm in need of a better bass guitar. I have one of these:


And I'm pretty okay with it, but I want something better. My price ceiling is about $500usd, I know Fender seems to be the go-to for bass, but I'd be okay with an Ibanez or ESP, anything that plays smoothly and sounds clean.

I bought a Fender Squier Affinity Jazz Bass recently for £210 GBP which included delivery.
Excellent value for money.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
Sterling by Music Man SUB series is nice for the money, as is Squier Vintage Modified or Classic Vibe.

But play the field. Go to your local music stores and play anything that strikes your interest, maybe rent a bass you like if you can as well.
With a budget of about $500 USD, your ability to buy a significantly higher quality bass - brand new - will be limited.

Ibanez SoundGear (SRxxx) is a good option, for exampe SR400 or SR 500 series - around $500

Another option is to buy a used bass. You can get a used bass that would normally be outside your budget if purchased new.
as stated, go PLAY them in the stores and work on it from there.

I had a yamaha rbx375, nice instrument (didn't want 5 string anymore) and an entry level ibanez 200, play a 300 (active and MUCH lighter). The Yam and Ib sound the same to me...odd as one has P/J and the the yam humbuckers...and I couldn't get much 'range' of tones out of any of them.

I bought a dean jeff berlin player model and wow, it sounds great and lots of tonal options from it. I wasn't shopping for it - it just caught my eye and I played every bass they had (small store) and liked it the best. (went looking for a 'pretty' replacement 4 string for the yahama)
Played a friends peavey grind - nice, thru neck, but OMG heavy.

I've played Fender jazz and pbass and they don't excite me...same for stingrays. Played a Rik and wow, loved it...but not in your (or my) price range.

the ibby 300 I play is used on gigs. Some say a fender vs squire bass is night and day.

Locally there are 2 GCs and BOTH have multiple fender bass' (P and J) in stock for under $600, one had one for $400.

IMO, keep the squier and go look for something else you like - gives you backup, diff tone choices and if you (or the band) don't like the new axe you have the old one.
Last edited by prof_fate at Jan 6, 2014,