My Background (if you could care less, just skip to the bottom of my post):

Just joined the site this morning. I have a limited musical background. I played the trombone in middle school for twp years and the tuba/sousaphone in HS for two years until the band teacher said he'd fail me if I didn't march during my junior year homecoming game halftime performance. Considering I was a starting linebacker on the football team and we were playing the defending state champs for the game (we won!), that didn't sit well with me at all, so I told him "well then, I'm done with you and your band." I was really disappointed, because I enjoyed playing music and he had never had a problem with me playing in the homecoming game the year prior... Anyhow, I digress.

So here I am, I am a PE teacher and a HS football coach now and have summer break starting (great perk to being a teacher ). I am not coaching football anymore for a couple years so I can go to grad school and I want to use some of this spare time to learn an instrument I have always wanted to learn: BASS!

On to the point of this post: My coworker is a music teacher and she sings in a local rock band, so I asked if she knows someone selling a bass. She happens to be selling a Xaviere DLX (sunburst color) bass that she had bought for her son, but it was too heavy for him, as he is pretty young. She's only had it a month. She's selling it for $200, with a $79 hard case from guitarfetish included, and she is having a pro bass player she knows set the action and strings and "give it a tune up". I assume that means getting it ready to play. I've been told the case and the professional setting it up alone is worth the $200 by other buddies who play guitar, but they've never heard of Xaviere.

So, in retrospect:

-Xaviere DLX bass (sunburst color)
-Hardshell case (worth $79 on guitar fetish)
-Professional tune (action, strings, various other stuff)

All for $200

Anyone have any info, a review, or general advice about this guitar and whether it's a deal worth going after for a first bass?
Welcome to the Bass Forum!

Well; I don't think that a professional setup is worth $200.00, but that it getting ahead of the issue for now. Xaviere basses are sort of the "house brand" of GuitarFetish.com. I do not know who makes them (or where), but they are pretty good entry-level basses. The DLX is a higher-end model with some extra bells and whistles: humbucker pickups, on-board preamp, 24 frets, etc. Not bad at all.

The thing is this: the Xaviere DLX sells new from GuitarFetish.com for US$229.00. With that in mind, US$200.00 for a used one - even in excellent condition and with a decent hardshell case - is pretty steep. I think it would be a good bass for you to start with, and you might end up hanging onto it for a good, long time. But I would definitely expect a better price for the bass and case used.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Most likely, your local Guitar Center or Sam Ash store would only give you about $100 for the Xaviere bass & case. Not a lot of name recognition there. Most inexpensive guitar/bass gear is worth about 1/3 to 1/2 of it's new street price (not MSRP).

So your worst case is that you probably lose $100 on the deal if you decide to sell the bass, either to dump it or upgrade to a better axe.

Strictly from a purely financial perspective, it is smarter to buy a used better bass that has not only depreciated, but will hold that depreciated value when you choose to sell or trade.

IMHO, the best overall value is to be found in a used MIM (made in Mexico) Fender Jazz or Precision bass. You can find really nice ones in the $250-$300 range and that will typically include a gig bag. And, there are a ton of MIM's on the used market to choose from.

These basses have the Fender name, are high enough quality to gig with if necessary, and if taken care of should sell for the same $250-$300 you paid.

People will likely chime to recommend buying a Squier bass (Fender's budget line) and these are also OK so long as you don't pay more than $125-$150 for a used one.

Check out prices on web sites such as Guitar Center, Musician's Friend, Zzounds, Sweetwater, etc., to determine current new street prices and then try to pay no more than 35%-50% for a decent used specimen. It's currently a buyer's market. Used basses abound. And, they're not selling particularly well unless they're accurately priced. Too few buyers chasing too many basses.
Thanks for the advice, both of you.

FatalGear- I meant that the case AND the setup was what people were telling me was worth the 200. I have had people tell me a good set up can cost up 150. But, you probably know better than I and won't argue. Thanks!

VeloDog- Thanks for the in-depth answer. I will definitely check out used stuff around here and online.

I appreciate you guys helping a new make a good investment/decision.
Quote by ama11
Thanks for the advice, both of you.

FatalGear- I meant that the case AND the setup was what people were telling me was worth the 200. I have had people tell me a good set up can cost up 150. But, you probably know better than I and won't argue. Thanks!

That's what I was thinking. Some people do charge ridiculous amounts for a setup, but they should not, as it is one of the easiest things to do. 99 times out of 100, a setup involves nothing more than setting the string height and the intonation. To do this, one merely turns a few screws - or hex-head bolts. String height is set by using a little ruler to measure the height of the strings (usually at the 12th fret) and moving the bridge saddle up or down as needed. Very easy. Intonation is set at the 12th fret and involves turning the screw or bolt to move the saddle backwards or forwards, as needed. Also easy. So you see, there is almost nothing to it - pretty soon, you will be doing this yourself, and you will marvel at how easy it is!

Sometimes, a truss rod adjustment is needed. People freak out at the thought of adjusting a truss rod, but unless your neck is warped like a corkscrew, you rarely have to turn the truss rod nut (or wheel) more than 1/4 of a turn. Also easy! This is why a good setup should not cost any more than a technician's hourly rate, which is usually about US$60.00 or so - often less.

A good hardshell case (usually made of high-impact plastic) normally sells brand new for about $60.00 to $70.00. The fancier ones with TSA locks cost more, but unless you are a hard-traveling musician, you don't need them. The whole arrangement that you have described should probably sell for $150.00 to $175.00 tops. But if you have your heart set on that bass, and you want it in your hands right away, then the price is not unacceptably high.

Welcome to the Low End, my friend!
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Wow, thanks for all that. I can't wait to get my hands on a bass and get going on learning the ins and outs. Good to know that taking care of the mechanical stuff can be something a normal human can accomplish alone!

I found a OLP MM2 for 150 in near mint condition (with a hard case included), so I'm probably going to go that route, and as my needs grow I can mod it (I've read on this site it's a great bass for mods?). As a huge Tool fan I love the MusicMan Stingray style and the sound (although Chancellor switched to a Wal), but definitely can't afford a Stingray. So I hope this is a good beginning option. Thoughts?
OLPs are not bad but if you can find a SUB at the same price or at 200 USD, it would be a better choice. In mods to an OLP you are going to put more money in to get the sound you want than the bass is worth.

On the setup, if they are charging more than say 50 bucks, I'd be wary.

Also...any considerations for amps? You are going to need a decent entry level amp to go with your bass.
Didn't realize mods were that expensive. I guess If I get good enough and make the long-term commitment to playing I'll save up for an actual stingray... Either way things will work out for the best. I'll look around for subs.

I live in small apartment, so a true amp is kind of out of the question for the moment. I am borrowing a set of vox bass amPhones.

Any recommendations on the amp (other than the ones in the FAQ) when I am able to use one?
Last edited by ama11 at Jun 23, 2014,
Modifying an entry-level bass does not have to be expensive, but it usually becomes expensive. This is because when we modify, we usually go for really top-of-the-line parts - parts that in many cases are better than the ones you find on $1,000.00+ basses: high-end pickups from top makers, high-mass locking bridges, very precise tuning machines, etc. You can really go through a bag of cash quickly when you start rebuilding your bass with top-end parts. On the plus side, it is a lot of fun to do.

Amplifiers? Well; a few questions must be answered before we can give you recommendations. For starters, how much can you (or will you) spend? What kind of music do you want to play? Are you looking for something just for practicing around the home, or do you want something that will also allow you to play with a band - at least, in a small setting?

Acoustic Amplifiers have become sort of the "house brand" for Guitar Center, and they are pretty good and reasonably priced. A 1x12" or 1X15" combo amp (100 to 200 watts) would be a great choice, and they make them. Fender has recently redesigned their entry-level "Rumble" series of bass amplifiers, so they are definitely worth a look. The big names in bass amplification - Ampeg, SWR, Gallien-Kruger, Markbass, etc. - all make great amplifiers, but they are going to be considerably more expensive.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
I'll probably be able to spend $300 U.S. (maximum) on an amp.

I like alternative metal/rock and grunge so I plan to play those styles mostly. But I will dabble in other styles on occasion.

Amp will mainly be used for practice at home, but there will be opportunities to jam with friends/family members fairly often. Doubt I will gig anytime soon, if ever. Will play at church, though as well (playing alongside a piano, guitar, sax, and of course singing).
My first bass rig (and this was relatively recent) was a Fender Squier Skull bass (it's got P&J pickups). The graphic (skull and crossbones) looks a bit like a chipmunk, but the bass itself is just fine.

Rather than get an amp, I just picked up a used Line 6 Bass Pod XT (bean version) for around $80. Excellent headphone setup, the bass amps/cabs sound very good, it's a decent recording piece, and if I need to run it live, I can just plug it into a PA/Mixer and take advantage of the subs.

The Bass Pod is pretty cool, but utterly useless unless you have access to a good P.A. system. Many bassists have forgone the amp in favor of some type of Direct Injection Box (The SansAmp D.I. is king), but unless you are a gigging musician with access to excellent P.A. systems at the gig, forget about the D.I. Box and anything associated with it. You need an amplifier, plain and simple.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Going on $200/$300 for a bass and amp respectively, you'll get best results by going second hand.

$200 could get you a variety of pretty decent basses. My recommendation from experience is the Squier Vintage Modified family of basses, possibly the Classic Vibe series if your cash covers it. Other options are Ibanez SR300, Musicman SUBs (young and old) and plenty of others. Stay away from "house" brands like Xaviere, occasionally something amazing turns up by accident (like my Marlin) but they're usually trash.

Ampwise, I'd look for a second hand TC Electronic combo in the BG250 line. They're light and loud enough to gig. If all you want is a little practise combo then I recommend Kustom amps (like the KBA10) for their volume and durability.