I think it would be a better idea to start with a 4 rather than a 5 string due to the fact that most of the artists/styles I like use 4. What is an inexpensive bass that is good enough that once I get interested in joining a band I could still use this guitar and I could focus my money on amps etc. I have looked everywhere from the Jackson C20, Ibanez Sr300 etc. Which one of these is still decent enough that it would be a good bass to start with and progress with? Thanks. I am not picky about neck size etc, I find I can get use to anything if I play it enough. Lightweight might be something that appeals to me though, thanks.

edit: it will most likely be used for modern metal tones etc.
Ibanez Srx-590 is a friggin awesome starter.
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Stay away from Jacksons basses, they're kinda stuck with one usable tone, normaly metal based. (I know you wanna play that style of music, but you might find the lack of tonal versatility a problem. And anyway I've never heard Jackson bases praised as much as the following.)

I'd look at Ibanez and Squier (the basses are far better than the guitars)
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A Squier VM could last you quite awhile, may eventually need pup upgrades and the like, but its a great bass still. The Ibanez SR series is just fantastic. Depending on your budget, you could look at used MIM's, but if you go the Fender route, you'll probably be better off starting on the Squier VM. Peavey Millenniums are good, and so are Traben Arrays. How much exactly did you intend on spending?
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I'm an idiot for not mentioning budget my apologies. Roughly between 300-500?
Fender squier jazz bass was my favorite. It WAS less expensive when I bought mine years back, but they're still a great deal. I'd say the ibanez basses and the fenders play about the same, but in my opinion the squier jazz gets far superior tone.
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Thanks, any other suggestions? What about something like the Yamaha RGX374 with an alder body?
Yamaha's are generally considered to be extremely solid and reliable. For a little more then $500 you could get an MIM Fender. The Peavey Millennium is a good bass, and the Traben Array (Attack or Limited) are awesome as I mentioned before. The Ibanez ATK300 is $500 and is a great bass. Other good Ibanez in your price range would be the SRX350 or 470, a SR400. You could go used and maybe grab a higher end one for around $400-$500. You have a lot of options with that amount of money, so you need to go try out as many as you can.
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Trabens are amazing, so are Ibanez's, Peaveys, Fenders etc etc.

Take a trip down to your music store and try them out.
My Rig:
Yamaha RBX 375 bass
Peavey Millenium BXP bass (won at Summer Slaughter 2010, signed by all the bands)
Eden Nemesis NC410 320w combo amp
Check out Tyrannicide, my death/thrash metal band:
Dumb question but I used to listen to a lot of lamb of god before their most recent album. Did John Campbell actually use a millenium (i know he has a sig now)? If so was it just one of the regular off the shelf models with maybe a pup switch?
Dude, the Schecter Omen 4 extreme is the fastest and easiest bass I've played on. You can get it for around $350 USD. Active pups too. The setup is a little pain in the arse, but I love it and play it live. But a 5 string would be the way to go. I have a 5 string Yamaha that is my main, and when I switch to my Schecter its a breeze to play on. Fivers help ya build finger strength like there's no tomorrow.
I have to go with Tabassco. The Ibanez SRX-590 is really great bass to start with. Great tone, easy to play.
Its been said, but the Ibanez SR300 is an awsome bass for what your paying (One of my friends who despises Ibanez for some reason seems to think that this is "a one off Ibanez" lol). Its made a few experienced bassists/guitarists consider getting one.

I am looking to move to 5 string, and the SR300 has made such an impact on me I am torn between the Traben Array (for a different sound) and the Ibanez SR305 (for the sound/feel I am used to).

Couldnt recommend the SR300 to a beginner highly enough. Go try one out!
Thanks, anyone have any experienced with a Fender Zone Bass? I came across one used for a fairly decent price by the sounds of it and am wondering if anyone here as used one or owns one. Thanks