I am looking to start playing bass and was wondering what would be a good starting point. My genres are blues, classic rock with a little grunge thrown in now and then. Mostly 1950's through late 70's. I tend to skip most of the 80's and pick back up in the 90's. I don't play heavy metal.
Price range will be in the $300-$400 range once I sell my Strat and amp. (back-ups, of course). I have looked at the Squire rigs, but fear they are akin to their guitar brethren in quality, Epiphone SG's and a couple of others.

Since I don't know what I don't know I don't know what i am looking for or at. Suggestions?
Don't know much about bass, but when I buy anything I am unfamiliar with I look at name brands first and work my way down. For example, I would start by looking at Ibanez, Gibson, Fender, Etc... Then work your way down to other, smaller companies.
American Strat (Modded with Kinman Pickups and more )
PRS Paul Allender (Don't like Cradle of Filth though )
Line 6 Spider Valve 212 (Broken )
Blackstar HT-5 Combo Amp

DR.ZOIDBERG!!!!! (Very inspirational)
If you're buying new, I would go for the Ibanez SR (Soundgear) line, or maybe a Yamaha, they make pretty decent inexpensive basses.

If you buy used you could get a better bass for your money, possibly a Fender, Spector, or Schecter for a really versatile tone.
Squires have come a long way, i mean EVERYTHING under $900 is made in freakin CHINA these days so its ALL hit and miss....spend a few hours trying all the brands, i dont recomend thos kits cause everything in em is usless sept the bass....trust you'll hate that lil amp in no time.....you can get a 100w 1x15 and an entry level bass in your range.....

Squire P or J bass ($199) + Acoustic Amp (100w 1x15 $250 or 200w 1x15 $350) .....do you have a tuner? can you tune by ear?

you cant get Rogue basses ONLY from MusiciansFriend.com they ARE good 1 of my firsts was a Rogue they run $120 for the 4 string and $130 for the 5 multiple colors, bout same build quality as Squire + right
now they come with a free MF.com Elite GigBag worth $40+ free ship -good deal.....

Good Luck!
Last edited by HATe410 at Jun 16, 2010,
In a nut shell, what that guy said ^

Not sure what kinda deals you have in the U.S - since I don't live there - but an important thing is to go around to your local shop and try out every bass in your price range. Sounds crazy, but it will indicate which bass you think 'feels' best, and this bass will be the best option. Just stay away from Squire Affinity basses (the rest are fine) and Behringer amps, and perhaps look at Yamahas, Ibanez's particularly the GSR series, ESP and those brands which should have models in your price range.

Also looking second-hand is worth while, go to whatever sites you have in the states - that are TRUSTED, not some dodgy Nigerian dealer who's selling Fenders for $50 - and have a poke around. To look for are Squier Vintage Modifieds, and perhaps Fender Precisions.

Oh yeah, and look at Peaveys as well. Particularly at the millennium; I've heard great things about'em.

Hope you find a great bass!
There was once a wise Chinese man who said:

"All you can eat, $12.50"
An Ibanez GSR200 or SR, Squier Vintage Modified Precision or Jazz bass, used Fender MIM Precision or Jazz bass, Yamaha RBX, or Peavey Millennium.

Pair it with an Acoustic B10 or B20, a Kustom KBA10, or a Peavey MAX, for an amp, and you'll have a perfectly serviceable starter rig.
Composite Aficionado

Spector and Markbass
I have a decent amp and have looked at a couple of them so far. I was more concerned of there are any I should avoid.
The Ibanez GSR 200 is an awesome bass to start with! I had it for four years before upgrading to another Ibanez. The sound is great and it is very easy to play and also very relaible.

Here is a link -

It's a uk site but only costs around £165 here so reckon it should be $280 or something. Definetly worth every penny!
What about fretless for a beginner? I have been playing guitar for about a year but the guys I jam with are all multi-talented (bastards) so I am thrown on bass for more difficult guitar songs. Hence the wanting to get a better bass than the $25 POS I have. I have a guy offering up a MIM Fender fretless Jazz Bass with some upgrades. My only real concern is it being fretless, but since I am just learning would that be a bad thing?
Stay away from fretless, I made the mistake of buying one 6 months into playing, and my ear just was NOT good enough, they are a totally different beast, especially tonnally.

Your best bet I reckon would be either:


or maybe


I reckon a P-bass tone would suit your music tastes better than a jazz, though the necks on jazz's are thinner and might be more comfy for you since your background is guitar.

The Classic Vibe and Vintage Mod series of Squier really are top notch for the price, up with some MIM Fenders in terms of feel and sound IMO.
And a big phat P tone works for 70's rock and 90's grunge, and look very classy

hope this helps, also you say you have an amp already, is it a BASS specific amp? If not you'll shred your speakers over time playing bass through a guitar amp
Quote by the humanity
I'm just joking Moog. you know nothing can tear our friendship apart, not even the fact we are miles apart, I am right there beside you, yelling, "Chug it, ya little wimp!"
You can't go wrong with a Fender. I'm a Precision fan, myself, but you can't go wrong with either a P or a J-Bass. Rather convenient consequence of their more or less inventing the instrument as we know it today

As others have mentioned, Squier basses are supposed to be good if you avoid the Affinity series. I have no personal experience with them either way.

You will need a bass amp. The low frequencies will destroy a guitar amp's speakers. You can play a guitar through a bass amp, but not the other way around.

My own rig right now is an Olympia acoustic bass and a 100W SWR combo amp. You'd probably be insane to try it, since it's noisy, temperamental, and incredibly feedback-prone, but eh, it works just fine for me. If you can get it under control, it's certainly the kind of gear that makes you a better musician.