#1
I'm considering getting myself a bass guitar, but I've absolutely no idea what to look for. I'd be playing mostly modern metal, with a view to moving into some more extreme metal, but also maybe some tit-bits of rock on occasion.

I like the idea of a 5-string bass, how much point having a 5-string over a 4, or even a 6? Is it easier to begin with a 5 than start with a 4 and move onto a 5? I play a 7-string guitar partly for the sake of range and versatility of tuning , would I be best to get a 5 or 6-string bass under that same principle?

What would be the best amp for casual bedroom play? I have a little 10W guitar amp and a Peavey Vypyr 30, would I be safe to assume that you can't use a bass through a guitar amp? I do play my guitar with headphones in my Vypyr most of the time, if that's any help.

What are the best strings to use for metal bass? Any good stock sets, or am I gonna need to make custom sets, like with a 7 string guitar?

Do you need any kind of effect pedal to play bass metal? Is there, at a long shot, a bass equivalent of a modelling amp to allow me to buy an amp with necessary effects built (like the Peavey Vypyr for guitar)?

Finally, what's a good price for a low-to-mid range, yet reasonable quality bass guitars? Any models you could recommend (please mention the number of strings if you could) would be most welcome; same goes for amps. I guess I wouldn't be looking to spend any more than $600-$750 max, although I did see a few Ibanez SR's on ebay for around $400 that mentioned a RRP of around $600, so anything under $500 is good.

Your advice and patience is much appreciated
#2
Quote by staceap
I'm considering getting myself a bass guitar, but I've absolutely no idea what to look for. I'd be playing mostly modern metal, with a view to moving into some more extreme metal, but also maybe some tit-bits of rock on occasion.


Squire Jazz VM, do it, now.

Quote by staceap

I like the idea of a 5-string bass, how much point having a 5-string over a 4, or even a 6? Is it easier to begin with a 5 than start with a 4 and move onto a 5? I play a 7-string guitar partly for the sake of range and versatility of tuning , would I be best to get a 5 or 6-string bass under that same principle?


If you use the 5th string it's great, I just found it gets in the way. There comes an issue with certain tunings, Drop C for example technically becomes Drop G (I think) on a 5 string, which is a bit of an issue.

Quote by staceap

What would be the best amp for casual bedroom play? I have a little 10W guitar amp and a Peavey Vypyr 30, would I be safe to assume that you can't use a bass through a guitar amp? I do play my guitar with headphones in my Vypyr most of the time, if that's any help.


You are right in thinking that you couldn't play bass through them, it'd sound crap and then break the speaker. I can't really help with amp recs but we do have a Bass FAQ which will help you.

Quote by staceap


What are the best strings to use for metal bass? Any good stock sets, or am I gonna need to make custom sets, like with a 7 string guitar?

Do you need any kind of effect pedal to play bass metal? Is there, at a long shot, a bass equivalent of a modelling amp to allow me to buy an amp with necessary effects built (like the Peavey Vypyr for guitar)?


There are a few things guitarists do wrong when playing bass for the first time. The main thing is treating it like a guitar. There is no "metal bass" or "metal bass gear" in reality. Many brands would like you to think there is, but BC Rich, LTD, Dean and Jackson (to a lesser extent) simply make bad basses, especially in the lower price brackets. There are of course tonal differences but it's more to do with what YOU want your tone to be as opposed to what the style dictates.

Quote by staceap

Finally, what's a good price for a low-to-mid range, yet reasonable quality bass guitars? Any models you could recommend (please mention the number of strings if you could) would be most welcome; same goes for amps. I guess I wouldn't be looking to spend any more than $600-$750 max, although I did see a few Ibanez SR's on ebay for around $400 that mentioned a RRP of around $600, so anything under $500 is good.


Squire and Ibanez are considered the best low/mid bass brands.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#3
Quote by staceap

What would be the best amp for casual bedroom play? I have a little 10W guitar amp and a Peavey Vypyr 30, would I be safe to assume that you can't use a bass through a guitar amp? I do play my guitar with headphones in my Vypyr most of the time, if that's any help.

What are the best strings to use for metal bass? Any good stock sets, or am I gonna need to make custom sets, like with a 7 string guitar?

Do you need any kind of effect pedal to play bass metal? Is there, at a long shot, a bass equivalent of a modelling amp to allow me to buy an amp with necessary effects built (like the Peavey Vypyr for guitar)?


Great advice above, I'll add this:

Your headphones won't sound great, but they're safe to use, just don't use the built in speaker on your amp.

There's a million different bass sounds in metal, since the term is so insanely broad, and thus many types of strings used. If you want a generic modern-metal tone, you should probably start with steel round-wound strings and see how that treats you. Just as much of the tone will come from how you pick the strings--whether you go fingers or pick and where you center your hand between bridge and neck (this placement has a much more pronounced effect on your sound on bass than it does on guitar). Also, use the tone knobs on your bass--they're there for a reason. Seems simple enough, but so many beginners just leave them cranked all the time.

1) You probably don't want any effects for most metal, so start off without and see what you think.
2) A modeling amp is not the place to get bass effects, line 6 is the only cheap company I know that makes bass modeling amps and their lowdown amps are absolute garbage, yet too expensive to make a decent practice amp.
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Jan 23, 2012,
#4
For $500? Get a used Peavey from the mid-late 1980's. They're relatively common, extremely cheap, and some of the best basses you'll ever find
#5
Quote by staceap

I like the idea of a 5-string bass, how much point having a 5-string over a 4, or even a 6? Is it easier to begin with a 5 than start with a 4 and move onto a 5? I play a 7-string guitar partly for the sake of range and versatility of tuning , would I be best to get a 5 or 6-string bass under that same principle?

Your advice and patience is much appreciated


If you start out on a 5 string bass you'll never want to go to the limitations of a four string bass, the current 5 strings basses with low 'B' were brought about due to the synths in the 70s outplaying four string basses at the bottom end.
Fender Made a 5 string bass in the 60s but it was tuned E to C.
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
#6
Quote by John Swift
If you start out on a 5 string bass you'll never want to go to the limitations of a four string bass, the current 5 strings basses with low 'B' were brought about due to the synths in the 70s outplaying four string basses at the bottom end.
Fender Made a 5 string bass in the 60s but it was tuned E to C.

Yeah, about that. I started out on a 5 string Jazz and I'm getting rid of it in favor of another 4 string because I hate that stupid B string getting in my way. It all comes down to personal preference and music style. TS, my advice is to try out some Fenders (both the MIM P and J basses and the Squier VM series), Ibanez's, and Peaveys to see what you like soundwise and feelwise.
Fender 5 String Jazz Bass
Fender Precision Bass
Peavey TNT 115
EHX Bass Big Muff Pi
Daneletro Cool Cat OD V2 (excellent pedal)
Paul Reed Smith SE Custom Semi-Hollow
Peavey Classic 30
Vox V845 Classic Wah Pedal
#7
Quote by Fuzzle
Yeah, about that. I started out on a 5 string Jazz and I'm getting rid of it in favor of another 4 string because I hate that stupid B string getting in my way. It all comes down to personal preference and music style. TS, my advice is to try out some Fenders (both the MIM P and J basses and the Squier VM series), Ibanez's, and Peaveys to see what you like soundwise and feelwise.


This, I started on a 4, moved to a 5, moved back to a 4. I can still play both no problem. As far as I'm concerned the only thing holding you back between the 4,5 and 6 strings is knowing how to best use the extended range.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
Last edited by ChemicalFire at Jan 27, 2012,
#8
Quote by ChemicalFire
This, I started on a 4, moved to a 5, moved back to a 4. I can still play both no problem. As far as I'm concerned the only thing holding you back between the 4,5 and 6 strings is knowing how to be use the extended range.

Mybold/red got to agree there

Also much depends on the types of music that you play, I sold my 1965 Fender Jazz Bass that I'd bought new in 1966 6 months after acquiring my Stingray5 as it was sat in a cupboard never to be played in anger again.
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
Last edited by John Swift at Jan 27, 2012,
#9
That should of been "how to best use" sadly your quote will preserve my 4am typo forever xD
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#10
Quote by staceap
I'm considering getting myself a bass guitar, but I've absolutely no idea what to look for. I'd be playing mostly modern metal, with a view to moving into some more extreme metal, but also maybe some tit-bits of rock on occasion.

I like the idea of a 5-string bass, how much point having a 5-string over a 4, or even a 6? Is it easier to begin with a 5 than start with a 4 and move onto a 5? I play a 7-string guitar partly for the sake of range and versatility of tuning , would I be best to get a 5 or 6-string bass under that same principle?

What would be the best amp for casual bedroom play? I have a little 10W guitar amp and a Peavey Vypyr 30, would I be safe to assume that you can't use a bass through a guitar amp? I do play my guitar with headphones in my Vypyr most of the time, if that's any help.

What are the best strings to use for metal bass? Any good stock sets, or am I gonna need to make custom sets, like with a 7 string guitar?

Do you need any kind of effect pedal to play bass metal? Is there, at a long shot, a bass equivalent of a modelling amp to allow me to buy an amp with necessary effects built (like the Peavey Vypyr for guitar)?

Finally, what's a good price for a low-to-mid range, yet reasonable quality bass guitars? Any models you could recommend (please mention the number of strings if you could) would be most welcome; same goes for amps. I guess I wouldn't be looking to spend any more than $600-$750 max, although I did see a few Ibanez SR's on ebay for around $400 that mentioned a RRP of around $600, so anything under $500 is good.

Your advice and patience is much appreciated


5 string basses either sound excellent or like garbage, in my opinion. Depends on the pickups, strings, and amps. Low B's are an iffy subject for me. Plenty of metalhead bassists do just fine with a four string bass. As far as difficulty, 4, 5, and 6 all feel similar enough to where there is no real huge problem adjusting to the larger necks and extra strings. My preference is a 4, but you can do some cool funky tunings with 5 and 6 string basses that are more practical because of the extra strings, like having a higher/lower octave of another string for example.

If you're looking for a bedroom amp, it's not like it really matters. The amp only matters when you actually think of having one to play live.

Effects pedals can be fun, and can add a cool texture to bass. Needed? No. Personally, I am a fan of a clean tone. You can listen to a good number of good metal bands that have bassists who take this approach and they are still completely \m/
Iron Maiden, Symphony X, Megadeth, Blind Guardian, Protest The Hero, Between The Buried and Me, Dream Theater, ect.

I like reverb and loop pedals, and I used to like bass overdrive until I realized that all it did was cut out the low end, no matter how I fiddled with it and made me sound like a guitar, but an octave down. Personal preference, nothing more.

As far as an actual bass, I would really just say play them and see what you like. I am a fan of ESP, Warwick, Musicman, and some Ibanez basses.
#11
There's no right or wrong about 5/4 strings. Some very good bass players swear by one or the other. The fundamental note of bottom E is so low as to be almost inaudible anyway and a lot of people in an audience can't hear the fundamental of bottom B, though with a really big PA they will feel it. Very little bass amplification will make much sound below bottom E because the speakers wimp out. What I suppose I am trying to say is that a really deep tone is more about speakers, eq and amps than having an extra string. Choosing a 5 isn't really about being 'deep', though it makes it easier.

The advantages of a 5 are that you can play further up the neck and reduce your stretches. You also have 5 extra notes available so you don't really need to tune down at all. If like me you have small hands there are riffs you play which pedal down to F which are absolute killers to play with a 4 and are quite comfortable 5 frets up on a 5 string.

The disadvantage of a 5 is the size and feel of the neck, I love my Fender Jazz because of the feel of it's slim (and shapely!) neck. The thought of a wider neck is just not for me but this is just a matter of taste. I also hate the sound a B string makes, being so short for making a note that low strips out all the rich harmonics so they just make a dull sound to my ears, again though this is just a matter of taste. You have to decide this yourself.

I'd say start with a 4, there's a lot more choice and you will get a better instrument for your money. I'd also say listen to the advice but make up your own mind. Try out 4's and 5's and see how you like the feel of the neck and the sound of the instrument. It is so easy to change 'up' to a 5 that it won't be a problem whichever way you go.
#12

Above is the second 1962 Burns split sound 6 string Bass (complete with whammy bar) that I used until recently (I tuned E,A,D.G.C.F), I also used one from 1963 to 1969 (there were only 200 made).
The neck is the same width as the Burns Split Sound Guitar. I sold the Burns recently.
The 6 string Fender Bass VI also had a slim neck, although neither had bottom 'B' they were beautiful to play.

I have band recordings we made on which I was using a MM Styingray5 where it is obvious that the low 'D' and 'B' are coming through as the actual note (fundamental) especialy on numbers like 'Rocky Mountain Way' & 'Cocaine' just as they do on synths.
As soon as I played the Stingray 5 I knew that I'd not go back to to my old 4 string Fender.
The Musicman Basses were what Leo Fender would have liked to develope the Fender Precision into and he got his chance when Musicman was set up some years after fender was sold to CBS.
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
#13
If you are used to the layout of a 7-string guitar than starting on a 5-string should be easy for you. As for strings, no specific brand is best but you'll want some bright roundwounds to be able to cut through the guitars (probably a heavy gauge too as modern metal is detuned). You don't really need any effects pedals unless you're feeling sassy. Most metal bassists just go straight to the amp. Also for what it's worth, you can start off playing bass with a pick no matter what people say. You can use a pick for all your playing if it's comfortable but I would learn at least basic fingerstyle as well so that you are not limited.
#14
Quote by lavalamp360
If you are used to the layout of a 7-string guitar than starting on a 5-string should be easy for you. As for strings, no specific brand is best but you'll want some bright roundwounds to be able to cut through the guitars (probably a heavy gauge too as modern metal is detuned). You don't really need any effects pedals unless you're feeling sassy. Most metal bassists just go straight to the amp. Also for what it's worth, you can start off playing bass with a pick no matter what people say. You can use a pick for all your playing if it's comfortable but I would learn at least basic fingerstyle as well so that you are not limited.

Agree with you on the snobbery attached to the use of plectrums/picks.
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
#15
Squier VM jazz V. Or some Ibanez SR fiver. I liked some LTDs too, so you could take a look at them too, but I'd recommend the jazz.
You don't really need any effects (compressor can be nice though, as can overdrive/distortion/fuzz), but a bass amp is a necessity. I'd recommend a used head&cab, rather than a combo, but if all you're going to be doing is bedroom playing, a small combo would be suitable. I had a Kustom KBA-16 that was nice, had an external cab and headphone outputs, and a CD/MP3 player input. It was loud too.