So I have this awesome friend that helps me and my roommates out a lot and we want to surprise him with a bass cause he's always wanted one but he can't afford one right now.

So I need advice on a good beginning bass guitars and practice amp. Right now i'm looking at Squire Jazz or Precision bass. Amp i'm not so sure. Maybe one of the squire starter packs will be fine?

His favorite band is Mastodon and he listens to a lot of old psychedelic music, classic rock and metal.

Any suggestions would be great. Thanks ^^
Well first is the guy from Mastadon has a custom bass and is sponsored by Orange and has a rig worth several thousand dollars.

A squier begginer pack is over priced, Buy a used squier bass and find the cheapest bass amp you can get and start playing. Cables, tuner, strap, strings buy new of course, but over all you'll save money.

He will not sound like the Mastadon bassist, but unless you have a valve amp on full tilt or a good dirt box it would be hard. learn the basics, maybe invest in a cheap dirt box, and have fun. Save up then buy a bigger amp when you have the ability and friends to play with.
The Squier VM series basses, if you can afford it, are phenomenal for the price. The Jazz bass would probably be best if he likes metal.
...it was bright as the sun, but with ten times the heat
Well, if the TS is asking about one of the Squier "Stop Dreaming" packs, they sell for $300.

If we assume $300 is the budget then the options are pretty limited. Of course, buying used gets you better equipment for less money than new, but this is a gift and some people have issues with giving used gear as a gift. Additionally, no one on this board has any idea what used treasures are in the TS's locale.

People are so opinionated about gear that it's hard sometimes to sift through the ranting to discover what is really objective vs someone who has irrationally bonded with junk.

In any event, here is a rig that gets delivered to your door in the U.S. for $310 that is very decent.

It includes a Samick/Gregg Bennett passive P/J Corsair in Corvette Yellow color. This color is being clearanced by the Recording Store through Amazon for $150. Corsairs are built in Indonesia to a manufacturing standard that is as good, or maybe a little better than the Squier VM's. It has a beefier bridge than the VM's. It has better (Gotoh-style) tuners than the VM's. The body, pickups, neck, and electronics are on par with the VM's. Some people carp about the 2+2 tuners, which look nothing like Fender's in-line four headstock, but this is a cosmetic issue only. The Greg Bennett line of basses play very well indeed.

Acoustic makes a great little B20 amp package for $160 delivered to your door that has everything you need to begin bass playing. This practice amp actually has a 12-inch speaker and sounds decent. It just doesn't have the kind of volume you need for gigging. It does have a headphone jack though and this is the best way to get a full, beefy sound when practicing.

Features of the B20 amp:
12" speaker
1/8" MP3 player input
& headphone output
Dual 1/4" input jacks
Metal corners
Bass Input
Aux In
Headphone Out

The rest of the stuff that comes with the amp pack is all the little stuff you need:
Electric bass stand
Bass gig bag
Digital tuner
Instrument polish and cloth
String winder
Picks Instructional DVD

I'm sure others have their own ideas that will have their own validity, but I've recommended and played this rig several times now. IMHO, it's about the best you can buy new for $310.