I just bought a new guitar and get back into playing music. A friend of mine come at my place this week-end and he starts thinking about getting a bass guitar so we could jam together.

He never played before, but still want to buy quality.

So, I need suggestion for a bass (4 strings) and a amp. I personally used a Ibanez Soundgear in the past (15+ years) and love the thin neck. But honestly, I can't remember how it sounds!

Any advise could help me guide my friend into a start bass / amp with quality. Of course, don't come up with a 1200$ bass plus 1200$ amp Something around 400-700$

Best Regards
- Delerium
There is a great section on entry level basses in the FAQ above. Check it out and let us know if you have any questions!

The SR series are really solid basses to start off with, but there are other options as well!
Thanks! I did not figure out there was a FAQ... I took a look at it and I'll go shop with my friend over the week-end.

I think the GSR200-BK is a good choice, but I will let my friend choose between models and with what he feels comfortable in his hands.

Now amp wise, I own a Vypyr VIP1 which can also do Bass guitar. Is that a good choice for a first amp? There is a bunch of effects in it so he could learn and have fun at the same time!

Thank you people!

- Delerium
My 2 cents: I do not have much of an opinion on bass amps. I prefer to play direct line-in to the mixing board whether recording or playing live. But I do have some suggestions on the purchase decision of a new bass guitar.

I've always been a Fender guy (shocking!), and my first bass was a Korean Squier P-bass, which came with all the beginner's goodies. However, if I had to go back and do it again, I don't think I would think about this purchase decision in terms of "what brand should I give my money to?". Instead, I urge a beginner to think about the component parts of a bass guitar, and sink your money into the right parts of your bass and a good repairman, regardless of the brand. IMO, there are three things that are essential to making your bass physically easy to play and sound great, regardless of the brand:

1 - Is your neck straight and true? This is important. If you have a warped neck, you can suffer from bad action in spots (action = how far away your strings are from the wood of the fretboard), which makes it difficult to press a string down, or causes your string to buzz from touching a metal fret as it is played. Another problem with a warped neck is that even if all your open strings are in tune, as you play up the fretboard, your pitches can fall out of tune for particular frets. Neck warping can happen with your cheaper Asian models before you ever touch the thing! As your bass is shipped across an ocean and exposed to a variety of environmental changes, the wood expands and contracts, especially as your instrument sits in a cardboard box with virtually no protection to the elements. This is not only true of buying a bass from Asia, but in the transportation of ANY precision instrument. Thought needs to be put into how to protect the wood from drastic environmental changes. A hard case is ideal, but with these beginner's kits, they rarely come in a hard case.

A warped neck upon arrival is actually not that big of a deal (within reason). The FIRST thing I would do when buying a new bass is go get it professionally set up. Most of the time, neck warping can be fixed by a reputable repairman for not a whole lot of money, maybe 50 bucks or so, without new strings (you can do it yourself if you want, but I wouldn't recommend diving in this far as a beginner. You can easily learn how to do it with a google search, but it is beyond the scope of this discussion). A set up will straighten your neck out, put your bass strings in great action, and they will oftentimes offer to replace and tune up your strings (when you purchase the strings, of course). Now may be a good time to purchase a hard case too, if you don't already have one.

2 - Put your money in strings and string care products! Don't skimp out here. Yes, a good set will run you about $50, but quite simply, higher quality strings come with longer lives, long lasting rich tone quality, and added polymer protection against corrosion. These things all go hand in hand. Strings are metal, and as metal is exposed to the elements, it corrodes over time, causing the string to make a "dead" sound when played. Dead sounds mean worse tone and less sustain/resonance. Also, pick up a string cloth and some string lubricant/treatment solution. Treat your strings before and after you play with a little bit of this solution applied to your cloth, and then wiped down the entire length of your strings. You would be surprised how regular string maintenance in this manner will improve the quality of your tone, and make your strings smooth as butter on your fingers when playing (assuming you have developed your callouses already. I can guarantee no pain relief for your fingertips in the first months of your bass journey .

3 - Put your money in good pickups! Starting out and learning, the pickups that come with your bass will likely be fine, assuming they are in good working order and you take care of the neck and the strings. However, when you are ready for an upgrade, there is no need to let the work of some marketing department fool you into spending a grand on an entirely new bass when you can replace the pickups first and drastically improve your bass sound for about a hundred bucks. Which pickups to choose? That is not a debate I would like to ignite on a bass forum...haha...I will let you know what my experience has been though. I currently play with a Mexican Fender Jazz bass that I absolutely love. I could have spent the extra $500 bucks and got an American Jazz bass, but I decided to keep my money and go with the Mexican, knowing that I could spend another $80 on a set of American Jazz Bass pickups and be done with it. I still have not made that purchase, because so far it has been unnecessary. I keep my neck straight, my action is finely tuned, I buy high quality strings, and I take care of them. My tone is impeccable already. Should I want to upgrade though, I will spend $80 on American Jazz bass pickups, and pay a repairman another $50 or so to get them installed properly instead of holding on to the idea that "American made is better".

So, in case you scrolled all the way down here to get a boiled down conclusion of my rant, here it is:

1) don't get so caught up in brand name or origin.
2) get your bass professionally set up immediately upon purchase in order to have good action and a straight, true neck.
3) buy a hard case and use it.
4) don't cheap out on strings. Buy high quality strings and take care of them with a cloth and string lubricant/treatment solution.
5) if you must upgrade, consider swapping out pickups before buying an entirely new instrument.

Reasonable breakdown of cost (assuming a $500 budget)
1) Pawn Shop Bass - $100
2) Setup / new strings - $100
3) Hard Case - $100
4) Quality pickups - $150 installed

Total: $450 for an instrument that will do everything you need to learn on, play live, and sound great.

Even if you have already made the purchase, these suggestions will maximize the quality of the sound that can come out of your new bass. Enjoy!
Matthew laid up some really great points there!

However, in my own experience when shopping for a bass I've found that the quality-price ratio on Yamaha's basses is rather perfect. I'd go for a $400 Yamaha instead of a Squier for the same price.

So the point I'm trying to convey is essentially as Matthew's "1) don't get so caught up in brand name or origin."
Bernie Edwards of Chic also played "dead strings" . When asked what strings he used, he said "I don't know..what strings do a Musicman come with?"
Quote by Deliriumbassist
I'm going to disagree with his second point though- dead strings don't mean worse tone, but different tone, which some people like. James Jamerson being one of them. "The junk keeps the funk' was the phrase, I believe.

Yeah, I guess this is a subjective thing, now that I think back on it. Maybe it is genre-specific. I tend to like a smooth rich, sort of vintage tone on my low end. When it comes to music, you gotta watch out when you say absolute things, because everyone has a different view on what sounds good. I broke my own rule! Thanks for the input, guys.