#1
Hey bass people,

I'm a long time guitar player. I know tons about guitars and guitar amps. Don't know nearly as much about bass stuff.

I know that bass sounds good sometimes. I know that it sounds bad sometimes. But I don't know what makes a good bass tone. I know a bit, but for the sake of completeness, assume I'm full noob.

I'm gonna pick up a bass rig and join a band as a bass player. Just trying to decide what to get.

My budget would be like $500-$1000, but my pricing is a little different than normal as I'm a Guitar Center employee.

For the bass itself I've been looking at the EBMM StingRay SUB. Tagged at like $300. Seems to be very well put together for the price. Feels good to me as well. Also cheaper Jazz basses.

For an amp, I need enough power to gig with and be heard over a drummer. I've seen a lot of Markbass product that has the power levels I'm looking for, but I've had multiple experiences at my job with customers shying away from them. Do they sound bad? I like the lightness and compactness, but I'd rather have the sound.

Sound wise, the band I play in does blues rock to hard rock. Think the heavier Bonamassa songs.

I look forward to what you come up with!
...we came in?


Isn't this where...
#2
Markbass make a wonderful amp, they sound good, they're light and compact. The non-hybrid SS ones are pretty transparent, so that might turn some people off, but that's a horses for courses thing. You can always stick a Sansamp or a VT Bass in front if you wanted to give it a bit more grit and grind.

Anyways, I don't know how big a discount you get, but the Markbass stuff will probably chew through your budget pretty fast. You could find used Little Marks in the $400 +/- range but that's just the head, and you'll still need a bass and probably at least a 4x10 if you're going to be joining a band.

Lots of people like the new Sterling by Musicman SUB's (personally I'm not a fan but that's just my preference). If you like Jazzes, look into the higher end Squiers, the Vintage Modified and Classic Vibe series. Those run $300 and $380 new respectively, but you should be able to find one significantly cheaper if you look used. Used MIM Jazz basses will also pop up around the $300 range and would be a good choice too.

On the less "classic" side, Ibanez, Yamaha, and Peavey all make solid basses in the lower price brackets. Older Ibbys and old US-made Peaveys can be particularly good deals if you have a solid Craigslist selection.

When it comes to amps, you'll want something with enough power to keep up with the rest of the band (unless you have reliable PA support all the time in which case you could just DI, but that's an impractical assumption). A good benchmark is 200w+, 300+ if you can swing it, and a 4x10 (although there are many other suitable cab arrangements and combinations). Since you're coming from guitar, you probably fancy tube amps. In the bass world you'll find solid state and hybrids to be much more prevalent. While the good ol' all-tube Ampeg SVT is still one of the most iconic bass amps, all-tube bass amps tend to extremely heavy and very very expensive (both in price and in re-tubing costs).

Old Peavey amps are decent and built like tanks, Hartke and Acoustic are both solid and relatively inexpensive options as well. GK makes amps that will probably be a little on the pricey side new, but aren't too bad used (the RB series, avoid the Backlines). If you can swing it somehow, Markbass, Genz Benz, and Edens are great but that might be stepping a bit outside your max price range.

In the end the most important part of this process is just you trying things out. Start trying basses and amps during your down time on break or whenever you get the chance. We can make suggestions all day and steer you in one direction or another but ultimately a lot of this comes down to your ear and your fingers and what feels and sounds right to you.


EDIT: One hard and fast rule though, and this is important: don't ever ever ever buy a Behringer amp. You'll endanger yourself, your family, and everyone in a 5 block radius. Hell, national security would be at stake!
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
#3
Quote by Tostitos
EDIT: One hard and fast rule though, and this is important: don't ever ever ever buy a Behringer amp. You'll endanger yourself, your family, and everyone in a 5 block radius. Hell, national security would be at stake!


Out of curiosity what is wrong with a Behringer amp?? I've had my Behringer BXL450A for 10 years now and love it, it is only for practice and small gigs though.

Anyways, if your playing blues rock and hard rock you might think about investing in a PJ bass, it's literally a jazz bass and a precision bass in one, theres a jazz style pickup in the bridge and a precision pickup set in the neck, Ibanez, Yamaha and Peavy make (in my opinion) good PJ basses. When I was in school the music department bought Yamaha's and Ibanez's for the basses and guitars because they were cheap but for their price they were not bad, I preffered the Yamaha basses. They felt more comfortable and were easier to play. These were Yamaha RBX basses. I personally play a Vintage EMJ jazz bass and I can't say much about it now because I've had it for about 8 years and its been through a hell of a lot to the point I need a new bass. I'm currently saving for an Ibanez SR1205 which I have tried out and sounds amazing, so clear and really smoot with no sharp edges jabbing into you and a nice slim neck.
#4
Quote by Xpl0r
Out of curiosity what is wrong with a Behringer amp?? I've had my Behringer BXL450A for 10 years now and love it, it is only for practice and small gigs though.


They're unreliable. Some get lucky, but most run into problems fairly quickly with them.

Quote by Xpl0r
Anyways, if your playing blues rock and hard rock you might think about investing in a PJ bass, it's literally a jazz bass and a precision bass in one, theres a jazz style pickup in the bridge and a precision pickup set in the neck,


PJ basses don't give you a Jazz bass and a Precision in one. A Jazz bass isn't a Jazz without two J pickups. It will do a Precision tone of course, but as for Jazz tones you're limited to a solo'd bridge tone which isn't great for a lot of applications.

Personally I'd be looking at getting some sort of lightweight neo combo (GK are probably your best bet on a budget, Genz Benz do some good lightweight budget combos too). Grab a Squier CV Jazz and a Sansamp VT pedal and you've got a nice, inexpensive, portable rig that will do killer classic blues/rock tones.
Spare a Cow
Eat a Vegan
#5
Quote by Xpl0r
Out of curiosity what is wrong with a Behringer amp?? I've had my Behringer BXL450A for 10 years now and love it, it is only for practice and small gigs though.

Everything of theirs that I've owned has broken within a week. They also lie about the specs of their equipment.